Moshi Moshi! Japan is Calling

“Moshi Moshi” is what you say when you answer the phone in Japan. We too are answering a call, the Lord’s call to Japan.

A buddhist statue in Japan.

Over the last month, since we returned from our vision tour, we have been praying and taking time to digest what the Lord spoke to us. We met with our sending organization and debriefed the trip with them, and we reconnected with friends and developed new relationships. Now we are confident in what we are working towards, and are excited to share that with you in this letter.

Our friend, Shiho, getting baptized!

First, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support that allowed us to take this vision tour at all, and for it to be a significant length so we could be confident in what the Lord was speaking to us. We needed the extra time to see where to land when we moved over there as our sending organization doesn’t have an existing work there. Again, thank you for your support that made it possible and for your faithful prayers that were answered each and every day.

In Nara at the deer park.

The Lord confirmed in us the call to Japan on our trip several times. Through scripture, through longings, through leaders, through peace, and through broken hearts. We do not waiver from that call even after seeing the challenges that lay ahead. We are very thankful that God continues to allow us to be used by Him in this way and we want to be faithful to His leading. We also received new direction as it was clear that Osaka was the place that He would have us land in Japan. When we were planning the trip, we didn’t expect that to be the case, but the Lord knew better. We will be serving with Calvary Chapel Abide and Joseph and Amy Totsis, the missionaries that planted it. They have been in Osaka for 13 years and will help us immensely as we get settled. It’s a wonderful group of believers and we are very excited to be a part of it. Our first couple of years will be focused on language learning so that we can minister as effectively as possible, and we will be working on that before we leave as well.

Jospeh and Amy Totsis (second and third from right), who we will be serving with in Japan.

Our goal is to go at the beginning of next year (2024), but what will we be doing in the interim? We will be having a dessert gathering on May 28, at Calvary Chapel Saving Grace in Yorba Linda, CA at 6:30pm. You are all invited to join us as we share our vision and talk about our trip. If you aren’t in California, we plan to do similar gatherings in Montana and Nebraska over the summer. We will then be traveling to our church in Montana to serve and connect, as well as spending some time with Daphne on the farm in Nebraska.

Please pray about partnering with us financially and thank you for lifting us up in prayer.

Praise report:

  • Our trip was successful and the Lord granted us direction for the future.
  • The Lord is raising up others to go to Japan that we will work alongside for years to come.
  • We have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received since returning from Japan.

Prayer requests

  • For the Japanese churches, that the Lord would sustain and grow them.
  • For churches and individuals to partner with us, prayerfully and financially.
  • For the Lord to bless our summer with Daphne and for her as she prepares for her senior year of high school.

There and Back Again

Those that we are too late to share the Gospel with.

We have arrived stateside from our vision tour, but returning is bittersweet. We already miss Japan and the Church there. The Lord allowed us to meet so many incredible people and to be a part of His work there, so it’s difficult to leave even if it’s only for a season. Here is a short recap of the end of our trip.

Us in Osaka.

We had the opportunity to help with an Easter outreach at Abide Osaka. Forty kids, most unsaved, came to our event where the Easter story was shared in Japanese, games were played, and we had an Easter egg hunt. Many of the children’s parents came and heard as well, and it was a wonderful time.

Spending time with Alishia’s friend, Sachiko, and her family.

Alishia was able to record an interview with one of the young Japanese believers, Shiho, that we will edit and share with you in the future. It’s really the relationships, like the one Alishia made with Shiho, that had the biggest impact on us during the trip. We were able to be a blessing to them just because we were there. Their culture casts them aside, so it ministers to their soul to be able to have real spiritual conversations with believers.

Alishia and Shiho

As for now, we are in California until the end of May, and then we head to Montana. The Lord confirmed the call in us on this trip and made our next steps clear. We are very excited to share all of that with you in the coming weeks so be watching for our next update. In the meantime, here are some photos of our trip.

The Easter outreach in the park.
The Easter outreach was well attended..
The kids enjoyed the games and Easter story.
Spending time with the established missionaries.
Sharing about our trip with some of the interns at SGWM.

Prayer requests

  • Praise the Lord for a successful trip and the opportunity to seek His will for us in Japan.
  • For the Japanese believers and the missionaries on the field. It’s a lonely path believing in Japan and the enemy attacks at every turn.
  • For partners in the gospel, that would be able to help meet our needs so that we may return to Japan soon.
You never know what you’ll see in Japan.

Connecting in an Isolated World

Wow… what a time we have had here in Japan. This is Alishia, I decided to try my hand at writing a newsletter to say hello to you. So any lack of the normal flair is because the author is not Jeff. 

God is so faithful. This time has been very fruitful. Thank you everyone that have aided us though prayer and support. 

When we came to Japan for a three-month vision trip, it was under the request of Pastor Chizuo. Pastor Chizuo is a senior pastor here in Japan that is looked to by all the Calvary pastors to help guide the whole Calvary movement here in Japan. He had asked us to be here for three months to make sure we were really called. So, we heeded his advice and came for three months. We are so glad we did because God had a different plan for us than what we thought. 

Teaching at Abide Osaka with translation from Yuko.

When we first came to Japan, we had a road map in our head of what we thought the next 10 years of our life would look like. We had made a list of three locations of where we thought we would end up initially when coming here. One location was Abide Osaka (a Calvary Chapel pastored by Joseph Totsis), we really didn’t know what to expect. What we found was a vibrant group of believers with faithful leadership. Osaka is the hottest of all the locations we visited, and I don’t handle the heat too well. So I was hesitant to fall in love with the church there, but fall in love we did.  

At a church planting school in Tokyo called Samurai Project.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to hear you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

We first visited them with Pastor Trent and Debbie in the beginning of February. It was one day there and back on the shinkansen (bullet train). But that day sparked the idea of us joining them, and not just for us, but for them also.

In Yokohama with Pastor Trent and Debbie.

A month later we visited them again with Rob Douglass (Founder of ends of the earth ministries) and James Flores (Leader of Frontline Missions), and once more the Lord tied everyone’s hearts together.  It was so incredible having our leadership on the ground with us to see what we were seeing and to minister to us and to the missionaries here in Japan. Japan is a very hard place to be a missionary because it is a very isolating environment, so the support from the states and people visiting is so refreshing and needed for the workers here. The Lord has allowed us to see first-hand how hard it is to stay on the field here as well as allowed us to be part of His refreshment for long term workers right now. 

Visiting Abide Osaka with Rob and James.

We move forward in our calling with our eyes open. Pastor Chizuo was accurate on how long it would take for us to really now if this is what the Lord was calling us too. We know the road ahead is one of endurance and steadfastness. We are encouraged by all the love and support from you. Please continue to be diligent in prayer for us and the missionaries over here knowing it is a lonely place to minister. I pray, Lord willing, one day you may come to Japan and be used as the Lord’s refreshing of us and experience this unique place. 

At Tokyo Station with Pastor Rob.

We will be back in the states at the end of April and will be going into support raising mode, we ask that you pray about being behind us financially. We are in need of monthly partners. We are not asking you to support us in a large sum, but a comfortable amount that would not burden you, but would keep you engaged in what is going on in Japan. 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. 

Taco night with Jospeh and Amy Totsis in Osaka.

It is going to take an army of Gods people to see Japan reached. Please pray about being part of that army and finically supporting us on a monthly basis

We spent a day with Alishia’s friend Sachiko and her family.

Greeting from Japan!

The city of Yokohama, the first stop on our journey.

Konichiwa! We wanted to send an update letting you know that we have safely made it to Japan for our three-month vision tour. After spending a couple of weeks with family over the Christmas holiday we spent two weeks in Southern California with friends. Nearly every day was filled with dinners and visits with many people that we love. It was incredibly humbling and encouraging to us that people were eager to see us. The church there sent us off with prayers and wisdom, tears and laughter. Our flight was uneventful and that’s really the best possible thing that could have happened. Thank you to everyone praying for Alishia as we traveled.

Getting prayed for at Calvary Chapel Saving Garce.

The Lord has used His workers to bless us mightily. One of the missionaries drove over an hour to pick us up from the airport, then drove us to the place we’ll be spending our first month. It’s an apartment that is under one of the churches in Yokohama, it’s not a church that we’re praying about working with, they just had the space and wanted to bless a couple of perspective missionaries. It’s quite a nice place to stay, but the biggest blessing was getting to meet some of the church staff. Our first encounter with Japanese Christians and the difference between them and there non-believing countrymen is amazing. While most Japanese are reserved and even a bit cold, these sisters were warm and open.

Our first morning in Yokohama.

We took a couple of days to recover from the jetlag and pray over the city of Yokohama. We also learned valuable culture lessons, getting ourselves on the correct trains and being able to buy groceries for ourselves. In Alishia’s words ‘the Japanese move fast and are extremely deliberate with all they do; we are often in the way trying to figure out what is going on in a world that whirls by.’ We are enjoying the moments of being childlike and know that we have many more of them ahead.

We said goodbye to lots of friends.

Now that we have caught our breath it’s time for the work to begin. We will be helping at the first of three churches for the next month. I’ll be teaching on Galatians 4:1-7 on February 5th, so please keep that in prayer. We also have leadership arriving on Sunday January 29th and we’ll be taking them several places in Japan to visit with missionaries. We’ll send out another letter soon. Love you all.

A Prayer Request for Our Trip

Alishia and I in Kyoto during our previous trip to Japan.

As we get closer to our vision trip to Japan, I wanted to write to you and share a specific way that you can be praying for our trip. Of course, our primary prayer request is for clear vision and direction from the Lord. But there are other secondary needs that we would appreciate if you would lift up as well, so I’d like to share one with you.

Sharing at the mid-week service at Calvary Chapel Whitefish.

Alishia suffers from celiac disease. Even the smallest exposure to gluten causes her to get very sick. Her symptoms are both physical (skin rashes, headaches, pupils dilated different sizes, weaker immune system, etc.) and mental (loss of words, inability to process movement around her, something that she can only describe as ‘brain fog’, constant tiredness, etc.). So, as you can see, in order to have a successful trip we need to avoid her getting contaminated. Her sensitivity is very high if I eat gluten I can contaminate her, if we wash our dishes with a sponge that has been used on dishes that had gluten on them she will get contaminated, if the kitchen where the food is prepared is not a controlled environment, forget about it. The challenge is that gluten is often hidden in things that you wouldn’t expect, we don’t read hiragana well enough to know exactly what’s in most products, and Japan allows products that may contain some gluten to be labeled ‘gluten-free’.

Spending a weekend with Daphne in Moscow, Idaho.

Every missionary faces challenges as they work toward going to the field, and this challenge is not insurmountable. We are extremely blessed that the first missionary family we are staying with has faced this same challenge. The wife is also an American with celiac, and through some years of trial and error she has found what products she can eat and which she has to avoid. She’ll be able to take Alishia food shopping and help her get familiar with labels and products. We’ll also be taking food with us, and cooking most meals ourselves, as we can’t trust eating in restaurants. If you would like to help us with purchasing these extra items for our trip, we have created a wish list that is linked here.

High School Ministry at Calvary Chapel Whitefish.

Please ship any items from the list that you wish to purchase to this address and make sure it will arrive before January 20th, 2023.

Jeff and Alishia Root

17451 Bastanchury Rd Ste 203

Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Thank you for your prayers, and please pray for Alishia to be healed, that the Lord would protect her from accidental contamination, and that we would be able to focus on Him and what He’s saying, and not on her health.

Love You,

Jeff and Alishia Root

In The Lord’s Timing

Alishia and I in Japan learning ‘The way of tea’

Praise the Lord! After two and a half years of closed borders, as of October 7, Japan is finally open to visa-free travel once again. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us and Japan it has helped sustain us in the waiting. Was the prolonged wait a plan of the devil to keep new missionaries from going out? Maybe. Was it used by God to better prepare both the missionaries and Japan for this time when we are able to go? Absolutely!

Our send-off party in California, when we left for Montana.

We have been blessed the last couple of months to have an amazing summer in California with Daphne and our fellow interns, as well as getting to serve alongside our church family here in Montana since August. Alishia and I are leading up the high school ministry here at Calvary Chapel Whitefish until we leave, and it’s been a real blessing to us to use the things the Lord has grown us in over the last three years.

Calvary Chapel Saving Grace praying over us before we left.

To update you on our upcoming schedule, so that we can schedule a time to get together with you when we’re in your area. We will continue to be in Whitefish until the end of December when we will go to visit our family in Nebraska. After two weeks there we will fly to California to visit our friends at Calvary Chapel Saving Grace. After two weeks in Orange County, we fly to Japan on January 23 and will be there until April 22. As I may have mentioned before, this initial trip will be a bit of a scouting mission. We will be visiting at least four ministries and will be praying about where the Lord will have us start. We also will have a couple weeks with a team from the states joining us, as well as a time when leadership comes over to see what we’re seeing and to pray with us.

We had an awesome summer with Daphne.

Please keep us in your prayers as we are making accommodations and coordinating this three-month trip. There is a lot of moving parts, and it can get complicated. We would also love if you considered partnering with us financially on a monthly basis, now that Japan has reopened the only thing preventing us from moving long-term is monthly support. There is a link at the bottom of this email if you’re led to give. Thank you all for so many small things that you do to support us every day.

In the Starting Blocks

Happy Easter everyone!! As we celebrate our living Redeemer I wanted to give you an update on what’s going on with us.

Spending time with our friends, and meeting a missionary, Micah, who served in Japan.

First, thank you all for your prayers for us and Japan. The entry restrictions have started to lift since our last update, students and business people have started receiving visas again and while we don’t currently qualify for either of those visas, it means that visitor visas will follow. Please continue to pray for Japan and for it to open up completely by this fall. We have been waiting in the starting blocks for awhile now and we are excited to go, may the Lord’s timing happen soon.

One of our friends that recently left to serve God in the Middle East.

In the meantime, God has provided us with some amazing opportunities while we are here stateside. In March, we were able to travel to Santa Rosa, Ca, to visit some missionary friends, and then continued on to Truckee, Ca where we filled in for our friends Isaac and Hope while they were out of town. I was given the opportunity to teach the young adults group and we were able to share at the church on Sunday morning as well. The Lord provided some awesome encounters as we were able to meet a missionary that had recently returned from Japan as well as a missionary whose family had served in the Middle East for many years. The people He puts in our paths encourage us greatly and give us an opportunity to ask questions from people who have been where we feel called to go.

Our team that went to Hope Central Watts Calvary Chapel.

The internship that we are a part of, also sent a team to an inner-city church to give the incredibly faithful workers there a break to be refreshed and poured into. The small crew of servants at Hope Central Watts Calvary Chapel do multiple jobs each weekend to be able to provide church and Sunday school for a mostly forgotten community. We sent a team of twelve to fill the roles usually filled by just three or four people. It was a joy to serve along side them and here their passion for the people of Watts (for those of you that aren’t familiar with Watts, it’s a fairly notorious part of south-central Los Angeles that has high gang activity). I was given the opportunity to give the message that morning and you can check that out at this link:

Alishia, Sarah and Serena ministering to the ladies at VoRs Women’s Day.

Filming and editing at Missions Equip has hit full swing and we are getting new teachings recorded each week. Alishia was able to serve at the Women’s Day event put on by Voice of the Refugees where they minister to dozens of displaced women (mostly Muslim women) and show them the love of Christ. Often, these women are told that Christians hate them and that they will never be accepted in America. Events like this one breaks down walls that can get in the way of the gospel and she was very blessed to be a part of it and make connections with some of the woman that she has been following on since.

An example of one of our videos on missionary biographies, you can watch more at this link

We love you all and are always thankful to hear from you.

Jeff and Alishia

Please Pray with Us

As the month of February starts, we wanted to make you aware of our situation and ask for you to pray with us. Japan is still closed due to COVID, and they are not allowing non-citizens to enter the country. We called the Japanese consulate to see if there were any options at this time, and they told us that unless Alishia or I were Japanese we had no options at this time. The Japanese government is going to reassess these policies at the end of February. Would you join us in prayer each day this month that Japan would open up to international travel in March?

Out outreach team in Little Tokyo.

We are not the only people being impacted and slowed down by COVID, and we understand that the Lord may well be the One behind the slow down. Pray that we would receive direction from the Lord and discernment on what is a closed door and what is an obstacle to push through. We are not questioning our call, we still feel that we are called to Japan, but we want to be open to whatever the Lord would have us do. If our time before we can get to Japan is going to stretch out, we want to know if there is a step or two, we can make to further prepare ourselves and serve the Lord in the meantime. We trust that our next step will be made clear if we all join together in prayer, so thank you for taking the time to lift us before the Lord.

As far as what we are doing while here in California, in January we joined with some friends to do outreach in Little Tokyo (a neighborhood in LA). A Japanese believer from Northern California joined us to witness and we handed out Japanese tracts to those that gathered. Please pray for the seeds that were planted among the Japanese here in the US.

The Chilean translation team.

Missions Equip, the ministry I work with, is currently starting up two translation projects. They are translating the Bible into Toposa language that is spoken in South Sudan. Half a million people will be getting a bible in their language for the first time! While that’s going on in Africa, I am helping to lead a project translating our missions bible college classes into Spanish. We are working with a team from Iquique, Chile to take our videos and translate them, and dub them with the Spanish audio. We are so blessed by the number of resources we have in our language and the access we have to the Word of God, let’s not take it for granted.

Alishia and I at the wedding of two of our fellow interns.

Alishia is continuing to lead a bible study as well as working with the youth group at the church. I’ve been blessed to help lead a men’s group and a life group. We also have the opportunity to fill in at church in March leading their young adults group while their leaders are out of town, so please pray as I prepare for that. Thank you for your partnership. We love you.

Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Happy Autumn everyone! We are settled in here, back in southern California. We had a good trip from Montana to Seattle to Yorba Linda, but are glad to not have to drive for a while. Here is what has happened since our last update. We had the opportunity to meet Pastor Rob Douglass in Seattle in early September. We interviewed a pastor and former missionary to Belize for Missions Equip. It was a great experience and we learned a lot as a ministry on how our on-location video shoots will look in the future.

Recording an interview with Pastor Joel Meyer of Calvary Chapel Edmunds (WA).

We then drove down the west coast making a stop in Portland to see family and arrived in Orange County mid-September. We were praying about a place to stay and a job for Alishia before we arrived and the Lord answered our prayers perfectly. We were blessed to stay with friends until a place became available to us, and it checks all the boxes that we were looking for. Every time that we have returned to California the Lord has provided for us with housing and employment, it has built our faith and allowed us to focus more on our training and less on the cares of the world.

Alishia giving tours of the Missions Equip studio.

On September 18 we celebrated twenty-five years of ministry for Rob and Heidi Douglass as well as hosting an open house for the new Ends of the Earth office/Missions Equip studio. It was a night of worship as we thanked the Lord for all that we had seem Him do, over the last quarter century for those who have been here from the beginning and the last few years for us. Less than a year ago we would be looking at a racquetball court used for storage. Today it is a fully functioning office, recording studio and fellowship café, and it was done for less than a tenth of the expected budget. What a work of God this project has been!

The female interns are in a discipleship group with some ladies from the church.

We have also started our third year of training as interns at Saving Grace World Missions. We have cross cultural studies and specific outreach to the people groups we’re called to this year as well as the homiletics and church planting classes and book study groups we had last year. We’re also getting opportunities to lead midweek small groups for the church as well as three-to-four-person growth groups, which help us develop our discipleship skills. I’ll be sharing more about what we’re doing in the internship in the coming months.

Part of our small group enjoying a meal together.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We love you and would love to connect with you if you’d like. Please reach out with any prayer requests or just to chat.

Prayer Requests:

  • For wisdom in the timing of our vision trip to Japan, and that the current Japanese regulations (they don’t currently require vaccinations) would remain in place.
  • For Alishia to have the Lord’s supernatural strength and energy as she balances work, the internship and a bible study that she teaches on Saturday morning.
  • For continued provision for the Root family.

Continued Equipping

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

Ephesians 4:11-12a

Another amazing summer on the farm has come to an end. We had a great time with Daphne and were blessed to spend time with family. Alishia and I will be leaving for Montana next week. Here is a letter to let you know what we’re up to now.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to speak at a church in central Kansas. The pastor there, pastored our church when I was young, he even baptized me when I was nine years old. It was a huge blessing to be able to reconnect with him and his family as well as share with the church what we’ve learned about the purpose of the church. If you would like to watch the service you can do that at the following link:

Pastor Tim Pearson and I in Manhattan, Kansas.

We will be in Montana for just four days before heading to Seattle on September 2. While in Seattle we will have the opportunity to meet up with Rob Douglass of Missions Equip and interview a couple of missionaries for that ministry. Rob will also be speaking at a couple of churches that weekend and we will help with support during those speaking engagements. After we finish up in Seattle, we will make our way back down to Orange County and begin serving at Missions Equip. We’ll be interviewing missionaries and pastors and creating content for the Mission Equip website, which will be a large database of missionary training and support resources. The exposure and access we will have to these missionaries and pastors will help put the finishing touches on our preparation for Japan. Just as Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12, God has given us some to be pastors and teachers to equip us for the work of the ministry. We are thankful for all of the teachers that He has given to us, and we feel that the continued equipping will help us be more successful once we get to the field.

Speaking at the church in Kansas.

We still feel that Japan is the ultimate calling that God has for us and we are excited to move toward that again. Please be praying for our preparation in this time until we go. Please also pray for our financial provision as we transition to doing ministry full time. As we get closer to our departure for Japan, we are in need of monthly partners. Twenty dollars a month would be enough to help us reach our support needs, so please pray about partnering with us in the Gospel.

We would love to connect with you when we are in Montana or once we get back to California, please let us know if you’d like to get together when we’re in your area.

Alishia’s Irish Setter, Holly, who lives with my parents on the farm.