Johnston, Jeff & Nozomi

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Jeff & Nozomi Johnston


Jeff & Nozomi Johnston

Zack & Ellie
Serving as VP for Advancement & Communications

Bio: Jeff & Nozomi Johnston


Background Information

johnston jeffrey 2020 7R301940 squareJeffrey S. Johnston grew up in Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina. He became a Christian through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating, Jeff spent a short-term ministry assignment in Japan with Asian Access. He met Nozomi at Columbia International University where he earned his Master of Divinity.

Nozomi Takeda Johnston was born in Sendai, Japan, and her family moved to Atlanta from Japan to start a Japanese church in 1977, which is still active today. Nozomi holds a B.A. in Christian Ed. and a Bible Teaching certificate from CIU, as well as a Masters in Education from Concordia University concentrating in elementary curriculum & instruction. She is currently teaching third grade.

Zack is studying engineering at college and is a performing Junior Member of the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California.

Ellie is set to graduate from high school in Spring 2020 and is planning on enrolling in college after well-deserved summer vacation.


Ministry Assignment:

Jeff is serving as the Vice President for Advancement & Communications for all of Asian Access, and he lives in Los Angeles. His primary responsibilities are to communicate the vision and mission of the organization—telling the Asian Access story through video, the web, print materials, and personal contact. Jeff has been with Asian Access since 1987, including the time to complete seminary and a church internship. He is also serving as a member of the Asian Access Leadership Team, and the family recently returned from a 4-year ministry stint in Tokyo. Jeff also has contributed to establishing the A2 pastor training model in North India and Bangladesh.

Nozomi is investing her time teaching third grade and raising the kids and building a healthy and God-centered home. Whether in Tokyo or now Los Angeles, this is something lacking in both countries. In the past, she helped to write Bible class curriculum for the young kids at church. She has a ministry to moms and kids, teaching the Joy of Parenting book and marriage from a biblical perspective.


Words of wisdom...

If you are interested in pursuing a potential career in missions, here are our suggested action steps...

  • Pray. Ask God for direction. Get a copy of Operation World and begin praying for the world.
  • Get active in a local church. Join a church and develop relationships as you minister there. If you want to serve in Japan, you'll need church ministry experience here before you go. And it will be this sending church that affirms your call into missions and commissions you to serve.
  • Find a mentor. Seek an experienced person who has knowledge of missions to help you make some decisions. This should definitely include your missions pastor and/or missions committee. It may include a missionary.
  • Get trained. If God is still moving you into long-term service, get a hold of a handbook called "Send Me!: Your Journey to the Nations" and find some training. Look into formal training opportunities.
  • Friend-Raise. Build a network of financial and prayer supporters. Keep them informed through regular newsletters. Be involved in the local church.
  • Go! Step out in faith!

When you're in Japan, be sure to...

  • bathe before you get into the bathtub;
  • push buttons on the toilet only when you're sitting, not standing!
  • never wear your bathroom slippers outside the bathroom;
  • never leave your chopsticks sticking directly in a bowl of rice.

Wonderful ministry memories...

I (Jeff) love to see people and teams I have helped to recruit and train, go to Japan and touch lives while there. Some have been used to bring people to Christ; others to plant new churches. All encourage the believers with whom they work. Invariably, these missionaries return home more mature than when they first went, whether it was for 3 years or 3 weeks. God does a work in them and through them. That is satisfying to me.


Looking to the future...

We hope that Japan experiences a revival, first in the church; then an awakening in the rest of its society. We'd like to see 5-10% of it's people come to Christ in the next decade or two. Further, I am trusting God that the Japanese church will play a significant role in reaching the rest of Asia for Christ.


Recent Articles from Jeff



Samaritan's Purse is on our short list of recommended organizations doing relief work in Japan. We've put them on our list because they deliver the right kind of aid quickly and through effective channels -- local Christian churches.

Most of you likely know that Samaritan's Purse airlifted 93 tons of relief supplies to Japan on March 19. Asian Access and CRASH are honored to be working alongside this North Carolina-based relief organization, helping to deliver these supplies to Christian churches who

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Fukushima nuclear reactor workers. Photo by stevenjohnhibbs.wordpress.comFamily and friends of ours back in North America have been worried about our potential exposure to radiation. It's good to be remembered and loved! While we appreciate everyone's concern, we don't want them to worry unnecessarily.  We want to let folks know that we are safe so far, along with all the other missionaries we personally know.  For information purposes, we are posting a couple articles regarding the radiation exposure issue.  Feel free to skim them to find out more about this situation.

1.) This is a post from Justin Lau to help dispel rumors that we are all at risk in Tokyo:


Explanation of Radiation Levels...


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Earthquake damage in JapanIn a time of chaos, it's a kairos moment. 

chaos , n.

  • • complete disorder and confusion
  • • the formless matter supposedly present before the creation of the universe.

kairos , n. 

  • a propitious moment for decision or action; (Greek), literally "opportunity"

I’m borrowing the name of fellow A2 missionary Dorrie Takazawa’s blog, "Chaos and Kairos” because these words accurately sum up this overwhelming situation in Japan.

Looking at the news reports, you can see the chaos everywhere.  Though the Japanese government...

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A2 Advent Devotional • December 20, 2010

by Jeff Johnston 


 The angel said, "Don’t be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." —Luke 2:10–12 (MSG)  


  Becoming a missionary in a foreign land has surely deepened my appreciation of the incarnation of Christ.  


  But wait a minute . . . This was the arrival sign of the world's Savior—a baby wrapped in a blanket lying in an animal's food trough? Messiah and Master arriving as an infant?  


  I moved into this new world of Japan with some knowledge of how to survive here. I was not a helpless baby, but I sure felt like one. I struggled in almost everything. I struggled to learn how to speak a new language. No matter how I tried, I didn't understand what people were saying. I could not communicate much at all. I needed to acquire a taste for a different style of food. I grieved to exchange my self-sufficiency in America for reliance upon my new hosts. My neighbor had to teach me how to turn on my rice cooker!  


  How was I supposed to be a communicator of the Gospel message from a position of weakness? The connection between weakness and grace had not crossed my mind. But gradually, I was able to say more and understand more Japanese. Over time, I became more familiar with my new world—a world that I was in, but not of.  


  Jesus was born as a helpless infant. He left his mighty throne to be born as a tiny baby in a foreign world. He couldn't feed himself or change his diapers. He couldn't speak Hebrew or Aramaic immediately. He didn't know Jewish customs until he could experience them. But as he grew in stature, and as he studied, he learned language and culture, scripture and worldview. This learning was necessary for him to be able to teach others who his Father was. He started teaching at age 12!  


  The reality that Jesus would lay aside his glory for this assignment is amazing to me. I had precious little to give up to be a missionary. Christ left everything. Think about all that he gave up to wrap his spirit in flesh—and a baby at that! And in exchange for what? It often makes me shake my head in wonderment to consider these lofty things.  


  Despite the tremendous differences, becoming a missionary helps me to better understand a little of what Jesus experienced through his incarnation.  


    • Christ's incarnation challenges me to model my life after his missionary life. Wow, any sacrifice I may make is but a small offering considering . . .


    • Christ's incarnation humbles me to realize the Father's love for me to send his One and Only Son to a new world to save that world.


    • Christ's incarnation compels me to show my Father to my Japanese friends.


  Being a dad myself helps me better understand our Father's love. But as a missionary, sharing with my Messiah and Master in a tiny, but powerful way, an incarnation of sorts shakes me to my core.  


 Jeffrey S. JohnstonVP for CommunicationsAsian Access 


 Jeffrey S. Johnston
  VP for Communications
  Tokyo, Japan



  • Visit Jeff's website/blog here:
  •   This is one of 29 devotional entries from Asian Access staff. If you'd like to download the A2 Advent Devotional, click here.



strong Yen, weak DollarJapan's Yen rate continues to climb, pressure missionaries


- by Jeff Johnston -


The Japanese Yen (¥) rate is approaching the strongest level in 15 years recently — hitting ¥85.33 to US$1 earlier this month.


According to Bloomberg's Alex Kowalski, the Yen rate has climbed 3% against all 16 major currencies this year. He writes:


"The yen typically strengthens in times of financial turmoil as Japan's trade surplus makes the currency attractive as it means the nation does not have to rely on overseas lenders."


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Tokyo makes anime-style guide to boost tourism


By: Jeff Johnston (sources: AP & Kyodo)


Tokyo's metropolitan government has produced an anime short to highlight sightseeing spots around the city. The aim is to lure more tourists to the capital city of Japan.



The short entitled "Welcome to Tokyo" runs about 11 minutes and cost the city about ¥49 million (about US$ 575,000) to create. To make it more accessible to foreign tourists, they offer subtitled versions in English and six other languages. It has been posted Tokyo's English website (under the Tourism, Culture and Sports. Check it out here...



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Depressed man buries his headIn his upcoming Time article entitled "A Clouded Outlook," (August 2, 2010) Michael Schuman writes a sobering view of Japan's malaise and dismal economic outlook for the future. The 4-page article helps to see the big picture of the economic reality, which has been stagnant since the bubble burst in the early 1990s...

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Coach Leader Summit 2010 - working groupWorking in concert for greater fruitfulness in Japan

Asian Access' tagline is "Developing Leaders. Multiplying Churches." At our core, that's what we're about. Each statement represents a key objective in our ministry across Asia. Both are centrally important to what we're trying to achieve toward extending the kingdom of God...

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If someone says "missions is about cramming Christianity down other people's throats," how would you respond?  Tell us!


Recently, a facebook friend of mine who is a pastor shared a status update about his daughter attending a missionary training program before heading to Asia for a short-term missions assignment.


Most of the comments from his friends were, as you could imagine, extremely positive, optimistic, and prayerful.


However, one friend wrote this bold question...


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The White Moon Celebration

The White Moon which is the Lunar New Year is one the main two big public annual events, next to the Naadam.  It usually celebrated in February or March depending on the lunar calendar.  It marks the end of Winter and the beginning of spring and the new yeaґs cycle. Prior to the holiday people clean and tidy their gers or houses to enter the New Year in order and cleanness.  The White Moon Eve is celebrated in families eating a lot of food mainly buuz, meat, rice, salads, etc... symbolizing the prosperity of the coming year.  

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Sri Lanka flag"Bill for the Prohibition of Forcible Conversions" up for a vote in Sri Lanka



I'm quite concerned after reading the article entited, "Sri Lankan Churches May Think Twice Before Helping Poor" on


The article says that if the anti-conversion bill is passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament, "any act to convert or attempt to convert a person from one religion to another by the use of force, fraud or allurement will result in serious punishments. Those found guilty of breaking the law can be imprisoned for up to...

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Asian Access launches new website featuring a missionary forum on October 20, 2008

GLENDORA, CA (A2) - "For awhile now, we've realized we need to provide an opportunity for potential missionaries interested in Japan to talk with those currently serving on the field." says Peter Thomson, the Director of Japan Missionary Personnel. "So the idea for was born." Asian Access missionaries are excited about what they're doing, and go...

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Here's a brief video clip of me with a good view of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city.

Please continue praying for the Church in Mongolia.

a ger

I never particularly liked gers (yurts) since my childhood, being born and raised in the city, thinking it is not modern, messy, primitive, complicated etc. After Jesus accepted me, I started to realize many negative principles behind the city lifestyle, and started valuing old way of Mongolians living in gers. I probably can not live in a ger, but serious about applying the principles of community living and fighting the spirit of self-seeking and materialism...

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Joe Handley starts work as President of Asian Access on Monday, June 30.  As he joins the A2 Community, I thought it would be good to hear from our board members about our new president.


So here are some statements from the Asian Access Board of Directors regarding the selection of Joe Handley as the fourth permanent president of Asian Access:


Ron McMahon


President, McMahon Development Group (San Diego, CA); Chairman of the Board of Directors:

"The Board of Directors was unanimous...

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Newly-appointed president Joe Handley sat down with us for a quick 2-minute video introduction.

We are pleased to present, Joe Handley...

Thanks to Hearken Creative for video production.


Public Statement: For Immediate Release (06.16.08)





Joe Handley, President of Asian Access


Asian Access, an evangelical mission organization announced today that its board of directors has named Joseph W. Handley, Jr., 43, as the organization’s fourth president, set to begin June 30, 2008.


The board of directors noted Joe Handley’s tremendous missions experience and abilities as key factors in their decision. Chairman Ron McMahon stated:

“The board of directors was unanimous. We really like this man that God has brought to us. One of the key factors for the board was to find a person that had the right chemistry for Asian Access—that he and his wife Silk would fit well with the staff...

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November 26, 2007

In Shizuoka, Japan, the annual gathering of JCGI Networks (formerly Japan Church Growth Institute) was the stage for an important figure in Japan Christianity to step down from his post as Chairman of the Board. Rev. Reiji Oyama had served as Board Chair for over twenty years, taking over from Rev. Hatori. He continues as Senior Pastor of Bible Christ Church in downtown Tokyo.

Long-time Vice Chairman Rev. Paul Ariga is the new Chair of JCGI Networks. Ariga also serves as President of The All Japan Revival Mission.

Rev. Oyama, Rev. Birdsall and Rev. Ariga

In this photo, Rev. Oyama is on the left, Rev. Ariga on the right and Doug Birdsall in the middle.  Birdsall was also honored at a dinner, having served as President of Asian Access for 16 years.




Johnston Family

Exactly 20 Years Ago


Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of first arriving in Japan


At this very moment on September 6, 1987 I was walking out of customs at Narita Airport in Tokyo to explore Japan for the first time. I had just finished college at the University of North Carolina, where I became a Christian. At the end of my senior year, I signed up for a 1-year stint as an English teaching missionary with Asian Access (formerly LIFE MInistries) in Tokyo. My life would never be the same.


Walking out of the customs doors into the airport arrival area made the reality hit: "This wasn't Kansas anymore; I was in a totally different country. . ."


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This was an encouraging letter sent to an Asian Access faculty member. . .

ASIA[edited for security]

Dear J.,

I want to give you a little report on what happened to close the week's training following your superb teaching.The pastors decided that they wanted to pray about these things that they had heard you teach on during the week. So, at 3:00PM we began to pray. This is how they organized it: Each participant listed four or five issues on a sheet of paper, and then over the next few hours each leader prayed in turn for every other participant in the group.Fourteen leaders were praying for each other and then also being prayed for. When they go into this mode, mind you, they do not pray for just a minute or two, but in most cases it was 15-20 minutes for each person.  By 5:45PM they had prayed over four of the fourteen. After supper, we resumed prayer again at 7:30PM and they finished about 11:00PM that day. I don't think I have ever prayed so intensively in my life.The exciting thing for me was that leader after leader had listed on his paper issues that had been raised by your teaching. Many of these issues concerned marriage, family health and unity ("oneness"). And the participant who was the coordinator for that week wrote five items on his sheet, every single one of them encapsulated your teaching, especially with regard to his relationship with his wife.I can't help feeling that especially in his case your visit was most timely. That is such a good investment to make at this time in our work here. Without a doubt it was an especially rich time, and possibly a very critical one for us at this time in the work of equipping leaders. Time will help us see this better.I want to thank you for coming to be with us at this very busy time in the life of your church. But I am also deeply grateful to your church family because this is a commitment the entire church is making to the worldwide kingdom advance in Asia.Warm affection to all our friends there, and peace and grace to the entire church family.Sincerely,
"Asian Access Staff Member"



Why A2?

Why are we serving with Asian Access?

We are serving with Asian Access because it is a strategic organization dedicated to developing leaders who multiply churches across Asia. We gain a sense of fulfillment in contributing to the building of God's kingdom there.

Furthermore, the A2 community is a welcoming global family to which we belong. Our kids love being a part of the A2 family.

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Important Dates
Jeffspacer-transp Sep 21
Nozomispacer-transp Jul 5
Zackspacer-transp Apr 1
Elliespacer-transp May 9
Anniversaryspacer-transp 12/16/94

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