Wilson, Mary Jo

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Mary Jo Wilson


Mary Jo Wilson


Serving as
Vice President for Missional Engagement

Bio: Mary Jo Wilson


Background Info:

MJWilson 2018 lr 500pxMary Jo was introduced to Asian Access at an Urbana missions conference and went to Japan on their summer program, Scrum Dendo. This is when her heart was captured for the Japanese. In 1983, shortly after graduating from college, she began a three-year term with Asian Access that began in Tokyo and has yet to end. During those three years she attended language school, taught at an English language institute while assisting in a new church plant, and served full-time in training and overseeing all short-term missionary staff.

Mary Jo met Michael while she was serving in the home office in Southern California not long after returning from her initial three-years in Japan. Mike had recently returned from short-term service in China, and they were married in 1989. As a family of four they arrived in Japan in June of 1994 when their son was an infant and their daughter was three.

As a family they served seven years in Tokyo in partnership with Nerima Grace Chapel to plant a new cell church, Kiyose Grace Chapel. In the early stages Mike and Mary Jo served on the pastoral team. After the church was established and a Japanese pastor took the lead, they transferred to Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan. There they recruited and provided leadership for two Church Multiplication Networks over seven years. Their passion is to see healthy, reproducing disciples and churches throughout Japan, believing personal transformation in Christ and the ongoing development of leaders are two keys to accomplishing this task. After 15 years in Japan they returned to the States to encourage their young adult children in preparing for their futures. Now from their home base in Los Angeles, Mary Jo and Mike continue to be involved in leadership in Japan and other parts of Asia.

Mary Jo has an MA in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary (2014). In 2007 she passed the top level Japanese language proficiency test and is currently completing a certification as a trainer in Emotional Intelligence through Talent Smart. Mary Jo and Mike are both FOCCUS (premarital) and REFOCCUS (married couples) facilitators.

Before meeting Mary Jo, Mike worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 12 years and taught English in China. Mike has an MA in Intercultural Studies (1990) and DMiss with an emphasis in disciple and church multiplication from Biola University (2010).


Ministry Assignment: Vice President for Missional Engagement

Mary Jo served as Vice President for Japan from March of 2011, just days before the triple disaster that devastated Northeastern Japan, until May of 2015 when her title was changed to VP for Missional Engagement. This change in title reflects a broader engagement in Asia while Mary Jo’s key focus remains overseeing missionary staff in Japan, the Asian Access strategic partnership with SIM, and nurturing missional partnerships between leaders and expat missionaries in Japan. She also serves on the Asian Access Japan board of Directors. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the team during this season of Japan’s history and feel privileged to work with so many outstanding leaders across Japan and other countries of Asia and the U.S.”


Meaningful aspects of ministry:

In response to local needs in the Tokyo area we developed a ministry called “Couple Time” where six couples met monthly for a themed talk and prayer together and then as couples were sent out for deeper discussion over dinner. We saw this simple approach bring dramatic change to these couples, some of whom had never gone out without kids since marriage and several who were in a very difficult season.

In Okinawa we were introduced to the ten-week ALPHA Course, which we ran three times in our home. The course was ideal for training new leaders and provided an open and fun format for Japanese friends to come together and explore the Christian faith. At one ALPHA party our little apartment was jammed with 29 new people! By the end of the third course, many had found faith in Christ and six were baptized and a new church was started.


What do I see as my "ultimate contributions":

  • Two children who grow to love God and make Him known wherever they go
  • Developing servant leaders, both men and women of all ages, who have a clear sense of call and are growing in both character and competence and making a difference for Christ in their world 


More Information


Articles related to Mary Jo


Japan 2020 | Who is a Good Fit for this Opportunity from SIM USA on Vimeo.

Do you have a heart for those who don’t know Jesus? Do you have a growing interest to explore how God can use you as part of His global mission? This is a great opportunity to experience ministry with a team and a local church in communities where Jesus is least known. A specific love for Japan and some Japanese language would be wonderful but are not a requirement. A flexible heart and desire to serve are key. Watch this short video and see if this describes you...{addthis off}

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00084 00165Recently one of our missionaries told me a story about her seven year old son, Noah, who was playing at a friend’s house. Michiko, the mother of his friend made them lunch and called the boys to eat. When Noah came to the table, he innocently asked, “Can I pray?” Praying over a meal was not a custom for this family, and it took a while for her to understand his question. When she did understand, she was touched by this little boy’s faith and eagerness. She asked Noah if he could teach her how to pray. Of course he said "Yes!" and proceeded to bless the meal with simple confidence and...

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00075 00135How do you Sabbath? Recently I've heard a lot about the importance of Sabbath. It's easy to realize that I definitely need it, but not so easy to nail down what it means for me today. I asked friends and collegues how they "Sabbath". I consistently heard words like rest, or go to church, take time to slow down, prayer, etc. For many Sabbath is another word for taking a day off and doing something spiritual for a couple of hours. If I'm honest, on some level I too had the read your Bible and take a bubble bath mindset.

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slowThe new year is a natural time for deeper reflection setting ambitious goals. Here are some thoughts I've been mulling over. As the year began, I was reminded of something Nehemiah said when he was nearing completion of his building project, the wall around Jerusalem—clearly a work God had called him to. In chapter six two men, who were feeling threatened by Nehemiah's success, requested he come to a meeting. But he saw through their invitation and instead replied, "I am about a great work and will not come down" (v. 3). My husband, Mike, and I like to repeat this quote when something or someone tugs at us that is clearly a distraction. These words pull us back to what God has called us to—the great task at hand and our unwavering commitment to it.

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Why A2?

Why are you serving with Asian Access?

I am serving with A2 because this mission shares my vision to multiply and mobilize the Church in Japan to be a major contributor to the fulfillment of Christ's Great Commission in Asia.

Contact Info

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. > mary jo



Important Dates
Mary Jospacer-transp Aug 5

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