“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.”
Mary Jo Wilson is Vice President for Missional Engagement. She has an MA in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary (2014). As a certified trainer in EQ through Talent Smart, she sees EQ as foundational to working well across cultures and takes it further into the intersection of emotional intelligence and spiritual formation. She serves on the A2Japan Board and especially enjoys the collaboration of working in teams, encouraging younger leaders, and the challenge and blessing of deep, cross-cultural partnership for the gospel.
Mary Jo initially went to Japan as a summer worker. From 1983 she worked in the Tokyo/Yokohama areas for three years, partnering in new church plants through English centers and overseeing short-term workers. She subsequently worked for six years in the mission’s Los Angeles office when her role focused on candidate selection and pre-field training. During this time, she met her husband, Michael, who shared her passion to work in a cross-cultural setting through local churches in areas of greatest need.
Together they returned to Japan with their two small children. They partnered to start Kiyose Grace Chapel in Tokyo and led two A2 Church Planting Networks that served nine churches in Okinawa across denominational lines and various models of church. While there, Mary Jo became an advisor for the Alpha program, and passed the top-level Japanese language proficiency test (JLPT N-1). Mike and Mary Jo’s vision was refined to see healthy, reproducing disciples and churches throughout Japan, believing personal transformation in Christ and the ongoing development of servant leaders are two keys to accomplishing this task.
In 2011, Mary Jo took a new role as Vice President for Missional Engagement, overseeing the A2 expat team in Japan. Just days later, on March 11, northeastern Japan suffered the triple disaster—an historic 9.0 earthquake causing an enormous tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Over the next two years she led a team to establish partnerships with local church leaders enabling A2 workers and their families to come alongside congregations and communities in recovery and rebuilding. Together they learned from the hard work of disaster response and experienced the power of the gospel in new and holistic ways.
She served on the team that established a strategic partnership between Asian Access and SIM to advance the work in Japan and continues as the key liaison with SIM as the partnership expands to receive workers from multiple countries around the world.
After 30 years of marriage, Michael passed away in 2018. Grateful for God’s faithfulness, Mary Jo continues in leadership with Asian Access, while based in Los Angeles. She works with the new Japan Field Director and leadership team in Japan as well as the broader Asian Access movement. Her passion is to build missional teams, develop emerging leaders, and support healthy cross-cultural partnerships and leaders in Asia.
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