Michael and Mary Jo met in Southern California shortly after each had returned from short-term mission trips in Asia. They were married in Mary Jo’s home church in Evansville, Indiana. Stacia was born in Los Angeles and Brandon in Evansville—further deepening family roots in those two widely separated cities. The Wilson family first arrived in Japan in June of 1994 when Brandon was just five months old and Stacia 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. The children attended Japanese preschool and then switched to an international school from first grade. After a one-year home assignment in the States they moved to Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, where they provided leadership for Church Multiplication Networks over seven years. Their passion is to see healthy, reproducing disciples and churches throughout Japan, believing personal transformation in Christ and developing 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 Mike and Mary Jo continue to be involved in leadership in Japan and other parts of Asia.
Mike has a MA in Intercultural Studies and DMiss with an emphasis in church multiplication from Biola University. Mary Jo has a MA in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Before meeting, Mike worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratories for 12 years and served with ELIC teaching English in China. Mary Jo learned of Asian Access at an Urbana missions conference during college and went on their summer program, Scrum Dendo, in 1979. After graduating she began a three-year term in 1983 that has yet to end.
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.
Mary Jo Wilson
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.”
Michael L. Wilson
Mike is a Church Multiplication Catalyst– “After serving nearly 20 years in Japan to multiply leaders and churches, the Lord has broadened my territory to include working for church renewal and multiplication in Japan, Cambodia, and a number in the United States. “New wineskin churches are needed for the new wine of the current generation. While the gospel never changes, gospel delivery systems must change as must the methods of developing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ who multiply themselves through evangelism.”