Dec 2023 spotlight update WOP
Missions Discipleship

Spotlight Update: Justin and Michaela Knippers in Japan

After almost a year of hard work and studying, it happened. Justin and Michaela Knippers know enough Japanese to begin gospel conversations. The International Mission Board missionaries are in language school in Osaka, Japan. Recently, they visited a Japanese-language virtual world as part of their virtual reality ministry and were able to invite people to an “in real life” game party.

“We aren’t to the point in our language skills where we can [fully] share the gospel, but we can make relationships and invite them to meet people who can,” Justin said, referring to the game party where veteran missionaries and local Japanese believers gather to engage in gospel conversations while playing all kinds of games together.

Some people they meet within this virtual world are what the Japanese culture calls hikikomori — a word used for people with severe social withdrawal, anxiety, and reclusiveness. One young adult’s parents wanted to get him out of the house, so the Knippers invited him to game night. The missionaries have slowly introduced aspects of the gospel to him, but his father is against anything religious.

The Knippers ask you to pray for their friend’s heart to be open to the gospel and for their ability to learn Japanese.

The Knippers are the featured missionaries on day two of the 2023 Week of Prayer for International Missions.