Ralph and Janet Burchell were accepted as missionaries under Baptist International Missions to Japan in 1973. Janet had served as a teacher/missionary for five years in Japan prior to that under a small board that had dissolved. After completing nine months of deputation, Ralph and Janet arrived in Kobe where they completed two years of language study while working in the Kakogawa Baptist Church, pastored by a national pastor. From there they went on to work in several other ministries, including teaching missionary children for nine years, until they began the Gakuentoshi Baptist Church in 1990. They served in Japan for over 30 years until some health issues brought them back to the United States in 2009.
The Lord led them to continue their work with the Japanese in the Greenwood, South Carolina, area where Fuji Film has their largest North American plant. They ministered together to the Japanese in that area until Ralph went Home to be with the Lord on April 27, 2013.
Janet has continued working with the Japanese women who have accompanied their husbands to Greenwood. She has helped them get in contact with local Baptist churches upon their return to Japan. Janet would appreciate your continued prayers and support in this needy area.
Janet Burchell describes her ministry in the following manner:
We have been so thankful for the Lord's leading us to Greenwood, South Carolina, where a Fuji Film plant employs about 30 Japanese men. Until recently, their families accompanied most of them.
When we came to Greenwood, we met a Japanese woman who was a Christian but had never attended church in Greenwood, mainly because she did not know where to go and had never been invited to go with anyone. We invited her to go with us and from that first Sunday that she attended with us, she was very faithful to come each Sunday.
We also attended a Thursday evening English conversation class for Japanese men that a woman in our church was holding. One of the men told us that his wife was interested in studying English conversation and asked if I would teach such a class. The woman who was coming to church with us encouraged me to start the class although I was not too excited about doing it, mainly because the women requesting it did not want to study anything about the Bible. After praying about it, I told them that I would teach English if I could also teach a short Bible lesson. They grudgingly agreed.
The women’s English Bible class has continued each Tuesday afternoon. Once a month, the last Tuesday of each month, I hold a cooking class at my house during which time I teach them an American dish and we have a free time of talking in English and Japanese. During the other monthly meetings, we are studying the lives of the Patriarchs, Pilgrim's Progress, and some English grammar.
At East Side Baptist Church, I teach each Wednesday evening in our children's department in the Master's Club and on Sunday, I serve in the nursery and sing in the choir. On Tuesday evening and Saturday morning, I go soul winning and do house-to-house visitation.
As long as my health holds up, I count it a wonderful privilege to be able to serve the Lord in these areas under BIMI through the ARM ministry. I would appreciate the prayers of everyone.