Although I did not grow up hearing about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, God had predestined my life for a personal relationship with Him. After a series of challenging events, God led me to seek truth through a local church where I recall hearing the gospel for the first time. At age 16 I gave my life to Jesus Christ, but due to circumstances and personal choices it would be several years before I truly began growing in the Lord.
A few years later God put an amazing man in my life who became my best friend and husband. Andy and I are blessed to have raised three beautiful children who are now adults, some with families of their own. Over the years, Andy and I have grown together in the Lord serving in our local church, community, and in missions. Our passion for “going” into the world with the love and hope of Jesus Christ also led to supporting missionaries around the world in a variety of ways. It appeared this was how the Lord planned to use us, until one day He asked if we would go. Approximately one year later Andy and I were officially appointed as long-term missionaries to Japan with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM).
I believe my experience in church leadership, women’s ministry, mentoring young adults and at-risk youth, and leading in-home Bible study groups are just a few of the ways God has prepared me for the challenges we are sure to face in the mission field. I am extremely grateful that the Lord is allowing Andy and I to be a part of His work in Japan.
Husband: Andy Ligrani; Adult Children: Kenneth, Tommi, & Tori; Grandchildren: Asher & Kenadee
Andy and I will begin our tenure as long term missionaries to Japan in language and cultural studies while supporting other TEAM missionaries in their ministry initiatives. We will also be preparing and refining our ministry model for church planting and community outreach with an emphasis on mentoring young adults and college students during this time.
As part of our community outreach initiative, Andy will seek opportunities to utilize his skills and experience as a professional sound engineer to help reach the people of Japan through music, art, and media. I will offer skills acquired through an extensive background in higher education for administration, project management, and online education curriculum development wherever needed to assist with ministry endeavors.
Polite, friendly, dedicated, and disciplined are all great attributes of a society and culture, but the heartbreaking truth is even a society with these attributes is destined for an eternity separated from GOD without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Despite their technologically advanced society and superior educational background, Japan is one of the least reached nations in the world for Christ. The staggering statics of their need for the gospel is heartbreaking and unprecedented. Less than 1% of the population is Christian while Japan reports one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Averaging one suicide every 15 minutes, equaling about 30,000 per year, suicide is the leading cause of death for males ages 20-44 and females 15-34. Some of the leading contributors include traditional belief in the honor of ritual suicide, failing economy, lack of career opportunities, and societal pressures to perform. These factors coupled with no eternal purpose or hope leaves an emptiness that cannot be filled with money, social status, or material possessions. The result is depression, fatigue and a hopeless sense of wondering if this is all there is. The Japanese are a rich and vibrant people steeped in tradition and history, but they are also empty, searching, and struggling in an honor-shame culture. They are in desperate need of the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.
Primary Prayer Request:
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Japanese toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that Andy and I will stay focused on the tasks that lead to departing for Japan.
* Pray that God will prepare the hearts of those He is calling to support this ministry.
* Pray that Andy and I will do well in school while working full-time and serving in ministry.