Sharing the gospel to Japan using my gifts in the creative arts started in 2010 when my wife and I took our first short-term missions trip to Japan. In the years that followed, I was blessed to return three more times, including serving a year in Tohoku to minister to those affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
During my time in Tohoku, God allowed me to implement a mobile emotional care program called The Butterfly Project. It brought creative arts activities to survivors staying at temporary housing located in the tsunami hit areas. I held workshops such as painting classes to bring positive distractions from the daily trauma and grind survivors were experiencing.
Outside of my passion for bringing the gospel to Japan, I am the creator of the children’s brand Hula Friends! (www.hulafriends.com). I have enjoyed using my gift of imagination to design community art projects at places such as Shriners Hospital for Children and Wahiawa General Hospital on the island of Oahu, HI and illustrate a children’s book for The Children’s Hunger Fund.
One of my favorite memories is being a production assistant at Dreamworks Animation. But my most cherished memories are the times spent with my family laughing at everyday random occurrences of joy that God brings into our lives.
Sharing the gospel to Japan using my gifts in the creative arts started in 2010 when my husband and I took our first short-term missions trip to Japan. In the years that followed, I was blessed to return three more times, including serving a year in Tohoku to minister to those affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
During my time in Tohoku, God allowed me to implement a mobile emotional care program called The Butterfly Project. It brought creative arts activities to survivors staying in temporary housing located in the tsunami hit areas. I led gospel hula workshops, English through the Bible classes, and coordinated craft activities to bring positive distractions from the daily trauma and grind survivors were experiencing.
Outside of my passion for bringing the gospel to Japan, I have worked in human resources / recruiting for companies such as Arthur Andersen LLP, California Pizza Kitchen, and Guess?, Inc. I love interacting with people and creating relaxing fellowship gatherings for families. I find it a joy to cook healthy meals and try out new recipes.
One of my favorite memories is taking part in a 17 mile fun-run around Lake Kawaguchi near the base of Mr. Fuji with my husband. But my most cherished memories are the times spent with my family doing silly things that make our family so special.
Burton (husband), Kathryn (wife), Children: Mateo, Alyssa and Asher
The Butterfly Project – “Creatively Transform into Beautiful!”
In 2012, my wife and I served a year in Japan providing emotional care using creative arts to those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Through the creative arts we were able to share the gospel and bring joy to lives dealing with great stress and anxiety.
God is now calling us back to Japan with a vision to continue using the creative arts for ministry and help address social issues such as suicide, bullying, senior loneliness, and high single-mom poverty rates.
It is our prayer that through the creative arts, such as painting, dance and music, the gospel can be shared and a person can not only find hope and healing in Jesus, but also transform into the beautiful person God intended them to be.
Our short-term vision is to work with Japanese pastors and other missionaries to develop fun and engaging faith-based children’s books that embrace the Japanese culture. Our heart will start with the children of Japan.
By year three, we want to begin to equip churches in developing their own creative arts ministries by running a mobile creative arts program. Using the content from the children’s books, we will partner in developing creative community outreach events for children of all ages, such as hosting painting classes and dance workshops.
Our long term prayer is to open several faith-based creative arts centers throughout Japan. It will be a family-friendly place people will come to not only learn the creative arts, but also be inspired by the gospel. It will be a resource for churches that don’t have their own creative arts ministry and it will also be used as a platform to bring artists from around the world to share their gifts in the creative arts while sharing their testimony as a Christian.
Protestant Christianity has been in Japan for over 150 years. Yet less than 1% of 127 million Japanese are believers. Japan is a technologically advanced country, however Japan is suffering from many societal ills. Suicide, depression, young people categorized as “working class poor,” hikikomori (a social recluse syndrome), etc., all point towards a need for the true hope and redemption that only Christ can bring.
Churches often find it difficult to connect with non-Christians. However, due to the Japan’s appreciate of the arts we have seen that using the creative arts to share the gospel can be an engaging way for the Japanese people to be introduced to the faith. Hence, this is why we want to focus on a ministry using the creative arts and be bold in sharing our dreams!
Primary Prayer Request:
We appreciate your prayers for God’s call for our lives. Please continue to pray for protection against the enemy’s schemes to discourage us through this journey. Please pray that we will clearly discern God’s voice and apply His wisdom to the ministry. Please pray that our children adjust well to living in Japan and that we can provide them the security they need as their parents.