JCFN Associate Staff Introduction Part 4: Roberta Peabody

Hi from P-Chan

Hello! This month Shiori-san has asked me to write a brief self-introduction as an Associate Staff member.

My name is Roberta Peabody, I am a missionary with The Evangelical Alliance Mission since 1991. I have lived mostly in Tokyo for many years. I grew up in a very small town in Massachusetts that no one has ever heard of. I never dreamed as a child of serving the Lord, nor being a missionary but here I am!

God leads us in ways we rarely anticipate, but when we reflect back on the path, aren’t we glad we followed in obedience.

I visited Osaka, Japan when I was a college student just for a summer to teach English, even though I wasn’t so excited about the teaching part, I enjoyed getting to know the people. Even back then, the pastor’s daughter was a “returnee”. It was a hard summer as I knew no Japanese vocabulary other than words for “toilet”, “exit” and “thank-you”. I had only been a Christian for five years and I was so stressed out and overwhelmed in that summer. I do remember that my English class translator would pray with me when I was feeling the most homesick and I learned that God could understand her prayers in Japanese and mine in English, that was a huge spiritual lesson and encouraged my young faith.

When I came back to Japan as a full time missionary many years later (more on the in between years next time) I lived in Nagano prefecture and some of the first Japanese Christians I met were RETURNEES. Isn’t it amazing how God knits our pathways even when we are not paying attention.


I’m Yoshiko Nishisako, of Inspire-Union=Inspa which serves as the Tokai regional meeting of returnees.

Inspire-Union is a long-established JCFN regional meeting, celebrating 10 years since its inception in 2005 and it will celebrate 20 years in 2025. I think I became involved with INSPA shortly before the 10th anniversary in 2015. The leaders and core staff members who had been involved since its inception were gradually changing, and at that time we had a monthly regular meeting on a Saturday afternoon at a church in Nagoya City. However, as the lives of the core staff members changed, it became difficult to continue planning and running the monthly meetings. Therefore, the members gathered to pray and exchange opinions about the future direction of INSPA. The monthly regular meeting became an occasional meeting once every 2~3 months. Although it may appear downsized and backward to others, I think it was a positive turning point for us to serve as a base for returnees in the community, “doing what we can, when we can,” rather than the size of the meetings. At the occasional meetings, we held takoyaki parties, movie nights, and other events where we could enjoy the joy of seeing each other from time to time while maintaining a relaxed fellowship.

After some time had passed since the transition from regular meetings to occasional  meetings, the spread of COVID19 prevented people from meeting in person. The occasional meetings were replaced by online meetings. It became more difficult for the core staff to plan, organize, and run 90-to-120-minute online programs, although they are occasional, and to set up and manage servants to serve.

We had a period of time for each core staff member to pray about “how God is going to use and lead INSPA in the future,” including the continuation of their future service. At the same time, one of the sisters suggested, “Let’s pray about INSPA for 30 minutes every month.” and a “little prayer meeting” started.

Using Zoom, we held a 30-minute prayer meeting on the 2nd Sunday night of each month (sometimes extended…lol) to pray about how the Lord is leading and using INSPA. The number of people who gather is less than ten each time, but we pray together for each other, about returnees in the area, and about returnee ministry itself. I think it’s because we are a small group that we’re able to have a time of deep fellowship and prayer.

The “little prayer meeting,” which started in January 2022, has continued without a break monthly under the Lord’s guidance. The number of core staff participating is now two. While praying and asking for people to join the work of INSPA, the core value of “those who can do what they can do, when they can do it” remains unchanged, and I believe that it is this flexibility that allows us to continue. There was a time when the very existence of INSPA was uncertain, but now we may continue as a ministry to returnees in the Tokai area in the form of the “little prayer meeting,” and I believe that the Lord is certainly guiding our steps.

Although it is a tiny prayer meeting, the Lord is at its center, and I hope that we’ll continue to receive the blessing of praying together and be richly guided in the future.

Event Info Useful for Returnees May, 2023

Event Info Useful for Returnees

May, 2023

◎ANRK Women’s Small Group (Japan. online)
Basically 2nd & 4th Thursdays 20:30〜22:00 (Zoom)
About 3-6 people gather each time and encourage each other through updates, Bible study (M28), and prayer. If you are interested, please contact us!
If you are interested in joining, please contact JCFN Japan Office: nihon@jcfn.org

◎WINGS Youth Ministry (CA, USA)
We have three gatherings! (All bilingual! Hours are California time.)
◯Weekly online devotions every Monday at 8 pm. (Japan: Tuesdays at noon)
◯Weekly online bible study every Friday at 5:00 p.m. (Japan: Saturday at 9:00 a.m.)
◯Monthly in-person WINGS event! This month it’s May 6th at RISE OC at 5pm!
It’s all bilingual youth ministry! Middle and high school students, come on out!

◎APU Friday (CA, USA)
Fridays, May: 12, 19 at 7 p.m. at Azusa Pacific University.
There will be games, food, heart-warming worship and sharing! We invite you to join us, even if you are not yet a Christian!

◎JCFN Japan online prayer meeting “V.OCHAHOP” (Japan, online)
Saturday, May 14th 10:00〜11:00
facebook event link
Zoom link

◎Inspa prayer meeting (Japan, online)
Sunday, May 14th, 20:00~20:30 (30 minutes only) (every 2nd Sunday evening for August)
At Zoom (Meeting ID: 979 2868 4925 Passcode: 144507)
*Let’s remember and pray together about the returnee ministry, INSPA, and returnees in the Tokai area.
*The prayer meeting is open to those who have participated in INSPA before, or are from or reside in the Tokai area.
facebook group link
Instagram link
Contact: facebook or inspire-union@hotmail.co.jp.

◎Chugoku Kyushu group prayer meeting (Japan. online)
Saturday, May 20th 19:00〜20:30
Worship, Inductive Bible Study, Prayer time
Contact: JCFN Japan Office: nihon@jcfn.org

◎GiFT Game Night (Tokyo, Japan)
Saturday, May 27th 16:00-17:30
Following to the evert, we will go out to eat.
JCFN Office (Ochanomizu Christian Center 3rd Floor)
Contact: DM to Instagram
Registration Form
Returnees in the Kanto area! Come and join us for another year of GiFT ✨Let’s play board games, eat dinner, and talk about our experiences abroad ☺️

◎R35+🕊 (Target: over 35 yrs) (Japan, online)
Saturday, May 27th 10:00〜12:00
ZOOM link (Meeting ID: 874 9731 8575)
Please click here for registration
Fb group page
Contact: r35up.jcfn@gmail.com via facebook account above
Theme: “Surviving Stressful Times – Secrets of a Positive Life”
Akiko Minato from Asagao Church will be the speaker!
First comer is welcomed! Repeaters are welcomed as well, as usual!
Looking forward to meeting you all!

◎Central Conference 2023(北米・IL)
May 27th – 29th (Sat-Mon)
Location: Trinity International University (2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015)
Theme: “The Torch -To the Crown of Righteousness -” (2 Timothy 1-4)
Registration is by May 6th.

◎Tokyo Life Church Connect Group (Tokyo, Japan)
Time: May 27th, Every 4th Sunday
Roberta Peabody (Leader): rpeabody@teamjapan.org
Homepage link
Once a month, about 6-8 of us get together with people who have returned to Japan, mostly from North America.
The location is around Ikebukuro.
We value the time to freely discuss what we experienced abroad and how we feel after coming back to Japan.
If you want to continue practicing your English or want to talk about your experiences abroad, please join us.

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