Masato and Miki are Missions 3:16 missionaries in Ukraine. Their life story is a panorama of missions coming full circle!
Back in the 1970’s, BIMI missionaries Dave and Alice Marcum went to Japan as missionaries. They started a church in Kakogawa, Japan, using English classes as their first point of contact. Some of the first Japanese people to profess faith in Christ were Masato and Miki’s parents! Those two couples became members of Dave’s church, had children, and two of those children, Masato and Mike, were married and went to the US for Bible College! Masato says, “We met in the church nursery!”
At age 10, Masato had trusted the Lord, became burdened for world missions, and at age 20 the Lord called him to be a missionary. He visited Philippines and Indonesia on short-term missions trips.
He came to the US to study at Trinity Baptist College in FL. God started giving Masato clear direction to go to the former Soviet Union, a call that he struggled with God’s for more than a year. He surrendered to the Lord’s leading in 1992, with a burden for Ukraine.
The Lord guided the Funakoshis to contact Dave Marcum, their spiritual grandfather, who had led their parents to Christ back in Japan. [Dave had become Director of Titus International]. Dave was taking a trip to minister in Ukraine in May of 1995, and Masato and Mike went! A year later, Dave walked M and M through the process of becoming one of Titus’ first three missionaries–the first couple to go to Ukraine under Titus–AND the first Japanese missionaries ever to Ukraine!
The Funakoshi’s minister in Odessa as church planters, having started their church by giving Japanese lessons [remember how the Marcums started their church in Japan?]! Their current ministries include a Christian kindergarten and daycare, Bible Institute, summer camp, and rehab farm ministries.