Scroll down to learn more about us and our ministry
Scroll down to learn more about us and our ministry
Nagoya, Japan is home to just over 2 million people. However, it is at the center of the Chukyu Metropolitan Area (中京地方) which has a population of over 9 million. And while Nagoya may not be the first place to come to people's minds when they think about Japan it's a bustling center of industry for Japan as a whole.
Located a few minutes walk from the Nagoya train station is Christ Bible Institute. It was founded by Michael Oh in 2010 and in the years since then 25 students have graduated and the student body stands at 15 currently. More than just a seminary though, CBI is home to a variety of ministries.
Within CBI William works with Heart & Soul Cafe, a small coffee shop on the first floor of the seminary. Heart & Soul is the primary community outreach point for the seminary and strives to be a connecting point for Japanese people into Gospel-centered Christian community.
Our goal is to be a culturally relevant space where non-Christians can come in contact with Christian community. In the cafe there are a variety of events aimed towards building community; karaoke nights, open mic concerts, English conversation events, etc. Our hope is that through organic relationships we can share the Gospel and grow God's Kingdom.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the need for the gospel around the world is great. After all, Jesus said “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). The nations need to know who Christ is.
And so you might ask, why are we in Japan instead of somewhere else? There are many reasons. We feel called here. God takes many of us to different places, and this is where he has chosen to bring us.
Part of what God has laid on our hearts is the immense need for the gospel here. Japan is a country of approximately 127,000,000 people. Of those people, 1.5% claim Christianity. There is 1 church for every 16,222 people in Japan, with each church on average having an attendance of 36 people. Japan is in a way overly religious, incorporating many religions into one. It is often said that one is born Shinto, has a Christian style or Shinto wedding, and is buried in the Buddhist tradition. Yet, often if you speak to these people, they will say that they are not “religious”. Most only visit the temples or shrines but once a year over the New Year.
Furthermore, Japan struggles greatly with many issues within itself. Every year 32,000 people commit suicide. Another 5,000 die every year from “karoshi” (death from overwork). And still yet, approximately 1.6 million people suffer from “hikikomori” (acute social withdrawal).
Japan is a country in need of the gospel. They need to know the love of Christ in their lives. That is why we are here.
William was raised in the small town of Beloit, Wisconsin by Bill and Kathy Ruck. Growing up, he attended Central Christian Church in Beloit, WI. As a youth, he was active in the church youth group and led some small Bible studies.
Jo was raised in rural Minnesota on a dairy farm by Mark and Virginia Koopmeiners. She grew up attending Community Covenant Church in Upsala, MN. She was also actively involved in the church, attending youth group, helping with children’s ministries, and with worship.
William and Jo both attended Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri where William received a bachelor’s degree in Preaching Ministry and Jo received one in Youth and Family Ministry. It was there that they met and fell in love. After graduating they were married in July of 2007.
After moving to Japan in February of 2009, they both taught English at Meysen Academy in Sendai until 2011. While there they learned a lot about what it takes to live in Japan. It was a great opportunity to ease into Japanese culture. In Sendai William and Jo attended Asahigaoka Christian Church and had a great chance to be a part of a healthy functioning church in Japan.
They enjoyed teaching but decided that in 2011 they would leave their jobs to attend language school and work with Mustard Seed Christian Church in Nagoya. After spending about 9 months in language school William joined the staff of Mustard Seed part-time and began teaching English part-time. At Mustard Seed, William worked on various building projects, helped expand their small group program, and worked with various outreach programs.
In 2015 William and Jo decided to transition from their part-time work with Mustard Seed and become full-time missionaries with Christ Bible Institute (CBI) in Nagoya. While they still attend and volunteer their time at Mustard Seed on Sunday, William is working at CBI throughout the week.
Christ Bible Institute is seminary located a short walk from Nagoya station. It was founded in 2005 by Michael Oh. It's mission is to equip Japanese leaders for ministry in Japan and throughout the world.
William manages Heart & Soul Cafe, a coffee shop on the first floor of the seminary building. The coffee shop acts as the main point of community engagement for the seminary. While having an evangelistic focus the cafe also strives to equip Christian leaders within the seminary as well. We hope that the cafe can be a "ministry laboratory" of sorts and empower students to participate in, lead, and develop outreach events. Our hope is to give students real hands on ministry experience that they can take with them into the rest of Japan.
There are two ways to support our ministry financially. The first is to give online. We are able to process debit cards, credit cards, e-checks, and bank transfers. You are also able to set up reoccurring donations if you would like. It's easy to change any details and a lot of people find this to be the quickest and easiest way to support us. We recommend it.
The second way to support our ministry financially is to give by check via mail. Please make checks payable to "Relevant International Missions" and include a note that specifies that the donation is to go to "Will and Jo". Please send your support to:
Relevant International Missions
146 Charter Rd
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Urbania Chiyoda 1713
5-7-15 Chiyoda Naka-ku
Nagoya City, 460-0012
Feel free to send us a message.