Ron & Joan Stoller
Born and raised in Portland, Ore., and a graduate of Portland State University, Ron Stoller first came to Japan in 1973 and served as an English teacher in NAB’s short-term missionary program. A few months later, he met Joan Youngquist, who grew up serving the Lord in Japan alongside her parents, Rev. and Mrs. Harris Youngquist from the Baptist General Conference, her two brothers and her sister, establishing churches since their arrival in 1950. At the time, Joan was teaching ESL in Japan’s public schools after graduating from Bethel College.
The summer after their wedding in Kobe, Japan, on January 9, 1976, Ron and Joan returned to Portland, Ore., and were appointed as full-time missionaries with the NAB at the Portland Triennial Conference. In August of 1977, after completing a one-year Bible graduate studies course at Multnomah School of the Bible, Ron and Joan returned to Japan along with their 3-month old son, Jonathan, to begin a 13-year ministry with the NAB mission in university student evangelism. During this time, God blessed them with sons Stephen and Aaron.
When the student evangelism mission was discontinued in 1990, Ron was “retooled” at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, earning his M.Div. in May of 1992. He was ordained by their home church, Bethany Baptist in Portland, followed by a year of language refreshment in Tokyo before they were assigned to build the Kasugai Jinryo Christian Church near Nagoya, Japan, under the direction of the Japan Baptist Conference (NAB’s Japanese counterpart.) God blessed the church plant to the point where a Japanese pastor took over within six years.
The three Stoller boys graduated from Nagoya International School in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and returned to North America to continue their educations and careers. In 2001, Ron and Joan were assigned to help with a small Japan Baptist Conference church in the greater Nagoya area, then went on to plant Chita Nozomi Christian Church near a new international airport in a town south of Nagoya in 2004. From its first service consisting of Ron and Joan sitting in their car outside the coffee shop they rented as a meeting place the following week, God has blessed the church with steady growth in conversions, baptisms and attendance. In preparation for their home assignment beginning in the summer of 2008, Rev. and Mrs. Higashi have served alongside the since April 2007, supported by the Japan Baptist Conference’s evangelism committee.
The work at Chita (pronounced like the fastest running animal in the world) has been moving ahead very well. The Stollers have “hope” (“nozomi” is the work for hope in Japanese and is the name of the fastest train in Japan) that God will continue to bless this ministry and see this church a place for people to gather, grow and go out into ministry as they all come closer to the Lord. Why not take a look at the website for church at: www.church-chita-nozomi.com.
Anniversary - January 9
Ron - September 1
Joan - August 10