Dale and Sandra have served in Japan planting and strengthening churches since September of 1975.
Japan missionaries formed two distinct teams to increase their effectiveness in 2000. The Bishops became a part of the Hokkaido Team. While seeking new avenues of outreach, they worked with the Miharashidai Free Will Baptist Church, in Ebetsu (Pop. 123,000, a suburb of Sapporo) which was started in 1995.
In 2008, they ministered in Tokyo with the Good News Chapel FWB Church while the McDonalds were on stateside assignment. Following their own stateside assignment, the Bishops worked in Saitama at Kamifukuoka FWB Church, filling in for the Baileys. A large part of their ministry continues to be nurturing Christians in the different churches in Japan.
Ministry opportunities include preaching the Word, teaching Bible, women and children’s ministries, evangelism through teaching English, American cooking classes, and cultural exchange. Dale served as Asia Regional Director from January 2004 to September 2017.
Dale was saved at 14 years of age during a revival meeting in the church his father pastored. After graduation from high school, he attended Welch College. During this time, due to his participation in missionary prayer band and Foreign Missions Fellowship, he responded to the Lord’s call to missionary service.
Sandra grew up in a Christian home and was saved at the age of seven. She first heard of missions through CTS materials. Through this literature, youth camps, and contact with missionaries, Sandra felt the Lord calling her into foreign missions service. Further study at Welch College confirmed the needs and her commitment.
As unmarried students, Dale and Sandra were part of the Good News Team that went to Japan in 1972 to work and witness at the Winter Olympics. They were married after returning to the States. In September of 1973, they attended missionary internship training in Detroit, Michigan. While there, they ministered in the Southgate FWB Church in Southgate, Michigan.
After completing missionary internship in 1974, Dale and Sandra were officially appointed to the field of Japan.
During their first term, the Bishops labored at Kita Hiroshima Chapel, as well as Airin Chapel. Dale and Sandra spent most of their second term working with national preacher Ben Abe at the Higashi Tsukisamu church.
At the beginning of their third term, in 1985, the Bishops started a new work in Nopporo, Ebetsu. In addition to the ministry with the Koinonia FWB Church, Dale assisted at four other churches and worked with an evangelistic singing group. He also provided invaluable assistance to Pastor Kawasaki in the construction of the Ai no Sato church.
The Bishops spent several years establishing Koinonia FWB Church and training leaders through the Free Will Baptist Bible Institute sponsored by the church. Dale taught FWB doctrine and history. Sandra began teaching in a local high school to make more contacts in the community.
While acting as an advisor to the Koinonia church leaders, Dale and Sandra also began working with the Hokkaido Team in the Miharashidai Church (a new church plant). The Koinonia Church was turned over to a Japanese pastor in 2001. Dale continued to teach at the Bible institute. As a means of outreach, Sandra, in addition to responsibilities at home and at the church, continued teaching English in a local high school.
Following stateside assignment in 2004, Dale and Sandra returned to Miharashidai Church and helped with two other churches in the Sapporo area. They spent most of 2008-2010 in Tokyo, ministering at two newer churches—Good News Chapel and KamiFukuoka FWB churches. Regional director responsibilities took them to China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar as well. In 2010, another ministry opportunity opened in the Kanto area at the Kamifukoka church plant.
Over the last few years, the Bishops have served primarily in the central area of Hokkaido. They have worked with five of the six churches in the Sapporo area, supporting pastors and church ministries.
The Bishops have four children: Jeffery, born October 24; Kevin, born February 13; Douglas, born November 9; and Jennifer, born January 25. Jeffery, a Georgia Tech graduate, works and resides in Georgia. Kevin attended Valdosta State University and presently lives and works in Colorado. Doug is married to Miriam (Hardin). Approved as career missionaries to Japan in 2015, Doug and Miriam have four children. Jennifer, a Welch College graduate, married James Cornelius, and they have two children.
Corinth FWB Church, Brookfield, Georgia
Updated October 18, 2017
- Ask God to give the missionary team wisdom and direction as new opportunities for ministry become apparent as we partner with our Japanese leaders in establishing new works.
- Pray the gospel message will be received, and people will come to know Christ as a result of the recent earthquake and tsunami. Pray also for those who are endeavoring to help the hurting, displaced and suffering people. The recovery efforts will continue for many years.
- Pray for our national pastors and leaders as they carry on and expand the work of the Lord in their local areas.
- Pray for a strengthening of the Japanese church as Christians endeavor to reach their own people.