Who We Are

John and Kyoko Clendinnen

Leaving Higashi Kurume Station for HiroshimaJohn grew up in New York as an unhappy pagan until Jesus completely changed his life at the age of 19. After graduating from Penn State, he served 5 years as a U.S. Naval Officer, making world headlines in 1988 in the infamous “Black Sea Bump” incident with the former Soviet Union. In 1991, he became a missionary with Cru High School, serving 12 years in San Diego, Philadelphia and Orlando, before moving permanently to Japan in 2004.

Kyoko grew up on the west side of Hiroshima with childhood exposure to Christianity. After graduating from Seishin Junior College with a major in British English Literature, she became the first in her family to believe in Jesus, in Sydney, Australia at the age of 24. While working in translation and kitchen design, and serving faithfully at her church, the Lord called her to missions. She and John met, were married in Hiroshima, and have served together in full-time ministry since 2003. Kyoko is blessed with many gifts in the areas of serving, helps, children’s ministry, translation, hospitality and reaching out to women with young children. She’s a happy mother of 3 active boys, JJ (Josiah), Micah and Andrew, whom she schools in both English and Japanese in their Hiroshima home.

After ministering to Japanese youth in Tokyo for 9 years, John and Kyoko relocated their family in 2014 in fulfillment of a 17-year dream to LOVE Hiroshima! by proclaiming Jesus the Prince of Peace and the Gospel of Peace in the City of Peace! They currently serve on the Leadership Team of a bilingual church plant, and as the Pioneers Hiroshima Team Leaders.

jessJessica Lee

Jessica was born and raised in a Christian home in the US, most notably Alaska. But it wasn’t until college that she began to pay attention to missions: “Could I go?!” Two short-term mission trips and a presentation on Japan later, Jessica decided that she wanted to learn to live missionally. The best way to do that, it seemed, was to live and work with missionaries. Her original commitment was two years, but it wasn’t long before God gave her dreams of a life in Japan. Now in her 6th year, Jess lives and ministers in Hiroshima, partnering with the Hiroshima Evangelical Free Church, Asaminami Bilingual Chapel (ABC) and Cocusai Café. She loves music, the city, football and food, especially with a mildly unhealthy portion of butter and sugar.


Emma grew up in Tauranga, New Zealand, and first connected with Japan through studying Japanese at high school “because her friends were doing it and the pronunciation was easier than French.”  After coming to know Christ at 17, she spent a year at a high school in Osaka, Japan, and it was during her time at University back home that she felt God leading her to use the Japanese language for his Kingdom.  Emma served as an intern with International Student Ministries New Zealand while attending Pathways Bible and Mission College in Auckland, New Zealand, before moving to Japan in January 2012 to serve in Sendai and Hiroshima for a year as an interpreter with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  She now serves on staff in the Hiroshima office of Japan International Food for the Hungry (link:http://www.jifh.org/eng/) and pioneered the cocusai community space (link: www.facebook.com/cocusai or related page on site) project alongside her awesome roommate Jess.  Emma knows she’s in this for the long-term and is excited about continuing to share her passion for Jesus, fair trade, tea time, and the colour orange with anyone in Hiroshima who’ll listen to her long enough! She’s engaged to be married to Taisei Kim on October 10th, and looks forward to pursuing God’s heart for missions together with him.