To Japan and Back

TJAB: To Japan and Back. Or maybe...Things Just Annoying Bob. Or maybe... Tibet Joyously Attacking Bhutan. I think I'll stick with To Japan and Back.“Japan and Back is an important book because of its raw honesty about the missionary experience. Most missionary books paper over the hard stuff, but Japan and Back hits it straight on. Some readers may be shocked, but sending churches, mission agencies, and young people thinking about missions need to read this book and learn from its message.” – Dan Ellrick, missionary in Japan of over 20 years

Joey Stoll had no clue what he was getting into when he went to rural Japan as a long-term missionary. He left full of excitement and arrived in a world very different from what he expected.

Among hilarious experiences living in a foreign culture and while receiving miracles of God’s grace, he faced questions like:

  • What should missionary service look like?
  • What do we do when struggling with depression?
  • How do we process losing places and people we care deeply for?

Compiled in short chapters written as stories, devotions, and journal entries, this is one missionary’s strange journey to the Land of the Rising Sun and an equally strange journey of returning to his own culture.

Interested? Check out a few sample chapters:


“Being a missionary myself, I know how torn you can be being on the field, feeling like all eyes are on you. You are accountable to your supporters and want to show all of the amazing things that God is doing, and the last thing that you naturally want to do is expose your weaknesses and struggles, in fear of losing support or the confidence of those backing you. But, by being so candid in the text, the author brought encouragement to me as a missionary and also was able to allow for God to redeem those hardships and turn them for good through their exposure.” – Claire, missionary in Tanzania

“The author is able to take the refreshing and honest missionary endeavors of one person and expertly set it in context of Japanese History, East-West relations and the modern missionary movement.” – Kai Pottenger, Cru Staff

I am using your book as I prepare students for our winter missions trip… I am sure that your honest and sincere evaluation of your missionary experience will help my students when they look their own futures in service to out King.  The location can and often changes, but the vocation of God’s calling to be His witnesses  is marked on our hearts.” – John Easterling, Professor of Intercultural Studies, University of Northwestern, Saint Paul