Alumni Couple Will Teach in Japan

by Corinne Twigg - Office of Marketing | Feb 05, 2016
Kelly and Caleb Anderson

Caleb Anderson ’12 has served the University of Valley Forge (UVF) for three years, working diligently to improve the processes in student accounts. He and his wife Kelly (Tierney) ’15 have recently sensed a redirection in their lives. Both have experienced a tug on their hearts for missions for quite some time, so when the opportunity to serve as English teachers at a Christian school in Tamura, Japan, presented itself, the couple joyously accepted the call. The two-year position will provide them with the opportunity to live with a small community of believers while reaching a city that is closed off to the gospel. The Andersons are not going to Japan as missionaries, but as teachers carrying Jesus inside their hearts. 

“We have known from the start that he would some day be on the foreign mission field,” said Jonathan Capeci, vice president of finance. In 2012, the couple ventured to South Korea on a short-term mission trip, where they spent most of their time teaching English. It was on this trip that the Andersons knew in their hearts that they would some day return to Asia as English teachers. “Ever since then, it was Korea,” says Kelly. That was until they discovered the Wakakusa English Program, which led them to an interest in Japan. However, when they initially sought a position, they were turned away by the recruiter, as the program had not been actively seeking teachers at that time. Still, their dream of teaching English in Asia did not die. 

After Kelly graduated from UVF in 2015, the couple began seriously considering making their dream a reality by taking steps to earn their TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification. Soon, they started applying to public schools in Korea. Everything seemed to be falling into place until an unforeseen problem arose. While waiting on receiving the results of a criminal background check, their credit card was found to have fraudulent charges. As a result, their payment for their criminal background check did not go through. This complication kept them from being hired to teach in Korea. 

After much frustration and prayer, the Andersons still felt in their hearts that God was calling them to teach in Asia. Finally, they decided to contact the recruiter from the Wakakusa program again. This time, they were welcomed into the program with guaranteed positions, serving as teachers in a Christian school in Japan. Neither of them doubted the decision to accept the jobs. “We both understand the challenges ahead and are excited to see how God will use us to reach the people of Japan through our teaching jobs," said Caleb. "We hope the relationships we foster will turn into opportunities for the good news of Jesus Christ to be heard.”

The Andersons were even more at ease upon receiving their official invitation from the principal of the program in January. “We know we have a family waiting for us. That makes this transition away from the States a little less extreme. We know they’re going to take good care of us,” says Kelly. The faculty exhibits a strong passion for Christian community. Within their apartment complex, co-workers enjoy meeting weekly for Bible studies, as they are encouraged through the enriching relationships and spiritual climate. As the Andersons embark on this new journey, knowing they will soon become a part of a spiritual family away from their family here at home brings them a sense of comfort. 

On Columbus Day, the Andersons took a trip to Mansfield, Ohio, the sister city of Tamura, Japan. There, they met with a former teacher from the school where they will be serving. They were delighted to learn of her positive experience, making them even more thrilled to set sail on their mission. Quite possibly, their biggest challenge is that the area is closed off to the gospel. Still, the Anderson’s desire is to nurture the relationships they will form within the community with the love of Christ. 

“I feel like it’s finally our time,” says Kelly, “We’ve had this on our hearts for so long. It’s so exciting to see how God has led us here and how He’s going to use us together. And who knows where Japan will take us. Who knows the connections we’ll make?” The Andersons will officially leave for Japan by the end of March.