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Gracie & the State of Mental Health in Japan

Did you know that the mental health field is practically nonexistent in Japan? The country might have psychologists and neurologists, but it’s uncommon to find counselors and therapists who actually guide individuals through their mental health struggles. 

“It’s a very shame-based culture, and they just don’t want to feel like they’re burdening others with their problems, because they view that as shameful,” Gracie says. “Their hope is in what they can achieve, instead of in Jesus. It’s really tragic, because many of them are living very hopeless lives.” Maybe that’s why some of our global workers are finding that Japanese people resonate with Ecclesiastes’s message that without God, “everything is meaningless.” 

After graduating college with a degree in Psychology, Gracie worked at a Christian residential program where teens go to heal from past trauma. Many of the students who entered that program never received the support they needed growing up. Gracie says, “I could see just how lonely and sad their lives were, and that’s kind of what we’re looking at in Japan.” 

After those students finally got plugged into a Christian community and experienced how much God loved them, Gracie saw their lives transform completely. She still volunteers there now, and says, “I continue to see their lives change through Christ because they have a safe place to receive encouragement and seek the Lord.”

God has gently been calling Gracie to Japan for years. In 2018, her college roommate told her about how high Japan’s suicide rates are, and how “normal” suicide is there. Then in 2019, someone she barely knew prophetically encouraged her to pray about serving in Japan. She says, “I can’t get it out of my mind. I feel like the Lord has just given me this desire that has stayed in my heart for the last several years. I just have to go and see what He’s doing.”

That’s why we’re excited that Gracie will be part of a team internship to Japan in the summer of 2024. During her trip, Gracie will visit three locations to shadow our global workers and help them love Japanese people. Please pray that the experience will be transformative for Gracie, her fellow interns, and the Japanese people they will interact with.