Joel first went to Sendai, Japan with Ben Berry, Crimsen Ruhnke, and Jonathan Straker for a five year commitment: the first three left on July 8, 2002, and Jonathan followed a month later. The Bramalea elders actually agreed and began to serve as an overseeing church in March 2000, and will serve in that role until December 31, 2017. After the rest of the team left, Joel continued working in Sendai until his move to work with the Mito church in Mito on March 31, 2010. Joel does some teaching and preaching, and his main focus of ministry is reaching out to younger generations – helping them come to faith, mature as disciples of Christ, and prepare for future leadership. He works on a ministry team with Atsushi Tsuneki (minister) and Hiroaki Akahoshi (apprentice/administrative assistant). He and Hiro work together in two areas: a) Campus ministry – two days a week at Ibaraki Christian University; b) Love & Serve Mission in Siem Reap, Cambodia – they lead teams from Japan to partner with a church in Singapore. Joel serves as the president of Banyan Community School in Siem Reap – an English school that offers free English education to poorer children and youth from the nearby villages. That work is funded primarily by the churches in Japan and Singapore. On November 22, 2015, Joel married Kristin Hanaoka, a Japanese heritage American from Chicago who teaches English and worships with the Mito church family. Together, they have made their home a place dedicated to welcome people and introduce them to the love of Christ.