A Brief History
Kagoshima Christian Mission (KCM) is a non-denominational Church of Christ mission established in 1971 by Walter and Mary Maxey for the purpose of sharing the Gospel with the lost in southern Japan. After a year of intensive language study in Tokyo, they began this work in the city of Kagoshima (population 605,000), located at the southern tip of Kyushu, the most southern of the four main islands of Japan.
After first working with the Kagoshima Church of Christ until a Japanese minister was able to be called, the Lord led and enabled them to establish a new church in a suburb of the city called Yoshino, open a preaching point in the town of Kokubu, begin weekly English Bible classes, and hold biannual weekend EBC camps to reach young people.
Present work centers around the Yoshino Church of Christ, located in a northern suburb of Kagoshima City.
Present Work in Kagoshima
Yoshino Church of Christ Ministry
The Yoshino church began as a home Bible study in 1973. In March of 1975, a house was rented and Sunday worship services, Sunday School, and weekly Bible studies were begun. During their second term (1977-1981), Walter led the Yoshino church in a building program. The congregation began meeting in the new building added to the mission home in November of 1979.
Walter serves as the full-time minister of the Yoshino church. As minister, he preaches for the Sunday services, teaches Wednesday Bible studies, and leads the church in regular evangelistic outreach programs. Mary assists with the monthly ladies’ meetings, the children’s program, and administrative duties.
In the spring of 2003, the Lord provided property next to the church building, which the church converted into a parking lot. This has encouraged attendance, which averages between twenty-five and thirty. The Maxeys are praying that the Lord will provide a future full-time Japanese minister. The Yoshino church is completely self-supporting.
Other Preaching and Teaching
In addition to his ministry with the Yoshino church, Walter is involved in preaching and teaching in the following places:
Kokubu—Every Sunday the Maxeys also drive to the small town of Kokubu (a fifty-minute drive from Kagoshima) to preach for the small group of Christians making up the Kokubu Church of Christ. Services are held in a rented meeting room at a local hall.
Churches without Ministers—Walter is assisting other churches which are presently without ministers. He preaches at the Kushikino church on fifth Sundays and at the Tarumizu church on the first and fifth Sundays of the month.
Kagoshima Prison—Walter has been serving as a chaplain at the Kagoshima prison since June of 1978 and is currently an officer of the Kagoshima Chaplains’ Association. He goes to the prison (70 minutes by car) once a month to teach a Bible class attended by 10-15 inmates. An annual Christmas program planned by all of the Christian chaplains is attended by an average of 150 inmates. It is a challenging ministry.
Teaching English Bible Classes
Since English is a required language for all Japanese students (junior high through college), and the Japanese are traveling more widely and eager to improve their English, English Bible classes are an effective way of sharing the Gospel. English Bible classes are an opportunity to teach the Bible in English, after which further explanation is given in Japanese. All students must have an English-Japanese New Testament and are asked to read it before and during class. Walter is currently teaching one English Bible class at the downtown Kagoshima Church of Christ.
Working with Japanese Ministers
The Maxeys do not work alone. They work in close cooperation with four Japanese ministers of the churches of Christ in Kagoshima Prefecture. Walter attends the Japanese ministers’ monthly meeting for fellowship and to work with them on various projects throughout the year.
The churches of Christ in Kagoshima Prefecture jointly own a campground at the foot of mountains across the bay from Kagoshima City. Walter serves as manager of this campground.
Christian Bookstore Ministry
Walter now oversees the Christian bookstore ministry begun by his father in the town of Kanoya (almost 2 hours away).
Osaka Bible Seminary Support
Since 1996, Walter has been serving as a trustee of the only Bible college of the churches of Christ in Japan, located 800 miles north in Osaka.
The Maxeys are involved in the local community in various ways. Walter teaches English part-time at Kagoshima University, and Mary teaches part-time at Kagoshima Prefectural College. These college teaching positions provide witness opportunities. Mary also played the trumpet and French horn in the Kagoshima Wind Ensemble and Kagoshima Symphony Orchestra for 17 years and still maintains close contact with those friends.
The Maxeys—A Biographical Sketch
Walter Maxey was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1946. He was raised in Japan as the eldest son of missionary parents, Mr. & Mrs. Mark G. Maxey. In 1964, after graduating from Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, he returned to the U.S. to enter Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Graduating with an A.B. degree in 1968, he entered Cincinnati Christian Seminary that same year and received the M.A. (1970) and M.Div. (1971) degrees.
During his undergraduate and graduate studies, Walter served as youth minister at the First Church of Christ in Fairborn, Ohio, for two years; as assistant minister at the First Christian Church in North Vernon, Indiana; and as minister of the Plumville Church of Christ, Maysville, Kentucky, for two years. He continued his graduate studies during his first two furloughs, receiving a M.A. in East Asian Studies from Indiana University (1978) and the Doctor of Ministry degree (in Missions) from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (1985).
Mary Maxey is a native of Murphysboro, Illinois. She entered Cincinnati Bible Seminary in 1966 and graduated with an A.B. degree in Christian Education in 1970. In 1971 she received the Master of Education degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Maxeys have two children. Shelley and her husband, Christian, have three children and live in Boston, Massachusetts, where Christian is a software engineer & Shelley home schools their three children. Trent and his wife, Libby, have two sons and live in rural Massachusetts. He is an associate professor teaching Japanese history at Amherst College.