The Story of Mary D. Jesse and Shokei Girls' School
Mary D. Jesse, a woman from a family of means, abandons everything to follow her vision to help lift the burden of Japanese girls during a time when education was a privilege and not a right. She is a model of faith, perseverance, and leadership, who discovers God’s guidance in difficult experiences.
A Flower with Roots is a compelling account of the resiliency of a mission school where the love and loyalty of students shines through, even as the school leadership is embroiled in endless drama in management and personal relations.
Who this Book is For
If you are interested in:
- gaining an appreciation of how mission, culture and character intersect leading to changed lives.
- observing how the drama of misunderstanding, misery and pain leaves scars, but can also lead to a chance for renewal and rebuilding.
- learning how evangelism through education had incredible results compared to church growth in Japan.
- gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of challenges faced by a US mission agency managing an indigenous school through its missionaries in the early twentieth century.
- a person with a Baptist background, overseas mission oriented background or have Baptist denominational experience
- an advocate/supporter of overseas mission, particularly in the country of Japan
- a missionary involved in education in any country
- an educator in the USA interested in the development of education
- a person interested in how the Gospel was spread, historically
- a history buff of any kind!
- a lover of Japan
. . . then this book is for you!
Roberta Lynn Stephens is a retired American Baptist missionary to Japan. She served at Shokei Gakuin, Sendai, Japan as a teacher and board member for twenty-nine years. She is the author of Nezuita Hana in Japanese (2003), and co-authored An Invitation to Kokeshi Dolls (1981).
Roberta Stephens shares about her book detailing the story of Mary Jesse’s pioneering missionary work at Shokei Girls’ School in Sendai, Japan. It gives us much food for thought about how JBC’s history is tied with the mission work that was going on in Japan at the time.
Event: Japanese Baptist Church 120th Anniversary
Roberta Stephens will be subject of a short missionary interview regarding “A Flower with Roots — The Story of Mary D. Jesse and Shokei Girls’ School”, and an introduction on early thinking about women’s education in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th century.
What They're Saying . . .
—Glenn Gunderson, Lead Pastor, Purpose Church, Pomona, California
—Paul D. Aita, Special Assistant for Southeast Asia and Japan, American Baptist International Ministries
—Reid S. Trulson, International Ministries Executive Director, Retired
—Vivian Jones Loft (granddaughter to Ephriam & Grace Jones (1884-1920)
This book – A Flower With Roots; The Story of Mary D. Jesse and Shokei Girls’ School – is a jewel; and a must read for anyone interested in, supporting of, or doing mission work. Dry notes and bits from letters have been skillfully woven into an interesting story of Baptist history and World War II experiences. It provides an enlightened glimpse into an otherwise forgotten crossroad in the lives of the Japanese Christians and the outside world. Seldom do you read about Japan’s stark vision in the pre-War era, looking to turn China and Manchuria and other parts of Asia into “Japan.” The Japanese people suffered greatly during the war. Here we get an entirely different feel for the no-military Japanese populace; especially the attitudes of many leading up to, during the internment of some foreigners, and after the war. I take my hat off to missionaries like Jesse (and all the way forward to Roberta Stephens, the author) who accomplished so much in spite of great challenges. The frequently divergent goals, the shuffling of people, and tight budgets of the “powers-to-be” is recounted accurately, yet in a positive light, even in the negatives. This is a powerful portrayal of the Kingdom of God at work. Thank you, Roberta, for such an inspiring book.