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Daniel and Shelby Culwell


Meet the Culwells, IM Missionaries to Japan

Daniel and Shelby Culwell serve on a church-planting team in Tokyo, Japan. In 2019, this team launched a bilingual church called Hope Alive. Daniel serves in many areas including construction, maintenance, English outreach, youth ministry, finances, and more. Shelby runs the website design, slides, graphics, social media, and toddler classes.

They have three children:  Easton, Barrett, and Lily. Through group and individual Bible studies with adults and kids and meeting new people at many different Hope Alive outreaches, Daniel and Shelby have the privilege of introducing Japanese people to Jesus for the first time!

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Why Japan?

When less than 2% of a nation’s population are Christians, that nation is considered unreached; less than half of a percent of Japanese are Christian, making Japanese people the second largest unreached people group on earth. Along with their culture being deeply rooted in Buddhism and Shintoism, Japanese people live in a high-pressure society. Suicide is the number one cause of death for high school students, young adults, children ages 10-14, and men ages 20-44 in Japan. In fact over 25,000 people a year take their own lives in Japan. More than 2 million people do not leave their house due to stress, depression, and anxiety that has caused them to disengage from all social interactions.  

The need for people to know the hope of the gospel is great, and where the need is great, the opportunity for impact is greater!

127 million people live in Japan, and 99.7% of Japanese people are lost, many having never even heard the Gospel. 

The story of Hope Alive Church

Hope Alive was planted in January of 2019; since then, we’ve seen God move in astounding ways daily, providing opportunities for the gospel to be shared, softening hearts toward the message of Christ, and bringing Japanese people into a relationship with Him. Almost every Sunday new people walk into church, hear a clear presentation of the gospel, and receive a Bible – all for the first time. That is why Hope Alive exists: to tell people that Hope is alive in Jesus!

Hope Alive exists to lead people to freedom, purpose, and fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

ホープ • アライブ はあなたにイエスキリストにある自由と生き甲斐、充実感を知っていただくためにあります。

Learn more about Hope Alive Church and ministry at 

How they are ministering to people in Japan

How you can pray for the Culwells

  • Pray for our kids as they adjust to America and a new school.
  • Pray for us to be fully funded by July 2022 so we can return to Japan by August.
  • Pray the Lord leads us to the right people and the right churches as we travel to fundraise.
  • Pray for us as we continue to adjust to America. As we start to fundraise pray for giving hearts and for us to represent IM and Hope Alive in a way that will break the hearts of Americans for the millions of lost Japanese people. 

Daniel and Shelby Culwell

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