Floyd and Laurel Wooden were missionaries to the country of Japan since 1961. Their ministry was one of church planting – as Floyd put it, watering, weeding, and fertilizing as well.
Floyd was born and raised in Shawneetown, Illinois, which is located near the Southeastern tip on the Ohio River. After graduating from high school, he volunteered for the “peacetime” Air Force. One year later the Korean conflict broke out, and he was sent to Japan for special duties. It was during his stay in Japan at that time that he felt the burden for the people of Japan.
Laurel grew up in Tokyo. She finished high school nearly five years after the war’s end, and then attended the Japan Christian Theological Seminary for almost two years. During that time, she was asked to help a middle-aged missionary couple on Japan’s Northwest Coast (Niigata) with their language studies, Sunday school, interpreting, and so forth. Friends made it known that there was a young man stationed at a small military base nearby who felt God’s call to Japan as a missionary. The rest is history.
A year later they moved to the United States and eventually settled in Chicago in early 1954. Both attended evening school classes, and Laurel took women’s guild classes.
That fall Floyd enrolled in a five-year course at the Grand Rapids Baptist Bible Seminary and Bible Institute and they moved to Grand Rapids. To the extent that rearing a new family would permit, Laurel also took some evening classes.
With schooling pretty much completed in 1959, they submitted their applications to Baptist Mid-Missions and were accepted as missionaries to Japan in the summer of that year. They arrived on the field in 1961.
Their efforts were focused on building a church in Japan that would be solid enough to receive a Japanese pastor when he became available. Floyd has passed away and Laurel resides in Michigan.