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Storbakken Family

Dallas, Texas

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Ian and Cate met in 2008 on an online game. By 2010 they decided they wanted to be together forever. Being only 15 and 17 years old, Ian had to drive back and forth from Arkansas to Texas. The long-distance relationship changed in 2011 when they moved into Cate’s Mom’s house together and welcomed their first daughter, Mari into the world. Life was dysfunctional as having babies as teenagers usually is.

Mari was no normal baby come to find out. She was a star, changing everything in a way only she could have. All of the anger and resentment towards Ian and Cate and their teenage pregnancy dissipated 2 weeks after Mari was born. A board room full of doctors told them Mari was going to die, to leave this world faster than anyone could have anticipated. Cate’s heart was already broken as her sister Natalie had been killed only a week prior to getting this news, now all hope for a good life seemed to be lost. Yet somehow within all the devastation and grief Mari was still alive and die not die as the weeks and months went on. Everyone’s hearts grew as they watched her grow. Cate and Ian grew as people and as parents and did the best they could in the situation they were in.

In the Spring of 2014 Mari finally left the earth at 2 years old. Cate and Ian spent the next few years in a very hopeless place, falling into drugs and alcohol addiction, anything that made life feel tolerable. However, during those years they had friends and family living life alongside of them in the ways they were able and this brought much comfort. Ian and Cate did a lot of relational damage to one another during this time. There was not much left of a relationship, and yet too much history behind to let go of one another.

At the beginning of 2016 Cate had a long-awaited encounter with Jesus that left her, and the rest of the story changed. Ian and Cate did not identify with any faith before this time. Cate began to tell the people close to her as well as others about Jesus and this encounter, now believing that God was good and real after having experienced Him first-hand. Ian began believing soon after hearing and learning how to have a relationship of His own with Jesus.

Cate got pregnant that same year with their second daughter, Elara who was born in 2017. They finally got married in 2017 after Elara was born! Shortly after, Cate connected with an old friend who she knew as someone who believed in God as well. The friendship blossomed over time and she and Ian were discipled by her and her husband.

Their friends left to serve overseas in 2019 with Youth With A Mission(YWAM) in Norway. Cate and Ian were blessed that year with their third child, a baby boy, and named him Abel. Ian was working as a full-time guitar and chemistry teacher, his dream job God had opened up for him the year before. Cate started to experience severe symptoms after Abel was born and in January of 2020 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This diagnosis came as a shock but God had already proved Himself as more than faithful to them and so they chose to focus on Him. Cate’s symptoms got better.

2020 was a hard year for so many people but God seemed to be speaking. Cate and Ian would go overseas that year to train like their friends who went before them. It seemed impossible; however, too big of an ask. They were not people who really traveled aside from driving a lot. Ian had never even been on an airplane and the kids were way “too young”. They took small steps to see if God could make it possible, trying to be obedient regardless of MANY obstacles. The road was so rough and sorrowful at times; however, God provided many miracles to make it possible for them to go.

On December 26th 2020 Cate, Ian, Elara and baby Abel flew to Norway to begin their training with YWAM. They lived and did 2 training schools in Norway and then were off to Slovenia for outreach until the end of 2021. It was all wonderful and brutally hard and important to them. Their marriage and family grew again into something more beautiful than it had ever been.

The Storbakken’s moved back to Texas in 2022 and are studying and preparing to serve full-time in Japan. They are grateful and content in where God has them and hopeful and have faith for what is next.

Ministry Focus

Ian and I felt called to visit Japan long before we were even Christians. After deciding to live our lives together for Christ we saw that there was also a rather large need for missionaries in Japan. 

  • 97.9% of the Japanese people are considered unreached according to the Joshua Project. Of those who are reached only 25% of them are considered evangelical and share their faith with others. That’s around 650,000 people in the whole country of 125 million.
  • Many complex issues within families and marriages and young people/children.
  • Very high suicide rates.
  • Severe bullying and depression

We feel that many of the things God has allowed us to go through give us the ability to speak into many different kinds of issues. We also have very teachable hearts and believe we will learn just as much as God allows us to teach others.

We are accepted to staff YWAM Yokohama and now are needing to raise funds in order to apply for our Japanese visas. We are making a 2 year commitment to staff with Yokohama but hope to stay longer. During our 2 year commitment we will be busy!

  • Teaching local Japanese Christians about discipleship and evangelism
  • Partnering with multiple creative ministries going on in the city
  • Helping practically, and getting to know our team there
  • Taking language learning courses to help achieve our goal of staying long-term
  • Homeschooling our kids
  • Take time as a family to see what God has for us in Japan/Vision casting 

How to Pray

The Storbakken’s need committed people to come alongside and support them for at least 2 years as missionaries to Japan. They need people willing to pray for and with them, encourage them and support them financially. YWAM, like most missional organizations requires its people to be self-supported, meaning you raise your own financial support rather than be paid by the organization. Cate and Ian currently need to raise $4,000 USD in monthly support. We also need a one-time amount of about $5,000USD for our family’s airfare.


  • Housing/Cost of Living!
  • Language Courses!
  • Our awesome kids and making sure they are prioritized!
  • Radical Generosity and Hospitality!
  • Supporting other Missionaries/Ministries!
  • Teaching and Discipleship/Life Groups!
  • Building relationships with the Japanese people!
  • Our 4 one-way plane tickets!
  • Lots of other things too!

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Region: Asia

Affiliation: Non-Denominational

Keep us in Japan!

We need $4,000 USD monthly to stay in Japan as a family in missions! One of the strategies that we have in order to mobilize locals in the mission field is to be a light like a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). We will be working alongside churches and established community outreaches as well as building relationships with believers and non-believers alike. Being a missionary; especially in a foreign country, means showing our love for one another and being like good salt in every situation. We outlined some strategies above, and we know God will provide for us to be able to reach people in every way that he has prepared us for and we have trained for. Isn't it amazing that God though he can do all things has instead desired and planned for humans to come alongside and work with him! Pray for us and consider being our partner as we obey our calling and become a part of God's work Japan!

out of $$4000USD needed

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