Missions Moment – Japan

Posted in: Missions

John and Eriko Houlette, Three Streams Ministry

Houlette Happenings at a Glance

  • The reflective listening seminar and staff debriefing with the Kyushu Christ Disaster Relief Center was well received.  The meetings were in Mashiki Machi, Kyushu, on March 6-10. I also met with three local pastors. (Picture on lower left corner).
  • The Self-Care, Spiritual Formation and Leadership class at the Sendai Baptist Seminary, Sendai campus, ended on April 3rd.  The class at Hokushin Calvary Church in Fukushima continues into June.
  • I participated in the ordination council and ceremony for my mentee, Ken Nishiono, on March 20th. Ken is the new pastor at Koriyama Bible Baptist Church in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.  (upper two pictures).
  • My one year commitment to coach the Hokushin Calvary Church elder board ended on March 26th. (Dinner with board on lower right).
  • Masanori Kuba will be ordained on April 9th and resume preaching once a month from April 16th.
  • Eriko and I will travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 23rd for the 50th anniversary of Asian Access.
  • I am upping my running mileage in preparation for the Sendai Half-Marathon mid-May.


The Journey of Completion

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar of wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:28-30 ESV

     Completion, celebration, departure.  This is the poignant salvation story from the cross through the resurrection to the ascension. Completion is a powerfully dynamic truth Jesus communicates through excruciating pain, from the cross.  Celebration comes when the resurrected Lord greets the disciples with “peace be with you.” Prior to his departure for heaven, he gives them the great commission. These are great parallels to ministry multiplication as we learn to finish, celebrate and depart well.

The Japanese fiscal year runs from April to March, so this is a time of endings and new beginnings. I have been mentoring two pastors in Fukushima Prefecture these past several years, Ken Nishiono and Masanori Kuba. Ken Nishiono was ordained as the pastor of Koriyama Bible Baptist Church on March 20th. It has been a pleasure to invest in his life.

I worked with the elder board at Hokushin Calvary Church this past year, coaching them through their pastor’s sabbatical.  We had a dinner celebration the last Sunday of March after my last meeting with them. Pastor Kuba resumed his pastoral ministry this month, and will be preaching once a month.  I will reduce my preaching from twice a month to once a month.  It was very powerful to sit and have Pastor Kuba serve communion last Sunday as I had been officiating it this past year.

I finished my last class for the year at the Sendai Baptist Seminary and have three more sessions at Hokushin.  It has been a joy to invest in these 20 eager students. I will be conducting research and writing this year and plan to teach again from April of 2018. My challenge to all of these individuals is to invest in someone else by walking, listening, learning and serving together.

I utilize assessment tools in disaster response chaplaincy work to help relief workers reflect on a day of ministry, celebrate and let go. It helps to prevent burnout as they experience a sense of accomplishment, perspective and release.

I am excited about the new fiscal year as I mentor leaders, write and investigate the launching of a spiritual formation and clergy care network in Japan.



  1. We are going on Home Assignment from July 13th to September 20th.  Please pray for safe travel and refreshing times with family and supporters. 
  2. For Hokushin Calvary Church in Fukushima and pastor Kuba as he returns to the pastoral ministry this month.
  3. For Eriko to balance her Japanese teaching load, care for her mother Kyoko, who is living with us and writing up her research. 
  4. For ongoing teaching, mentoring, coaching and counseling opportunities.  
  5. For wisdom on how to provide emotional care for care givers in Kumamoto.