Chad & Jennifer Huddleston and their children Anika, Josiah, Caleb, Katia, Gideon
They have been missionaries in Japan nearly 19 years, moving to Osaka, the 2nd largest city in Japan, in 1998, where they lived for the first 13 years. During that time, in addition to learning the language and growing their family with five children, they started a church (or a small network of churches) called Be One. The name Be One is taken from John 17:21, where Jesus prays for unity for his disciples that they will "Be One" as the Father and He are one, so that the world will know Him.
Their hope and calling is:
To help people meet Jesus and to see them become disciples;
To truly "Be One" in Him; and
To help form multiplying communities of disciples (churches) that begin to emerge up and down this country.
Immediately after the triple disaster (earthquake/tsunami/nuclear) of March 2011, the Huddlestons became heavily involved in relief work-- bringing in food, water and supplies from Osaka (12 hours away) and leading over 2000 volunteers in the two years following the disaster from across Japan and all over the world. In September of that year, seeing the incredible need and openness to the gospel, they decided as a family to move into the tsunami zone. They were able to get into a home that had been heavily damaged. With the help of volunteers, they gutted the house and made a home and place of ministry. Though many of the avenues of ministry have changed, their main calling in Ishinomaki continues to be disciple-making and church-planting. Their desire is to see churches started up and down the tsunami-devastated coast and beyond. Since they moved in the fall of 2011, two other families, a young couple and three singles have joined the team.
Seeing God at work in Japan
- Local Church: They have started a church in Ishinomaki that, through ups and downs, continues to grow. They currently meet on Sundays and are hoping to start a Friday night gathering at "The Rock" (see below) focused on youth in the near future.
- Social Enterprise: In 2012, the team started a social enterprise called Nozomi Project. ("Nozomi" means "hope" in English.) This project, whose theme is "Beauty from Brokenness," has taken off in ways they hadn't imagined. Currently, in addition to four members of the team who minister there full-time, Nozomi Project has a paid staff of 16 local women, who use broken pieces of pottery from the tsunami and make jewelry that is then sold at events and on the internet. Several of the staff have already met Jesus, and God is doing some amazing things in the lives of these women and their families. Read more about Nozomi Project in an article published by Christianity Today.
- Community/Sports Center/Youth Outreach: "The Rock" is a community center with a small climbing wall, play space and weight training room. They have many young kids and young adults come throughout the week to climb, workout and just hang out. Some of the young men who have become "regulars" are school dropouts, who previously hardly left home, having been on the fringe of society because success in school is so highly valued. One member of the staff is a former homeless man with a felony record who became a Christian two years ago.
- Discipleship Training: They are praying about starting a Discipleship Training School next year. Since the disaster, God has brought together an incredible number of ministry workers with a variety of giftings and training. In addition to the team, they would have the cooperation and involvement of several other groups in this region. God has put it on their hearts to use this post-disaster location as a place to bring in young Japanese Christians, to teach and to serve alongside them, to disciple them in love and hands-on service, as they prepare them for ministry and disciple-making.
- Osaka Be One: They continue to be involved in the work in Osaka from a distance, with regular skype meetings with the leadership, annual leadership retreats, visits to Osaka at least a couple of times a year, and hosting visiting teams from the Osaka church two or three times a year.
- Please pray for Japan - a nation where less than 1% of the population knows Jesus.
- Pray for God to raise up faith-filled leaders to go out across this nation and help to see His Kingdom expand.
- Pray for the churches in Osaka and the leaders there.
- Pray for the churches that are getting started in the tsunami zone.
- Pray for our family as we minister among people who have suffered so much.