Loving God, Loving People

Chuck Burwell

Jan and I grew up in two different towns about eight miles apart in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. We know a lot about suffering and perseverance, as we have been sports fans of the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns since childhood. We met at The Ohio State University in 1971 and thoroughly enjoyed attending football games of a championship team for a change. We were married in 1974 and moved to Santa Maria California in 1975.

Jan and I came to the Lord in our mid-30s while I was employed as a petroleum engineer in Ventura, California. Chuck got involved in prison ministries and we both enjoyed outreach to internationals. In 1986 and 1987, we hosted Japanese college students for a month in the summer and began to have a burden for all the lost people in Japan.

The Lord led us to join Christar (then called International Missions Inc.) in 1987, we went to seminary at Columbia International University (then called Columbia Biblical Seminary) where I received an MA in Intercultural Studies, and Jan earned a one year Bible Certificate. In 1990, we moved to Japan with our two young children, Melissa aged nine and Nick aged five, and studied the language full time in Karuizawa Machi, Nagano Ken for two years. In 1992, we moved to Hofu Shi in Yamaguchi Prefecture and served with a Japanese pastor for 5 years until the church became self-sufficient.

In 1997, we moved to Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture and started a new church plant with another missionary couple. In 2004, we started the Angelic Shout Ube Gospel choir, which grew to over 20 non-Christian Japanese singers and performed in front of over 6000 people. In 2007, a Japanese pastor joined our team and in 2008, the church purchased a building and parsonage. In 2009, another missionary couple joined the team to do language study and to continue our English classes. The Lighthouse Ube Church became self-supporting and self-sufficient and it was time to pass the baton.

In 2010, we relocated to Port Hueneme, California to become the West Coast Mobilizers for Christar. We visit schools and missions conferences and churches on the west coast recruiting and helping train people to be missionaries to the least reached parts of the world.

In 2010, we also visited JACC and Bethany churches for the first time and periodically helped with music and preaching and college outreach. In 2015, I accepted the part time pastor of the Nichigo congregation at Bethany Congregational Church and the miraculously opened a door for us to move to Goleta. We have immensely enjoyed getting to know both the Japanese and English communities at Bethany Church and have never been in a more loving and appreciative church than Bethany.

We enjoy traveling, snorkeling, playing tennis, taking walks on the beach, playing guitar and piano together and spending time with our children (Melissa and Nick) and our grandchildren (Jackson, Liam, Brooklyn and Emma), who all live in Goleta.

Our favorite vacation is to stay near a beach and just read books, sunbath, swim and snorkel. Some of our most memorable vacations have been in Jamaica, Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, Jordan, Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel. We have also visited every state in the USA except for Vermont.