Leadership

Missional Leadership Team

Administrator

Alicia Terwilliger

I was born in Buffalo, NY, and raised all over NY state. Growing up as a Pastor’s kid, the church has been my second home. After high school, I completed two years at Word of Life Bible Institute. In 2009, Derek and I started dating and in 2011 we were married. In 2012, Derek received orders to MCB Hawaii where we lived for 4 years. Within those four years, I finished my Associates in Accounting, we had our daughter, Avery, and we did a lot of hiking and golfing. In 2016, Derek received orders to Tulsa, OK for 3 years of recruiting duty. God used those three years of recruiting duty to open my eyes to the fact that I truly needed a Savior and I couldn’t keep living my life my way. Those years were extremely stretching, but also very much needed. In 2019, Derek received orders to Okinawa, Japan, but we didn’t move to Okinawa until the beginning of 2020. God led us to Pillar a few months later and we’ve loved every minute since. It’s been such a blessing to come alongside our Pillar family and share the love of Jesus with them. I am humbled and blessed to serve with such a great team of servant missionaries learning to live everyday life with gospel power and purpose.


GTO Executive Director, Pillar Finance Coordinator

Jon Simburger

Melissa and I moved from a small town in southern Illinois to Okinawa with a desire to make Jesus famous in Japan. I have served previously as a youth pastor, deacon, and on short-term missions to India, Albania, Montenegro, Guatemala, Russia, and Uganda. Melissa has served as a worship leader and as director of a pregnancy resource center. In the Fall of 2016, we joined Pillar Church of Okinawa. Together we lead regular English conversation outreach gatherings and serve in the Gospel to Okinawa church planting initiative. On mission with the church, our greatest joy is making Jesus famous in the hearts of Japanese people by bringing the hope of the gospel to the outcast, the downcast, the lost and the hopeless.

GTO Coordinator

Rinko Ganeko

I was born and raised in Okinawa. I met my husband Den at a Bible study that Den was leading, and we married in 2018. Den felt called by God to plant a church, and our mother church, Joy Chapel, sent us to start Sunset Church as a branch in September 2019. We have joined Gospel to Okinawa (GTO) since 2020, and it has been a blessing to us. Den and I have been very encouraged by other local churches and are excited to see what God has in store for Okinawa.

Women's Discipleship Coordinator

Lauran Flores

I grew up moving all around the United States, and found such beauty in change and exploring new places, and living in Okinawa has been no exception! My family and I enjoy exploring the island and seeing the beauty that the Lord has created. My husband and I were married in 2010 and have added Weston (8) and Lorelai (6) to our family among our many moves. 
The Lord has matured my faith and trust in Him so much in the last few years, helping me to truly see my need for his work on the cross for my sins. During our last duty station in Valdosta, Georgia, I grew to know the Lord for who He is and who He has shown himself to be in His Word. Since then, my desire to know Him more has led me to learn to study the Bible, teach the Bible and teach other women how to study the Bible. As the only inerrant, inexhaustible resource we have, it is vital that we as women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and friends know how to read and apply God's Word. 
The desire that the Lord has placed on my heart is to equip women to read their Bibles for themselves and help them glorify the Lord through their service to the local church and community using the gifts that the Lord has given them. I am excited to facilitate studies, fellowship events, and training opportunities at Pillar as the Lord grows and matures the women in our family.

Elders

Elder

George Madrid

Erika and I arrived in Okinawa in March of 2020 after serving in the Air Force for four years in northern Japan. Erika and I met in North Carolina in December of 2008 while stationed at Seymour Johnson and were married in July of 2010. The Lord has blessed us with two beautiful children, Bria and Judah. It’s our desire to preach the gospel to all nations, telling people about Jesus, calling them to repentance and faith, and discipling them in everything that Christ taught. We’re so thankful to be here and have the opportunity to build a Christ-centered community with you!

Elder

Jason Rochester

Cathryn and I were married in December of 2017 and it has been a wonderful adventure since then.  We have three amazing daughters; Grace, Sophia, and Joy.  I serve as a reserve Navy chaplain. During our time together, we have been stationed at I MEF in southern California, and are now grateful to be here in Okinawa for this recall.  When not doing reserve work, I was most recently a chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. After having been introduced to the Pillar Family at Pillar Oceanside, we are excited to be part of Pillar Okinawa and to serve God here until fall of 2023.

Elder

Ethan Dalton

I met my wife Lauren at church in Washington D.C., and we married in Fredericksburg, VA, in 2019. We headed right out from there to begin our three-year honeymoon in Okinawa, courtesy of the US Marine Corps.

A few weeks after getting on the island, we attended Sunday service at Pillar and heard Jon Ransom preaching on Daniel. The call to living out our faith while working in public service, as exemplified in Daniel's life in the Babylonian court, resonated deeply in Jon's preaching.

We are passionate about living on mission in Okinawa and reaching our fellow servicemembers and Japanese neighbors with the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He's done for us.

Elder

Darren Pautz

Traci and I moved to Okinawa from Spangdahlem, Germany, in the fall of 2019. I have served in the Air Force for 18 years. The Lord has grown Traci and me in our desire to be fully immersed in the local church and build intentional relationships with those around us. The Lord has also given us a great desire to instill in families the importance of family worship and discipleship within the home.

Elder

Zachariah Pittman

Rachel and I met in Seattle during college, and we married in 2010. Since then, we have moved around with the Air Force and arrived in Okinawa at the end of 2017. Finding church families during each move had always been challenging. God provided Pillar Church almost immediately. Having a place to serve and be served has been such a blessing and a reason we want to call Okinawa home for as long as possible. We want to come alongside others through gospel-shaped relationships for a meaningful season of life on island. We have been blessed with 4 children Elliott, Pippa, Wilder, and Marielle.

Elder

Ron Coia

I arrived in Okinawa in 2008. As a teacher for the Department of Defense schools, I currently teach English and government at Kubasaki High School on Camp Foster.

My wife Kristie and I love serving the local church in a military context, as it is a ripe mission field with constant movement and change. Because of this, we strive to help others connect and grow in a gospel-centered community.

We have served with Pillar Okinawa since early 2016, and we want to encourage military members and their families to “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

I graduated from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon, and from Boston University in Massachusetts. We have three children: Hudson, Josiah, and Grace.

Elder

Grant Ellis

Hi, I'm Grant. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Lorna. In high school Lorna said that we would someday be missionaries; I was pretty hesitant to believe her. But...in the summer of 2001 I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and effectively became a missionary to the military communities that we would be stationed with. Lorna and I tied the knot in 2002 and we are blessed with three amazing boys, Gideon, Ephram, and Judah. Since God saved me as a teenager, I have firmly believed in worship as a way of life as outlined in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God also put a great desire for music in my heart and the desire to connect our mind and affections to the God of the universe through music. I have been leading worship through song for various churches and parachurch ministries since the late 1990's. In early 2016 I felt called to be a partner with the planting of Pillar Church of Okinawa by leading the weekly gathering in worship through song and I have loved this church family ever since. I retired from the Air Force in 2021 and have not looked back, but look forward to what God is doing through us all at Pillar here in Okinawa.

Lead Preaching Pastor

Jonathan Ransom

Linnea and I were married in 2004. God has blessed us with three children, Emma, Johnny, and Owen. In February of 2013 we moved to Jacksonville, NC, to join the team working together to plant Pillar Church of Jacksonville. One year later Pillar Jacksonville sent us to Oceanside, CA, to partner with the Martinez family for the purpose of planting Pillar Church of Oceanside. In early 2016, Pillar Church of Oceanside sent us to Japan to plant Pillar Church of Okinawa. I hold an M.Div. degree from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA, and served as a youth & associate pastor for five years prior to moving to Jacksonville.