Leadership

Administrative Staff

Administration & Children's Ministry Team Leader

Krystal Cerrillo

Hi there! By the grace of God I am able to be here in Okinawa, sharing a little about my story with you, friend! My experience of being embedded in the Military culture and lifestyle started early on, as my Dad was a Marine. We landed in Beaufort, SC where my family retired and it is there that I met my sweet husband, Ryan! We were married in 2016, but have spent six beautiful years together in total. Ryan joined the Marine Corps upon graduating High School. From that point on, in calling us to know Him deeper, The Lord has stretched us, pruned us, and sanctified us over many seasons. Some fruitful and some dry. I attended Winthrop University in South Carolina and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and moved here to join Ryan at our first duty station just three days later. At Winthrop, I was plugged in with Reformed University Fellowship, where I enjoyed community and tasted the sweetness of living in Christ’s freedom more and more in my understanding of Who He is and who I am to Him. I love coffee, opening up our home to have people over, spending time with our pup, and thrifting! I am presently pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration at Troy University so that I can one day work in a non-profit organization for Christ’s fame and renown. My God-given passion is service to others. I love working with children, and I find so much joy in just being around them! That is my heart. My hope is to be used by The Lord in however He wills for my life to glorify Him and love on His Church. I am excited to serve in Children’s Ministry and Church Administration with Pillar Church of Okinawa, not by my own merit or accord, but by the loving and sovereign grace of Christ.

Biblical Counseling & Church Planting Administration

Satomi Shirai

I was born and grew up in Hiroshima, Japan. I moved to San Diego to attend a community college to learn English and Business. About the time I graduated the college, I was saved to believe in Christ though the group called International Christian Fellowship in Escondido, California. I was going to continue my business education, but I decided to go to a bible college to study the Word and biblical counseling. I graduated in 2014. I received so much support and was blessed by Christian friends and pastor in San Diego who helped me through a difficult time of my life, especially when I needed to adjust back to living in Japan, which was not what I wanted or planned to do. However, I had the opportunity to grow in my relationship with God and my faith in Him because of this difficulty. I might not be able to go through it by myself, but I could go through it with the support of my friends. I would like to support and encourage people through God’s Word, especially women who get hurt or are in a difficult season. I am excited to see how God will use me for ministry to women and through serving as communications and cross-cultural engagement coordinator with Pillar Church of Okinawa!

Missional Leadership Team

Deacon

Matt Mulherin

Matt was born and raised in rural Michigan. Veronica was born in Ecuador and moved to New York at the age of 15. They both enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 and met in 2000 while stationed in Okinawa. Happily married since 2001, God has blessed them with two children, Natalie and Matthew Jr. This is their third tour in Okinawa and they affectionately call it their second home.

Women's Ministry

Rachel Pittman (left)

Rachel married her husband, Zachariah, during college, and after five Air Force moves they arrived in Okinawa at the end of 2017. They found Pillar the second Sunday on island and have been enjoying living in community as part of the family ever since. Finding churches during each move had always been challenging, but God provided a place to serve and be served so quickly—such a blessing! Each move has demonstrated God’s sovereignty. His perfect timing has given Rachel the opportunity to come alongside the women of Pillar Okinawa to grow in gospel shaped relationships studying, rehearsing, and sharing together. 

Rachel and Zachariah are blessed with their three kids—Elliott, Pippa, and Wilder.

Women's Ministry

Liz Raub (right)

Liz and her husband Jimmy grew up together in western New York and were married in 2011. Jimmy’s job with the Army brought him, Liz, and their daughter Ellie to Okinawa in September of 2017. To date, Okinawa has been their favorite duty station; the community and gospel centered teaching they found at Pillar Church are some of the main reasons. Pillar has played a vital role in the health of their family as well as spur them on to live a life worthy of the gospel. God has used the people at Pillar to show His Faithfulness to them time and time again.

Liz is thankful and humbled to be able to serve with, learn from, and do life with the women at Pillar during their time here.

Story Team Lead

Halley Hewitt

Hey friends! I originally grew up in Ewa Beach, Hawaii on the island of Oahu! So filled with Hawaiian history, I have always connected with the diverse culture of my homeland. Throughout my childhood, I paddled for Outrigger Canoe Club, played serious club volleyball, and enjoyed the varsity debate team with my homeschool mates! I started my college experience near home at Leeward Community College. Here, I invested in all art classes like photography and graphic design because these were my passions and to be honest, I did not know what to study specifically. After a semester, I decided to transition to the mainland! While I stayed with grandparents in Dana Point, California, I attended Saddleback Community college and started attending different churches in the area. I met my husband, Michael Hewitt, at South Shores Baptist church. I had a HUGE crush on him and his heart for the gospel, but apparently many ladies did! I mean, look at his smile! I saw him graduate high school and attend boot-camp but I moved on to Hope International University to study the Bible and Liberal Arts within Elementary Education. During those two years, I started shooting weddings, senior portraits and sports events at school while working part-time at a few school districts. I soon committed myself as a member of South Shores Baptist Church and became intimately involved in ministry. Michael and I reconnected after two years, started dating soon after, and a year later, we got ENGAGED! We both shared passions of reaching nations, home-hospitality and coffee! But we never thought these passions would unfold in relocating to Okinawa, Japan! We are so glad the Lord knows better! I love capturing beauty of nature and beloved relationship stories with excellence. I love meeting new friends over a vanilla iced-lattes! I love sunny days compared to rainy days. And I love exploring new places with my sweet husband!

Financial Stewardship

Jon Simburger

Jon and Melissa moved from a small town in southern Illinois to Okinawa with a desire to make Jesus famous in Japan. Jon has 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. They both currently work at Okinawa Christian School International, Jon as the school’s business manager and Melissa as a K3 aide. In the Fall of 2016, they joined Pillar Church of Okinawa. On mission with the church, their 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.

Fight Club Coach

Zach Daugherty

Zach has a passion to see men grow in their walk with the Lord. God put the desire in his heart after meeting the Navigators and seeing the need for strong male leaders in families and churches. This is his third time in Okinawa and he’s served in the Marine corps since 2002. He and his wife met in high school and married in 2002 and have 3 sons. Together they have a passion to see marriages and families grow to experience the joy the Lord wants for them!

Elders

Elder

Michael Hewitt

Michael has served in multiple capacities during his station in Okinawa. Since the start of the new year Michael has served as Pillar Church of Okinawa’s new elder.

Michael and Halley Hewitt actually don’t remember where or when they first met but they knew it happened probably at a coffee shop surrounded by mutual friends from church. Halley was attending college. Michael had just graduated high school and joined the Marine Corps.
Year down the road, they remained friends and then started dating. During that time, they served together on the hospitality team as well as teaching in the church’s elementary and middle school ministries. After one year of dating, they got married and submitted the reenlistment package for Okinawa.

They seriously love Okinawa living, especially the unique coffee culture here on this little island!

Executive Pastor

Jon Simburger

Jon and Melissa moved from a small town in southern Illinois to Okinawa with a desire to make Jesus famous in Japan. Jon has 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. They both currently work at Okinawa Christian School International, Jon as the school’s business manager and Melissa as a K3 aide. In the Fall of 2016, they joined Pillar Church of Okinawa. On mission with the church, their 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.

Elder

Ron Coia

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

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

They have served with Pillar Okinawa since early 2016, and they 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).

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

Elder

Grant Ellis

Grant is married to his high school sweetheart Lorna. In high school Lorna told Grant that they would someday be missionaries; he was hesitant to believe her. In the summer of 2001 Grant joined the U.S. Air Force effectively becoming a missionary to the military communities he would be stationed with. Lorna and Grant were married in 2002 and are blessed with two amazing boys, Gideon and Ephram. Since God saved Grant as a teenager he has 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 on Grant’s heart and the desire to connect our mind and affections to the God of the universe through music. Grant has been leading worship through song for various churches and parachurch ministries for the past 18 years. He felt called in early 2016 to partner with the Ransoms and Fuglers in the planting of Pillar Church of Okinawa by leading the weekly gathering in worship through song.

Elder

Jack Free

Jack and his wife Michele are from Prescott, Arizona where they met in high school and married in 2003. In 2005 Jack joined the Marine Corps. Eventually their journey brought them to Okinawa in June of 2016 and they have been part of the Pillar family since.

Executing multiple household moves and weathering deployments have given the Frees a heart for hospitality and showing love towards Christ’s family.

Jack and Michele are blessed with four wonderful children: Jenny, Levi, Heather, and Rebecca.

Lead Preaching Pastor

Jonathan Ransom

Jonathan and Linnea were married in 2004. God has blessed them with three children, Emma, Johnny, and Owen. In February of 2013 Jon and his family moved to Jacksonville, NC, to join the team working together to plant Pillar Church of Jacksonville. One year later Pillar Jacksonville sent the Ransoms 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 the Ransoms to Japan to plant Pillar Church of Okinawa. Jon holds 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.