SUEHIRO, WAICHI JAMES
Waichi Suehiro, elder brother of Eiji, was born in Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, on April 11, 1895. As a seaman, he jumped ship in Seattle, Washington, and began a new life without an American visa! (In those days, people who landed in the United States without legal process were known as jumpers. Waichi was a jumper.)

Soon Waichi came to Southern California and worked at a restaurant on Spring Street in Los Angeles. In those days, a Caucasian group was doing street evangelism and Waichi was inspired by their countenance and eagerness. Although he had never read the Bible before, Waichi began to read it with great expectation and joy. He read it as an example for good living; however, the more he read it, the more he was convicted of his sins. Although he repented of his sinful life many times at evangelistic meetings, he had no assurances from the Lord. He expected salvation through his own sophisticated ideas. One day God opened his spiritual eyes with a Bible verse, “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). On January 26, 1921, he was baptized at the Free Methodist Mission in Japanese Town, Los Angeles.

Waichi was married to Hanako Washiyama on August 21, 1934, in Los Angeles by Sadaichi Kuzuhara. Hanako had been born in Hawaii in 1904 and had been raised in Fukuoka, Kyushu. She had graduated from Doshisha in 1925 and had become an English teacher in Fukuoka-ken. In 1928, she had arrived in the United States and attended Pasadena College. Her father was a minister of both Congregational and Lutheran churches in Hawaii and Japan.
Waichi went to Azusa Bible College before the war. During World War II, he was sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. In 1943, during the camp period, Waichi joined the Holiness Church. The following year, he went to Oxford near Cincinnati, Ohio, and taught Japanese. He also began pioneer work in that area. On August 27, 1944, Waichi was ordained by Sadaichi Kuzuhara at the OMS Holiness Church Minister’s Meeting in Moody Church in Chicago. Ten ministers gathered at the meeting.

After Cincinnati, Waichi went to Pennsylvania for a secular job and remained until he was called to the Seattle Church. On February 26, 1947, he was assigned to rebuild the church in the postwar era. After a year, the Suehiro family moved into the Kiyoko Motoda house, which served as a church. The first floor was used for church activities, while the second floor served as the parsonage. In March 1958, Waichi was elected as chairman of the Japanese ministerial body in Seattle. In 1963, he retired from the Seattle Church after sixteen years as a minister. Due to some conflicts with Kiyoko Motoda, the church was closed in 1966.
On November 10, 1973, Waichi Suehiro passed away in peace. His wife Hanako passed away on January 17, 1989 in Hawaii. Two children were born to Waichi and Hanako: Joshua currently lives in Seattle, while Ruth resides in Hawaii.


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