March 18, 1924 – March 27, 2012
Former missionary Ernest Huston died March 27, 2012. His funeral service was held March 31 in Pasadena, California. Ernest and his wife, Lucy, served more than 22 years in Paraguay through education and evangelism ministries.
Ernest Huston was born in Charbonneau, North Dakota. The early part of his life was spent on the farm where his family was active in the Holiness Methodist Church. As a senior in high school, Ernest totally dedicated his life to God. He felt God’s call to missions work after he had been preaching for some time. He first studied theology in Minnesota and then attended Chicago Evangelistic Institute, Illinois. During his years at the institute, he served as assistant pastor at the Holiness Methodist Church in Seneca, Illinois.
Ernest then entered Seattle Pacific University, Washington. During his college studies, Ernest met Lucy Solomon and they were married in November 1947.
Ernest organized and directed the building of the North City FMC, Seattle, Washington, and served as pastor there until his and Lucy’s missionary appointment in June 1956. Following language study in Costa Rica, the Huston family arrived in Paraguay in September 1957.
Ernest’s desire was to work among people who had no opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. He had a variety of roles including pastor, evangelist, Bible school director and superintendent. Ernest also worked with churches in planning evangelistic campaigns. The Hustons were instrumental in beginning FM work in the Japanese section of Paraguay. In 1960, they moved to Encarnacion to work among some 4,000 Japanese immigrants.
Ernest traveled to remote areas of the country in a Cessna 180 plane he piloted. When called upon to make emergency flights to carry sick and wounded to receive medical attention, he used the opportunity to share the gospel. In addition to people, Ernest also carried calves, goats and supplies for others in his plane.
Toward the end of their missionary service in April 1979, the Hustons wrote, “After all these more than 20 years, our Free Methodists here are showing maturity and spiritual growth. The majority of the church leaders are nationals now, and it’s exciting to see former Sunday school children as teachers or leading the services.”
The Hustons returned to the U.S. in 1980 where Ernest returned to pastoral ministry.
Ernest’s Colleague Writes
Missionary colleague Tim Shumaker writes, Ernie and Lucy Huston worked alone for many years and laid the groundwork for the Free Methodist Church in Paraguay today. My wife, Phyllis, and I served with Ernie and Lucy for three years. We learned to be missionaries from them. When we arrived, Ernie and Lucy had been there almost six years without a furlough, and our appointment was a chance for us to relieve them for a year.
One of the most important aspects of Lucy and Ernie’s work was with the Japanese immigrants. In the southern city of Encarnacion, they worked with a Japanese couple, Minoru and Yoko Tsukamoto, to establish three churches in the area among Japanese families who came to clear the jungle for homestead farms. During that ministry, Ernie helped to baptize more than 300 Japanese converts. When the Hustons returned to Asuncion to take over the mission from retired missionaries, Ernie continued to work with Japanese immigrants in the north of the county in the town of Pedro Juan Caballero and in interior towns like La Colmena and Acahay. This meant long hours of travel on bad roads or by air in bad weather.
Ernie was quiet, steady and persistent. He had limited resources but he used them all to advance the Gospel. Phyllis and I learned much from Ernie and Lucy. We rejoice in the fact they are both now in the presence of the Lord and are part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who observe our work today.”