Hirohisa “Hiro” Hogaki, a two-time alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, tragically drowned July 16 in his native Japan while rescuing two of his children from drowning.
Hogaki earned his bachelor’s degree from what is now known as Texas Baptist College in 2010 and his master of arts in theology from Southwestern Seminary in 2020.
As reported by The Chunichi Shimbun, Hogaki, his wife, Ruthann, and their seven children were swimming when two of his children were pulled into the ocean. Hogaki swam out to search for his children, but drowned in the process. Both children were unharmed. Hogaki was discovered by other swimmers in the area and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hogaki was formerly the pastor of First Japanese Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, before moving to plant a church in Shimane, Japan.
According to a GoFundMe page established by a family friend to offset funeral expenses, the Hogakis had the goal to build a chapel in Shimane where Hogaki would perform wedding ceremonies for people.
While Hogaki was close to completing the chapel, the work remains unfinished, the author of the GoFundMe page noted.
The Hogakis were sent and supported by Rock Creek Baptist Church in Crowley, Texas, where he was also ordained. While at Rock Creek, Hogaki befriended Robby Lusk while ministering to English-speaking people who were interested in serving in Japan.
“I got to spend a lot of time with Hiro, and I know he was a godly man,” said Lusk in an interview with Southwestern Seminary. “He was always looking for ways to raise his children better, how to spend more time with his family, and he always sought counsel from others in a very humble way.”
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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by James Dugger and originally published by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.