Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Phipps' Family Visa renewed!

God blessed us. The Phipps' Family has been approved for another 3 years on their Missionary Visas to Japan. It was totally the Lord- we turned in their renewal about one week ago and its already back approved! God has great things for them in Okinawa still. And of course, we are the blessed ones by their love, support and ministry to us here.
Farah's mom and aunt came to visit for a week (they are twins- can you tell?). What a joy it was to have them here. Both are Christians who love the Lord and have given Farah a very Godly heritage.
Here's the whole Phipps' clan. Caleb says that the best thing about his dad is that "when it's dark outside, I like to wrestle with him".
Here's Jonah in his signature rain coat and green boots. He's definitely a "ham". Do you think he gets it from Farah or Glenn? I wonder.

Youth Servant Sunday

This past Sunday was Youth Servant Sunday where the High School and Jr. High ministries take over the service! They did such a great job serving the Lord and the church that morning. Please pray for our kids- we desire to continue to invest in the lives of the youth- fanning that flame for Jesus!
Wade did a great job in sharing announcements. He gave Glenn some competition for his spot.
We got all the students involved- even in the "behind the scenes" service that most don't notice. We were blessed by ALL- next time the kids want to do Valet Parking. What hearts of service. :)
My camera did a weird thing- it made a neat picture. Here was the youth leading in worship for Sunday morning. We were so blessed by their humbleness and heart to lift up the Name of Jesus.
Here's Maddy. She tried to escape after making announcements first service. All the students are great kids. They started a new ministry- each month, they go and help out some of the families that have deployed spouses. Last week, they mowed lawns, washed cars, help with kids, etc... please pray for them as they help to "in reach" to our military families. God bless you TC-1 (Sr. High) and Tsunami (Jr. High) students.

Womens' Ministry Leaders Breakfast

Early Saturday morning, part of the group of the gals that help to lead in our church's various ministries got together for a special time of fellowship, prayer and God's Word (we were missing a few but they were with us in spirit). We are so very blessed to have these and many other Godly women serving Jesus here at Calvary Okinawa.
We are blessed in the unity of diversity that God has formed in these servant leaders. We met at the Grand Mer Hotel - the breakfast was good but the fellowship was better!
At the end of the time, the girls broke off into pairs to pray for each other and to reflect upon God's Word- Luke 5 "God's Call to the Deep". Be on the look out for a Women's Retreat coming soon!

TC-1 Faith Factor Night

Our High School ministry, TC-1 meets regularly every Sunday morning during 2nd service in the Fellowship trailer - about twice a month, on Friday nights, the students get together for fun events. This past Friday it was FAITH FACTOR NIGHT.
One of the events was a competition to eat spam out of the can. For most of us, this is not really a problem... but uncooked spam, well, it has its special qualities. I think Yasutomo won by picking up the whole thing and took one big gulp to put it all away. You like the collage of spam?
Alex demonstrates his skills. I think the losing team had to eat "Bagaong" (Filipino shrimp brine)... it wasn't the favorite.
Maricela became the Faith Factor Champion that night. K.O.'s = 17, W=17, L=0
She is now known as the "Punisher Longoria".
There was a race to build a puzzle. The losers ate fish heads. Yuck. You'd never see kids work so fast to build a puzzle. Amazing what can motivate teens. Parents you should try it.

Andre Jones Retirement Ceremony

Our very dear brother, Andre Jones invited us to his retirement ceremony last week. It was neat. Andre has served in the Navy for 27 years! He is one Christian full of life and joy for Jesus- both in our church and in the Navy- what an awesome testimony he has.

Here's a picture of all the Navy Chiefs getting together for a photo. Becoming a Chief Petty Officer is one of the greatest achievements of an enlisted sailor in the Navy.
Here we are with Tom Ruiz, Andre Jones, Rick Barnett, Glenn Phipps and Michael Marks.
Here Andre is about to receive his US flag as part of his retirement.
It was pretty cool being there. There were a number of Christians there. Here on stage, the Major is a Christian, and the Master Chief standing with Andre is our very own Sherman Boss! He just broke his ribs in a bike accident- but that guy's the bionic man. God protected him.

Ella Svea Andersen Dedication

Today was a special day for the Andersen family. You all know Matt & Jess - Matt's parents were in town and joined in as we dedicated little Ella Svea Andersen to the Lord. Matt & Jess are a wonderful couple that God has blessed with many gifts and talents.
Please pray for them (and us) as they plan to return to the states this summer to serve the Lord in New Jersey.

Our Adorable Ben

Okay, I couldn't resist to put up pictures for our "Big Ben" or as our kids now call him, "Ben Ben".
It's amazing that he is almost 6 months old now (March 6). Where did the time fly?
He still has his signature "swirly typhoon hair". He is such a joy to our family, we thought we share our joy again with you all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Homeless Outreach 4

We gather at 3pm to prepare the food by chopping veggies, cooking, getting blankets, loading water and gospel tracts to pass out to the community.
On this day, we made an Okinawan favorite, Yaki-Soba. Junko and John did the cooking - we got to sample some too - it was totemo ooshii-desu! (very delicious)
We went to three different parks in Okinawa City where we passed out food, blankets and got to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Okinawans. At one of the parks, we found this Cherry Blossom tree. It reminds me of the new birth that faith in Christ provides. This is the message of the cross we bring to Okinawa.

The Lord blessed the entire day- it had been raining in the morning but cleared up to allow us to go out. Please pray for us - we meet every 3rd Saturday @ 3pm to cook, and then @ 5pm we head out to various parks to "call those on the highways and by-ways" for Jesus.

Tsunami (Jr. High Ministry) Service Project Day

The Jr. High students met at the church before heading out to do their service project. God is doing a great work IN them and THRU them. Today, they went around to mow lawns, wash cars, and clean up for some of the families that have deployed spouses- what a blessing these kids are! Please pray for our Jr. High ministry- our wonderful leaders, the Langley's will be PCS'ing in a few months. We are hopeful God will bring someone to take the mantle and continue forward.

more pix of "A Love That Lasts" Valentines Dinner

This is Pat & Jodi Wall. The Wall's are a tremendous blessing. Jodi heads up our Nursery ministry and has many gifts including organizing this wonderful event- thanks Jodi- you did an amazing job!
Okay- I got that picture of Niel & Vanessa! Valentines is their anniversary! Plus- double blessings... the Orpilla's just had another baby-a baby girl! Congratulations Orpilla family!

This is Jesus & Naomi. They are such a joy. Naomi makes the world's greatest sopapilla's (mexican donuts)! They rival the standing of snickerdoodles.

"A Love That Lasts" Valentines Dinner

The church held its annual Valentines Couple's Dinner and it was a blast. This year we were at Kinser Surfside - it was awesome! We had a fun night of doing the usual playing games of how well you know your spouse, great food (Jodi & Patrick Wall picked the "Chuck Wagon"), great fellowship, dancing and we were all encouraged from God's Word, 1 Cor. 13 "A Love that Lasts".

Friday, February 16, 2007

Calvary Kids Club

On Wednesday nights, our kids gather together for a special time called "Calvary Kids Club". This past Wednesday, they had a theme night called "Food around the World". Many people from the church brought in food from their country or culture. Glenn reported that it was more than he expected. The kids got to sample food from India, Philippines, Afghanistan, Persian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Japanese, American, and as Pat Wall said, from the country of Texas too. Thank you to everyone who made the food for the kids- not only did they enjoy the various dishes- but they prayed for each country that God would do a mighty work in each of those far away lands- even Texas! :)
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Wednesday Night- Valentines Dessert Potluck

here is Gershon, one of the new bible college kids. he is from Germany. we were really blessed tonight by his leading of worship. he's a really humble kid. he is 1/3 of the current ccbc team helping out here. michael (pictured below) and Casie were serving in the children's ministry.
after services, we all stayed around for a time of sweet fellowship- literally! there was soo many desserts there- mike silva, you would have been proud... vanessa o. is continuing the tradition of dessert potluck for you.
it was tim & cecelia's anniversary (11 years!) Plus it was Tim's birthday! God is so good. We love you Norris family- we rejoice in God's graces upon your lives!
It was also Niel & Vanessa Orpilla's anniversary too! I couldn't find them to get a picture- I think they were hiding out somewhere- yikes! at church? hee hee.. just joking... but the Orpilla's celebrated 6 years of wonderful matrimony! Pray for Vanessa- she's due any day now! Niel likes the name "Quintessa". No.. seriously.

here's our good brother Pat Wall. He's always traveling so when we get to see him- its a blessing- here he is convincing Nathan that the cake thingies that Jodi made were better than the coffee cake that Kelli made. Joe says- neither- Tami's cup cakes win.

somehow someone snuck in fruit to the dessert potluck. it was okay because we need to eat healthy too sometimes. glenn used the apples to scoop out the fudge- does that count?

Ashley @ CCBC Jerusalem

Pictured in the left is Ashley Prutch. She is in her final semester of bible college @ CCBC Jerusalem. She is having a blast and sent some photos of her time there. This past holiday break, we were blessed as Ashley served with us every week in the office. Her family is a huge blessing- they live on Okinawa and fellowship with us here at Calvary. Please pray for Ashley and all the students there, here and elsewhere. God bless you Ashley- we miss you tons!

pastoral luncheon

Every month, a group of American pastors gather for a lunch time fellowship. Some of these guys have been ministering on Okinawa for 20+ years! It is an honor and blessing to get to know these men. Its been great to see how the body of Christ can work together for God's glory here on Okinawa. I know that many have gone before us in plowing, planting and sowing...As Jesus said in John 4:36-38 "And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."We are blessed to enter into their labors. God has been doing a good work here on Okinawa long before we came, but He desires to continue to do more in the lives of all those that call Okinawa home and we get to be a part of that work! "So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but GOD who gives the increase!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Noah turns 8

I feel old. Noah turned 8 years old this week. It is amazing how fast time flies. Kristy and I are so blessed by our "Chyonan" (Okinawan for first born son). It's hard to believe that when we arrived here, he had just turned 2 yrs old. Please pray for him- he just started at OCSI after 3 years at Japanese school. Love you buddy!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Open Hearts & Open Homes

Every few months, our church has what we call "Open Hearts & Open Homes" Dinner fellowships. It's where one family hosts by opening their home and other familes come over for a sweet time of fellowship and dinner. Every time that we have them- God is always so good to connect people together and build lasting, loving relationships. The next two weekends, the church is having our Open Hearts & Open Homes fellowship. Plug in!

While we were in California, we were so blessed to re-connect with a few families that we have come to sincerely love and appreciate - friendships that will last eternity. The Reedy family graciously opened their home to over 30 of us as we gathered for a mini-reunion. Matt, the Velardes', the Silva's, Jessica, the Reedy's, the Garcia's (Orlando has 5 girls!), the Rettedal's (Mandy finally gave in), our family, Phil & Rebekah (missionaries in Costa Rica) and Danny & Michelle (recently returned from Morrocco) - these were Damian's buds - but became new family for us!
It is amazing to see how the family of God continues to grow and how so blessed we are in Christ Jesus to have incredible friends like these.