Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Philippines Trip- Day 1: The Journey

Our small team left on Tuesday, April 17th. We flew from Okinawa to Manila. We then needed to catch a plane to Dumaguete.
Here's Derek and Ken as we wait in line to check in. It was hot!
There were soooo many people in the airport. Our flight was delayed several hours- our adventure begins.

We arrived in Dumageute. God blessed us- we were able to stay with the Calvary Chapel Training Center there. It is a part of the CC Bible College extension campuses. Pictured with us, Pastor Jing, he is the Senior Pastor for the Center, and Pastor Todd, who oversees the College specifically. These were neat brothers.
This is where we got to stay. The rooms were nice and we got the whole building to ourselves.

The Onaga's and Butler O' Club lunch

After services, we were treated to the Butler O' Club for buffet lunch. Gil isn't the biggest Japanese food fan, so this was the perfect spot for him.
Pictured across from Doogie, is Ken Onaga. Ken brought his wife and 90 year old Okinawa mother from Hawaii to visit. They stayed with Doogie for about a week and we got to help play host to them. It was so neat to meet them. The Onaga's fellowship at Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

This was the clan that went to lunch. Kristy is pictured with the Onaga's.

Baby Dedication: Eva Chura Albrecht

Its always a blessing to dedicate children unto the Lord and ask for God's blessings upon the family. Today we were blessed to dedicate little Eva Chura Albrecht to Jesus.

Pastor Gil Garcia shares

It was such a blessing to have Pastor Gil come and share with the church. Gil was one of two wonderful men that God used in my life to bring me to Christ. Perhaps one day, Jim Tebeau will also come and visit too.
As always, Gil did a great job teaching the Word. We were all encouraged and blessed.

God has continued to use Gil in my life. He is one of the pastors that I respect highly and keeps me accountable in my own walk with Christ. He doesn't pull any punches and helps to keep me in line. It was a delight to have him. Thanks Gil.

Men's Breakfast

The guys got together Saturday morning for our monthly Men's Breakfast. This past month we met at Stack's. It was a great time of fellowship, worship and God's Word.

Steve Gaines exhorted the men in the Word with living lives devoted to Christ.
Here's Nathan getting a cup of java.

Calvary Ginowan Worship Conference

Calvary Ginowan sponsored a Worship Conference and several pastors came to support. It was a neat time of reunion with the guys and hearing the messages God gave them.
Pictured above are pastors, Travis from Tokorozawa, Gil from Bakersfield, and Jeremiah from Tokyo.
After the sessions, there was a time of fellowship, it was good to reconnect with familiar faces and meet some new folks too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Baptized

Working from the upper left top... Praise God for... Jennifer, Hannah, Lisa, and Mrs. Nishihara (this is Keisuke's mom and Lisa is Keisuke's sister!!!) What a blessing to baptize them both. I know that Keisuke would have loved to been there.
Praise God for Yasutomo... for Colby... for Hunter.. a total of 7 in all that day! The number of completion- and a perfect ending to a perfect day in the Lord! What a blessing!
Here's the crew. Despite the cold water, you just had a warm fuzzy inside.
And the Holy Spirit descended upon Juan Y.... just kidding... here's an action shot of Yasutomo coming out of the water... oh yeah!

Baptisms After Picnic

After lunch, we got together on the beach for baptisms. It was the cherry on the cake! What an honor it is be a part of this special event in the life of a believer. The blessings of God just continued through the whole day.
We gathered on the boardwalk for a time of worship and sharing from God's Word. Acts chapter 8 records for us when the Ethiopian treasurer asked Philip, "What hinders me from being baptized?" Philip answered, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." The man was baptized on the spot.
A group from the church came out to show their support and love for those being baptized today.
Thank you everyone who came out and prayed, supported and loved on the folks taking this very important step in their life of faith.

Picnic Fellowship After Service

We had to stay true to the "Calorie Chapel" traditions :) After service, we got together and had a big CCO family picnic right there at the beach park- You know after Jesus rose from the dead, He met the two guys on the road to Emmaus - walked with them, taught them - and then had a meal with them together - so we had a meal together.
Here's Cindy Langley "Super Servant" extraordinaire... what a blessing she is! Look, so professional too... gloves and all. Thanks Cindy for getting everything prepared! We had forks and spoons this year too! :)
Even in line, we got to fellowship and meet new folks. Derek Norris is giving me that look... "don't take a picture of me, I'm hungry".
We took over the park benches - praise the Lord they put up new awnings- it made for a perfect place to hang out, eat and fellowship.
The wonderful Longoria familia. Naomi is our "sopapilla angel". Did I spell that right?
Ah, the beauty of the blue tarps in Okinawa. They make for a great picnic blanket. Here's the Pol family... Hunter Pol (eating the chips) was getting ready for his baptism that day! Yahoo!

Our God Reigns! Our Jesus Lives!

What can you say? God is too good. Once again, He proved Himself faithful and mighty by holding back the rain. The weather reports said 95% of rain. It rained all the night prior but for our outdoor Easter Service, God blessed us. Of course, not just us, but all the other churches and chapels that met outside that day on Okinawa! What an amazing testimony for the Lord!
Pictured above is our worship team. They did a wonderful job leading in beautiful worship! It was great to be outside with the ocean as our backdrop and worship the God of all Creation- both in English and Japanese.
The overcast clouds above didn't keep us from coming out to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If a stone couldn't keep Him, a few threatening clouds are nothing.
It was a great day. God deserves all the glory. Even the Okinawan sound workers and the parks people were blown away that God held back the rain. They came to us after and said it was a miracle! It was a miracle in deed! Thank you Lord.

Kids ministering @ Easter

So, we got all the kids up on stage to minister to the parents and adults in song. It was awesome. God continues to bless us with the wonderful Children's ministry servants and the best kids. In addition to the songs, a few kids got in a "hello Mom" in there.
Here, Jeremy is about to lead them in a special song. Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

The little ones on their way to the stage...
They did such a great job in song. How blessed we are by our kids ministry!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter morning preparations... will it rain?

The sky's were threatening. The forecast said 95% of rain. We had a huge down pour all through the night.... but in faith we moved forward... trusting and hoping...
The children's ministry team were decked in blue and gathered early for set up and prayer. What a huge blessing these folks are to our kids. We have the best children's ministry ever! (Is that too boastful, sorry)
The work crews were out early to help set up for our picnic afterwards and get all things prepared for the church. It was great to have so many come out to help. What servants!

Wednesday: Pastor Tom Hallman

Last Wednesday, Pastor Tom Hallman shared with us in a great study. It was so good to see Tom again. Some might remember that he came out 4 years ago to do one of our first marriage retreats. It was good to have him back. Please pray for CC Williamsburg and for the Hallman family. We love you guys!

F-15 Fighter Jet Tour

Lt. Col. Wayne Martin is a F-15 Fighter Jet pilot who knows his stuff. However, he will be the first to admit, the most important thing he knows is that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior. Wayne blessed the crew from Virginia with an incredible tour of the fighter jets. We got the "behind the scenes" tour from someone who flies and loves the Lord. Thanks Wayne!
We're getting the brief outside before we go into the Squadron HQ.
Here's Pastor Tony and assistant, Jimbo sitting in the pretty sweet brief room.
Nick, one of the kids from Williamsburg is a part of the Civil Air Patrol and was stoked to be able to do this. Wayne was gracious enough to stand for a picture- he actually belongs to the other squadron but we won't tell.

Sunday: Praise Celebration KOMI

Last Sunday night, many churches on the island gathered at a Celebration of Praise event sponsored by KOMI (Kingdom Outreach Ministry International). The turn-out was great and it was a neat time to worship the Lord in a variety of worship styles. I was blessed. It has been a great blessing for me personally to partner with other churches and fellowships on Okinawa that love Jesus and have a heart to worship God and outreach to the lost.
We are in the business of building His kingdom and not our own. What a witness and testimony Christ receives when we as His collective church work together for His glory! We are blessed to be a small part of God's big plans for Japan and for Okinawa.

Sunday: Youth Paintball Outing

The High School Youth, Jr. High Youth and a handful of "youthful" guys gathered Sunday and made their way out for some friendly paintball fellowship. Do those two words go together?
Here they are, the group returned, thankfully with smiles, fun stories, especially of Glenn and some war wounds to brag about.
The Jr. High crew ("Tsunami") looking hard...
No Lauren, that's not a hickey, that's the kiss of a paintball fired at Ed at close range. Ed, who is a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Instructor who does that for a living, unfortunately couldn't dodge the paintball fired at him by his OWN teammate! Ooops.
Oh yeah, even the Senior Chief was the receipient of a few good shots. This one even bled!
Matthew Hallman was visiting from Virginia with Nick. We wanted to give him something to remember us by! Here's one for now and the other for the road!