Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sweet Yellow Ninja

There was this picture that grabbed my attention on the front cover of a local magazine. The article was about the history of a town of ninja in mainland Japan called Ueno. You can go there and still experience some of the old culture - kinda like an old cowboy town but with ninjas. They were famous for hiding in the shadows. (it'd be hard for this kid in banana yellow).

As Christians, God doesn't want us hiding in the shadows. He has called us out from darkness into His marvelous light that we might proclaim His praises.

Anyways, I just really dug the picture. If you click on it, check out the kid's eyes.

Japanese Outreach VBS

The church did a VBS for our Okinawan kids and invited the neighborhood out too.
The crew did a great job in decorating. We were able to use the same theme as our earlier VBS and be a blessing to the kids.
They were divided into different age groups and we rotated them through the various stations.
Here the kids were getting instructions for the game time.
Rika is showing the example of the craft for today. It was fun fish made from a blank cd. The kids learned about Jesus calling Peter to become fishers of men.
Of course, we had the ever popular snack time.
These boys came over from the "danchi" (Okinawan Government subsidized apartments). God has been good to us. For the past few years, we have done several outreaches to the community there. It is always a praise. We are blessed to share the good news of Jesus Christ to the kids.

The Beautiful Morales Family

It was a true blessing of God for us to pray along side the Morales Family (Ricardo, Melissa, Jay and Elly) as they dedicated their children to the Lord. The Morales Family came to know Christ in Hawaii and plugged into Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor. We have been so blessed by their fellowship. Please pray for Ricardo- he is Marine and will be deploying soon to Iraq for several months.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Brickl's Baby! Congratulations!

Meet Charlie Chance Brickl!
Dan & Kelly were blessed by the Lord in adopting their new baby!
We are so happy for you guys! We miss you tons and can't wait to meet Charlie in person!
Love you guys- God bless!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back in the Day

Our first trip as a group was in October 2000. The team was made up of a group from Livingwater and CC Whittier. Here Richard is impressed with Alfredo's playing. Alfredo had previously lived in Okinawa as a Navy dependent. He used to play in the clubs but now as a Christian, he had come back a new man to share the love of Christ in worship. If you look real carefully, you will see Tom on the drums.
Pastor Alvin shared the message at the Door of Faith Church. This would later become the building God gave us and the beginning of the ministry of Calvary Chapel Okinawa.
Deb, Richard, Jen, Alvin, Ally and Willie...
Farah was a part of that first team too. Her sister, Jen was one of our first missionaries after we moved here in Feb. 01. On this trip, Farah was pregnant with Caleb. One funny thing is that the apartment were the school put us in would later become where Glenn and Farah lived when they ministered at OCSI.

Super Old School

Calvary Chapel started out as a bible study on Sunday nights. At that time, the Lord brought Jacob Villa, who we love like a son to this day, and Jon & Vanessa Fredriksen, who will always be our family. Jon & Jacob led worship for us.
This when God brought our first missionary, Richard Bueno. Richard was and continues to be a huge blessing to us. We are grateful to the Lord for His bringing Richard. We thankful to Livingwater for sending him out to us. Pastor Tom announced one day without Richard even knowing- he is going to Okinawa to help Rick.
The super early gang. Michiko, Susie, DeeDee, Akiko and Vanessa.
Look at Bekah! She looks like Ben with a wig on! What crack up! The good old brown van.
We had such great stories... so many tires we went through... no a/c in the hottest summer in OKinawan history!... when Lester and Aaron left the roof open and it rained all night... it became a pool... then he made Judy clean it up... when the Livingwater team accidently took the wrong brown van out of the OCSI parking lot.... ah, the history of the vehicles are just as lively as the people. God is good.

Japanese Outreach Fellowship Luncheon

On the first Sunday of the month, we have our Japanese Outreach Fellowship time. It is open to all but geared towards the Okinawans and Japanese. It is our heart to reach out to our community with the love of Jesus. This luncheon time gives us an opportunity to get to know each other and to invite our unsaved friends to an informal fellowship.
As you can see, and with many of the Okinawan and Japanese churches, the women are open and receptive more than the men. It is an interesting dynamic to observe. We praise the Lord regardless and pray for more men to saved and raised up in the church.
Here, Naka-san is teaching from Genesis 3. Please pray for us and with us. The vision is that God will continue to bless this endeavor and it will grow into a home study or similar.


It was great to see both Yumi and Keisuke. They came out to the baptisms too.

Keisuke's been away at college in China. While he was away, his mom & sister got saved and were baptized on Easter. After years of praying for them, Keisuke was just so blessed to hear that God had finally answered his prayers. We continue to pray for his dad too!

We are looking forward to the fellowship time we will enjoy with Keisuke and with Yumi.

Beach Baptisms

After our Anniversary BBQ on Sunday, a group of us gathered at Nakagusuku Beach for worship and baptisms.
It was a hot humid day but what a blessing for those getting baptized to have the love and support of the body of Christ.
Nick and his wife, Erin were the first.
Then our dear sister, Seiko. Seiko is Okinawan and she is deaf. It is amazing that she is so faithful to come to church to learn the Word of God. Vanessa O. was her very good friend that knew American sign language and would translate the message for her. The crazy thing is that Seiko knows Japanese sign language but through God's grace, she was able to understand and communicate with Vanessa. Seiko continues to come and others are helping as best we can. We are praying that God would bring us or raise up another person to help Seiko through sign. Please pray for her and for God to bring us a translator. Seiko has brought many friends to church over the past two years too!! What a blessing.
While the girls prayed for the sisters, the guys gather around to pray for our brother, Nick.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Celebrating 5 years of God's goodness

July 1st marked our 5 year anniversary as Calvary Chapel Okinawa. It has been a most amazing ride with the Lord filled to over-flowing with incredible people, ministry, miracles, adventures, food, trips, fellowship, trials, challenges, and tears both for joy and sorrow. Truly God has done exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask or think.
Here are some old pictures of the very earliest days. I didn't have a good camera back in the day so our photo history is limited but the memories are endless. We didn't know what God had in store for us. We just wanted to do His will. Supported and sent out by a wonderful church, a loving pastor, and many friends God used, we have seen God move in mighty ways.
This was the new building God provided 4 years ago. He was so faithful to give us this for His use and glory. We are trusting Him for another new building that we might "go and make disciples of all nations"...

We never defined our ministry with a label... English, Japanese, Military, youth, etc... We just followed the model given to us... no matter who came in - we purposed to love; to feed; to tend the flock and let God define His ministry. God then brought all the above plus more!

When the new platform was built, everyone grabbed a marker and wrote their favorite verse and filled the stage with bible verses. We wanted to demonstrate that we stood upon the Word of God and it was the foundation of this church.

When we moved into the new building, we had these wonderful plastic chairs that in each service, we broke about six. It had a distinctive "crack" to it. No body seemed to mind. It create some giggles. We were just so blessed that God had provided ins such a incredible way.
Can you see who's getting baptized at Zampa beach? Sometimes, I will drive by the old building and thank God for all the wonderful and funny memories He gave us. God has been so good.

Check back, we got a video in the works that we'll try get posted on this thing and some more historical pics. God bless.