God has been very good to my wife, Linda, and me. We have lived in many places and have been in about 50 different countries. Half of my life has been spent overseas as an American Marine and as a missionary for King Jesus. A Marine Gunnery Sergeant was my profession when departing the Corps, and my main job in the Corps was Signals Intelligence (they called us Spooks). That was my passion for fourteen years before leaving the Corps to attend Tennessee Temple Schools and prepare for the ministry.
We have been missionaries with Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), since March 1983. From 1986 until 2003, I pastored the Maranatha Too Baptist Church in Okinawa, which we started. After leaving Okinawa, we served in Mannheim, Germany, starting in November 2004. Beginning in January 2007, I became the pastor of the Berean Baptist Church in Ansbach, Germany, primarily reaching the American military. I served as the pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Naples, Italy, from October 2009 through October 2014.
On Okinawa the ministry was very productive for the Lord. Linda and I saw hundreds of military and civilians trust in Jesus Christ and follow the Lord in baptism. A lot of things changed on 9/11, not the least of which was my ministry to the military on Okinawa. By the fall of 2003, I knew it was time for us to move on. We prayed and asked the Lord what He would have us do next. I was asked to help in a church in Mannheim, Germany, again primarily military. It was a great ministry and many were saved and lives were changed. God was dealing in my heart and after much prayer, I was asked to take a church that had no money and no members—just visitors. It was in an old meatpacking plant a couple hours east of Mannheim near the small Army helicopter base of Katterbach in the city of Ansbach. We moved there and within two and a half years the Lord gave us about 40 regular members and a good number of regular attendees. A military church never gets very big because everyone totally transfers within three years; it is not like a stateside military church. It also had beautiful new facilities and $14,000 in the bank! Additionally, the church helped to support about 20 missionaries at $100 a month.
I was contacted by another missionary pastor about rebuilding a primarily military church in Naples that had been without a pastor for awhile. I agreed to go and help them out for five weeks as I had a missionary from Slovakia come with his family to Ansbach to help us out. The Lord used that to move us on again to serve the Savior in Italy.
We planned to go to the States and to the Tampa VA hospital to take care of some pressing medical difficulties, but there were yet a couple of months before Linda and I were supposed to go. So we went to Naples to stand in for those five weeks. While there, all the people prayed diligently that I would be their pastor. Naples is a really difficult place to live and minister. I could not get away from the Lord's dealing in my heart, so I finally said, "Yes" to Him. I needed to return to the States first for those previously planned medical appointments at the Tampa VA hospital. They were concerning medical problems from my service in the Marines such as TBI from three different concussions and heavy Agent Orange exposure.
The doctor at the VA hospital told me I should retire and buy a house next to the hospital! But, that was not going to happen until the Lord showed me differently. Linda and I arrived back in Naples in February 2010 to assume the pastorate. The church was growing even though the Navy chaplains restricted our access to the base. We experienced the same thing on Okinawa although most of the time there we had base access; it depended on the senior chaplain.
In September 2013 we had another missionary family come to Naples to work with us and, eventually, to take over the ministry. My health was deteriorating, and I realized that pastoring overseas alone for years at a time was no longer viable for me. BIMI has been very gracious in allowing us to continue serving the Lord with the Assistance and Relief Missionaries (ARM) ministry since the spring of 2015. We are living in Largo, Florida, only about 22 miles from the VA hospital in Tampa, Florida. I have become the community chaplain, doing personal work and holding church services every week. We have seen folks saved and brought closer to Him. Additionally, Linda has started a ministry through the church to over 30 widows. We stay busy for the Lord while awaiting our next overseas appointment.
Respectfully and In His Service,
Chuck and Linda Truitt