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The Blessings of the
By Ron Schneider
Recently, a retired Air Force family moved to our area in rural Ohio and joined our
church. After talking with the new couple, we quickly learned we have a lot in
common. Turns out, we both attended Maranatha Baptist Church in Okinawa, Japan,
during our careers. This really made me look back and see how military missions
impacted the lives of my family and me.
My introduction to military missions started shortly after I joined the Navy and I was
stationed in Keflavik, Iceland. It was there my wife, Mitzi, and I heard the salvation
message for the first time and we both accepted Christ as our Savior. We then joined
our first military church, First Baptist Church of Njardvik in Keflavik, Iceland. A
Ron Schneider / Retired
missionary from the United States pastored
the church, and it was there we learned firsthand how important military missions is.
Over the years when serving overseas, our family always had a wonderful Bible-believing
Baptist church in which to serve. One of our most memorable tours was in Okinawa, Japan.
After reporting for duty in Okinawa, we quickly joined Maranatha Baptist Church. During
our time at Maranatha, we served under a wonderful pastor, Pastor Steve Nutt. My wife
and I served in many ministries, including Sunday school, nursery, choir, and bus route. I
ultimately served as a deacon. It was also a blessing to see how other military missionaries
supported each other as well as the number of supporting churches from the United States.
It is a blessing to serve in our local Baptist church in rural Ohio and to support military
missions through prayer and giving. It is a double blessing when we continue to serve
alongside our Christian veterans who have been blessed by military missions as well.
Life-Changing Encounter in Japan
By Howard Morris
We “grew up” in a missionary-led church in Japan. We were a military family far from home, far from our faith, and far from any clue on how
to correct any of it. When we met Bill and Gwen Griffin in Yokosuka, Japan, and they invited us into their church, into their home, and into
their lives, we knew then everything was going to be all right and that things would never be the same.
Pastor Bill preached the Gospel, taught the Word of God, and encouraged us to do the same. He and Miss Gwen taught us how to serve and
encouraged us in every area in which we were lacking.
After 30 months in Yokosuka, we received orders to Yokota Air Base. We were fortunate
enough to find another BIMI church where Steve and Frankie Nutt continued our education
and taught us to be mature in the faith. Without missionary-minded churches dedicated in
service to our military, we might have drifted for year on end, never finding a home where
we could grow, serve, and lead. Our girls might never have been able to connect with others
just like them with the same struggles and uncertainties that elementary and adolescent
children experience when they are far from home. We all grew in our faith and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our children were raised in the admonition of the Lord.
The foundation that military mission churches built helped us to pursue Christian
education, ordination as a minister of the Gospel, and a lifetime of continuing service
in the local Baptist church. We are blessed beyond measure and forever grateful for the
missionaries to the military who helped us grow. Praise God for their faithfulness!
Howard & Terri