BIMI

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RUSTY PILALAS FAMILY/GERMANY I was raised in a non-practicing Catholic family. My father, who was a deputy sheriff in Memphis, Tennessee, got into a terrible accident while on duty. He became a quadriplegic, forcing me to become the man of the house at age 16. After a few months, I became despondent and began searching for answers. A friend of mine had been consistently asking me to come to church with her for about a year. They were having revival meetings and I finally said, “Yes.” At that church service I heard about the savior, Jesus Christ, and put my trust in Him. Unfortunately, I moved soon after that and didn’t get discipled nor taught the ways of the Lord. When I was 18, I enlisted in the Air Force. At my first duty station, I met a fellow airman, named Karen Lose. We fell in love and were married in the base chapel. Karen had been raised in a typical military family that moved all over the world. She and her four sisters had been taught about some things of the Bible, but not about salvation. The military transferred us to Anchorage, Alaska, and we began our family. Two boys, Philip and Jesse, were born there and Karen got out of the Air Force. When I told her we had orders to Torrejon AFB in Spain, she wasn’t too concerned because she knew a few words in Spanish from watching Sesame Street. After arriving in Spain, it was her inadequacies in the Spanish language that drove her to seek English-speaking friends at Torrejon Baptist Church. Right away I knew that this Bible preaching was something I had longed for since I had gotten saved years before. Karen heard the Gospel there and accepted Jesus as her savior, too. We are so thankful for men of God who surrendered to the Lord’s call and pastored us in churches near military bases for the next 16 years. Our third son, Luke, was born while we were in Spain, and at our last duty station we adopted three children who had been in and out of foster care. Will, Tony and Chelsea became a part of our family and soon after that I retired. We had been attending Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield, California, and I knew God had called me into full-time service for Him. I didn’t have any direction as to where He wanted me, so I stayed there and served with my pastor, Rick Stonestreet, for seven years. We had already had a love for the military and were very familiar with what it is like to live overseas, away from our country and family. I knew it was time to leave our country once again and reach our military and their families for the Lord. You see, we are very certain that God took us to a foreign country, away from all of the distractions in America. He caused us to get vulnerable and insecure so that we would see our need for Him. There are currently 191,000 men and women serving on foreign soil. Add to that the family members and many more civilian employees at these bases. While they are out of their comfort zones, they can be reached with the Gospel. We have been serving in Heidelberg, Germany, for four years now. Our church, Lighthouse Baptist Church, averages over 100 on any given Sunday morning. Almost all of the active duty personnel live on the base and we are not allowed to door knock there. We, on purpose, go to the commissary and other on-base facilities to “run into” people, which has worked well for us. God has chosen people to reach people and in the military ministry the need is great. We pray for more laborers in this wonderful ministry and are honored that the Lord has chosen us as one of them. ED NAVATO FAMILY/JAPAN Brother Ed Navato spent 20 years in the United States Marine Corps. While serving in Okinawa, he gave his life to the Lord to serve Him in Military Missions. In 2001 he and his family joined the BIMI team and have been serving the Lord in Japan since. After working with Pastor Steve Nutt at Maranatha Baptist Church in Okinawa for a while, he went to Sasebo, Japan, and served the Lighthouse Baptist Church for a number of years. In 2011 he was called to the Yokusaka Baptist Church in Yokusaka and has served faithfully. His daughter, Lynne, is married in Jesse Pilalas and they are presently on deputation raising their support to go to Japan as Military missionaries. Here is a bit of the Navatos’ testimony in Yokosuka. The LORD JESUS CHRIST continues to bless YBC. We arrived on 1 July 2011. Since then there are at least 58 known professions of faith, 28 Scriptural baptisms, 1 man who previously surrendered to preach, departed for Bible College, and many others joining YBC. We have members traveling to and from our church by train about 2 hours one way. YBC is burdened for the lost military and civilians. We have a Men’s group, Ladies’ group, and a Families’ group distributing Gospel tracts weekly. At one time, there were about 32 members who came to our Family Soul Winning and Gospel Tracts Distribution. There are folks who get saved and some come to our church services because of our street ministry. My wife, Elvie, and son, Eleazar, are very much involved in the ministry here. She leads a ladies’ Bible study and he is a tremendous help in the church and various ministries. We will surely miss him as he heads to Bible College in Lancaster, California, this summer. Shortly after the Tsunami in March of 2011, YBC attendance and finances went down drastically and we were unable to pay our building rent in full. GOD answered prayers and by September 2011 we were able once again to pay all of it in its entirety. Now our attendance is back up and God is graciously blessing our efforts.