Local Outreach, Reaching Out Far
By Rusty Pilalas
Five years ago my family and I came to Heidelberg, Germany, to serve God in a
military church. God has used us to bring service members and their families to Him
and we praise Him for this great honor.
Services on Board the
USS Stethem DDG-63
by Cliff Cavales
The Stethem Christian Fellowship (SCF)
was organized on May 1, 2012, on board the
USS Stethem DDG-63 while deployed in the
Arabian Gulf during an 8-month deployment.
The group started with five members. They
gathered together on Sundays and sometimes
on Saturdays to sing songs to the Lord and
shared praises and prayer requests in the
small 50 square foot Robbie Stethem Room.
Christians started inviting fellow steelworkers
on board and the group grew to 25 members
attending the service. We changed the group
fellowships to regular services with an
opening prayer, song service, prayer for prayer
requests, a sermon, and a closing prayer. We
also changed the venue to a bigger training
room to accomodate all attendees. Operations
Senior Chief Petty Officer Lerm Bethea and
Gas Turbine Systems Master Chief Petty
Officer Cliff Cavales led the weekly worship
services on board Stethem. By the grace of
Almighty God and the zealousness of all
Christian steelworkers, seven sailors were led
to understand God's plan of salvation and
they accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their
personal Lord and Savior. As the ship sails
towards the tail end of her long deployment,
the ministry continues to exalt the Lord in
heaven, evangelize the lost, and edify the saints.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
About two months after we got here, the Lord impressed upon our hearts to start a
singles ministry for the military GIs. We decided to have it on Friday nights when
most of them are looking for something to do. Within days of setting the start date,
we had our first contact, and to our surprise, it wasn't a GI. It was a student from
Singapore. She came along with two other students. Heidelberg has thousands of
English-speaking students from all over the world. Anna from Spain brought Marc
from France and Rachel from New Zealand. Rachel brought Tarryn from Australia
and Vicki from Russia. Tarryn brought Christine from Sweden and on and on.
Anna, who was already saved, got baptized. Marc, Rachel, and Christine got saved.
Praise the Lord!!! Nic from Germany is attending Bible college in the States. We have
had many get saved, baptized and learn to serve the Lord in our church. There are
anywhere from 10 to 30 who come on any given night.
It thrills my heart to see Alex ushering and taking the count every service. He was a
German student from Heidelberg three years ago when he first came as a visitor to
our fellowship. The first thing we noticed about him was that he had rapper clothing
on and an obscene picture on his t-shirt. He had never been in a church nor heard
anything about the Bible. We were patient with him and after about four months the
Holy Spirit convicted his heart and he was saved.
We meet at 7 pm every Friday, 52 weeks of the year. It is a big commitment, but the
Lord has blessed this ministry greatly. Very few of them drive, so they use public
transportation, walk, bike, or we pick them up. Most nights start with a home cooked
meal, then we have a devotion, and then we play games and fellowship together.
Some nights we break off and do private counseling, if needed, but most of the
time we just look for opportunities to get to know our people and love them. In the
beginning we thought we should end it by 10 pm, but we found that the unsaved
or more immature Christians would go out to bars in order to stay out longer. So,
we started staying there with them till the wee hours of the morning. It has all been
worth it. Many have returned to their countries taking the Gospel with them.
Where are the GIs we
were originally burdened
for? They come too,
and we have had some
saved, but most of the
young adults are lonely
students, far from
home, with whom the
Lord makes divine
appointments on Friday
nights. Local Outreach, Reaching Out Far
Tracting Outreach of Yokosuka Baptist Church
It has been the pleasant task and our weekly joy for the men of our church to post
a tracting watch outside the gates of the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Passing out
Gospel tracts and soul winning across the street from the base give an amazing
opportunity to share Christ with many people, especially those with whom we work
but cannot approach on the job. We are privileged to be able to share Christ with them
as they pass by us on the way to the night spots. We have had a good number of men
and women put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ right outside the base gates. We
have also seen many people who were looking for a good church. More than 10,000
active duty and 15,000 civilians come through these gates on a regular basis, so it is a
superb spot for sailors to “cast a net” and bring the “catch” to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jim Vallance – Yokosuka, Japan