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Volume 14, Issue 1 SPRING 2014 Military Missions On The Move by Gary Craft In the fall of 1949, I was born into the home of a World War II veteran. My Dad and his three brothers all went to war and returned, though so many did not. The sacrifices that the Greatest Generation made and our current military make for the cause of freedom should never be forgotten. In 2011 BIMI began an effort to seek out, recognize and honor as many World War II veterans as possible while they are still living. These veterans are now dying on an average of 1,400 every day. In April 2013, I had the honor of representing BIMI and personally presenting a certificate of recognition to honor my dad at a special service at my parents’ church in Fairfield, Iowa. I am so grateful that God spared his life during the war and that some 12 years later the Gospel came down our country road and stopped at our house. My parents were saved in January 1959 and I was saved in April of the same year at the Calvary Baptist Church. It was in that same church I was called to preach in November 1968 and married my childhood sweetheart and pastor’s daughter in May 1971. In the summer of 1984, after we pastored churches stateside, the Lord placed us in one of the greatest mission fields of the world. What an honor to be called to serve and minister to our US military and their families! The field of military missions has been our life now for nearly 30 years. What a life it has been! Much fruit, family in Christ all over the world and full-time servants are just some of the benefits of such a ministry. Torrejon Baptist Church in Torrejon, Spain, was our first military ministry. That ministry was filled with fruitful blessings. Over 2,300 people came through the doors of the church in the five plus years we were there. Nearly 500 were saved and around 350 were baptized. Numbers of those are in the ministry today that came out of that church. In 1989 with the military facing drawdowns and base closures, the Lord moved us to Germany where we served through two different drawdowns of US military personnel. As one post would close, we would move on to another one. We went from Bayern Baptist Church in Munich, Germany, to Trinity Baptist Church in Kitzingen, and later in 2000 to Rhein Valley Baptist Church in Wiesbaden. In each location the Lord blessed with fruitful harvests. Dr. James Kennard, Director Dr. Jeff Alverson, Assistant Director/Editor Steve Nutt, Assistant Editor In 2006 the Lord led us to start the Heritage Baptist Church near Ramstein Air Force Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Air Force, Army and civilian personnel with their families numbering over 50,000 make that area the largest concentration of Americans outside the United States. Once again, the Lord blessed mightily with a strong, solid church raised up to His glory. Seventeen hundred people came through in the seven years we were there. Many glorious salvations were recorded as well as many other decisions. Our plans were to stay in Germany for the remainder of our ministry. We loved the country and the people of Germany and the church that God had led us to start. In November 2012 we received a call asking us to consider an urgent need. After visiting the island of Okinawa, Japan, for two weeks and preaching 13 times, we felt that the Lord made it clear that HE wanted us to become the missionary pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church. Okinawa has the second largest concentration of US military outside the United States with 45,000 personnel. Maranatha Baptist Church has existed since 1968 and it is the oldest BIMI military church. Since arriving on the island in early May, we have seen a great harvest of souls saved, a number of baptisms,