BIMI

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and an increase in church attendance and membership. We are busy preparing Maranatha for a future of even greater growth in every area. As the years pass and many of us who have served faithfully have grown older, we are well aware of the great need for younger couples to answer the call to military missions. Our hearts’ desire is to be a part of training them to insure that they are properly equipped for such a ministry. The setting at Maranatha allows us to do just that. We have the privilege of training some of the next generation of military missionaries on site.  Currently, Dana and Anna Labit, recently approved BIMI military missionaries, are being trained in ministry here. Through the years our mission is the same as it was in our very first military church—to REACH the men and women in uniform with the Gospel, to provide a setting that feels like HOME, to give them a FAMILY in a foreign country and to DISCIPLE and train them for further service. We are grateful to be a part of this great ministry to the military! Changing Military, Challenging Ministry by Rusty Pilalas Years ago,  a military ministry overseas was instrumental in reaching  my family  for the Lord. We were stationed at Torrejon Air Base in Spain in the early 1980s. We served in this ministry as lay people for nearly four years before the Air Force moved us to Rota Naval Air Station in Rota, Spain. Bethel Baptist Church, also a military ministry, provided us a place to continue our service to the Lord while serving in the military.  During our time in Rota, the base in Torrejon closed and the church also closed. It is sad to think that the place where my family was saved and served could never be revisited. That pattern has since been repeated many times over throughout the years. When the base closes, so does the ministry. After many wonderful years of serving in the military and in ministries all over the world, God called me to full-time service.  While serving the Lord outside the gates of Travis Air Force Base at Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield, California, I surrendered to God’s call to be a missionary to the military overseas. We began our ministry in April 2008, pastoring a mission  work established by Dave  Mros  at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Heidelberg, Germany. Two years after arriving there, it was decided that the bases in Heidelberg would be closing in a few years. The old paradigm of “close the base, close the ministry” just didn’t fit this time.  Heidelberg, like many cities all over the world,  is an international city with many English-speaking companies and thousands of English-speaking students in the area. We had the honor of seeing many non-military people from all over the world get saved, baptized and they learned to serve in our ministry. The base closure was completed by September 2013. It was very sad  to witness the military leaving the area. The base and its surrounding community began to look like a ghost town and the ever-occurring conversation topic was “What will happen to our church?” The local people who were staying heard of other English-speaking churches in the area closing or turning into German-speaking churches.  God had other plans for His Lighthouse in Heidelberg. He had the perfect man, Brother Gary Lutrick, already prepared to take an international work in Germany.  After much prayer and more red tape than we had ever experienced before, Lighthouse Baptist  International  Church was organized as a legally recognized non-profit church in Germany.   With globalization and modern mobility becoming a great challenge to church growth today, there is an ever-growing opportunity for continued ministry  also created. There is a new pattern for ministry. Even as the bases close here in Germany, several have been able to become vibrant soul winning churches that remain. Karen and I followed God’s leading to another military work that needed a pastor. We are happily serving at Eifel Baptist Church near Spangdahlem AB, Germany.  Since our arrival we have seen the attendance and membership increase steadily and have had four saved and two baptized in the first month. Praise the Lord for His leading and faithfulness to keep His ministries ongoing!