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From Military to Missions by Paul Place Why are missionaries to the military needed? The short answer: military personnel need to belong to a Bible-believing, Bible- preaching church where the foundation is laid upon God’s Word and life of Jesus Christ and where the body of Christ, the church, is focused on the Great Commission as stated in the King James Bible. As members of the US military, this is what we finally found in churches near military bases around the world. My father was in the United States Air Force and our family lived all over the world—wherever the Air Force sent us. Some may remember when the Berlin Wall came down, but our family was in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up in 1960. In Germany we attended the chapel services. The chaplains attended to our needs by having a general Protestant service in an attempt to reach across many different denominations, different beliefs and doctrines and different versions of the Bible. When my father retired, we attended a denomination that emphasized infant baptism, confirmation and church membership. As a young adult, I dated a young Baptist lady. Upon the conclusion of the date, her father, a Baptist pastor, asked me about my salvation. I did not have a clue what he was asking me. He told me that I needed to get saved before I dated his daughter again. My reaction was confusion, followed by resentment. After all, I rarely missed Sunday school and Sunday morning worship. We participated in Communion as much as every Sunday morning at the early service. I was a good religious person! Upon attending college and entering the United States Air Force, I found my church attendance declining steadily, and I had a short brush with a cult. Upon completion of their Bible course, I was unable to do the things this cult promised. At that point I realized I needed help in my spiritual life. I earned a Master’s degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University. While there I started attending church within a denomination that my father had once attended. However, this time the church I attended was much different. For the first time, I was introduced to expository preaching. I had never heard such preaching before as Bible verses typically were recited at the beginning of the message, and then the message was a general message perhaps talking about one of Jesus’ attributes. Furthermore, two men came to my door and asked me if I had ever received Jesus Christ as my Savior. After 26 years of life, I was finally asked the most important question of all and I trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Shortly thereafter, I started dating a fellow officer, Dee, who was raised a Baptist. She informed me that she was not a Protestant; she was a Baptist. She accepted my salvation and married me, but where were we going to serve God? We initially became Southern Baptists and it took me two years to overcome my early religious training and accept the biblical view of baptism— salvation first and then baptism. Another impediment to my spiritual growth was my version of the Bible, which was overcome over time and my accepting the King James Bible as the inerrant, verbal, plenary Word of God. While stationed in the Republic of Korea on a remote tour, my wife, Dee, was introduced to an independent Baptist church. Together as a family, we came back to the Republic of Korea in 1994. From our limited alternatives we chose an independent Baptist church, pastored by a missionary both to the military and the Korean people. At Mission Baptist Church my wife and I began to explore the possibility of becoming missionaries. When we were transferred to Tokyo in 1996, we knew we wanted the same type of church and pastor. We wanted to continue in our spiritual growth and we wanted our desire to serve the Lord to become stronger. That need was met in Yokota Baptist Church in Fussa, Japan. Yokota Baptist Church was pastored by a missionary to the US military. Unlike the confusion that I had been raised in as the son of a military member stationed overseas, my children were raised in a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church where the King James Bible was used and where the Great Commission is the foundation of the church’s ministry. Both our children are saved, baptized biblically and active in church (one will graduate from Pensacola Christian College in May). They did not have to deal with the multiple denominations, multiple versions of the Bible and multiple doctrines and teachings that the military Chaplain Service must deal with on a daily basis. There is no confusion on what they believe. Currently, we are called by God to be missionaries to the Naga people of Northeast India and to the people of the surrounding countries. We will be serving in a Bible college in Dimapur, Nagaland, Northeast India, where we will be disciplining and training men to take the Word of God throughout Northeast India and the surrounding countries. The goal is to plant churches and where necessary to plant home churches to overcome religious oppression. In preparation for our missionary service, we have been actively serving in Liberty Baptist Church in Searcy, Arkansas, an independent Baptist church with Rick Brooks as our pastor. My family is eternally grateful for missionaries to the military. Though called to the Naga people, we can think of no higher calling than to minister to the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our way of life and to openly worship, or not to worship, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. May God continue to bless military missionaries and their families by making a difference in the lives of our military men and women and their families. Paul K. Place, Lt.Col, USAF, Retired (23 years of service) Dee A. Place, Capt, USAF, Separated (11 years of service)