BIMI

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Tribute to Bob Elzey By Don Sisk 2 Timothy 1:12 says, For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. It was certainly a sad day and a shock when I heard about the homegoing of my dear friend—Bob Elzey. When I think of Bob Elzey, the word commitment always comes to my mind. I had the privilege of meeting him and Marlyn and their children, Debbie and Bobby, when they were on deputation, getting ready to go to Okinawa to start a military church. From the day that I met this family, it was very obvious that they were totally committed to several things. They were committed to the Word of God. Since Bob was committed to the Word of God, he was committed to what God’s Word teaches. Thus, he was committed to the Lord Jesus Christ; he was committed to his dear wife; he was committed to his children; he was committed to soul winning; he was committed to church planting. The things that the Word of God teaches were prominent in the heart and in the mind of Bob Elzey. We had a wonderful relationship. When he came to Okinawa to establish the Maranatha Baptist Church, it was a wonderful day. I remember he called me and asked me to come and be in a revival meeting and then to be there for the establishing of the church. Several souls had been saved by that time. The Slighs were there working alongside them. Good things were happening. Several people had gathered together, and thus, they wanted to establish a church. At the end of the revival meeting on Sunday, it was a day when the people who had been saved and baptized or those who had joined the church by letter signed their names and became charter members of Maranatha Baptist Church. In that sense, Bob was a pioneer. That was the very first military church that anyone with BIMI had been associated. From the very beginning Maranatha was a model for other churches that would be started. Souls were being saved; people were being called to the ministry; discipleship was taking place. It was just a wonderful, wonderful atmosphere. I can remember that even from the time we started our Bible college in Japan, Brother Elzey was a great help in leading the people of Maranatha Baptist Church to get involved in helping to support young Japanese preachers who wanted to be trained so they could become pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. Over the years I was at Maranatha for at least one or two revival meetings, Bible conferences, and mission conferences. Every time we had the opportunity to be with the Elzeys, it was always a wonderful time of fellowship. I can remember well one time I was in Okinawa with Brother Bob. They wanted to put a baptistery in the church. They were renting a building and had to go to the ocean to baptize. We met with the Japanese people who were going to do that and we tried to explain to them the purpose of the baptistery. A couple of days later, we went back to check on how they were doing. We found out that they were installing a shower, and the baptismal pool looked something like a bathtub! They could not imagine a bathtub without a shower. We explained to them that they did not need a shower. I remember so many things about Brother Elzey. Sometimes he made fun of our Southern accents. He had a great sense of humor—a dry sense of humor. But he was a man of God; he loved God. Whether he was in Okinawa establishing his church or whether he was in the Philippines ministering to the people there or in Hawaii teaching at a Bible college or whether he was assisting people at a senior residence in Florida, from the very day that God called him until the day that God called him Home, he was a faithful man of God. He was a dear friend. I thank God for him and look forward to spending eternity with him. — Given at the Memorial Service for Bob Elzey on July 11, 2015