BIMI

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Military Missions Saved My Life by Eddie Owens As a child, I grew up in a moral home, but a home without the Lord. My parents never took us to church; however, my dad would frequently talk about God. In 1993 at the age of seventeen, I joined the United States Marine Corps. After boot camp and the School of Infantry, I was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I met my wife, Lisa, who was also an active duty Marine. I asked her out on a date; she invited me to church with her. I had never heard of going to church for a date, but I went. After some time of dating (mostly at church and lunch following the worship service), I asked Lisa to marry me. She told me that I had to be a Christian. “No problem,” I said, “how can I become one?” I was introduced to the pastor of Blue Creek Baptist Church, where I made a profession of faith (just so we could be married). There was no heart change; there was no true conversion. Over the next year Lisa completed her active duty time with the Marine Corps, and we were expecting our first child. The Corps sent us to Okinawa, Japan. Upon arrival, Lisa told me she would like to find a church. We visited Maranatha Baptist Church for the first time in early 1997. Lisa immediately felt right at home. I, on the other hand, still completely lost, preferred my Sunday mornings to be spent detoxing from a hangover and watching football. The next thing I knew, Lisa wanted to go to church on Sunday nights and the mid-week service as well! I was beginning to worry that she was involved in a cult. I went with her one Sunday morning, mostly so I could bash the church afterward and pull her back into my sinville Sundays. However, something happened that morning that I was not expecting. The Holy Spirit began to enlist me in the Lord’s Army. I realized I was truly a sinner on my way to hell. I went forward, met with the pastor, was led to the Lord, SAVED, and later scripturally baptized. The Lord then brought another pastor to our church who had a real heart for military missions and souls. I was being discipled via the pulpit, fellowship, and friendships. However, I was still very hard-headed and prideful. I enjoyed my pet sins. As a member of the Expeditionary Force, Special Operations Training Group, I was deployed all the time. Looking back, I can see the gradual steps of growing in the Lord. I was trying to read my Bible every morning and I spent a few moments a day in prayer. Then the Lord got my attention through a trial that changed my life forever and showed me the priceless value of military missions, my missionary pastor, and our church family. I was involved in a helicopter accident and was transported to Camp Lester Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan. As I lay strapped to a spine board waiting for the MRI results, hearing the doctors around me talk about a possible broken back and internal bleeding, a Navy nurse came into my room and asked if I knew how they could get a hold of my wife (remember, this is before the common use of cell phones). It was a Wednesday evening. It hit me—she would be at the church again. I told the nurse that she would be at Maranatha Baptist Church. An hour or so later I could hear the voice of my beautiful wife. But I also heard a couple of voices also familiar to me—my pastor and his wife. What? I was overwhelmed! For the first time in my Christian life, I understood the concept of a Faith Family. I was overseas, my parents, my siblings, and my close friends could not be there. But my pastor was there to support and pray with Lisa and me. God was gracious and I fully recovered physically, but I was different spiritually. I had to know my God better! For the first time, I began to surrender to His way, His will, and His words. We were blessed to be a part of Maranatha for six years. Fast forward ten more years, six more deployments, and a three-year stretch on Embassy Duty. We were blessed to return back to Maranatha Baptist Church for another two years and then a year in Iwakuni, Japan, with another BIMI missionary pastor. I have finished Bible college (on-line); we have surrendered to full-time ministry, and all three of my daughters know the Lord (one of them was saved at Maranatha). My oldest is in Bible college, and I am blessed to be able to preach and teach on a regular basis at our home church. I titled this testimony “Military Missions Saved My Life.” Truth be told, Jesus Christ saved me and my entire family. But he used BIMI, military missionaries, and you through your financial support and prayers. I have no doubt that I would still be a lost sinner headed for hell had it not been for servants who answered His call. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)