Back to main magazine page now!!
The Blessings of the
By Ron Schneider
Recently, a retired Air Force family moved to our area in rural Ohio and joined our
church. After talking with the new couple, we quickly learned we have a lot in
common. Turns out, we both attended Maranatha Baptist Church in Okinawa, Japan,
during our careers. This really made me look back and see how military missions
impacted the lives of my family and me.
My introduction to military missions started shortly after I joined the Navy and I was
stationed in Keflavik, Iceland. It was there my wife, Mitzi, and I heard the salvation
message for the first time and we both accepted Christ as our Savior. We then joined
our first military church, First Baptist Church of Njardvik in Keflavik, Iceland. A
Ron Schneider / Retired
missionary from the United States pastored
the church, and it was there we learned firsthand how important military missions is.
Over the years when serving overseas, our family always had a wonderful Bible-believing
Baptist church in which to serve. One of our most memorable tours was in Okinawa, Japan.
After reporting for duty in Okinawa, we quickly joined Maranatha Baptist Church. During
our time at Maranatha, we served under a wonderful pastor, Pastor Steve Nutt. My wife
and I served in many ministries, including Sunday school, nursery, choir, and bus route. I
ultimately served as a deacon. It was also a blessing to see how other military missionaries
supported each other as well as the number of supporting churches from the United States.
It is a blessing to serve in our local Baptist church in rural Ohio and to support military
missions through prayer and giving. It is a double blessing when we continue to serve
alongside our Christian veterans who have been blessed by military missions as well.
Life-Changing Encounter in Japan
By Howard Morris
We “grew up” in a missionary-led church in Japan. We were a military family far from home, far from our faith, and far from any clue on how
to correct any of it. When we met Bill and Gwen Griffin in Yokosuka, Japan, and they invited us into their church, into their home, and into
their lives, we knew then everything was going to be all right and that things would never be the same.
Pastor Bill preached the Gospel, taught the Word of God, and encouraged us to do the same. He and Miss Gwen taught us how to serve and
encouraged us in every area in which we were lacking.
After 30 months in Yokosuka, we received orders to Yokota Air Base. We were fortunate
enough to find another BIMI church where Steve and Frankie Nutt continued our education
and taught us to be mature in the faith. Without missionary-minded churches dedicated in
service to our military, we might have drifted for year on end, never finding a home where
we could grow, serve, and lead. Our girls might never have been able to connect with others
just like them with the same struggles and uncertainties that elementary and adolescent
children experience when they are far from home. We all grew in our faith and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our children were raised in the admonition of the Lord.
The foundation that military mission churches built helped us to pursue Christian
education, ordination as a minister of the Gospel, and a lifetime of continuing service
in the local Baptist church. We are blessed beyond measure and forever grateful for the
missionaries to the military who helped us grow. Praise God for their faithfulness!
Howard & Terri
The Exact Church
We Were Looking For
By Tod & Roseann Rossell
Yokota Baptist Church was the highlight of our family’s tour in Japan. Please allow me to share our experience.
In May 1994, I accepted a Department of Defense civilian engineering position at Yokota Air Base, Japan. My wife, Roseann, and our
two sons, Ben and Dan, were included in the decision making process and excited about the move. Having been saved 18 years earlier
(March 1976), Roseann and I knew the importance of having a fundamental church to attend. Thus, before officially accepting the
three-year commitment, we researched the availability of English-speaking churches. We were pleased and grateful to our Heavenly
Father to find Yokota Baptist Church, located just a few blocks outside the base. Upon arriving and visiting the church for the first
time, we were greeted by Pastor Jon DeRusha and his wife, Carolyn, with a warm BIMI welcome. Yokota Baptist Church was exactly
what we were looking for.
We especially enjoyed the strong preaching of God’s Word in every service. As all believers know, being fed the Word is critical in order
to maintain our spiritual growth and daily walk with the Lord Jesus. The Word was preached without reservation or compromise. We
also enjoyed singing the old hymns, full of sound doctrine and beautiful melodies, many of which were familiar. We were also grateful
for the Adult Sunday school class and all of the children’s classes too.
I would be remiss if I did not pause as I write this letter, just for a moment, to mention how blessed I personally was to be surrounded
by so many military Christian families. Week by week as I slowly became friends with each husband, wife, and child, I saw the true
depth of their individual Christian commitment to our precious Savior, while they served in a myriad of enlisted and officer careers.
They selflessly volunteered their skills, talents, muscle, and time when a task needed to be addressed. Serving as one of the men who
counted the offerings on Sunday evening, I witnessed firsthand their sacrificial giving, far above a tithe. On numerous occasions, I saw
missions’ donations that were equal to or more than a tithe. Wow, what a blessing and a challenge to my own heart! Having been an
enlisted Air Force fellow from 1966 to 1970, I knew the meager salaries our military families live on. It brought tears to my eyes while
in Japan, and it still does today. It was a blessing to know each of them and enjoy their Christian company. Our hearts were also deeply
touched by the Carter Family and the Fischer Family, missionaries to the Japanese and exemplary servants for our Savior.
Speaking of Christian company and fellowship, our family looked forward to the frequent potluck fellowships at Yokota Baptist
Church, held upstairs (above the sanctuary). The food was always delicious, especially the desserts (forgive my silly sense of humor),
and the relaxing time we were able to spend together talking and encouraging one another.
Additionally, Yokota Baptist Church was an excellent place to serve the Lord. My wife and I were the Sunday school teachers to
the teens, taking them off base to ice skate at the nearby Japanese ice rink and inviting them to our on-base townhouse for dessert
fellowships. The class especially enjoyed the competitive scavenger hunt Roseann planned. She hid clues at various on-base locations.
Roseann drove one team in our car to where they thought each hidden clue might
be, and I took the other team in our van, usually going in an opposite direction. We
also handed out tracts to Japanese locals at the Fussa-shi train station, and Roseann
and Dan served in the AWANA program.
After our family had been there for approximately two years, Pastor and Mrs.
DeRusha went back to the United States on furlough. Pastor Steve Nutt and his
wife, Frankie, replaced the DeRushas without missing a beat—great preaching,
accompanied by a sincere servant’s heart. Roseann, Ben, Dan, and I still remember
and speak about the fantastic combined Retreat/Ski Trip Pastor Nutt arranged at
the Japan Bible Home, located in the Okutone Mountains in Minakami. The kids
enjoyed skiing, the food was great, and we all enjoyed relaxing near the warm
fireplace while being fed God’s Word. Hey, I just remembered that Roseann and
several other fearless souls in our group took a private bath in the hot springs too.
I was too chicken.
Hopefully, I have been able to convey to you the fact that our time in Japan was a
wonderful experience. However, allow me to reassure you that that is entirely due
to God’s perfect love, plan, and provision. We are humbly grateful to the Lord for
BIMI and all of its missionaries, past and present, serving our soon coming King.
Because of their labors, our family stayed spiritually strong and grounded in the
Word. May God richly bless you. And may God Bless America.
Tod, Roseann, Ben & Dan Rossell
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).