OCSI Senior Class
How good it was to see so many of you upon my return to the colorful hills of
West Virginia! To go from the summer-like temperatures of sub-tropical Okinawa to early morning frosts was a bit of a shock, but the best way to describe the feeling is “refreshing!” The chill melted away in your warm handshakes, hugs, and smiles.
This trip was a blessed opportunity to describe to you the wonders our Father in Heaven is working in the hearts of the people of Okinawa, and to thank you for your partnership in that ministry through your giving and prayers.
When I confronted a man at Tomari Port who proudly introduced himself as 50percent Christian, 50 percent Buddhist, I felt like you were there. Perhaps some of you were praying for our ministry at that moment.
In the restaurant across the street from Okinawa Christian School International the Lord had brought together an old bearded farmer eating his supper at the counter; Mrs. Irei (Eeray), the kind restaurant owner who had befriended me many months before because I “help take care of the Island children” (at the school); and lastly, I arrived to see if there might be a used iron for sale in the recycle shop behind the restaurant. It was a divine appointment. When Mrs. Irei introduced me, as a school chaplain to Mr. Kamiya, he launched into a treatise on religion. I sat down at the counter and prayed silently for how to best start the gospel presentation for him. I started in Genesis and described God as the Great Creator of all things. Mr. Kamiya replied, “That’s foolish!” Then for fear that he had offended me, he slapped me on the thigh and chuckled, “But we can have a good argument can’t we!?”
He went on to say, with beer dripping on his gray beard, “Nature created us, then we humans created gods.” As I persisted in teaching the scriptures about who God is, Mrs. Irei put a free snack in front of me. Though I continued the friendly banter with Mr. Kamiya, the Holy Spirit revealed that Mrs. Irei was the one who was listening intently to the message. At one point she interrupted, “Mr. Kamiya! That’s not what Rev. Turley said! “He said…..! ” You must listen better!” So, for Mrs. Irei’s sake, the Lord and I continued the conversation with the old drunk farmer as long as we could. He and I parted as friends, and exchanged contact information, but when I left the scene that day I thanked God for what I believe is “the good soil” in Mrs. Irei’s heart. Please pray that on future visits she might continue to receive the gospel favorably.
You see, your prayers for Mrs. Irei enable you to participate in God’s call to her heart the same as if you were right there in the restaurant with her. In the same way your gifts to the Lord, has physically placed us here for such divine appointments. This is a team effort that reveals what the mission partnership network is all about. It is about all of us “being there” for those who are searching for the truth, as our Lord draws them in. Lord willing, we will also have the chance to speak to a sober Mr. Kamiya. Please pray for them both.
At the WVBC annual meeting I also had the chance to tell
about a couple of the students at Okinawa Christian School and how the Lord
uses bad circumstances to
You may remember how the one boy who had stolen a car with friends for a joy ride spent time in jail. Leslie continued to give assignments and with other teachers encouraged him during that time. You may also remember that it was the prayers of the saints,-- that is-- the boy’s Christian family members, teachers and friends at the school, and your prayers when Leslie asked for them, that prevented a local shaman from seeing the boy’s future. This is a real spiritual battle—you help in the fight when you pray.
During my two week stay in West Virginia I was able to worship with three churches, visit family members, speak to a couple of pastors groups, and stay for the duration of the annual meeting where I was able to see many of you. Leslie had made some prayer calendars to give to mission partnership network churches and individuals. Since we couldn’t give them all at the exhibit booth, the rest will be mailed out in a few days. The calendar is just one way we want to say “thank you” and to give you monthly reminders of prayer concerns. Many of you exchanged contact information so we can start sending you newsletters and updates on the work here in Okinawa.
In the words of a corny TV show that I liked a lot, “Red Green” would always say, “Remember, we’re all in this together.”
That’s the message that I really wanted to get across at the annual meeting. Thank you for your faithfulness in serving with us.