Dear Friends and Family;
After a several days of living in a yellow dust haze from winds blowing through China, we can see more clearly and breathe more easily now. We are also getting a clearer spiritual vision of needs in the coming years.
In terms of Gospel ministry in Asia it seems that English is the “new Greek”. Though, it is best to present the good news in an individual’s heart language, the interactions among Asians due to increasing travel opportunities and better communications demands the use of a common language, which happens to be English. Young people in Okinawa preparing for mission service, theological training, and college study are looking to study abroad where English is the instructional language. They desire better English preparation here in Okinawa, so they will not have to prolong their expensive studies abroad. Also, many believers here just want to be better able to relate to visitors from foreign countries, or be able to exchange basic information when they travel.
We have heard their requests and seen their frustration. After praying about the needs and talking with some church and convention leaders, we found that everyone we talked to is enthusiastic about our starting a language school on the island that will provide English instruction geared to specific learner goals and perhaps later to teach Japanese to internationals on Okinawa.
We have assembled a preliminary board of Christian educators to do the planning this year, and launch the full program next April 2011. Amazingly, facilities are already available! David will begin next month teaching American History to two graduates of a local Okinawa Christian Academy to prepare them for college entrance next year. Another Christian couple asked if he would teach private lessons this year to help them communicate better with Americans at one of the big English speaking churches.
Though not directly connected with the new language school plans, the fourteen elementary students David teaches at another Japanese Baptist church school is increasing to 20 with the entrance of five new first graders. He will also continue his weekly adult bible classes, youth English Bible study, and monthly preaching in Japanese and English at various churches.
The purpose for waiting until next year to fully launch the new school is to allow for good planning, but also so that Leslie can finish her full-time work at OCSI. 2011 is our scheduled home assignment year, so we are praying about God’s plan for launching the new project and giving us quality time with our West Virginia Mission Partnership Team (MPT) and Mission Partnership Network (the churches and individuals who are supporting our work in Okinawa).
Please pray, especially for the timing for both of these events. We also ask for your prayers for the Baptist camp at Hokuzanso. Major maintenance problems are requiring extra expenditures just to keep the camp operating. Leslie was recently appointed to the camp committee (which delights her), and David will represent the OBC General Affairs Committee on a new camp project team. Similar to the recent improvements at Camp Cowen, the OBC is launching a new building and renewal thrust called “Project 120”.
Our family is joyfully planning to return to West Virginia for three weeks in May to attend our eldest son, (22) Shinya’s graduation on May 8th from Alderson Broaddus College with a teaching degree in Physical Education. He already has a job lined up for the summer in Maine, and a possible fall career position in West Virginia. If we don’t get a chance to see you when we are back, we will be happy to make speaking plans beginning in June, 2011 when we anticipate a longer stay during “home assignment”. We are grateful to God, proud of Shinya’s efforts, and appreciative of your prayers over the years.
Grateful for your partnership,
David and Leslie Turley