Dear Friends and Family,
The crisp air and stiff breezes of fall in Okinawa refresh our bodies, as recent events among the Okinawa Baptist Family of believers rejuvenate our souls. The Lord is saving many, and is leading scores of church members to repentance and rededication. He is “pricking the hearts” of many seekers who want to know more about Jesus. Equally important, he is causing believers to look forward expectantly to more amazing movements of the Holy Spirit. In short, we are experiencing revival!
Please pray that the Christians of Okinawa will continue to be faithful to the promise, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8). Church members and leaders of the Okinawa Baptist Convention have been asking for revival; all the while backing up their prayers with deeds (James 2) and now are reaping the harvest.
The last week of November culminated years of prayer, planning, fellowship meals, and preparations for the 2008 Baptist Festival, a celebration of the gospel, through inspiring messages, testimonies, band music, singing, dancing, skits, and banquets.
In 2003, the Okinawa Baptist Convention embarked on a 9-year plan (V-9) to act on the Great Commission.
The nine years were divided into three sets of three-year themes for the churches to follow. The first theme was on becoming a disciple who is trained, who serves, and bears fruit. For the final three years, (2009-11) churches will be focusing on becoming reproducing, nurturing, and sending churches for global mission.
From 2006 to the present, the focus has been on the churches’ ministry to the region. Churches preach the gospel, show love to the community, and grow because of faithfulness to this aspect of Christ’s mission. The Baptist Festival this year was an evangelistic outreach to the region in the hopes of seeing this expansion.
Planners for this event chose the Festival style that implies celebration for decisions. This is a positive follow-up on the Franklin Graham Festival of 2006 that yielded much fruit, (about 1800 souls) on Okinawa for our Lord’s Kingdom.
This Baptist Festival of 2008 provided separate events for the North/Central and South regions, with a two-week interval between the regional events. On Nov 5, the believers of the North/Central region met first for inspiration, praise and prayer for all of the meetings that week. Then from Nov 6 through 9, open group meetings were held for women, youth, men, children, and for the general public. Participants were encouraged to fill out a questionnaire that includes response options that reveal needs for counselors and pastors to address.
For the final week of November, the southern part of the island met each day for the same kind of events.
All the questionnaires from both regions have not been tallied yet, but, through joyful tears we witnessed dozens of youth, and scores of children and adults come forward for various decisions at the end of worship services! Hallelujah! Our Lord is so great!
Thank you for your prayers and offerings that are enabling our family to be a part of this recent moving of the Holy Spirit. Daughter, Joanna (3rd grade), also sang in the children’s musical for both regional events, and has expressed her desire to follow Christ. We are also grateful for her new friendships with children from different areas on the island. The children faithfully endured the long practice sessions, and performed magnificently together.
Personal prayer requests are for our two Sons, Shinya (21) and TK (20) as they travel here for Christmas. May God bless you as you celebrate the birth of our Savior in the coming weeks and serve Him with expectancy and hope for the New Year.
In these uncertain days, we are so thankful for your support. We are humbled and awed by the way you continue to lift us up and remain in partnership with us as we serve here in Okinawa.
We now have Skype capability… if your church is interested in communicating with us this way, we would be happy to do so!! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set it up. We have set up a blog in addition to our International Ministries site. The address for our blog is dlturley.blogspot.com We hope to be in touch with you…
Love in Christ,
David & Leslie Turley