Friday, December 21, 2012

No Matter the Distance, Christ is the Difference (Part 2)

   From Yokosuka we took an hour train ride, a three hour plane ride and an hour car ride to get to Okinawa, Japan! Our first stop that night was The Harbor, a hospitality house. On Sundays, they have a service so we were able to sit in and meet some servicemen!  Monday, we were up bright and early to meet with the Youth missionaries (Don and Mark). Don and his family run the youth ministry on Camp Foster and Mark, along with his family, run youth ministry on the Kadena Air Base. They teamed up to bring their high school students together for a retreat over the weekend; we were able to catch the last day! There were daily sessions, worship, games and a time for personal devotions for the teens to take part in. They seemed to have a blast! The speaker for the retreat was our friend, Mike Hilt. We met him along with his wife during candidacy this past summer.
Our friend, Mike.
   On Tuesday, we met with two chaplains on Kadena, Chaplain McCain and Chaplain Sellers.  They were excited to meet with us and pleased to hear Cadence is forming a children’s ministry. Chaplain McCain and Chaplain Sellers expressed how having a structured children’s ministry would be invaluable. Having missionaries focused on children’s ministry would allow the Chaplains to provide a better adult ministry. Parents want to provide good, healthy and fun environments for their children. As it stand right now, their children’s ministry isn't growing because they don’t have man power to run it. Sarah and I would become some of that man power. Chaplain McCain and Chaplain Sellers also mentioned the huge effect CCM will have on marriage retreats (as we shared in our previous post). They repeatedly told us having CCM in any chapel would be a blessing and have a great impact on the chapel community!  Wrapping up, the Chaplain McCain and Chaplain Sellers said they will pray for God to provide everything needed for us to be out in the field as soon as possible!
"GaGa Ball" with some Junior High students
   Later that evening, we were able to experience the junior high youth ministry on Kadena.  We saw a discipleship class on leadership as well as the middle school youth group.  When the parents started picking up their children at the end, we met another Chaplain. He had a daughter who attend the youth group. We told him about CCM and the first thing out of his mouth was “When are you coming??!?!”  We were pretty excited to know that Chaplains we didn't have meetings set up with were just as excited as the Chaplains we did meet with!!
   The next couple of days we were taken to visit the marine bases of Camp Foster and Camp Kinser.  Our meeting on Camp Foster was with Chaplain Bradley -Davila.  Chaplain Bradley -Davila was a wonderful lady full of the Spirit!  She was very excited to hear about CCM.  She had great insight for what CCM would look like between the three Marine Bases.  She said that CCM is needed to affect the whole family unit; the chapel ministry would grow and grow.  She understands that if the family’s children are taken care of in a structured, safe and fun environment then the whole family is going to benefit.  She also told us that any chapel would be stupid if they didn't want CCM.  This was very encouraging!                 
   On our last day in Japan we had the chance to meet with a Chaplain and his wife about children’s ministry. They echoed everything the previous Chaplains told us. We talked about how having CCM will be extremely beneficial having a tsunami effect. Meaning CCM will impact the kids first; reach their parents and then the military community as a whole! They were excited to know our hearts and our dedication is for children’s ministry! They also encouraged us to continue pushing to make our dream come to life!
       The theme for this trip can be summed up in two words: exciting and encouraging. We were excited to see Japan and our potential place of ministry, excited to meet Chaplains and hear their hearts, and excited to see Cadence in action! We were so encouraged by the support the Chaplains gave us; encouraged by their excitement for us to come and encouraged to get there as fast as we can! We see the need and the potential for children’s ministry in Japan and we can’t wait to see God move in the hearts of these children!


Friday, December 7, 2012

No Matter the Distance, Christ is the Difference (Part One)


   Every good adventure has a purpose and is filled with excitement! In our case, our purpose was to introduce Cadence Children’s Ministry (CCM) to our U.S. Military Chaplains and to hear their hearts for children’s ministry. Our excitement came from many different things. We were excited for the opportunity to travel to Japan for the first time, excited to introduce CCM overseas for the first time and excited to take another step closer towards serving our military children!! Leading and guiding us through Japan was our VP for Field Ministry, Todd Tillapaugh. He, along with his family were missionaries in Japan for nine years!


The Chapel on the Yokosuka Naval Base

   After about 24 hours of continual travel; Sarah, Todd and myself made it to our first stop in Yokosuka, Japan where we met the Cadence missionaries to the Yokosuka Naval Base! We were super tired from a day of traveling, real excited to be in Japan and thankful we finally had a place to call home for the next couple of days! The following morning, I had the opportunity to visit the Yokosuka Naval Base with Todd, Matthew Bachali (the director of the Yokosuka Hospitality House) and his friend Jason! We met up with one of the Chaplains to play ultimate Frisbee with some Sailors; this has become one of his avenues for outreach. After playing, we were able to sit down with him and discuss what children’s ministry currently looks like on base. We learned that the Chaplains actually attempted getting rid of children’s ministry because there wasn't enough man power to keep it running. Taking away children’s ministry had parents up in arms and not wanting to attend chapel, so the Chaplains kept it running. Now their children’s ministry is solely run on parent volunteers! To hear that our hope and dream is to minister to military children was a huge encouragement to the Chaplain, which turned into an encouragement for us! Not only are we wanted on military bases, but we are needed.

Game night at the Hospitality House
   For the remaining 3 days we spent in Yokosuka, we saw ministry in action at the hospitality house and we also took some time to see Japan! Our first night there, we walked in during their Bible Study. We were also able to sit in on their weekly Friday service! Another night, we had dinner and “game night” with the Sailors and their families, about 80 in attendance. Some of the sailors and their families come over on Saturday mornings for breakfast, giving us the opportunity to have another meal with them.

  **This is only the first half of our adventure; stay tuned for the final half...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Japan, Here We Come!

While Matthew and I finish up preparing for our 11 day adventure, we would like to let you in on some final details. As many of you know, we will be traveling to Japan November 6th and returning on the 15th. Our entire travel time will be a whopping 20 hours! We will cross over the International Date Line; so we will be jumping ahead a day, talk about jet lag! We will land in Tokyo at 3 PM Japan time and 4 AM Eastern time. Our Vice President of Field Ministry, Todd Tillapaugh, will be flying into Tokyo and taking us to the military bases and Cadence ministries.

Our first stop will be at a hospitality house in Yokosuka, it is run by fellow Cadence missionaries.We will stay with them for four days. Staying in a hospitality house is a wonderful advantage, not only will we get to see a part of Cadence ministry in action, but we don't have to pay either! While we are visiting, we will have the amazing opportunity to visit our U.S. Naval Base and the chaplains. Meeting and establishing a relationship with the chaplains will give us a greater idea of their hearts and their vision for children’s ministry; this will give us a better idea of what they will be asking us to do with them. We will also get to share our dreams and vision with them!

On the 11th for us (10th for you), we will fly down to Okinawa! We will be staying in the hospitality house, seeing the ministry first hand and meeting more Cadence missionaries! Matthew and I will get to visit the base and the chaplains here as well. While we are here, we will get to serve alongside the missionaries as well! We will head home on the 15th at 1PM! =)

Matthew and I are asking that you would pray for our travels, jet lag, safety, our conversations and the hospitality house missionaries. We are so excited and can't wait to return to share our experience with everyone! =)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wanna Help?

If you are looking for a way(s) to help, we have three main areas you are able to help in. We have a prayer team, a financial team and an outreach team. Each team plays an important role in the ministry and is important to Matthew and myself. You get the opportunity to join in this ministry by joining one or more of the following teams! Matthew and I would be so blessed for you to join any of these teams! Yippee!

The Prayer Team: is committed to praying for us, the ministry and families of our military. Matthew and I need consistent prayer for our relationship to grow and deepen as we start this new journey. Pray also that we would trust God and His provision in this current faith building season. Pray that God would continue giving us dreams and a vision for the future children’s ministry. Our military families and military personnel  need your prayers as well. When military personnel are deployed, he/she leaves their families making the other spouse act a single parent. That spouse needs strength to balance the day-to-day “to-do” list as well as take care of the children. Our military personnel who are deployed need prayer just as much, they go through more than one could imagine while missing their friends, family and home life in the midst of it all. Once they return, it can be hard to adjust to “normal” life again. Some of our military personnel even struggle with connecting with their children.

The Financial Team: In order for us to officially get on the mission field, we need to raise our finances. We are required to raise $7,600 a month, which is a lot of money! We have to raise money to get us and our household items to Japan, to start up and run our ministry, for health insurance, a house/apartment, a car and everyday living. You are able to choose from different options within the financial team. You can choose to support us monthly, give us a one-time gift or “one-time” gifts periodically through the year. You may be happy to know because Cadence is a non-profit organization, your gift(s) are tax deductible. You can support us by using your debit/credit card, use an electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by writing a check. To invest using your debit/credit card or to set up an EFT, you can visit the Cadence International website, also found on a separate tab at the top of our blog. You can also look in the right column of our blog and click the link under “investing.” If you choose to write a check, you will need to make it out to “Cadence International” not to Matthew or myself. To have the check go to us, write our account number, which is 10790, in the “for” section of your check.

The Outreach Team: The outreach team involves people who desire to help us get our name known to the public! You can share our blog via Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Email, word of mouth or all of the above! We have “share” buttons that allow you to share with social networks easily. We also encourage you to share our ministry with your church; see if your church is willing to let us come share our hearts, lives and vision!

In the future, we look forward to having people join us on the field! We hope that you will come join us for a week or two and serve the kids with us! More on this will come once we have officially made it to the field! =)

**If you make the decision to join any of the three teams above, please let us know. We love knowing who is supporting and investing in this awesome ministry! We would also like to personally thank you for jumping on board and impacting lives alongside of us! =)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Made Alive In Christ

    When I (Sarah) think of where I would be without having Jesus Christ in my life, I cannot help but rejoice!! Before I became a Christian, I experienced some extremely difficult events. The first happened when I was five and my parents divorced. The justice system decided my dad was a better fit for my brother, my sister and myself. I saw my mom every Wednesday and every other weekend. My dad was my security, constant and the absolute best. Three short years later, my dad was diagnosed with esophagus cancer; he passed away two weeks before starting second grade.  In these two weeks, we had a funeral, packed up my things, said goodbye to my childhood house; friends and moved two hours away from all I had ever known. My siblings and I moved in with my dad’s oldest sister and her husband. They were gracious enough to buy a new home that fit three children and change their lives entirely. As an eight year old, I did not see their sacrifice; all I knew was that my life had changed and I wasn't too happy. My security was gone and the only thing familiar was my mom, who now lived two hours away. Needless to say, my siblings and I were not the nicest children; we made life a living nightmare for my Aunt and Uncle. In fact, it was so terrible, a year and a half later they let us move in with my mom. Shortly after moving in, I started realizing why my dad wanted us to live with his family and not my mom.  Once I hit sixth grade, I started hanging out with kids who “had connections,” students that were in high school or drop outs. I picked up smoking and drinking and did some drugs. I was so young, so lost and walking down a path full of nothing but destruction. I kept this up for two years, until I started to realize none of it really satisfied me.
    My brother went to church and he seemed happy, so I asked if I could go to youth group with him. Once I started going, I didn't stop. A few months later, our Pastor taught us about cold, hot and lukewarm Christians, using Revelation 3:15-17. I was the lukewarm Christian, which was worse than not believing in God. That very night, I decided to give my life to Christ. I also decided it was time to not just go to church for youth group, but also go on Sundays. Going to church on Sundays, turned into also going to prayer on Wednesdays, this later turned into going five and six days a week. I did not go because I wanted everyone to see me as a “Super Christian,” I went because it was a safe haven. I did not like being at my house, I didn't feel secure.
    I cannot tell you that since I became a Christian, my life has been a walk in the park. I continue to go through hard seasons of life and I still have bad things come my way, but I now have a place of refuge to run to. I can, however, tell you that after becoming a Christian, my life has been completely turned around. I do not turn to drinking or drugs when things aren't going well, instead, I turn to the only One who can fix my problems and my pain. I believe there will be children in our ministry that will come in with pain, some similar to my own experiences and some that aren't. Either way, I am confident God has given me the ability to relate to them. He will make a difference in their lives by using mine.
“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where are you from?

Sometimes in life the most simple of things are the toughest of things.  When growing up as a military child, you were always the new kid in school or neighborhood. As the new kid, you were always asked a bunch of questions; what’s your name, how old are you, what do you like to do, where are you from? In my opinion, “where are you from?” was the toughest question to answer for me as military child.  The question was loaded; a military child isn't from one place. Most move every two and a half years.  The question becomes another constant reminder that they are different from the other kids. 
How does one normally answer the question, “where are you from?”  When asking people, the normal response is “I’m from... a place they have known their entire life.”  For a military child, they don’t have the luxury of saying “I’m from…” They have many choices on how to answer: Do I tell them where I was born or do I tell them the last place I was or do I tell them I’m a military brat or do I tell them I’m not from anywhere?  For a child to have to figure this out as well as developing who they are can be tough.  It makes you feel disconnected, never having a definite place to call home.    
For me, being asked “where I was from” always turned into a more in-depth conversation.  I always liked to talk as a kid, so I would tell them that I was from nowhere.   This type of response always made people ask, “What do you mean nowhere?” and it made me laugh.  I would tell them that I moved every 2 ½ years because my dad was in military.  Most people would say “oh, that’s cool, where have you been?” I would tell them that I had lived in Oklahoma, Germany, Texas, Hawaii, Washington (state), Germany, New York, and Maryland. Most people would say “oo, that’s awesome! When I was a kid, I would agree by saying “yea, it’s pretty cool!” always wondering to myself what it would be like if I had the same friends, the same school, and the same house.  I was always curious about what it felt like to be in the same place your entire life. It was a foreign concept to me.  As I grew up, I asked people what that felt like, most didn't have an answer; they would shrug their shoulders and say I don’t know.  Others would say it felt normal because it was the only thing they had ever known.  After hearing that from a few different people, I came to the realization that moving around for me was normal; it was all I had known.  
Now that I am older, I began to wonder why God put me in the lifestyle of a military brat. I believe it is so I can show God’s love to as many people as possible.  He has given me a heart to love people. My hope is that I have done that and I can continue to do so. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Start of Something New!

 When something changes in your world, whether it’s a new job, new car, new house or new relationship; the ones who love you want to know ALL the details! They want to know everything, the effects that will come from this new change, your excitement (or non-excitement), if you are truly happy. As for us, our big change happened a little over a month ago, when we were officially appointed as Missionaries by Cadence International!! (whoooo hooo!) This non-profit organization is dedicated to reaching United States military communities and those of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. (to learn more about Cadence, check out their website at We are very honored and extremely excited to join Cadence! We plan on sharing our hearts, emotions and what God is teaching us in our new journey through our blog. As for now, we know there are many questions to answer and we hope sharing the following information will answer some of those questions! =)

WHO: Cadence has four main ministries: Adult Ministry, Student Ministry, Children’s Ministry and Foreign Ministry. Our main focus and ministry will be with the children and families of our United States Military.  There are 1.2 million children whose parents serve in our military. These children will move about every three years and most of them will have a parent deployed for a year at a time.

WHAT: We are going to be sharing the Gospel as well as our lives with the U.S. Military. Our hope is to be an influence of God’s love in the lives of our military, so that they too, will share their lives with others and become ambassadors for Jesus Christ!

WHEN: There are a few things that will take place before getting onto the mission field. First, Matthew is required to complete 30 credit hours of Bible (he’s ½ way there whooo!!) Second, we were given a "Growth Plan", this has been designed to better equip us for the field. Finally, we need to raise funds for the ministry, taking anywhere between 6 months to 2 years for this to happen.  

WHERE: As of right now, we do not have a absolute location. When we are closer to getting on the field, we will know for certain. The decision is based upon the greatest need. We do know, however, that Japan has a great need for children's ministry, making Japan a possible location.

WHY: It is heavy on our hearts to share the gospel and our lives with the military.  They sacrifice so much for our freedom, not only the soldiers but their families as well!  It’s incredible what they do and go through. Our desire is to show them God’s love and how that will never leave them if they are deployed, get re-stationed, lose a family member, or say Good-bye to their friends time and time again. The military is a unique group to minister to; they are constantly on the move, which gives them the opportunity to share the Gospel all over the world!! How awesome is that!?

How can you help? PRAY PRAY PRAY and please PRAY! We will be doing what the enemy hates, spreading the Good News. The enemy will try everything he can to keep us from accomplishing this. Pray against it! Pray for God to continue giving us dreams for our ministry as He prepares the way. Pray for others to invest in our ministry, investing their prayers, words of encouragement, finances, and/or time. We believe our ministry doesn’t belong to “Matthew and Sarah,” but our ministry belongs to God. Our ministry consists of every believer who invests in whichever way(s) God calls them to!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact or 443-472-2242 or leave us a comment =)