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!