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...