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Shuri Castle was the home of the Chinese Diplomats and leaders when they would visit Okinawa back in the Old Days. It is very simple inside as is typical of Japanese homes where space is more valued than clutter.
The hillsides are clustered with concrete homes and garden roof tops through Naha City, the main port city on Okinawa.
Land is too valuable for a lot of gardening, so the Japanese are well known for their use of small spaces for beautiful gardens.
>For a tropical island, many parts of Okinawa are as city as Tokyo on the mainland.<>>
For those of you that have never been on a military base, this is your typical base housing where the personnel with a small family would live.
So far this year, we have been able to send 40 Spanish bibles and 7 Christian music CD's in Spanish to our mission partner in Cusco, Peru. They have been able to continue to stay on the local radio station with a Christian program, but had few resources for music material. Hopefully these supplies will help the word of Jesucristo get out to those that might not hear it any other way.
We have been able to give $500 to a project through a church group in Canada that is going to Africa to help set up a school and supplies for a small village. This group supported our mission in Ecuador and like us, with a little money they can do great things in a third world country.
We were also able to send $200 to the church we help support in Guayllabamba, Ecuador to purchase supplies for new Bible study classes that developed because of increased interest in the church. Two of the classes are being taught at the remote village locations and leaders are being training to step up and help out in growing the church in those areas.
We have been supporting the church programs at our local church here and even set up a parking lot ministry. We will be starting a small group Bible study in our home next week and pray that it will meet a need for those searching to know more about God.
- continued support from CMC for our projects in Ecuador; pray for the health of the Tulcanaza family and for Graciela's visa application to visit the states next summer
- new opportunities in Okinawa to reach people for Jesus
- for a job opportunity that Steve should hear back about in 2 weeks that it will be where God wants us
- pray for Boris and Miquel, two teens that have gotten off of living on the streets, that God will give them opportunities to grow and continue to have a better life
- the church in Guayllabamba to use what we were able to help them with to grow and reach more people for Christ
- the mission trip to Africa that all will go well and hearts will be open to hear God's word.
Praise Reports- - we have continued to be able to be a haven for several of the Christian missionaries here when they need a break
- the church in Guayllabamba continues to grow and baptized 13 people last month; continued growth and interest in Bible studies
- the ability to help out with projects and mission trips as the needs arise
- a great school to work at and good kids without discipline or other problems
- people we have invited to church and gone with us and tried out various churches we have recommended to help them get connected here
- a somewhat successful attempt to learn Japanese in my language class!
- additional teachers attending our morning prayer time at school and increasing the awareness of our presence there
Like the cartoon shows, it has been a cold, gloomy, windy, and rainy time in Okinawa. So much for the tropical island! Supposedly, it is only a sub-tropical island, so they do have some "winter." I would have appreciated the school being more clear on this so I would have brought some sweaters!
All continues to go well and we are taking advantage of any opportunity we can to serve while we are here. We continue to work on our language skills in both Spanish and Japanese so that we can use whatever skill we end up with wherever God puts us and to help whomever He places in our path.
This experience has helped us to grow in many ways in our walk with God, so even if we leave in June, I know the time will not have been wasted. Pray as we continue to work with our missionaries in South America, Chestnut Mountain, and here on Okinawa that we will follow God's will. Being in contact with some many military personnel gives you a different perspective on truly God placing you somewhere for His good and not yours. As a Christian soldier sent to Iraq, you could be there because God has someone in mind that this was the only place he/she would listen to what God wanted to say to them through you. The families left behind have to put their trust and hope in God for protection and support and maybe realize that their happiness comes from God and is transferred to their spouse, not from their spouse.
The hardest thing I think for me to deal with is the total efficiency by the military in one area, and then the lack of any organization in another. At least you will get your mail here eventually, and though there is only one Walmart wannabe store, it is better than nothing! Don't kid yourself that the military is getting any great life because besides the chance of dying, the health care service areas are often understaffed and overworked, the gas is expensive, and there are often power and water outages. There are pluses and minuses like any job but the sacrifice that ultimately may be asked of you as a service member deserves many thanks and much appreciation from our nation.
Continue to pray for our nation and the war in Iraq to end so that our people can come home. Pray for the insurgents that they will have a change of heart and support their country. Pray for a hedge of protection around all those trying to better the lives of those in Iraq and hopefully help them build a country that can take itself into the 21st century.
Cathy and Steve
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