International Ministries

Bittersweet Times

June 19, 2010 Journal
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Leslie recently had an opportunity to teach a very useful English word to her ladies English/Bible class at Naha Baptist.  One of the ladies said several words in Japanese to express sorrow and happiness at the same time.  They looked to Leslie to supply the English equivalent and she said, “bittersweet” and wrote it on the white board.  As she divided it into two words and explained each one, the ladies’ faces lit up and they nodded their heads enthusiastically as they wrote the word down.  Bittersweet truly describes our recent experiences.

We as a family recently experienced the college graduation of our son, Shinya from Alderson Broaddus College in West Virginia.  We are so thankful that we were able to attend and witness this special event.  

The sweet part of the event started on the morning of May 8th with a Baccalaureate Service and a time of prayer and reflection.  From there, we were able to attend a special honors lunch. How thankful we were that Shinya’s two grandmothers as well as many family members were able to attend both the luncheon and the graduation ceremony.  We celebrated with Shinya and other graduates this beginning of a new phase of his life.  

The bitter part of graduation means endings and we were fully aware of this as we helped Shinya clean out his dorm room and get things ready for moving.  Having been in Okinawa for three of Shinya’s five years at AB, we were happy to be able to help him in even a small way.  We are praying that Shinya will be successful finding work in his field of physical education.  This summer he is working at a soccer camp in Maine but will be actively seeking full-time employment.  Mom and Dad and younger sister would all be happy were that employment on Okinawa, but we will wait on God for that request. 

Leslie was blessed upon our return to Okinawa to witness three more such events at Okinawa Christian School International.  Each year, the school honors the achievements of fifth grade students as they prepare for middle school; eighth grade students as they enter high school; and high school students as they prepare for college with special graduation ceremonies.  At each level, as secondary Principal, Leslie is able to see fruit from the ministry and the focus on Christ as the students themselves share what school life at OCSI means to them and how Christ has changed their lives.  

One senior this year shared with the faculty during morning devotions that she has been able to give thanks even for an ear that became deaf last fall.  At first it was so very difficult for this young lady with her dreams for a career in music, but the teachings of Christ and the faith she has developed since her entrance into OCSI several years ago have helped her to give “thanks in all things”.  She said that she has been able to thank Jesus for what  she has learned through this experience, as well as for the opportunities she knows will come as she ministers to others.   

Especially poignant this year was the eighth grade graduation as 32 students received their certificates for middle school completion.  These students are a very special class and due to the mobile nature of many families here in Okinawa, will be separated by many miles this summer.  The two class presidents gave the beginning prayer and read a Bible verse chosen by the class as their special verse.  First Timothy 4:12 reads, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”  This class has struggled in many areas, but they were such a blessing to parents, family, friends and teachers who were able to take part.  

Would you pray with us for the students of OCSI as they begin these new journeys and pray as well for the parents and families?  

Thank you so much for your continued support of our ministry in Okinawa.  Because of your sacrificial giving, we are able to be a part of God reaching out to those who need Him so very much.