Mr. and Mrs. Kawamitsu
Ms. Kamiya and Mrs. Kinjo
David and I come from a state with a lively and wonderful state church camp tradition. Without exception, every Baptist in West Virginia has heard of Camp Cowen and it has continued for many years to be a place where many meet Jesus for the first time. So when we came to Okinawa and found out there was a Baptist Camp here on the island, we were intrigued and anticipatory. On our first journey there, we were not disappointed. Nestled back off the road into a wooded area, were beautiful grounds with cabins and a chapel and to our wonder, a path that led to what must be the most beautiful beach on Okinawa.
We were hooked! We have gone many times as a family and have gone with church groups. Now we find ourselves on camp committees responsible for keeping the camp going...one for the upkeep of the camp and one for the eventual rebuilding of several of the buildings.
The camp was the idea of Ed Bollinger, a former International Ministries missionary to Okinawa. He found the land and was behind the purchase of it as a camp on Okinawa. Since that time it has housed thousands, Japanese and Americans alike, and has been the place where many have made a decision for Christ and where many choose to be baptized.
The current caretakers are Mr. and Mrs. Kawamitsu who have been there for nine years. I spoke with Mrs. Kawamitsu recently and she recalled that she had just become caretaker when a group of 12 women from American Baptist Churches in the US came to visit Japan and Okinawa in 2003. She remembers how they encouraged her so much as she was reaching out in sharing the Good News to her husband and also remembers the tears rolling down her face as they prayed with and for her. He later made a profession of faith and was baptized.
Mr. and Mrs. Kawamitsu will be stepping down next year in March. The upkeep of the camp is quite a large undertaking and Mrs. Kawamitsu has just developed a heart condition that will need attention.
Along with the Kawamitsu family, two Okinawa Baptist Convention Office staff help keep things running smoothly. Kazue Kinjo and Meiko Kamiya take care of the paperwork and communication for the churches and individuals who would like to use camp. An important job they do with love.
We would like to invite you to come and help keep things going at the camp. The recent earthquake in Tohoku has meant that funds slated for other work at the camp and other places here on Okinawa have gone for relief efforts there. There is much work to be done. If you are interested in helping out, please contact us or Angela Sudermann, volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
We ask that you pray for the Kawamitsu family and the new caretakers, the office staff, the camp committee as well as all those who use the camp.
In a country with less that 4% of the population professing Christianity, we know that God is working at Baptist Camp Hokuzanso. The words of Psalm 19 are so true. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”