|- Prior to the establishment of the First United Pentecostal Church of Okinawa, Japan, Asia Military District, there were two groups of Oneness Jesus Name believers on the island
of Okinawa. The first group was the First Pentecostal Church, led by Mr. & Mrs. Arthur M. Jackson. The second group was the First United Pentecostal Church of Okinawa, led
by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Laughter. Both of these bodies were comprised of military and Department of Defense men and women, and family members who sought to serve God while
stationed on Okinawa.
- Due to US Military rotation schedules and other events as directed by Almighty God, the memberships of both existing church groups began decreasing and continued to do so
until only a very minimal number existed in either group.
- In February of 1979, the Jackson family and the Laughter family met in the Laughter’s home to discuss the possibility of joint services. This meeting proved very worthwhile and
a schedule of joint meetings was arranged.
- The first of these joint meetings occurred on 11 February 1979 in the Laughter’s home on Kadena Air Base. The congregation included the Jackson family, the Laughter family,
the McFarland family, one single Marine, and one visitor. From these humble beginnings, these joint meetings formed into fellowship group. The services continued under the
teachings of Brother Laughter and Brother Jackson, and the services were rotated between the two respective homes.
- In April of 1979, the church group began to earnestly petition God to provide a full-time missionary to Okinawa, someone to pastor this work. In May of 1979, the group decided
that since they didn’t have a missionary on the island and they deeply desired one, they would begin supporting foreign missions. They agreed to select a missionary family and
send monthly offerings to help support them.
- During the Sunday service on 20 May 1979, the congregation agreed this would be the day they would select the missionary they would begin to support; believing that if they
helped others, God would in turn meet their need. Each member of the congregation placed the name of one missionary in a bowl. The names included missionaries from Japan,
Korea, the Philippines, Germany, African nations, and American Samoa. After praying for God’s will to be done, one name was drawn from the bowl. The name selected was the
Paul Dennis family. The Dennises were missionaries at Hokkaido, Japan. At this time, an initial offering of $20.15 was received and service was dismissed. Brother Laughter
would contact UPCI Foreign Missions Division to determine how to get the offering to the Dennises.
- The next day, Brother Laughter received a long distance phone call from Brother Paul Dennis. Brother Laughter then explained the strange ‘coincidence’ of the call, telling
Headquarters for distribution. Brother Dennis told Brother Laughter to hold the money, and they would personally pick it up, because they had just been notified of their transfer
approval to become full-time missionaries to Okinawa. They were scheduled to arrive on Okinawa at the end of June, 1979. Realizing the wonderful workings of God’s will,
Brother Dennis and Brother Laughter made plans for the Dennises’ arrival. When the church was told about the fulfilled prayers, they all became very encouraged and praised
God for His provision.
The Dennises arrived on Okinawa on the 29th of June, 1979.
Some is history and the rest is still being written............