Dr. James Kennard was born September 7, 1937, in Wiggins, Mississippi. He joined the U.S. Navy at age 17. Shortly after joining the Navy, he was invited to a special youth meeting at a Baptist church in San Diego, California. This was the real turning point in his life as he listened to the message from God’s Word and accepted Christ as his Saviour that night.
He spent part of his tour of duty overseas and part of it in San Diego. While serving in San Diego, he came in contact with Tennessee Temple University. He came to Tennessee Temple in 1958 and graduated in 1961.
He felt God’s call upon his life for full-time mission work while attending Tennessee Temple. He married Clara Gail Hughes in June 1960. He was accepted by Baptist International Missions in July 1961 for foreign missionary service. He spent the next seventeen years of his ministry on the island of Okinawa, Japan.
While working with the nationals on Okinawa, he received a great burden for the U.S. military personnel stationed on that island. He relayed his message to Baptist International Missions, which re-sponded with a missionary to start a church with the U.S. military.
Brother Kennard was called as pastor of the Maranatha Baptist Church (a military church) in August 1974. He served the last four years in Okinawa as pastor of this church. Since April of 1980, he has served as military director for Baptist International Missions and is in charge of all military ministries.
The Military Ministry of Baptist International Missions has continued to grow. They now have started over 30 churches outside of military bases around the world and have a goal of starting a Baptist church outside of every military base in the world that does not al-ready have one. They presently have over 70 missionaries serving with the Military Ministry around the world and they have started churches in 16 countries. They also are now starting churches with military of other countries.
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