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"My recollection of the earlier years of the Gardena Valley Baptist Church goes back to May 1951, when our family moved to Gardena. At that time, Gardena was a small community with many open spaces. It was an ideal place to raise a small and growing family.

When I first came to this church there was just a handful of people worshiping in what is now the Nichigo Chapel. Rev. Roy Ishihara was our pastor and some of the people in the church were Paul Kuida, Mary Tachihara, Hank and Holly Iwai. I was told that this group had been meeting in the Gardena Community Center and just recently had moved to the present location.

My two oldest children were of primary age at that time and their Sunday School class met in what is now called the Butterfly Room. The Sunday School was larger than the adult group and showed potential for growth.

When I think about the 75 year history of our church, I am grateful to God for the American Baptist missionaries and the pioneer Isseis who laid a firm foundation for our church. God honored their vision, and today we have a large spiritually growing church body. I continually thank Him for the church which is centered on Him."

genieinjapan — Last modified Mar 30 2011 7:56 p.m.

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