Unintended Consequences

Gkordon Ruddick

By Chaplain Gordon Ruddick

Yesterday I spent some of my time on my designated floors thanking nurses for what they do so well with patients and families. As a chaplain I often work closely with them and definitely depend on them for referrals and input regarding who to see and what is needed from their point of view.

As I offered this to one of the young nurses she returned the favor. Her question to me was one I thought of for a minute before answering. She said, “Do you know how much you do is appreciated as well?” I told her I was aware of some of the times when the work of a chaplain is really what was needed. She went on to tell me her story, which I did not know and which touched my deeply.

She said she remembers the night not all that long ago when she was a new nurse working on this cardiac care floor. She felt like she had been “thrown to the wolves” that night. She had a patient who was not doing well. The doctor had come in and told the family he did not think the patient would survive the night. She herself felt overwhelmed. What to do? Were they open to a visit from the chaplain? Yes. It was the middle of the night. My call night. I received the page and called the number. The nurse answered and explained the situation. Would I be able to come and support this family in crisis? Of course I would. And of course I did.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember that specific situation. There have been so many that they sometimes blur a bit. The nurse said I came in and spent some time with the family and prayed with them. She said she was listening outside the partially open door. That night, as I often do, I sang a song for them. She said it was “Amazing Grace.” As she heard those familiar words she pretty much melted into the wall and just received that old, simple, yet profound message and hope. And that got her through the night. The patient did not die, she reported to me, and in fact lived to leave the hospital. The family was pleased. The nurse was refreshed. She said whenever she hears “Amazing Grace” she thinks back to that lonely, hard night. And she is thankful.

My role as a hospital chaplain is complex in many ways. Sometimes my ministry is through words. Hopefully those things shared help address the spiritual pain that is present. At all times I am there to represent a loving, caring God to those who are not having one of their better days! As I get to share that amazing grace of God in what I say (or sing!) and in who I am, it seems others are touched by that grace as well. Unintended by me. But not by God. And that’s what often makes this ministry amazing and humbling at the same time.

And so this is an addendum to my chaplain report. It doesn’t easily fit into an existing category. But then much of what I do doesn’t. It doesn’t record a decision or a rededication or a baptism or a Bible Study. Where do I record this? Maybe we need a new category: “Middle of the night mysterious ministry, unintended consequences!”

 

A Chaplain’s Blessings Through the Rough Times

hospitalbuttonWords fail me as I reflect upon the privilege of working in some small way with the Lord through the CBA Ministry to share God’s heart towards us with others. Over the years, comments from many staff, patients and families have shared with me about how they experienced His presence, care and salvation in their time of trauma, even the dying, while I was with them. I was comforted and often encouraged by their responses to my ministry.

Numbers are necessary for reports but gratefully for our calling, yours and mine and the others, we are about the individual stories of God reaching out to individuals in need through our presence in their lives. I am remembering in my residency that so many people died after I prayed with them that it scared me until a priest told me my words helped them go to the Lord. I remember quietly saying to one man close to death to say “Lord I’m sorry, remember me” as the thief on the cross came to my mind.

Another time after being up 16 hours and wanting to retire for some sleep I became restless that things were not settled in the hospital so I got up and started walking around, actually I got lost, but I came across on one of the floors an elevator that took me to a young teenage girl sitting in the semi dark with her little baby.  She was waiting for someone to come and help her, like the lost lamb. Then I slept.

And I remember a teenager in the mental health institution I was at for about three years who helped me serve communion at his going home service. He and other teenagers put on an Easter event for the entire children’s building, something that had never been done before there. His family was astounded at his change since he had been placed there from the age of 10 years, but God touched him and his life like the possessed boy in scripture.

I remember a young woman who wanted prayer before her surgery in the middle of the night and so I came. Hours later as I was about to leave she shared what was really on her heart,  that she thought God was taking her legs because she had not kept her promise to stop smoking. By the time she was discharged she beat everybody in wheelchair races in the hospital hall, and her faith in God gave her hope that she shared with others.

Then there was the talk with a young girl who wondered why she had been adopted. This was my first experience with the idea that God’s blessings come in ordinary, unusual, sometimes distressing packaging, for I said to her the people that are not in our lives are as much a blessing as those that are, as we in faith trust God’s love and goodness for us.

2015 Global Leadership Summit – August 6-7

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Global Leadership Summit

The Global Leadership Summit is a two-day event that is telecast live from Willow’s campus near Chicago every August to more than 300 satellite locations in North America. It exists to transform Christian leaders around the world with an injection of vision, skill development, and inspiration for the sake of the local church.

The Summit is designed for your entire leadership team’s staff and volunteers, key influencers and innovators within the community, emerging leaders, and students with leadership gifts. Churches and organizations are encouraged to bring large teams to experience the learning together.

CBAmerica has secured special discounted pricing for members of CBAmerica and associated regions:

$139/registration good until the Summit.
Priority Code: GLSCRFT15

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Vietnam Marine RECON 50th Anniversary Memorial

Vietnam

Photo is of the Vietnam Marine RECON 50th Anniversary Memorial

 

By Chaplain Jon Uyboco  

This past April, over 200 Vietnam Veterans gathered at Camp Pendleton to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the involvement of Reconnaissance Marines in Vietnam. It was a bittersweet time for many of these men as they were able to reconnect with old friends, but were also reminded of their brothers-in-arms who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

One of the highlights of the reunion was a Memorial Service that was held for all Reconnaissance Marines who have been Killed In Action since the Vietnam Conflict. It was a moving ceremony that focused on honoring the memory and sacrifice of these great men.

As the chaplain of this service, I was humbled to be in the company of so many heroes. As I was shaking hands with people following the service, nearly everyone commented on how meaningful it was for them to set aside some time to remember their friends. I pray that they found comfort in this remembrance and that the Lord used that time for His purposes in each of their lives.

The service ended with these words, “May we take heart in these solemn moments, for each of us will one day be brought to the grave. May our trust be in Him who said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.'”

 

On the Spot

As submitted by Chaplain Andy Meverden to the May 2015 issue of Military Officer

Through his quick thinking – and his knowledge of military lore – a chaplain in the Army National Guard is able to keep a Vietnam veteran’s burial honors on track.

At the height of the war on terrorism, most military funeral honors for Army veterans were performed by the National Guard. As a Colorado Army National Guard chaplain, I often served as detail leader, folding and presenting the flag to the next of kin.

One day I arrived, per regulation, an hour before the inurnment of a Vietnam veteran. The funeral director pointed out the site of the columbarium and shared specific details of this ceremony. The decedent, a Denver native, had only one surviving brother, who was homeless and mentally ill. The funeral home had helped the brother prepare for the service with a shave, a haircut, and a new suit.

Our three-person team met at the columbarium, did our typical recon of the site, rehearsed the ceremony – including the start of taps (to verify the electronic bugle’s function) – and then stood ready as the small procession approached.

Another soldier and I retrieved the flag and urn from the lead vehicle, then led the small group to the veteran’s final resting place. Following the pastor’s remarks and prayer, we came to attention, saluted the flag in slow, ceremonial fashion, and waited for taps to play on the “e-bugle.”

Our “bugler” triggered the play button and raised the bugle to his lips. The first three slow, solemn notes played – then abruptly stopped! My eyes widened as I realized that despite our previous test, the bugle’s battery had failed.

There was no time to change batteries, so picking up where the bugle had stopped, I sang, “gone the sun/From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky/All is well, safely rest/God is nigh.”

Three seconds later, I lowered my salute. We stepped up and retrieved, unfolded, and refolded the flag. I turned to the brother and knelt to place the flag into his lap, saying, “This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for the faithful and honorable service rendered by your brother.” Standing up, I offered a final slow salute, then bent down to offer my personal condolences.

With tears in his eyes, he grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you.” As I turned away, he stroked the flag tenderly.

Back at the parking area, the other two soldiers and I completed our after-action review. We all agreed on the importance of fresh batteries – and that memorizing the lyrics to taps wasn’t a bad idea!

Witnessing Changes in a Marine

 

thCAK7HPGSA CBAmerica Chaplain is motivated by the response of a Marine and how good our God is! As he explains:

“A Marine came to talk to me about a myriad of problems in his life. At one point he mentioned that he did not believe the Bible, but he felt as though Jesus wanted him to read it.

We talked about some of the reasons why he didn’t believe that the Bible was accurate, and I encouraged him to read at least one book to see if he still had any objections. He read one book, and he came back to me the next week a changed man!

He has not yet committed his life to Christ, but he is well on his way… it has been such an awesome thing to watch, and a great reminder about the power of God. This Marine is a completely different person- he has finished reading all of the gospels now (just two weeks later), and he is still going strong. He now believes that the Bible is true, and he has such a renewed sense of life!

Pray that God will continue to work in his life, call him to Himself, and give him the peace that he has been searching for. As for me, I am so excited to get to witness God’s work first hand!”

Hold the Hymnals – PCN Has It Covered!

HymnalA hymnals request for a US Army COB (Combat Operating Base) in Afghanistan went out last month. The response from PCN was swift and amazing.  Dr. Jim Smith, Director of the Pacific Church Network (PCN) sent 40 hymnals to our Soldiers.

As Chaplain Brian Hargis relates in his report:

“There’s a small US camp in Afghanistan called Camp Morehead with approximately 300 Soldiers. I was able to visit during deployment recently but they had no Chaplain or Chapel. We climbed the mountain for Thanksgiving service, and held services outside by the fire pit. The last service I held was inside a rec room. We made the most of it.

I encouraged the small band of Christian brothers to meet each week and start a Bible Study. I expressed to the Commander of the COB the need for a Chapel.

Now, two months later, they have been given space for a Chapel and have been meeting weekly. They are in need of Bibles & hymnals. I have Bibles to send but no hymnals.

If your church has old hymnals not being used, please send them to me and it will meet the need for the Soldiers. This can be your opportunity to sow seeds in Afghanistan!

Your love, prayers and support for Soldier ministry is greatly appreciated.

Pro Deo Et Patria (for God and country).”

 

 

Creative Ministries of the Heart…and Soul!

UntitledThe Apostle Paul writes:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

Hospital Chaplain Gordon Ruddick, in Springfield, Oregon, knows the comfort of our Heavenly Father in many ways.  One way is through his own previous heart surgery.  That healing journey gave him a new “heart” for those in cardiac rehab.  Gordon writes:

“I have been able recently to develop and teach a class for out-patient cardiac rehab patients that is designed to help them figure out what they have recently gone through and how to incorporate all the areas of their life into healing, including mental, social, physical, and spiritual. So far this is very promising.”  

CH Ruddick’s quarterly ministry report includes: “1 worship service, 4 small groups, 30 patient visits; effective institutional ministry that yielded rejoicing with 2 rededications and 2 first-time decisions!”  

CH Ruddick is one of CBAmerica’s 21 hospital chaplains ministering in the civilian healthcare sector, and 181 active chaplains serving across the nation and around the world.  Pray specifically for Chaplain Ruddick as he asks for “Continued good heart health and stamina as I continue to work full time with a consistent patient load,”  and rejoice with the Angels of Heaven over these souls brought into God’s Family!

 

Reserve Chaplain Uses Technology to Disciple Soldiers

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Andy Meverden, CBAmerica’s new director of chaplaincy, intently reads every ministry report submitted.  He keeps an eye out for ministry effectiveness and innovation in our rapidly changing world. 

 

Army Reserve Chaplain, Captain Sean Callahan, is assigned to an Engineer Battalion in New York, while he serves fulltime as the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Metuchen, New Jersey.  He submitted his biannual report for July-December of 2014.  In it he describes one of his greatest blessings of the periods: “During Extended Combat Training (ECT), being able to baptize a Soldier in the Ft. Hunter-Liggett (CA) pool, who had been led to Christ two years earlier in a mental health ward of a hospital.  During the same ECT we saw two other Soldiers accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.” 

When asked to list items of prayer he shares an innovative discipleship ministry he has successfully field-tested:  “I instituted a Skype Bible study during this period (Sep-Dec, ’14) in order to help disciple some of the Soldiers in my battalion who have recently come to Christ or have a desire to grow in their faith.”  Chaplain Callahan saw the need for “between training weekend ministry,” and found an effective way to “connect” with his Soldiers disbursed throughout his region. 

The results of his ministry are visible: 8 worship services, 16 Bible Studies, 5 crisis/suicide interventions, 2 first-time decisions and 1 baptism.  Chaplain Callahan closed his report with: “Pray that God continues to use this digital venue to multiply His Kingdom work in the battalion.”  Chaplain Sean Callahan understands that the outcome of the Great Commission is to “make disciples,” not just elicit “decisions.” 

Pray for Sean and the 43 other CBAmerica military Reserve chaplains whose ministry often extends between weekend and annual training events.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Nepal Disaster Relief

Nepal Earthquake
On Saturday, April 25, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7.89 hit the capital city of Nepal. The death toll has now passed 7,500 with over 14,000 injured as the nation struggles to cope with devastation. Please pray for the church of Christ in Nepal and ministry of Christ to the people of Nepal.

CBAmerica is responding to this disaster by coordinating financial resources towards Nepal Disaster Relief. If you or your church would like help by giving financially, please send your contribution directly to CBAmerica designated, “Nepal Relief.” 100% of those funds will be passed forward to the relief effort. For information about giving, visit the CBAmerica website at www.cbamerica.org or call CBAmerica at 720 283-3030. We pray that churches and individuals will respond with prayerful compassion. with significant amount of aid to this country where our missionaries have served for many years.