Hope in a Hard Place

adam kHope in a Hard Place: Army Reserve Chaplain Ministers in Time of Need

By Chaplain Adam Kawaguchi, USAR

The hardest funeral I have done yet happened over Annual Training (AT) this year; I share the following story with the service member’s permission.

I was providing chaplain support to an engineer company in Yakima, WA. I began my typical battlefield circulation, visiting the Tactical Operations Center (TOC), the cooks, the forward deployed platoon at the bridging site. I was even able to hop on a helicopter flight to make it out to another location where the construction engineers were. We were winding down as AT was only a few more days. I had ministered to several different Soldiers and took a late lunch.

The commander called me and said that he had the First Sergeant (1SG) on the line. The instant I heard his voice, I knew something had happened. He told me that his wife had just called and let him know that their son had taken his own life. I immediately returned to the TOC to meet with him. The commander graciously gave me his office and for the first few moments, we sat in silence without words. I put my hand on his knee as he wept for his departed son. We began to talk about his son’s life and the last conversation he had had with him.

After helping him process the initial shock, I met with the commander to ask that he be released to go home to be with his family. Due to logistics, it was decided that I should accompany him home. Thankfully, the Lord had provided a rental car to me for the duration of AT and I was privileged to spend 4 hours in the car with him, letting him decompress and begin adjusting to his loss. By the time we arrived at his home, we paused to pray before meeting the family. His wife and his son’s fiancé met us and I continued to be present with the family before heading home. Although the family’s background was Catholicism/Mormonism, I was asked to conduct the funeral for his son 3 days later; I felt the Lord’s leading to do so.

Although a very difficult service, I was blessed to be there and believe that I was able to be the presence of Jesus in this situation. Partly, I was able to take the service and bulletin planning over and once onsite, coordinated with the funeral home director. The good that God has brought out of it is that the family has returned to church and the 1SG is a regular part of my suicide prevention briefs. Having been a part of two other memorial services this year also prepared me for ministry in this area.
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Pray for Chaplain Kawaguchi, and his wife Shireen, as he was recently promoted to Major and assumes the increased responsibilities of a brigade chaplain. He asks for prayer for the following:

  • For me to remember and pass on all that I have learned to those God has placed under my watch, particularly my chaplain candidate who nears the end of her candidacy and prepares for the accession board.
  • For my assistant who is in training to become a Chaplain Assistant. We will be working closely so that he learns the job and how to provide supervision to our subordinate Unit Ministry Teams.
  • For the increased hours, weekends, conference calls and phone calls that come with the position.
  • For the opportunities to still minister to the Brigade Headquarters Soldiers and not lose myself in the staff work; and to adjust to a new work/ministry/life balance and know when to say enough.

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For more stories of CBAmerica chaplains go to http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/

The Fox Report

Fox1The Fox Report: 785 Visits in 2016 – Report on Two

Chaplain Andy writes: “Chaplain Gerry Fox has served Military, Veterans and Family members of the Southern California VA Healthcare System for many years. He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1967, and spent 8 years as an infantry officer. Following that he served 20 years with Overseas Servicemen’s Services Centers (Cadence Int’l). He became an Army Reserve Chaplain in 1989 and served 15 years, the last five which were full time. All that experience prepared him for ministry to Veterans and their families. I was encouraged by his biannual ministry report, and want to share it with you.”

 

Sowing and Reaping – Fertile Soil:

Fox2Chaplain Fox: “I was so encouraged with a post-op patient named Mike. He was located in the Community Living Center recovering from a knee replacement surgery. He mentioned that the surgery had gone well and mentioned how thankful he was that a chaplain had prayed for him. His inference was that he needed someone like a chaplain to pray on his behalf. I explained to him that if he had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, he could go directly to God in prayer even when a chaplain or minister were not available.

I shared Revelation 3:20 with him and explained that God wanted that special relationship with him and it was up to him to open the door of his heart to Christ. He explained that even as I was sharing this Scripture he was desiring to come into this relationship. I was able to lead him in prayer in which he committed his life to Christ.”

Watering & Cultivating – Hard Soil:

“Recently I have been encouraged by more open discussion with a patient whom I have seen sporadically over a few years. A few years ago he adamantly insisted on being in the status of not wanting to see or have visits from a chaplain.”

 

Prayer Requests:

Chaplain Fox asks prayer for:

  • Continued open doors in sharing the gospel with patients during spiritual assessments and follow up visits, especially with patients I visit weekly in the Community Living Center.
  • Pray that relationships would be deepened, especially with some who are not particularly interested in or have been resistant to God and the spiritual dimension of their lives.
  • Wisdom in challenging patients to a deeper relationship with God.

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If interested in reading more stories of God’s amazing work in and through our CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement for chaplaincy, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Pentagon

By Chaplain Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy

111On January 12th, I attended the annual Armed Forces Chaplains Board (AFCB) in Washington, DC.  It is the one time each year that the military Chiefs of Chaplains (Army, Navy – including Marines and Coast Guard, and Air Force), all their deputies of the Reserve Components, and lead chaplain recruiters gather together– in short, the whole gang is there.  Their purpose; to brief the sage assembly of chaplain endorsing agents from 200 different faith groups who endorse chaplains for the US military.  It is an important meeting, and one that I enjoy attending each year.  This was my third time and I had a fresh note pad ready to take down the latest information.

112All the chaplain generals (one and two star) filed in; and the executive director of the AFCB, Navy Chaplain, Captain Jerome A. Hinson, began his opening remarks. “This year’s theme is ‘The Chaplain the Military Needs.’”  As he continued, he explained how this topic meant a lot personally to him this year, because, at the very moment he spoke, his young Marine infantryman son was deployed to the island of Okinawa, with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines.  A “chaplain’s kid,” his young Marine son had inside knowledge of professional ministry, growing up in the home of a Navy chaplain.

Chaplain Hinson was concerned about the wellbeing of his son, and all the other US sons and daughters with him.  Checking on his son a few days prior to the AFCB, he asked him about the unit chaplain.  His son said: “We got us a good one.”  When Chaplain Hinson asked whether he’d spoken with the chaplain, his son replied, “No, but a couple of my buddies have.  One was struggling with the breakup with a girlfriend, and another had some other issues the chaplain helped him with.”  When Hinson asked what was the chaplain’s name, his son replied, “I don’t know.  We just call him ‘Chaps.’”  “That’s the kind of chaplain we need you to send us,” Hinson said, as he introduced the devotional speaker.

Curious of the name of the obviously effective Marine chaplain, Hinson decided to email his son to ask him to find out his name. At about 10:00 o’clock, after the first session of the AFCB was over, before dismissing the group for a break, Chaplain Hinson said, “Oh, by the way, my son’s chaplain is Jon Uyboco.  Is his endorser here today?”  I proudly stood, introduced myself and our church group, and claimed Chaplain Jon Uyboco as one of CBAmerica’s twelve endorsed Navy Chaplains.

113A 1999 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Jon entered the submarine force and was assigned to the USS Louisville.  There he served as Protestant lay leader while on undersea operations. (How many of us can say we’ve led a Bible Study under water?)  He then became the Nuclear Engineering Officer Program Director at Pearl Harbor.  There he started and co-led a Bible Study under the auspices of Officer’s Christian Fellowship. Along the way, he met Suzanna, who was raised in a military family.

In 2006 Jon deployed to Afghanistan as member of an embedded training team where he coordinated improvements to three US/Afghan bases in northern Afghanistan.  While there, he led Bible Studies and conducted a memorial service for a suicide while awaiting the arrival of a military chaplain.

Eventually, Jon left active duty and moved to Southern California to attend Talbot Seminary and begin professional ministry in our Pacific Church Network (PCN). There, he served on the staff of Grace Church of Glendora, and then as Interim Pastor of San Antonio Heights Community Church in Upland, where he was ordained and commissioned into the Navy Chaplaincy in 2014.

Following this overseas deployment, Jon and Suzanna will be assigned back to Jon’s Alma Mater, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis to minister to the midshipmen and staff of that venerable institution.

114Until then, will you join me in praying for Jon, as he serves his deployed Marine battalion in the Pacific, and for Suzanna, as she cares for their four children outside Camp Pendleton? You can pray for health, stamina, loving long-distance relationships between Chaplain Uyboco, Suzanna, and their growing family.  While at it, remember the other 11 CBAmerica endorsed military chaplains serving Sailors and Marines around the world.  They are part of some 178 chaplains endorsed by CBAmerica.

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For more information about CBAmerica chaplaincy ministry, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy to find other inspiring stories of faith on the front lines of ministry; in the military, and in civilian sectors.   If you sense God calling you into chaplaincy, contact our Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden, at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

 

 

 

 

New Video on Chaplain Page

 

Across America, and around the world, CBAmerica chaplains serve in a wide variety of ministries, Federal State, and Civilian. Our chaplains serve in all branches of the US Military, (Navy, Marine, Coast Guard & Air Force) and its components (Active, Guard & Reserve); plus the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Veterans Health Administration. Other serve in civilian chaplaincies in hospital, hospice, prison, law enforcement, fire, Veteran, and Wounded Warrior settings.

Visit our Chaplain Page at CBAmerica.org/Chaplaincy to see the video.

Rev. Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy
3686 Stagecoach Rd Unit F
Longmont, CO 80504
303-827-3583
chapandy@cbamerica.org

 

Wolves, Sheep, and Sheep Dogs

jimCurrent challenges in Law Enforcement Ministry

By Pastor/Chaplain Jim Lightle with Chaplain Andy Meverden

We live in a challenging world. Church ministry is especially challenging; but imagine, as pastor, balancing the merger of two churches, and serving as a volunteer chaplain in your local Sherriff’s Department.  Pastor Jim Lightle finds himself exactly there: We have merged two churches together and I am now the Senior Pastor of FBC Oroville while Victory Christian Fellowship is being dissolved. There are many blessings as well as challenges in this merger.”  There’s a list of prayer concerns a mile long right here.

If that weren’t enough stress and time pressure, Pastor Jim also serves as a local volunteer Law Enforcement Chaplain. “Meanwhile in the area of Sheriff’s Chaplain we have had a lot of tragedy in this time. Three line of duty deaths in neighboring counties that we have participated in the memorial service and processions; these have caused the surviving deputies and officers to work under constant stress. Ride-alongs have become like counseling sessions more in these times than usual.”

jim1We all have seen the uptick in police shootings. How does this impact these Public Servants? “All of our active duty LE members see themselves as targets for ambush and hate crime. Theirs is a thankless job too much of the time; but meanwhile they continue in the role of Sheep Dog.”*

Chaplain Jim Lightle is one of seven Law Enforcement Chaplains endorsed by CBAmerica. These Chaplains serve at the Federal, State, County and Municipal levels. This year, they were there at the Orlando Nightclub shooting massacre, and at other tragedies in our counties and cities. Pray that God would give them the eyes and ears to assess the needs of those men and women – “Sheep Dogs” who protect us from the Evil that would destroy us and our loved ones; and may they be available to respond when the call goes out; as ministers of the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

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For more stories of God’s amazing work in and through our CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement for chaplaincy, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Note: *Chaplain Lightle is referring to the analogy popularized by Dr. David Grossman, LTC (Retired) Army Ranger, professor and author of two authoritative books, “On Killing” and “On Combat.” In them he likens the role of the Police and Military as “Sheep Dogs” in a society filled with generally docile, defenseless “Sheep,” who are occasionally victimized by “Wolves,” society’s predators. Sheep Dogs live peaceably among the Sheep who, when attacked by Wolves, call for rescue by their Sheep Dogs. David was an Old Testament “Sheep Dog” (See I Samuel 17:33-35 for his after-action report to King Saul).