RESCUE COMPLETE: Ministry at the Right Time, in the Right Place, in the Right Way

 by Chaplain Gordon Ruddick, Springfield, Oregon

It was getting late in my day. Almost too late to see any other patients. But this one last guy seemed very important. He was a referral from another chaplain.

I had tried once today already, but visitors were in the room. That was definitely not the time to process pain with a patient. It’s often better to try at least the initial process with just the two of us.

This was pretty much my last opportunity for the day. One last shot. I have the next two days off.

So I went back up to the sixth floor again. I waited outside the room for quite a while as staff met his physical needs. As the nurse left and I identified myself she said “He seems to be more calm than he has been. This is a good time for a visit.”

And it was. When I introduced myself to Gary, I saw what I took as a look of relief on his face. Well, maybe mixed in with a bit of concern as well. After all, he didn’t know me or what I was there for. But he admitted needing help. He was confused and just did not know what was going on.

One thing for sure: he was afraid. He mentioned that he and his wife had been pastors many years ago. But now that time was long gone. And so was a lot of his health. And, it seemed, some of his hope was now missing.

Now he just had a lot of questions and concerns. Why couldn’t he think straight? Why did he think about wanting to die? And now he was afraid that God might not love him anymore or be happy with him or…or…he did not know what else. He just knew he was afraid.

I’m imagining he was waiting for a bit of judgment. The “I can’t believe you could be a pastor and not be able to . . .” That didn’t come from me. Instead, we normalized his concerns. Of course we feel fear when we are threatened, facing the unknown in our life, the loss of so many things we are used to. Who wouldn’t? Fear is the first feeling we feel in times of stress. Who am I now? What have I lost? What do I still have?

So, what to do? Stay there? How do we get out of that uncomfortable spot? Instead of focusing on our fears and failures, we centered on our Savior and his sacrifice. As I reminded him of God’s great love which never changes towards us he was able to find peace and calm.

We talked of the instructions of Jesus to a church in the book of Revelation, which gives us two things to do in the midst of trials and tribulations—let go of fear, and hang on to faithfulness. In doing that we focus our thoughts where they ought to be, to a place that helps us weather these storms.

As I often do, I sang him an old song. In fact, this one was from over fifty years ago, entitled “Over the Sunset Mountains.” That song talks about someday softly going to the arms of Jesus, the one who loves us so much. That will be a time when the trials and troubles will be over, the confusion and concern will pass, and the wonderful presence of Jesus will be there forever.

This is the hope, the thing that gets us through the hard days. These days will pass because they are temporary. Good thing. We have placed our hope and dreams in this savior, and someday soon we will see this come to pass.

Now that his focus was again in the right place, his face showed the calm in his heart. His words of gratitude were quick to come. His relief was palpable. Our prayer together was warm and real. What had I given to this man during this visit? Well, I had not given him faith. He already had that.

Later I thought of an old hymn from my childhood that seemed appropriate. It asks the question, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?” It’s a good question. But the question is, will it? That’s not just a theoretical concern.

Well, in this case I didn’t have to throw him an anchor. I just helped him tighten up the line on the one he had been attached to for so many years so that he could quit bouncing around so much in the waves! And as that took place he was able to find peace, the kind that “passes understanding.”

Get some rest, my friend.  Jesus won’t ever let you go!

******

Across our nation, over forty CBAmerica chaplains serve in healthcare chaplaincy (hospital and hospice). They are a comforting presence and reminder of God’s loving care for the injured, sick and dying, and their loved ones.  For more stories of effective ministry in this and other chaplain specialties, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.  For detailed information on educational, training, and clinical requirements for endorsement as a chaplain, email Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Sabbatical: An Army Chaplain Reflects on the Benefits of Study and Rest

By Chaplain Daniel Werho, US Army, Fort Bragg, NC

Prologue: “C4,” beyond the name of a popular plastic explosive, it also stands for the Army “Chaplain Captain Career Course.” It is designed as a respite following a new chaplain’s initial operational ministry at the battalion level; often including one or more deployments and OCONUS (Outside the Continental United States) assignments. More importantly, it’s a time of study, reflection, and preparation for more intense ministry at the next higher “brigade;” and includes training in the supervision of two to five subordinate battalion ministry teams. It’s the starting point of an increasing administration and supervisory role in a military chaplain’s ministry career.

Daniel reflects on this training:

“Sabbatical. The past six months (and especially the past quarter) have been a true blessing. After the initial busy-ness of the first half of career course was complete, the pace finally slowed to the point that we could take advantage of being off the duty rosters, preaching schedules, etc. It was truly refreshing keeping in mind that my wife, Susanna, was finally feeling better with the pregnancy. We were able to take a step back from ministry and reflect on where we are and where we are going. I was able to read several books on preaching, leadership, parenting, and ministry all while being able to attend different churches (instead of leading them for the first time in a while; it truly does give you a different perspective). Now my kitbag* is full of energy, passion, and ideas so I’m itching to get back in the saddle with my new unit. I was finally able to meet and address my new BN this past Thursday (December ’17) and they seem like a great bunch that I’m looking forward to serving with.”

Please pray for:

  • Major Transitions.
  • New location, new unit, and a baby on the way at the end of March.
  • An anticipated stressful next 6 months and beyond.
  • Thankfully we are rested for it.

For more articles of the unique nature of chaplaincy ministry, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.  To find out more about endorsement as a chaplain, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Notes:

*Kitbag is a military term for the repository of a Soldier’s specialty tools. Whereas an infantryman might carry night vision optical devices and weapons, a chaplain carries ministry resources, many also of a high-tech nature.

Pilgrimage in Poland

Pilgrimage in Poland: Where Church and State walk Hand-in-Hand.
By Chaplain Daniel Wilton, Illinois Air National Guard

Prologue: Eleven Illinois Soldiers/Airmen walked 360 kilometers over ten days from Warsaw, Poland to Czestochowa, Poland as participants in the Illinois National Guard State Partnership Program. The walk was the Polish Catholic pilgrimage to the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland where participants could view and pray before the world famous “Black Madonna” icon.

This event was part of the Illinois National Guard State Partnership’s religious leader engagement program. Along with other specialties, the state Guard chaplaincy interfaces with their religious counterparts in their partner nations. In addition to establishing relationships, these events enhance mutual understanding; religiously, culturally, and operationally. CBAmerica endorsed chaplain, Dan Wilton, was selected to participate in this unusual event.

Chaplain Wilton writes:

After eight days of walking in the pilgrimage our group became well acquainted with the sound and sequence of Polish Catholic masses as well as their priest’s prayers and worship songs along the journey. It was all in some ways familiar and yet still very foreign. Even as a Christian, there were times I felt unable to connect with what was happening because of the language and cultural barriers. I could tell our US group longed for English conversations and many of us also longed for a Christian worship service that we could understand and be full participants in.

Each evening, the whole military camp gathered to sing praises, get instructions for the following day, and receive prayers and words of encouragement from the participating chaplains, all of whom besides me were Catholic. I had the opportunity to stand next to chaplains from Poland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia as we took turns reading prayers or saying blessings in our own languages for the weary pilgrims in our group. Throughout these times, the international chaplains and I would encourage each other in broken English or in understanding looks as we did our best to follow the lead of our steadfast Polish priests.

Over the course of the walk, our team of Americans became very indebted to the kindness and care of our German counterparts. They had brought their own medic and physical therapist and were often in our tent caring for our blistered feet or hurting muscles. By day six or seven, I had talked with everyone in our US group about finding a time on Sunday where any who were interested could get together with me for a short Christian worship service in English. Because of our friendship with the Germans I extended the invitation to them as well.

Sunday came and I had no real idea which rest break would work best for our English service. I assumed we would all observe the morning mass as we had all the days previous. We were in the town of Garnek, Poland and thousands of people were starting to gather in the city park for morning mass. It was then that I discovered that my German chaplain friend had a conversation with the other priests and had asked the leaders for our group to receive some accommodation in order to have our own Christian worship service in English. In a generous show of brotherhood and kindness one of the Polish priests told me in English “We are brothers. You have helped us. We can accommodate your service.” My German friend then led me into a side sanctuary of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, and with the help of his chaplain religious services kit, I prepared the room for a protestant church service. With a smile, he let me know it would be the first protestant service ever conducted in that Catholic church.

While the Catholic mass was underway in the park, our group of Americans and Germans gathered in the side sanctuary of that church, and we sang some spiritual songs. We prayed. I preached from Psalm 29 and Luke 8:22-25 about God’s power over the storms in our life and the peace we can enjoy when we trust in Jesus. We ended our time with the Lord’s Supper and several stayed for a while to enjoy the quiet contemplation that room afforded us. The English service came at a good time for us all. I know it reinvigorated me to finish the pilgrimage strong, and I hope it had a similar impact upon the others present.

When I was asked to travel to Poland for this pilgrimage I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a Baptist chaplain that can’t speak a lick of Polish, and I’m a slow walker to boot. But there I was taking step after step across the Polish countryside with Polish and other NATO military members.

I believe each member of our US group was impacted in some way by the generosity and kindness of the Polish people. I also believe we all took notice of how the Polish military exemplifies what a close partnership between church and state can look like.

In Poland, nationalism and religion are not bad words or avoided conversation topics. They are celebrated as a gift from God. I am thankful to have experienced some of their rich heritage of faith and persevering pursuit of freedom. It was special to walk the pilgrimage with other Illinois Guardsmen. I hope our shared experience will make us better Americans for our state, our country, and our God.

Respectfully submitted,

DANIEL C. WILTON, Chaplain Capt, IL ANG
182nd Airlift Wing
Peoria, IL

Postscript: Chaplain Wilton’s experience was unique, to say the least. The US Military often works jointly with other Allied Forces. In those settings, it is common to interact and cooperate in military training and operations. With the current shortage of Catholic priests, US military chaplains will often request support for their Catholic service members, including Mass, Reconciliation, etc.  Participating in a 225-mile road march, is above-and-beyond the norm!

For more stories of chaplain ministry activity, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. To learn more about qualifications for military and civilian chaplaincy, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org

Reflections on Being Present in the Present

8 months in the Middle East

By Chaplain Greg Uvila, US Navy

Christmas is sneaking around the neighborhood – colorful lights encircle the rooftops, palm trees ablaze with white shimmering lights, yes, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us. Just last night we were scouring Amazon for some “necessary” Seahawk paraphernalia – you know, critical presents for the family.  Thinking presents, thinking presence, reflecting on God’s goodness in our midst, divine presence.

I’m fascinated by the idea of presence- full, primary color presence. As a CBA Chaplain, this is what gets me up in the morning, it is what gets my motor going, my synapses firing, this and a cup of “Joe” and I am good to go!  Offering some sense of Divine presence is what gets me up also in the middle of the night – a Marine or Sailor in crisis- the privilege of seizing the opportunity to bring Christ’s presence to the hurting, to those whose hope is flagging, to those whose “hope tank” has been on empty for 63 miles.

Presence for the Displaced – “Of course there is a spot for you on the worship team, more importantly there is always a spot for you at the center of God’s heart.” These basic messages I sought to convey to one of our senior leaders on deployment.  Recently she had been removed from her position at church as a worship leader.  Why?  She was newly divorced.  She was hurting, let down, discouraged, the church and God’s people had disappointed her in a humongous way.  By offering unmitigated presence (I hope) a God bridge was rebuilt to her heart, by which Christ was able to cross over and offer love and acceptance.  By the end of deployment guess who was an integral part of our worship team in Kuwait?

Side bar- this is what is so, so, valuable as a Navy/CBA endorsed Chaplain, we don’t have the trappings of church policy to get untangled from, we enjoy the privilege to wildly offer the grace of God in the grandeur of red, and green and blue.

Presence for the Priest – Everyday almost exactly at 1640 (4:40pm) the priest from one of our coalition partners, in this case Poland, would stick his head inside my office door and say, “Good afternoon Father,” which I in turn would respond, “Good afternoon Father.” When this first took place, shortly after “Father’s arrival,” I thought about correcting him, bringing him in line with my theological views, but then I questioned myself, “Would Jesus really clarify?”  Na, I thought, more important matters matter more to Jesus.  So I received the honor and respect from a fellow priest, a priest from Poland.  Presence empowering acceptance, presence empowering deferral.  The result?  I gained a friend, a comrade, a forever brother.

Presence for my body guard – Brad from Reno. As many of you know Chaplains are non-combatants.  According to the Geneva Conventions (International laws for governing war) Chaplains are considered non-combatants and therefore cannot pack heat, carry a firearm.  However, Chaplain’s Assistants can.  My assistant for my 8+ plus months in Kuwait was Brad from Reno, at least that is where he grew up.  He was actually on loan from the 11th Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton.  Five years from now most of my memories about Kuwait will dissipate as quickly as the dust from the many “dust abouts” we experienced throughout deployment.  However, there is one memory that will last forever, an eternal reminder of the tranquility which the presence of the Spirit brings when two people quiet their hearts before our Lord.  How did we do this?  Perhaps 2-3 times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, we would sit down and read author Max Lucado’s “I choose love” a descriptor of what it means to live the Spirit’s presence on a daily basis.  Divine presence offered to my assistant by simply, proactively, inviting him to sit with me and reflect, for a few moments, in God’s direction.

Praying and sitting in silence with Markus – As a Chaplain (Andy knows this all too well), there are many sacred moments we are called on to be there, to be fully alive there, present there, not somewhere else. These moments frequently show-up unannounced, stealth like.  No warning, they just mystically arrive at your doorstep literally and symbolically.  I had some of those while in Kuwait, one of them I will never forget.  I was two hours or so deep in my sleep- dreaming of being back home in the great Northwest with family and friends.  At any rate, my bedroom door boomed alive, the knocks I’m sure could be heard across the camp.  “Chaps, S-1 needs you now, someone died!”  I quickly scampered out of bed, with the same passion and frenzy of a fireman just hearing his alarm.  As I headed hastily down toward the COC (Combat Operations Center) I remember thinking, how could it be so hot at 1230 am?  Shortly thereafter I arrived.  Our Gunny Sergeant met me at the door, “Markus just received news that his son just died…” as the words tailed off, ripe in sadness and regret, GySgt pointed across the street where Markus sat.  His head was slumped over, buried between his knees.  I carefully made my way over to my friend, stooped over, touched his knee, “Hey bud,” “Hey Chaps,” “I’m so, so, so, sorry Markus.”  I don’t remember much more about that night- what I said or didn’t say.  But what I do remember is just sitting with him, present with him, in his grief, in his sadness, in his absolute confusion and bewilderment, present in the unimaginable present.

Presence for the Chaplain  I will never forget those early runs, those solo runs, just me, God, and Hillsong radio worship- thanks Amazon!  I followed the PT (Physical Training) trail as it wound out near the main gate- in the distance I could see the oil stacks of Kuwait burning, glowing across the eastern horizon, perhaps these were the same infamous refineries set ablaze by the Iraqis over two decades ago. When they invaded Kuwait and as a country we said, “Not so fast, not so much.”  If I ran the path out and back, twice, it gave me a decent cardio workout and it provided much needed time to worship, to pray, to clear my head, to renew, and at times pour my heart out to the God who loves to be present when I am seeking His presence.  Presence, the doorway through which God walks with us, talks to us, nurtures us, loves us, and blesses us.

Presence for the congregation Such rich worship we experienced at Al Jaber Air base in Kuwait. This occurred in large part thanks to my Air Force counterpart, Chaplain Rob Pitts, from Tacoma, Washington.  Under his kind, “all are welcome leadership,” the U.S. Air Force so graciously allowed us to use office spaces as places to counsel and worship spaces as spots to enjoy the presence of God and the presence of one another.  As we faithfully showed up, so too God.  The simple chapel was a place where we witnessed uniformed men and women worship and proclaim a new-found faith in Christ.  This was a home where we were honored to watch four Marines get baptized.  This was a place where tears were shed, prayers were offered, hugs shared and embraced, and communion received.

Presence for the “Be Back”As a Chaplain we are called to care, care for all, seeking to bring His presence in a variety of times and places. Sometimes showing unmitigated presence can be a challenge, usually the hardest times are the unexpected arrivals where you need to be “game on” in seconds, not minutes.  I just had finished preaching, chatting with folks, enjoying their friendship and relieved that the sermon was now in the hands of God for Him and the Spirit to do their work.  I glanced across the Chapel and there he was the “be back.”  In my flesh I thought he’s back again?  Not now!  I’m spent!  But the 30 year old Marine was sobbing, deep sighs, uncontrollable crying- I had to respond, my fatigue and frustration was quickly laid to rest, much like a football player who tosses his warm-up jacket aside when his number is called, it’s game on!  I quickly grabbed a chair, placed my arm on my friend’s shoulder, “What’s wrong?”  “Chaps!  Nothin’!  I’m just leaving Tuesday and I’m just so moved by our times together, the fellowship I received at the chapel here, my new-found friends, I’m going to miss it, miss you, miss everyone.” I was dumbfounded – amazed at God’s good grace in the midst of our sessions together and worship together- embarrassed too by my initial response to my tender brother.  Presence, you just don’t know its power and impact on others.

Presence with the Colonel – Deployment was long. What made it especially long was not only the length but the lack of liberty.  We had none.  However, we did have an officers’ social “Professional Military Education” with the Colonel which was very close to a liberty night in Kuwait City.  We got dressed to the eights “that’s close to the nines” and had a great time out.  It was amazing how close (within two hours of the air base) the real world existed- taxis, buses, high rises, hotels, malls, camels, people, people, some more camels and more people.   Did I mention camels and people?  At the conclusion of this “training exercise,” at the four star restaurant, with bellies bulging and appetites completely satiated, we were invited upstairs for a night cap “Turkish coffee.”  I thought Starbucks was on the strong side, right!

Allow me to digress. For most of us we are familiar with the traditions within the military.  It is a community replete with formalities and hierarchies.  As a Chaplain I am called to minister across all ranks- from the most junior to the most senior Marine, including the Colonel.  This night I had the honor of sitting next to the king, I mean the Colonel.  (No one was sitting next to him and I refused to see him go through the awkward seconds of nobody sitting with him, so, with his permission, I took the chair on his right flank).

So there we sat, making small talk, Colonel and Chaps. Much to my dismay, as this part of the evening played out and wound down everyone got the special coffee but the Colonel.  At one point, I asked the Colonel if he wanted some of the brew and he said, “Ah, don’t worry about it.”  But I knew better.  Further, you never leave the king, uh Colonel out.  Shouldn’t he have been served first?  Or at least been offered the first cup?  Seeking to be present with the boss (ya think?), I watched the attendants with the same undaunted attentiveness my German Shepherd, Tank, watches me as I deliver his biscuits.  Sure enough, the servers finished serving those seated on the North side of the room and then escaped, unquestioned, back into the kitchen.  “Not on my watch I thought.”  I got up and casually sauntered to the host and discreetly pointed the Colonel’s way, muttering discreetly but emphatically, “Uh, excuse me, you forgot someone, the Colonel!”  Moments later I was back in my seat with a server hot on my tail.”  “Coffee, Sir?” I heard the Kuwaiti ask my boss.  “Why of course, thank you.”  With a twinkle in his eye he turned my way and said, “Cheers Chaps,” to which I happily returned, “Cheers Colonel.”  Not a big deal, right?  Wrong!  Being able to receive a whole-hearted “Cheers Chaps” from the king-uh, that’s right, Colonel, was an incredible culmination to a challenging deployment, and a most awesome personal perk.

You know, going in, when we are with others at coffee, at breakfast, on the subway, at the gym, in the car, we never know the potential impact on others when we genuinely, sincerely, seek to be present in the present with them, right? Hey, what about this Christmas?  How about offering the King a present?  The gift of our presence, it is the greatest present we could ever give Him and it is a beautiful and glorious gift we give one another.

CBA Chaplain Greg Uvila was deployed to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, from December 2016 to August 2017 with U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force Airmen in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Greg and his wife, Nancy, have been endorsed by CB America since 2009.

For more stories on the impact of CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy

Care Packages to Kuwait: Help Chaplains Support those fighting ISIS

 From Chaplain Dan Rice, US Army, Deployed

[Director’s Note: Last year’s Christmas Care Package support went to a 4000+ PAX* USN/USMC Amphibious Taskforce in hostile waters and troops in Afghanistan. This year, we have an opportunity to support even more troops on the ground in the thick of operations fighting ISIS. Here’s a message received from Chaplain Dan Rice, “downrange.”]

Date: 11/11/2017 (Veterans Day)

From: Combined Joint Task Force Chaplain – Dan Rice To: CH(COL) Andy Meverden, USA, Retired (Director of Chaplaincy, CBA)

Sir,

Care packages will be great. Please ensure we have a way to contact and thank the donors (email and/or mailing address).

Please send:

  • Coffee, K-Cups especially, but ground coffee is also appreciated.

We use the K-Cups as a ministry.
Service Members come daily to get a free cup of coffee from us.

  • Rice Crispy treats
  • Jerky
  • Gum
  • Chocolate candy (M&Ms, Snickers, etc.)
  • Hard candy 

Our mailing address is:

Dan Rice
CJTF-OIR/Chaplain
APO AE 09306

Thank you for your prayers!

Very Respectfully,

CH (LTC) Dan Rice
CJTF-OIR Deputy Chaplain
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Director’s Note:  Here’s another opportunity for a church, youth, men, women, or Veterans group to make a difference and assist one of our forward-deployed chaplains.  With recent force reductions, the supply system has been greatly reduced in terms of non-military “comfort” items.  By sending Care Packages directly to chaplains, you ensure safe arrival to a known individual, and provide our chaplains with “resources” that will bring goodies from “home” to those literally on the front lines.  If you use USPS Priority Mail® Flat-Rate shipping boxes, be sure to tell the postal clerk this is a military “Care Package,” to receive a $1 discount on postage! Include a signed holiday greeting card with sender’s address info (& email) so recipients can reply.

Note: “PAX” is a military term for individual troops. 400 Army PAX = 400 Soldiers)

For more stories of CBAmerica chaplains on the front lines of ministry at home and abroad, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy

 

 

 

Life and Death in the New York National Guard

Annual Training, Fighting Wars & Responding to Hurricanes

By Chaplain Tim Miller, Fulltime Support Chaplain

After the unexpected death of a Soldier in their 50s, I provided direct ministry support to the Soldiers of the unit, because God made sure I was at their Annual Training location in Ft. Drum.

In fact, the day before the incident, the same Soldier that died had offered up his maintenance tent as a place to provide a worship service to his unit — and he even attended! He even offered me coffee both before and after the service. The next day his artery collapsed while he was performing his hygiene. The next several days became a whirlwind of activity, but the Soldiers were provided an opportunity to not only grieve, but to also bury their fellow Soldier. I’m so glad that God gave me the opportunity to minister in that moment.

Another great blessing was to see over 500 Soldiers return safely from overseas deployment, to include our 2 Unit Ministry Teams (UMT’s). It was encouraging to see the ministry impact that these Chaplains and Religious Affairs NCO’s had on our deployed Soldiers. It’s also good to have additional UMT resources back in the state to provide additional coverage for our large force structure. (The New York National Guard has 10,000 Army and 6,000 Air personnel).

Prayer Concerns:

We lost two Soldiers this quarter, one to suicide and another to a collapsed artery during Annual Training. Please pray for the families of the deceased, and for the impact on the NY Army National Guard Engineers. They have experienced in this year alone; 2 suicides, 1 unexpected death, and 3 deaths in their veteran population. It is sad when there are more deaths stateside than in combat.

NY State is also a large part of the deployed force in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands:

  • Please pray for those who are still deployed in hurricane recovery.
  • State Active Duty missions* away from home are a strain on many of the families and employers.
  • Sadly, many of the Federal Laws that cover our National Guard Soldiers on Federal missions do not cover National Guard Soldiers on State Active Duty.
  • Pray that all of them can return to their civilian careers and families without difficulty.

Respectfully submitted,

Chaplain Tim Miller

Pray for Chaplain Miller as he provides fulltime pastoral support to the New York Army National Guard. He is one of several CBAmerica chaplains serving fulltime in Army and Air National Guard units in the 54 States, Territories, Commonwealths, and District of Columbia.

*Note: The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is a mutual aid agreement between states and territories of the United States. It enables states to share resources during natural and man-made disasters, including terrorism. A major component is the National Guard (Army and Air) which can be requested by the Governor, when local resources are overwhelmed or special capabilities are needed.

For more stories of CBAmerica chaplains, go to http://www.cbamerica.org/. For information on endorsement for one of the many types of chaplaincy available, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Discipleship in the Desert

By Chaplain Sean Callahan

US Army Reserve deployed to Kuwait

 

This quarter I launched a discipleship huddle after wrestling with the Lord about it for a couple of months. The intent of the huddle is to disciple individuals into leadership. Through weekly meetings, we would explore techniques on studying the Scripture and growing in our faith, small group leading, discipleship, and accountability. Once their deployment time or the huddle came to an end, they would be equipped to lead small groups and disciple others.

The problem I faced, and the question I continually asked myself, was, “Do I have enough time to actually do this?” But the more I tried to push off the decision, the more it burned in my heart. Finally, I gave it over to the Lord and made an announcement on a Sunday morning to see if anyone would be interested. Three Soldiers talked to me after the service, and our huddle was born.

We are now up to 5 Soldiers, with ranks from SGT (Sergeant) all the way up to LTC (Lieutenant Colonel), who gather together every Monday night at the Starbucks in Camp Arifjan*. They take the huddle more seriously than I would have ever imagined, making it a priority amidst their busy schedules. I am continually humbled by the way God is working in their lives, and how eager they are to be challenged and grow.

This has bled into both their professional and personal lives. Several of the Soldiers now look for ways to talk about the Gospel with their peers. Others are trying to change their leadership styles to more closely reflect the love and grace of Christ. Still others have expressed a desire to step up and lead in Bible study and chapel.

Two of the Soldiers now regularly lead my Bible study on Tuesdays. We are currently working our way through the Gospel of John, and for the first time they are developing a study and questions from the text itself.

One of the Soldiers recently began a Bible study for a group of unbelievers in his company. There were a few Soldiers who expressed an openness to looking at the Bible, and so he received permission to meet in a classroom at his unit and hold the study. He has been greatly encouraged by the questions they are asking and the opportunities he has had to point them to Christ.

Another Soldier feels the call to ministry, and has jumped at every opportunity I have given him to lead our small group or our worship team. He is excited about the ways in which he has been challenged to grow in his faith and understanding of the Word, and can’t wait to return home to reengage his church.

I have found that no matter how tired I am, or what kind of day it has been, Monday nights are a highlight of my week. It’s a chance to witness first hand God’s amazing grace, and to partner with the work the Holy Spirit is already doing in these Soldiers’ lives. The huddle has also been a force multiplier for me, and what I have seen happening in this group is God equipping Soldiers to do His Kingdom work in our AOR (Area of Responsibility), and doing it in ways that far exceed my own gifting or capabilities.

When we make disciples, those disciples become force multipliers for the Kingdom Mission. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of these Soldiers’ discipleship journey.

Please Pray for:

  • Endurance for the remainder of the deployment;
  • Spiritual sensitivity and openness in our Soldiers;
  • Spiritual growth and transformation of the Soldiers in our discipleship huddle

Respectfully submitted:

Chaplain Sean Callahan

Note:

*Due to its central location, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait has a few extra MWR (Morale, Welfare, & Recreation) amenities; Subway, Chili’s, and Starbucks are among them! Many of his units, however, are in much more austere locations.

More stories of real-time chaplaincy ministry near and far, can be found at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information on chaplaincy endorsement, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy, at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

On the Road, Again!

By Chaplain Tom Pousche, Chaplain to Transit Workers…and the World!

Kenyan Election Turmoil: (Essential background information to this article.)

General elections were held in Kenya on 8 August 2017 to elect the President, members of Parliament and devolved governments. The reported results indicated that incumbent President Kenyatta was re-elected with 54% of the vote. His main opponent, Raila Odinga, refused to accept the results and contested them in the Supreme Court. The results of the presidential election were subsequently annulled and fresh elections were ordered to be held within 60 days. It was later announced that a new election would be held on October 17. However, the results of the parliamentary and local elections remained valid. The date for the presidential election was later changed to 26th October 2017. Despite the ruling for a new Presidential election, Odinga later announced his decision to withdraw from the repeat election on October 10.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenyan_general_election,_2017

 During this political upheaval, Chaplain Tom Pousche arrived on a ministry trip to Kenya.

 2017 Ministry Report:

Elections in Kenya: Due to possible violence & killings in nearby Kisumu, Kenya, I was unable to facilitate two scheduled conferences and teach an Ethics Counseling Class. However, I was placed on a Debriefing Counseling Team, which allowed me to assist in diffusing some of the high tensions and possible killings in the streets of Kisumu. The good news; that election was nullified. Chaplain skills were modeled and trained.

Evangelism: One of my supporters (a Navy guy who served with me on the island of Guam back in 1969), and who also was a member of the Christian Servicemen’s Center, supplied me with a box of Bible tracts to take to Africa. He purchased & shipped the whole box for me. These Bible tracts were written in Swahili and were well-received; in the market-place and in the slum section where the very poor live. I’m scheduled to fly to San Francisco, California to meet him, and to minister in his home church. We haven’t seen each other in 48 years. Totally unbelievable!

Chaplain Jared: I was scheduled to speak at his church and to facilitate a conference in Awendo. However, due to the possible violence and road closures due to the elections, those engagements were postponed until next year. I have spent a little time on the phone with Jared, and he has given a positive report on his church growth, and he has also facilitated two chaplaincy committee meetings since I left Africa.

 Illness: Due to an unfortunate illness, I was forced to return for medical treatment in America four weeks early. After a couple days in the hospital, I had surgery that went well. I’m due for another surgery in November which will put closure to this illness that forced me to return.

Salvations/Baptisms: This past year, I had the privilege in leading many to the Lord through conferences/Crusades in Kenya. I was also involved in helping to baptize 36 individuals in Awendo after preaching an expository message, and teaching a Baptismal class. It was such a rewarding experience to see Chaplain Jared’s church grow and mature. In fact, his church has grown so much, that Kathy and I purchased several sets of chairs to accommodate all the people coming to attend his church.

Prayer Requests:

  • For Chaplain Jared as he trusts Christ Jesus for more theological education;
  • For the upcoming elections that the right president will be chosen;
  • For recovery from upcoming surgery that is scheduled for November 3rd;
  • For the fruit of my ministry in Kenya: that more people will come to Christ, and others will multiply their Christian faith because of my teachings, sermons, and conference material. I love these people!!!

Biggest Blessing: A young 16-year-old African girl attending a girl’s boarding school woke up in the middle of the night to discover her dorm on fire. She woke up 12 young girls and helped usher them safely outside. However, there was one more girl in the dorm and she went back in to help wake her up. As a result, she burned up alive. I was honored to go to the poorest place on earth (Kibera—The largest slum area in the world, where her single mother and big brother lived. It was there I was asked to minister. It was a complete joy to teach the Scriptures on the importance of “Mountains & Valleys.” The 20 African ladies who were by my side had not a dry eye. It was a moving experience I shall never forget. This little teenage girl was a true hero.

I simply enjoy the ministry that God guided me to in Kenya. I’m working on my 5th year with scheduling my 12th trip with Kathy in July-August of 2018 (Matthew 28:19-20; John 15:16); and can’t wait to get back in country, preaching the Word of God to a most precious people.

Tom Pousche

Dr. Tom Pousche is a “retired” transit chaplain with masters of divinity, and a doctor of ministry degrees. A writer, chaplain trainer, and inspirational speaker, he still enjoys driving (and test-driving) big trucks, and taking long walks with his wife, Kathy. The Pousches are residents of Camas, Washington, when they’re not traveling and ministering, including of all places, Africa!

For more stories of chaplaincy ministry, in the US and abroad, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information on chaplain endorsement, contact Andy Meverden, CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Why I Continue Supporting CBAmerica Chaplaincy: A Retiree’s Perspective

By Rev. Jan Michael Nace, Pastor and Retired Prison Chaplain

Introductory remarks by Andy Meverden: In my post-seminary, graduate training as an organizational development consultant, I learned that adults don’t like surprises – children do – but most adults don’t. Unless of course, it’s extremely positive.

Well, I just received a wonderful surprise.  It came in the form of an email from one of our retired chaplains, Michael and Sylvie Nace, who retired after 30 years of fruitful prison ministry in Canada and New York State. It was just a short email asking where to send a gift to support CBAmerica chaplaincy.  Initially, I simply thanked him, and gave him the home office address in Longmont, Colorado.  Then, after letting the kindness wash over me, I sent a second email, asking him to explain why.  This is Pastor Nace’s reply:

“I recently retired from corrections Chaplaincy as an endorsed CB Chaplain. Since retirement I have missed the warm and supportive relationship I had while a Chaplain; even though I continue communication with both Al and Andy, my former Directors. In all my ministry years, I had never had such support and affirmation as I received from these two CB Directors. They were always available and always in my corner when I needed them. They were like a spiritual lifeline during spiritual warfare at times. There was a time I was almost denied practicing an immersion baptism and CB came to the rescue offering legal support and assured me I would be able to continue baptizing by immersion.

Now that I am a pastor again, I realize the value of CB America Chaplaincy more than ever. My Chaplaincy years were like a learning school. Since retirement from Chaplaincy, I felt as time went on to not support CB Chaplaincy financially would be (for me) almost like abandoning them after all the years they supported me.

Today I am sending a check as a retiree, as a retired Chaplain, to show my ongoing gratitude and appreciation for the support and prayers they gave me nearly 20 years of ministry as a Chaplain. I believe it is the very least I can do to continue this valuable ministry CB provides their Chaplains. As a member of the CB Chaplaincy family–only retired—I want to show how much I appreciate them and always will, so I plan to send the occasional financial support whenever possible to show them my true feelings.”

Gratefully,

Michael

Rev. Jan Michael Nace, Pastor

www.Mark1615Ministries.com
www.JavaChurch.net
www.emai.org

Pastor Nace and wife, Sylvie, are one of many “retired” chaplains who continue in a new chapter of ministry; in their case, pastoral ministry. Pastor Nace still supports prison ministry — no surprise there!”

For more stories of the wide variety of chaplaincy ministries under CBAmerica, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy, and for information on what it takes to serve as a chaplain, contact Andy Meverden, director of chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Chaplains Recognized for Outstanding Ministry Service

By Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy

Founded in 1925 and chartered in 1950 by the 81st Congress, the Military Chaplains Association (MCA) is a professional military chaplain support and Veterans Service Organization (VSO).  The MCA is dedicated to the religious freedom and spiritual welfare of our Armed Services members, Veterans, their families and survivors. Its members serve or have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Veterans Affairs, or Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol chaplaincies (CAP). www.mca-usa.org

Every year, the MCA receives nominations from the various military chaplaincies of individuals who model “exceptional ministry professionalism, expertise in an environment of diverse individuals, resiliency, and effectiveness in addressing the spiritual and/or moral needs and issues of our men and women facing demands of life and duty in the modern military environment.” Those selected receive the MCA Distinguished Service Award.

This year, not one, but two CBAmerica Chaplains will receive the MCA Distinguished Service Award at the Annual Award Banquet held 24 October in Newport News, Virginia.  In time-honored military tradition, I present them in order of rank and seniority.

Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, David & Jean Bobbey, CAP.  The notifying email reads:

“Chaplain Bobbey – Congratulations! You are the recipient of the 2017 MCA Distinguished Service Award for exceptional military ministry as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain.”

Chaplain Bobbey forwarded his notification to me with the accompanying note: “Dear Chaplain Meverden, I have been richly blessed by the Grace and Mercy of the Lord in so many ways; and the attached FYI is just one of them. At age 80, the honor & privilege of serving the Lord in CAP as well as in Cadence is awesome.  Very Respectfully, Dave Bobbey”

Dave and Jean served 20 years active duty in the Army chaplaincy; including a tour in Vietnam. After that they ministered with US servicemembers through Cadence International, an evangelical mission agency dedicated to reaching the military communities of the United States and of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

They started the first Cadence ministry at Ft Bragg/Pope AFB which grew to three Cadence ministries. In February of 2003, Dave was reappointed as a chaplain with the Civil Air Patrol, an Auxiliary of the US Air Force. Its mission is to “support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power.” They have been married 54 years, and have three married children and seven grandchildren.  At age 80, Chaplain Bobbey, shows little signs of stopping!

For his “exceptional military ministry as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain,” Lieutenant Colonel David Bobbey was selected to receive the MCA Distinguished Service Award.

Lieutenant Commander Jonathan & Melissa Stephens, CHC, US Navy Chaplain Stephen’s notifying email reads:

“Chaplain Stephens – Congratulations! You are the recipient of the 2017 MCA Distinguished Service Award for exceptional military ministry as a Navy chaplain, active component.”

I learned of this award, not by email, but through a phone call from Chaplain Stephens currently stationed with his wife and baby daughter, Louisa, in Japan.

The nature of our call was serious and the tone, somber. We were discussing Jonathan’s critical ministry response to the crews of the USS Fitzgerald, and the USS John McCain, US Navy destroyers that recently collided with large commercial vessels. As the squadron chaplain, he was flown out to both ships immediately following each incident.

Recently assigned to Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan, he was called out in the middle of the night to minister on the Fitzgerald, where seven Sailors died on 17 June 2017. The following weeks were a flurry of casualty notifications, dignified transfers, memorial services, and crew and family counseling. We ended our call with prayer for God to sustain and guide Chaplain Stephens’ life and ministry.

In the aftermath of the Fitzgerald incident, the unthinkable occurred. Another ship from his squadron, the USS John S McCain, collided with a vessel in Singaporean waters on 21 August where ten Sailors died. This time, instead of returning to Naval Base Yokosuka for reconstitution and repair, the McCain and crew headed to Singapore. There Chaplain Stephens stayed for several weeks ministering and bonding with the crew.

Once again, the ensuring weeks were filled with casualty recovery, ship stability operations, dignified transfers, memorial services and crew counseling in Singapore. Upon return with the ship’s crew to Yokosuka, Chaplain Stephens, with support of his wife, Melissa, ministered to the broken-hearted. In our phone calls following the McCain tragedy, I listened to a chaplain who, more than ever, needed God’s sustaining power, direction, and protection.
For his “exceptional military ministry as a Navy chaplain,” Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Stephens was selected to receive the MCA Distinguished Service Award.

The Board of CBAmerica recognizes Chaplain David and Jean Bobbey, and Chaplain Jonathan and Melissa Stephens for their faithful Kingdom ministry in the Civil Air Patrol, and the US Navy. We thank God for them and the other 190 CB chaplains who serve across the US and around the world in military and civilian chaplain ministries.

For more stories of God-honoring chaplain ministry, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

Contact CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden, at chapandy@cbamerica.org for information on endorsement.