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]

All In a Quarter’s Work

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Report compiled by Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy

CBAmerica requires quarterly reports from each military chaplain serving on active duty or in a fulltime status. Chaplain Darin Dunham’s report from Naval Station Mayport, Florida, reflects the ministry of many of the 40 Chaplains currently on Active Duty. When asked to share his greatest blessing of the quarter he writes, “Hard to determine a single greatest blessing, I feel tremendously blessed in a lot of areas. We continue to enjoy our current assignment with family doing very well and enjoying favor with the command. Initial efforts in the first few years have provided the foundation for well-established working relationships with squadron Commanding Officers. This final year has the making of a good one.”

We ask our chaplains to quantify the outcomes of their ministry activities. Chaplain Dunham reports: 3 worship services, 11 Bible Studies/small groups, 9 (NINE) crisis interventions, 3 first-time decisions, 11 rededications and 1 baptism! These are encouraging results for the first quarter of 2015. When asked for what we can pray, Darin writes: “I’m currently negotiating my next orders (assignment). We appreciate prayers for God’s will to be manifest in the process. We will be crossing a critical juncture in the life of our son as he transitions from high school to college. Our next assignment will influence our options for (his) education.”

Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy, adds, “Each quarter’s ministry results vary, but we can get an idea of the amount, quality, and impact of CBAmerica’s chaplain corps world-wide. Pray for ministry effectiveness, family health and well-being, and for those who will be facing transition and transfer this year. This is a prime example of how CB chaplains are active today reaching those others can’t.”
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New York Guard Engineers’ Frustration turns into the City of Buffalo’s Blessing!

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Tim Miller was commissioned as a chaplain in September of 2014, after several years in the Chaplain Candidate (Seminarian) program. One of his first assignments as a brand new chaplain of the New York Army National Guard came unexpectedly with a snow storm in Buffalo. He explained that his unit was scheduled for deployment, but at the last minute, it was called off. This sudden change in plans evokes many emotions in a soldier. It is a time of turmoil, as many of them had quit their jobs, moved their families and made other preparations of being gone for a year.

Tim writes:

“With joy and sadness my unit’s deployment to Afghanistan was canceled. Soldiers felt relief and others were upset. During this time, the City of Buffalo experienced 7.5 feet of snow and my Engineers, along with myself were called up for one week prior to Thanksgiving. During this time, I was able to hold several services and provide crisis intervention for several Soldiers. Because of the uniqueness of my role within the Engineers, I became the Joint Task Force Chaplain for this mission and provided administrative and logistical oversight for other Chaplains on the same mission. At the end of the mission, the Administrative Chaplain from National Guard Bureau contacted me to create a storyboard for the Buffalo mission. I was told that the storyboard slide was briefed to the Chief of Staff of the Army! The greatest blessing was the honor of providing support to the people of Buffalo, NY.”

It should be noted that CH (1LT) Matthew Laun also participated in this snowstorm, and is also a CB America NY ARNG Chaplain.

Andy Meverden, CBA’s new Director of Chaplaincy observes, When natural and man-caused disasters strike across the nation, and civilian response is overwhelmed, local National Guard units are called up to provide “Defense Support to Civil Authorities” (DSCA).  Faced at times with horrible devastation, Guardsmen and women, likewise can be overwhelmed in their search, rescue and recovery efforts. During such times State National Guard (Army and Air) chaplains team up to provide religious and emotional support to America’s original “Home Team.*” Whenever a major disaster strikes, stop and pray for the 22 CBAmerica endorsed National Guard chaplains spread across our nation, along with the 100 other military chaplains, and 80 civilian chaplains in unique ministry situations, “reaching those others can’t… or won’t!”

*Since 1636, starting in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, volunteer Militias have supported the people of their States in times of crisis.  From the beginning, chaplains have accompanied these units in the field in times of natural and man-made disasters, and war.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Military Chaplain in the Right Place at the Right Time, with the Real Message of Hope

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By Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden

One of our military chaplains assigned to a hospital reported an incident that warmed my heart.

“Recently, I met an 88 year old gentleman in the ER and was later called to visit him while on-call.  He had a history of heart failure and has fought with cancer for over a decade and now he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  He didn’t have any close family or friends; he was here alone.  When I was asked to see him in his room, he was very emotional and scared.  I sat with him for over two hours and let him grieve. He told me that he had never been religious but he believed in God and asked me what I think happens when we die.  I was able to walk with him through the story of how death was never a part of God’s plan but our sin separated us from God and brought about death; both physical and spiritual.  I shared with him the Gospel and he accepted Christ as his Savior.  After he prayed and accepted Christ, he asked about baptism.  He had seen people be baptized before and he wanted to know more about it.  I explained to him that it is a physical symbol of what’s taken place spiritually.  He was very interested and asked if there was any way he could be baptized.  I met with the medical staff the next day and found a walk-in physical therapy tub in the sports medicine center and coordinated to use it for baptism.  Two days after he received Christ we were able to baptize him and five days later he left this world.”

Pray for CBAmerica chaplains serving in military, veterans and civilian hospitals throughout the US and on military installations around the world; that they may be ready, approachable, and Spirit-led in every ministry opportunity.  

*Personal identities withheld out of respect for patient confidentiality.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Russell Retirement Ceremony

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Director of Chaplaincy, Al Russell and his wife Carol, were honored on March 10, 2015 at the CB Northwest Annual Enrichment Conference for over 20 years of service to CBAmerica Chaplaincy.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][x_video_embed type=”16:9″][/x_video_embed][/vc_column][/vc_row]