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.


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).


Urgent Text from Chaplain Brian Hargis

hargis1Chaplain Brian Hargis, Schofield Barracks, HI

Sunday, November 27, 2106 (11:12 AM MMS)

Bro. Andy, [and members, friends & supporters of CBAmerica Chaplaincy]

Today I become the senior pastor of a new congregation/Chapel here in Hawaii. Blessed to see it grow from 15 to 66 in two months.  The command chaplain (Colonel) for the post was going to shut it down, but God sent me to plow.

Expecting 100 today and so much more as we launch a new theme for all the Army Installations in April. This is a huge project – eventually every US Army base will use our template to grow a congregation like ours.  Talk about church planting in the Army!

hargis2I’m bringing in the Deputy Chief of Chaplains (Brigadier General Solhjem – a Baptist) at the Pentagon, and the installation Chaplain at Fort Campbell, KY (Colonel Murphy, another Baptist) and some other heavy hitters in the Chaplain Corps to preach a revival and to help launch it.

The theme is IMPACT.  God making an impact in us so that we can IMPACT our community and the world.

The last time a [US Army] Chapel theme was launched was 1999. The theme was “Chapel Next,” taking the “next step.”  Chapel Next is still around at most every Army Installation, but IMPACT Chapel will be the new theme encouraging a deeper relationship with God, a deeper dive into Scripture, and a deeper concentration on Service.  Time is short, and it’s time to get off the pews and make an IMPACT.

hargis3I can’t tell you how big this may be as God gets behind our prayers to work by, with, and through us to IMPACT the Army.  I’m super excited and humbled to have this opportunity.

Please tell CBAmerica that I need them now more than ever, because Satan certainly wants to keep our IMPACT minimal. But…greater is He who in in us….


Brian Hargis Chaplain, Captain, US Army Senior Pastor (Protestant) MHR Chapel Schofield Barracks, HI


Chaplain Andy adds:  Please join me in praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, empowerment and blessing on this new “Army Chaplaincy Initiative.”  For more stories of God working in and through CBAmerica chaplains, go to http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/

Now Hear This: Ministering on a Floating City

carlton1By Chaplain Aaron Carlton, US Navy – afloat, as reported to Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy.


The location and ministry of military chaplains are often shrouded in secrecy. As a result, I am sometimes surprised by their location and ministry activity.  From somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, I received a ministry report from Navy Chaplain Aaron Carlton, assigned to a large amphibious task force steaming to a volatile part of the world.

Chaplain Carlton writes:

One of the great blessings that I am thankful for as we start our deployment is the quality of fellow chaplains we have on board.  We all seem to get along well and I think each is open to listening to each other and truly doing the best.  Also, we are all open to personal growth and accountability.  This is not as common in the chaplaincy as one would hope.  So this is a blessing.

A second blessing is that our church on board this ship is rocking and rolling, literally and figuratively.  We have had packed services each weekend and are considering adding another Christian worship service.”

carlton2Please pray for:  My family (wife, Lily and 3 young daughters, Mayah, Noelle & Sophia) and their emotional and spiritual health during this time.  The safety and protection of all the Sailors and Marines on board the 3-ship group.  Especially as we will be in the Middle East during a season of political change at home and international turmoil abroad.

Ministry Activities:  Worship Services: 13, One-On-One Visits: 158, Bible Studies: 15, Other small groups: 3,  Outreach: First Time Decisions: 3, Rededications: 18, Baptisms: 1”

I asked Chaplain Carlton to tell me about the ship’s “Evening Prayer.”  The evening prayer over the ship’s intercom is one of the enduring US Naval traditions.  It is also one that is still being fought against, by anti-religion groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

carlton3Chaplain Carlton sent three of his recent “Evening Prayers:”

“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  Think of the wisest person you know.  I would venture to guess that they are also the most humble.  If we would aspire to greater wisdom in our work, in relationships, in life, one of the best ways to get there is to pursue genuine humility.

Genuine humility listens to others’ perspectives and treats each person with elevated dignity and respect.  Instead of just looking at another’s flaws, we become honest and aware of our own shortcomings.  Instead of demanding respect, we earn it by showing it to others.

Pride and ego elevates the self at the expense of others, humility gets low and lifts others up.  On the path to becoming wise, let us learn to be humble.”

“Living God, help us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but in sober judgment, let us put others first. Help us to see correctly our own weakness, before we see the faults in others. In Your Name, Amen.”


“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  As we end our day, I would invite you to consider the power of our words… have you ever been around someone who was negative all the time? At best it is unpleasant, at worst, it is destructive to the morale and well-being of those around us. Have you ever been around someone who was positive and uplifting? Which one are you? With our mouths we bless or we curse, we provide hope or we extinguish it, we uplift or we tear down. Often times we do both within a matter of minutes… tonight as we close the day, let us be resolved to choose our words wisely and in doing so give life and strength to those who hear us.”

“Living God, refresh those who refresh others.  Replenish the inner storeroom of their souls.  And grant us all wisdom in our words and in our deeds.  In Your name we pray, Amen.”


“Good evening, friends.  This is Chaplain Carlton.  Moses once prayed, ‘Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ One pathway to a wise life is a healthy perspective of each day that we are given on this earth. Each day is a gift. Let us receive each moment then with thankfulness and resolve to do as much good upon this earth as we can, while we can, for as long as we can.  If you are here today, you are here for just that reason.”

“Living God, help us to take nothing for granted. Each day we are here is an opportunity to use our time wisely and to make a difference.  Each moment is a chance for us to improve our souls, to right our wrongs, and to make the world a better place by exerting our influence.

For this ship, for each aircraft and landing craft, for every soul on board, grant us an extra measure of your unseen protection and care as we learn to number our days.”

Respectfully submitted,

Chaplain Aaron Carlton, USN (Deployed)

Chaplain Andy concludes: Please join me in praying for the health, safety, and success of Chaplain Carlton and his task force.  Thank God for his obvious hand working while “under way.”


carlton4Photo Caption: Chaplain Aaron Carlton on the far right with Aviation Supply Officer, in blue. Aviation Maintenance Division Officer in white.  And a supply tech rep… we’re all on the flight deck somewhere in the south pacific.


Care Packages

For those churches and individuals interested in supporting the ministry of this chaplain team, Care Packages can be sent per the following guidelines to the address below:

Care Packages, absolutely we will accept… some standard that are always good are:

– ATT Calling Cards

– Snacks/Goodies/Treats

– Candy/Mints

– Nuts/trail mix

– Cup of Noodles/ramen

– Crossword books/Sudoku books

– Magazines

– Dried fruit

– Cards/UNO/Card games

– Blank birthday/Christmas/greeting cards


Some things that really won’t work in shipping to us on board the ship:

– NO Liquids

– NO Wipes

– NO gum

– NO soap


Mail to:

Chaplain Dept.
Unit 100222 Box 802
FPO AP 96672


Good News from a VA Medical Center

va2By Chaplain Gary Cowden, Veterans Health Administration, (With introduction and commentary by Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy)

There’s been a lot of bad news coming out of our Veterans Administration Healthcare System. So much so, that one can be led to think “can anything good come out of the VA?”  For this reason, I’ve followed closely the ministry reports of our seven chaplains serving in the VA.  Of special note was a recent report by Gary Cowden, Chief Chaplain at the Puget Sound VA Healthcare Center in Seattle.  When asked to describe some of his greatest blessings over the first half of 2016, Gary wrote:

“The growth of our team. I am the Chief of Chaplain Service, so my great joy is in providing leadership to our service line. In June we had our second annual spiritual life retreat at a Catholic retreat center – it was a tremendous blessing to us all.  The Chaplain Service continues to grow; we now have eight staff chaplains and thirteen CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) students, including a Supervisory Education Student (a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) instructor in training).

My emphasis is on team and spiritual unity, so we meet daily for prayer as we begin the day. This emphasis on prayer has brought a great sense of teamwork and spiritual vitality to our team, enabling us to endure many difficult life events (death of a daughter, serious health and family issues, wayward children, birth of a special needs child).  I view the staff support provided as the essential factor in high team functioning.  The team is composed of two Catholic Priests, two Presbyterian women chaplains, a Church of God in Christ chaplain, an Assembly of God former Navy chaplain, and a CB/Calvary Chapel Supervisor. (This is the nature of pluralistic ministry in an institutional setting.)  All truly love the Lord and enjoy serving Christ together.  We may have doctrinal differences, but deep love and respect for each other.

Beyond that, my efforts in the area of Moral Injury continue forward. I have conducted two groups of Veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and moral injury; and continue the training of other mental health professionals on the subject.  The topic is receiving more scrutiny in the literature all the time.  It is a blessing to be on the cutting edge of this ministry.  We have seen lives changed as Veterans have recommitted their lives to God following their recovery from the moral injury of war.”

cowdenThis past September 9-11, Gary (far right in purple shirt) again facilitated a seminar at the CBNW Men’s Round Up on the topic of Moral Injury and Healing.  After a well-attended session last year, incorporating the testimony of a Vietnam Veteran, who had been suffering from the debilitating impact of moral injury, Gary invited two Vietnam Vets who had found forgiveness and healing of their soul through Christ. (See group photos of chaplains and Veterans – can you distinguish between them!).  Over 50 men, many Veterans and those ministering to Veterans in their churches and communities attended and lingered after with questions.

When asked for what he’d like prayer, Chaplain Gary wrote:

“Continued team unity. This is a great place to work because the team functions so well together.  Also please pray for the spiritual vitality of myself and the rest of the VA chaplain staff.”

One might ask: “How do you quantify the ministry impact of chaplains like Gary?”   Gary summarized this six-month ministry period thus:  Worship Services: 12, Bible Studies: 4, Small Groups: 36, One-on One Visits: 150, Rededications: 1!!  It’s clear from his summary, Gary is a “player-coach,” actively and effectively involved in direct ministry on top of his supervisory duties.

Pray for Gary and the other 175 CBAmerica chaplains serving in Federal and Civilian settings across America; on military bases, VA hospitals, and Prisons; as well as medical centers, hospitals, hospices, and with first responders (police, fire, EMS), rescue missions, Veterans, Motor Sports, and Wounded Warriors. Pray that men and women will find forgiveness and spiritual healing of their souls in Christ.


No Pool, No Problem: Base Pond Serves for Believer’s Baptism

roy1By Chaplain Roy Fondren

Whiting Field, Florida

“Naval Health Clinic Whiting Field’s PO2 Lovin desired to publically display his faith in Jesus via Baptism. Upon discovering the Base Pool was drained for the season, he said ‘no problem, no reason why the Base Pond won’t do!’ So it was in the cool waters of this sun and Son shining day that the faithful display of his obedience to Christ was seen by those that celebrated with him! It’s a tremendous joy to see and serve our Sailors as they excel personally and professionally! Lord, may our Brother and Sailor enjoy Your grace richly each day You purpose him for Your Glory! Amen!

My Greatest Blessing of the Quarter:

roy2Beneath the surface relationships are increasing! I have the honor of serving about 3,400 folks but yet; with this quarter representing year one done, I’m humbled to actually get to know and be known by folks significantly deeper.  I fretted that upon arriving…’how can I get deep with sooo many to serve’ and yet, it’s happening via Spirit led deckplate* ministry!  It’s crazy exciting!

I also am near completing the Fly Doctors Aviator Syllabus. Something no other Chaplain has completed.  By God’s grace, I’ll be able to continue plugging away at it and complete it! I’ve been able to now fly the T6, Th-57, MH-53E and MH-60. I’m set to fly the T-45 in the next few weeks.  I share that only for the sake of joyfulness of contextual connection with my people! I’m surrounded by Aviators, Students and Fleet seasoned warriors; so the more aircraft I have ‘Pilot at the Controls’ experience with, the greater my ability to relate and get deeper! God’s awesome!”

roy3Chaplain Fondren reported the following ministry results during this last quarter: Worship Services: 3, Bible Studies: 2, Crisis Interventions: 3, First-time Decisions: 14, Rededications: 6, Baptisms: 1!

Rejoice with Chaplain Fondren over the new names written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life! And rejoice over the several hundred professions of faith and baptisms witnessed by our CBAmerica chaplains thus far in 2016.


roy4For 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.


*Deckplate ministry is a Navy term much like “workplace ministry.”

Outnumbered: Chaplains Team Up to Baptize 115!

hargisBy Chaplain Brian Hargis, US Army

In March and April I was afforded the opportunity to cover down (military term for “fill in”) for Chaplain (Captain) Sarah Tarpley Vesselee (www.facebook.com/sdtarpley?fref=ts), battalion chaplain for the 3-13 Infantry Battalion (BCT) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  The 3-13 IN is a basic combat training battalion (BCT).

hargis1This was my first opportunity to minister in a Basic Training Battalion – something I always wanted to do.  For the first service in March, it was WEEK 1 for the Soldiers and over 200 attended the chapel service.  No doubt that numerous Soldiers received the Gospel for the first time in their lives.  So many came to Jesus that it was more than I could count.

Realizing that I was outnumbered, I was able to solicit the help of Chaplain (Captain) Rick Pak and Family for the next two services.  More Soldiers attended and many more professed Christ as Savior.

For the last week, the services had grown by word of mouth. We needed more chairs in the battalion conference room to seat 250 Soldiers.  And by this time, numerous Soldiers joined me in music, singing, and testimony of what God was doing!  Watch the video, see and hear the good reports of God working among the Soldiers! They were very eager and enthusiastic to worship the Lord and testify of His goodness.

hargis2Closing the service, a line formed 50+ deep of Soldiers that wanted to hug and say, “thank you.” Because there were so many Soldiers, and I could not deal with them each individually, I asked them if they had truly received Jesus Christ as Savior to shake my hand and say, “Chaplain, I’m on Team Jesus, now.”

A female Soldier was in line visibly shaken.  She cried, hugged me and asked me to pray for her.  She said, “Chaplain, I’m a lesbian and I know it’s wrong.  Please pray that God will forgive me and change me.”  Wow!  No doubt that the Lord had met with her that Sunday morning!

Knowing that so many had trusted Christ, I prepared a sign-up for baptism. Over 100 Soldiers signed up, with many indicating that they wanted to speak with Chaplain Sarah for counseling.  Each Soldier was also given a Bible and some had already started small group Bible studies!

hargis3Chaplain Sarah returned and finished the services until graduation. She said that she never had so many professions of faith before, and that she was overwhelmed with counseling!

A graduation Baptism was scheduled for Sunday, 3 April 2016, in the common area of the battalion.  Drill Sergeants marched platoons of Soldiers to the mini-service with towels and shower shoes in hand!  Chaplain Sarah’s assistant filled a round baptismal pool and staged audio equipment.  We played and sang a few hymns and I preached a short sermon about the importance of biblical baptism.

hargis4One by one, we baptized 115 Soldiers in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and presented baptismal certificates.  There were so many Soldiers that I didn’t even bother to count, but Chaplain Sarah said that they had printed 115 individual baptismal certificates for those that had signed up; and when we were finished, there were no certificates left.  It was an amazing experience of receiving and celebrating new life in Christ!

A female Drill Sergeant gave me her phone number for follow-up. She is a Christian seeking God’s will and is interested in becoming a chaplain.  I was able to talk to her for several weeks following, and she is now in the process of becoming a Chaplain.

Chaplain Hargis’ Prayer Requests/Praises include:

  • Pray that churches and bookstores will purchase my book “Marriage is a Four-Letter Word.” One church used it for a Young Couples group, but I would love to see it picked up on a larger scale of use.
  • Jordan Hargis (our 19-year-old son) is in the Ohio Army National Guard and works as an MP (Military Policeman). He was activated for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Although there were no riots, some shots were fired at the MPs. As a Father, I thank God for Jordan’s safety and trust God to protect him.
  • Pray for a close relationship with my new Commander (LTC Miller) at Schofield Barracks, HI. I want to be used by God to be a blessing to him and his Squadron.
  • Pray for God’s direction to the right chapel service for me, my Family, and the congregants. We like to be involved.
  • Pray for my wife, Tracy, as she homeschools the boys – this will be our first full year of homeschool.


Respectfully Submitted,

Chaplain Brian Hargis Chaplain, US Army


If you are 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.

Strategic Ministry to Department of the Army Civilians

werho2By Chaplain (Captain) Daniel Werho

52d Signal Battalion Civilian Marriage Enrichment Training

From 9 to 11 September 2016, the 52d Strategic Signal Battalion Unit Ministry Team (UMT), stationed out of Stuttgart, Germany, hosted 14 Department of the Army Civilian Couples for a weekend marriage enrichment training at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany. The event was the first of its kind in that the event was funded with a target audience of Civilians. Traditionally, Army units and UMTs have been funded for family training events like these but have only been able to train Soldiers and their Families. However, in a Signal Unit abroad, where roughly half of the personnel are Civilians who are serving tours away from an English speaking support community, the need for family enrichment training and funding was glaringly apparent.

As a result, back in October of 2015, the 52d UMT submitted a Specialized Grant Request to the Army Chief of Chaplain’s Office identifying the need and requesting funds to conduct the training. In February of 2016, the grant was approved and planning began. During the registration phase the event quickly accumulated a waiting list for this “rare opportunity.” Couples were even willing use a Leave Day to attend the training. Prior to promoting this opportunity, the Civilians in the unit were typically a bit reticent towards the UMT, not really sure how the UMT could support them. There was definitely a culture of divide between the UMT and the Civilian population. In years past, the UMT was always there to support the Soldiers.

werho1That barrier towards personal ministry has been broken down through this training. The UMT is no longer here just to hold Religious Services and support the Soldiers in the eyes of the Civilian. This event has built a bridge to personal ministry that exceeds all expectations. In fact, in an effort to ‘take baby steps,’ the weekend training event intentionally scheduled family time out on the town, but the After Action Review (AAR) came to reveal that the participants actually opted for more training and discussion than free time because free time is not as much of a concern for Civilians as it is for Soldiers.

werho3Rather, Civilians are hungry for more valuable discussion and training. They are already asking when the next event will be and stirring up conversations about the event with those who missed it. A foundation of relationship has been laid through this effort that is already proving fruitful through on-going discussions and follow up events.

Respectfully Submitted,

Chaplain (CPT) Daniel Werho US Army, Europe


CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden writes: “Chaplain Werho tapped into a significant ministry segment of the Army community. Approximately 1.3 million soldiers serve in the US Army (Active, Guard, and Reserve); you likely know about these. But are you aware that ‘Army Civilians – more than 330,000 men and women working in every profession imaginable – are not active duty military, but serve as an integral part of the Army team to support the defense of our nation.’ (http://www.armycivilianservice.com). In my Army days, we fondly called them ‘little old ladies in tennis shoes.’ They were the stable logistical backbone of Army posts. They still are, and so much more.

Many of these ‘DA Civilians’ (DAC), serve in support of Army personnel around the world. In situations where it is safe and feasible, they can take their families with them, as in the case of Chaplain Werho’s communications unit in Germany. Seeing a need, he took the initiative, recommended a solution to his commander, and received approval to proceed with planning and executing this relationship enhancement retreat. Needs were addressed, walls came down, bridges to future ministry were built. The beautiful location did not hurt!

Join me in thanking God for this ministry breakthrough, and asking Him for even greater ministry inroads into this largely unknown population of DAC personnel and their families. While you’re at it, pray for all 175 CBAmerica chaplains (96 military and 79 civilian) scattered across the US and around the globe; for eyes to see the ministry opportunities before them, and the wisdom and courage to take Spirit-led initiative to develop effective ministries to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

For more stories about CBAmerica chaplains, go to http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/. To learn more about becoming endorsed by CBAmerica as a chaplain, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Weekly Leader Devotional – Follow me!

LT Roy L. Fondren Jr., CHC, USN
Staff Chaplain
NAS Whiting Field
Milton, FL 32570


Good Morning Leaders!

I TRULY enjoy the whole of my dutiful Calling here and yet one of the tasks that really excites me is the monthly Instructor Ethics Brief! It’s the time in which I present the rhyme and reason for the “Center of Gravity” (Instructor Pilots) to remain above reproach in personal and professional character as key family members!  During last week’s brief, God moved me in such a way as to say, ‘You’re here to shape generations of Officers that Aviate so serve with a Reproducing Person’s mind-frame. Live and instruct in an attractive manner that causes others to model you motivatedly!’ (Sic)

According to the Christian faith, that same pretense was presented to Jesus’ Disciples as He was briefing their life mission in His departing absence. He’d spent the last 3.5 years attractively modeling the lifestyle by which their lives were to replicate so that others would be enticed by The Way of Godliness!  So it was His time to pass on the humbled task of shaping and instructing the next generation(s) as Reproducing People; with the implication that they’d first have to live attractively in a manner worthy of their Calling and profession.

roy2That’s my prayerful challenge this week for you and yours! That you live and lead with an attractiveness that results in you being a Reproducing Person!  One that has others desiring to model His likeness because of yours; be it in your home, office, community, church or elsewhere.  Keep Your Character Attractively Above Reproach as a Reproducing Person!

God Bless You Richly This Week!

roy3Matthew 28: 16-20 “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”

Just the Right Size

By Chaplain Bob Ishkanian

I serve the inmates as a CBAmerica Chaplain in a Florida prison. I am also a Gideon. I decided that I would do a Gideon Scripture distribution to all 1200 inmates. When they came out of the chow hall for lunch, I asked each one personally if they would like a copy of God’s word. About 250 said yes.Bob Ishkanian

One of the inmates that took one of our pocket New Testaments (let’s call him Jim) was a known drug dealer in the prison; one of your go-to men if you wanted to get high on something. You can get your hands on most drugs easier in prison than on the outside. There is a big profit to be made selling drugs in prison, more so than on the outside so that’s why some staff, some inmates and some visitors bring the drugs in. It’s big business and it’s everywhere.

One day Jim ran out of rolling paper for his joints. He later told me, as he looked at his pocket New Testaments, he figured out that the pages in it were just the right size and thickness to roll a perfect joint for resale. At the time he wasn’t sure how the print would affect sales or the taste of the joint, but that turned out not to be a problem! So starting with Matthew, he started to tear pages out of his testament and rolled his joints. He got up to the page that was around the third chapter of John. Hey, you can’t make this stuff up folks!  He started to read what was somewhat familiar verses from his childhood. Do I have to tell you what verse spoke to him?

Bob Ishkanian2He told me later he read that page several times, figured out what it was saying and committed his life to Christ. The next thing he did was to ask for a chaplain. He took several of my classes and still seems to be walking with the Lord. Bingo!!! Chalk another one up for the Holy Spirit where He promises in Isaiah 55:11 that “His Word shall not return unto Him void.” This kind of gives that verse a whole new meaning!



Chaplain Bob’s main prayer request is for “safety and God’s leading” in his ministry. Join me in praising God for His continued work in the lives of “the least of these” (Matt 25:40) who find themselves in prison.  Bob is one of 10 CBAmerica chaplains working in correctional facilities (penitentiaries, prisons, jail and other types of detention facilities); military and civilian.  Include them all in your prayers.

For more stories of God’s work through CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

For information on how to become an endorsed chaplain through CBAmerica, contact our Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Looking for Room 372

Looking for Room 372By Chaplain Gordon Ruddick

It was a Sunday morning. A work day. I don’t usually work on the weekends, anymore, but this was one of those days. I had two hospitals to cover, about six miles apart. The one is big, bustling, and beautiful. I spend most of my time there.

The other is cared for by equally committed caregivers who happen to work in an environment that does not always seem to be the focus of attention. I spent my first year as a chaplain there and feel connected to those folks, many of whom continue to work in this specific location on purpose, bringing all they have to those who need it. I often start my weekend day at what we call “UD”, University District. I attend rounds on the medical floor and then try to make a visit or two or maybe three before I head over to RiverBend, which I kiddingly refer to as the “Big Dog.”

Knowing there would be lots to do at RiverBend today, I listened during rounds and determined that there was one patient I had to try to see. This was a GIP patient in room 372. GIP stands for “General In-Patient,” a term for hospice patients who have been admitted to the hospital, often because of pain issues that cannot be managed outside this acute setting.

That was the situation for this man about 50 years old who was dying of cancer. But he wasn’t dying easily. Or quickly, or painlessly, either, despite the attempts and care of the staff. I peeked into his darkened room and saw him asleep in his bed with another person sprawled on a nearby chair, intently trying to catch up on missed rest during this unofficial truce. There have been two instances in the hospital where I have experienced a terminal patient in agonal pain. I’m not displeased that I did not have to experience that this day. I asked the nurse how the night had gone and about his wife—where she was and how this was for her. Pain control was still elusive at times, she said. For now, he was quiet and not hurting. He was at death’s door, it seemed. But for now that door was locked despite the banging.

There was no one to talk to, and I needed to get moving. Lots of people to see at the Big Dog. Oh well, I had tried. Did my best. Surely didn’t want to wake up this patient for any reason right now. Let him sleep. Let them both sleep. I told the ward clerk I was leaving and headed down to the first floor. I wondered where his wife was. In the cafeteria?

Suddenly I realized this was not my normal exit path. I usually take the sky bridge connected to the third floor over the street and then go down to the parking garage. But not today. For some reason, as I headed towards the crosswalk, I glanced at the woman standing by the bus stop, which in this location was a self-contained unit, consisting of a steel post with a bus schedule at eye level as well as a small bench attached at the appropriate height. She did not look up at me. She seemed to be in her own world.

Then I saw it.

A sticky label attached to her dress. Three numbers on it. “372.” She wore that so staff would know her reason for being in the hospital. This was the wife. The one I had been looking for.

I quietly introduced myself by name as a chaplain (she could see my badge as well) and I told her I had been looking for her. We sat on that small bench and she told me her story of deep pain and suffering. Of the hope for recovery that had grown and faded and now was only a distant memory. She mentioned their faith and the help it had been to them. And she also said how hard a time her husband was having dying. She asked if I would pray that her husband would die soon. I said, “Of course I will.”

So I prayed for God to take her husband home very soon and end his pain. And I asked for God to comfort her in her sorrow, disappointment, and hurt. When the prayer was over I held her for just a second. I then was able to provide some assurance to her that God cared. I said, “I was looking for you and I was not able to find you, I believe God led me to you. And you know what? You are the only person in this hospital that I will probably see today. I want you to realize that you are very special to God and to me as well.” She was touched.

And, oh yes, the door finally opened. He died later that day. Quietly it seemed.

That was the only time I ever saw her.

The story of Jesus in Samaria with his disciples came to me as I drove over to RiverBend. He said to them, “As you look around, would you say it looks like about four months until the harvest? (or in my case, about six miles!) Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. It’s harvest time!”

Room 372 is there, if I just am looking for it. _________________________________________________________________________
Gordon Ruddick is a hospital chaplain in the greater Eugene, Oregon area. Through his own heart issues, he has come to specialize in cardiac patients, both as inpatients as well as in an outpatient setting. God is using him to help them deal with all that serious illness (especially heart issues) brings up for them.

His prayer concerns: Comfort at the loss of his father, a former CB pastor, who passed recently after a long battle with dementia. Thankfully his death was quick and peaceful.

His report noted two first-time decisions for Christ! That’s something we can all rejoice over.

For more stories of ministry by CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement with CBAmerica, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

The harvest is ripe!