Mid-Deployment Update


By Chaplain Scott Noyes, North Dakota Army National Guard – Afghanistan, with Andy Meverden

Mid-point assessments are common in life; in navigation, corporate boardrooms, and even military deployments. Chaplain Scott Noyes sent in a brief, but exciting, mid-deployment assessment. His words are few, but the accompanying “Storyboards” with captions, give depth to their meaning and results. Scott writes:

My Greatest Blessings:

Surviving our first half of deployment has been my greatest blessing. Lots of moving parts here in Afghanistan; including our unit ministry team (UMT) movement. God has kept us safe in travel and has blessed our ministry. My chaplain assistant is a growing believer in Jesus Christ; and I was blessed to baptize him also (see photo below). As I encourage service members and civilians, I have witnessed God’s activity of change take place in many lives. God continues to schedule ‘divine appointments’ that I am able to witness and engage.

My Theme for this Deployment: “Not for busyness – but being about God’s business.” I am not interested in my plans – but God’s. And I have been blessed to sit front row to His show.

Pictures Worth Thousands of Words!


Please pray:

  • That I stop trying to please everyone; stop trying to do it all – but focus on the priorities of God; and that I stay energized in body and spirit.
  • Pray for my assistant Rick – that he continues to grow spiritually
  • Pray for our team – 136th CSSB (Combat Sustainment Support Battalion) team/leadership. I have encouraged our leadership to model with better ethics and morals. The tongue has given us much trouble.
  • And finally, pray for our families back home. That the Lord will give wisdom and discernment in managing those areas our Soldiers left void; strength and comfort in our absence.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Noyes

Join Chaplain Noyes in prayer as he enters the second half of this deployment. Pray for the requests listed above, and especially that he and his team will “finish well!”

For more stories about frontline chaplain ministry, military and civilian, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.


When the Call Comes

Chaplain responds to worst US Naval Disaster since USS Cole

By Chaplain Jonathan Stephens, USS Fitzgerald, as told to Andy Meverden

“The first time I stepped foot on a ship, (one of my recently assigned ships) the USS Fitzgerald, DDG-62, I was lowered by hoist from a helicopter. We could not land, as the ship was listing at 5 degrees.  I was one of four people sent to the damaged vessel, along with the Deputy Commodore, Damage Control Chief, and a Medical Doctor.  300 Sailors were fighting to keep the guided missile destroyer afloat.  For the 15-hour ride back, I did non-stop counseling.  The first thing I did was conduct a ‘spiritual triage.’ I spoke with those in or near the damaged area, those who closed the hatch to the flooding compartment, and then those who were standing watch when it happened. Later, I asked the command, ‘Who do you want me to see?’  A bow to stern head-count revealed seven Sailors missing. “

The collision with ACX Crystal, a larger Philippine container ship, occurred on June 17th, about 56 nautical miles (64 miles) southwest of the USS Fitzgerald’s homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. Chaplain Stephens, continued: “When the ship finally made it back to port, the community had rallied at the pier.  Families provided food for the famished crew, and additional chaplains and counsellors stood by.  It was a base-wide response.”  Jonathan took a long breath.  “Family members of the missing crew members were frantic.  Divers went down into the flooded area, and found seven Sailors drowned in the berthing area.”

The next morning, Chaplain Stephens showed up in his dress blues for casualty operations ministry duties to formally notify and console grieving family members.  “The next ten days were a blur.  How do you explain the unexplainable to loved ones whose whole world has changed?  It’s not normal. So much damage was done; to the ship, the crew, and most significantly, to the Families of those who perished.  Everyone worked together; the base chaplains, casualty teams, the command, family support; all the while we were grieving, together.”  When I asked about the dignified transfer of remains back to the Sailors’ home towns, he said, “The Air Force team as Yakota Air Base handled the sendoff.  Air Force chaplains conducted the Dignified Transfer of the flag-draped coffins on the ‘Angel Flight’ cargo plane.  They did a great job supporting us.”

I then asked Jonathan about the local memorial service for the seven lost Sailors: “We had great command support for the base-wide service; from the Commodore and Senior Chaplain down. The Navy flew the Families out.  Five of seven Sailors’ Families came, along with Admirals from one to four stars.  The news media was kept out of the service, with only the Armed Forces Network allowed to cover and film the solemn event.  I thought for sure the command would have the senior command chaplain officiate the service, but Commander David Cline, senior chaplain, put me up front.  He and other base chaplains provided all the backup and support of this major event for over 750 people.”

His words were aired at the Washington, D.C. Memorial Service and provided healing and comfort to Sailors, Families, and the Nation. His message at the Memorial Service focused on the act of giving displayed by the seven Sailors.  He said, “So much has been given…But I want to say, for those of us grieving…at the end of the day, what’s given to us is not what is going to heal us.  True healing doesn’t come from what we receive; true healing comes from what we choose to give for others.”

When I asked Jonathan how he felt undertaking this difficult ceremony, he replied, “Lord!  I felt so honored to play a role in the work He’s doing during this great tragedy.”

Now a few weeks after the fact, I asked Jonathan how he and his young Family were doing? “Well, we weren’t even settled in quarters when the tragedy occurred. I had to leave Melissa and six-month old Louisa to fly to the ship.  Fortunately, we had just acquired a car, so I loaded as much of our baggage into it before I took off, ‘Go-bag’ in hand.  That next day, Melissa had to handle the arrival of our household goods, plus care for our baby.  I remember the last thing she said to me, as I left, ‘Tell me what to pray for.’  We have a saying in the Navy, ‘The whole Family serves!’  Because of her faith and commitment to my ministry, I could fully engage in my duties without worry, or concern.  She is a role model for military spouses in the time of intense crisis.”

Jonathan continued, “As for me, I have no routine yet. It was truly a “baptism by fire” at this new assignment.  This major tragedy has gone on for six weeks.  It’s been tough; no time to establish local community connections, a real struggle.”

When I asked Jonathan how people in our churches could pray, he gave me this list:

  1. Praise and gratitude to God. It was incredible to see what God has done in and through this tragedy. I didn’t lose sleep throughout the whole event!
  2. Going forward: for fellowship in the local base community – that support network we all need.
  3. I was so busy for so many weeks, I got off balance. I am working to get back into reading the Bible for myself. We all need that daily quiet time/devotions.
  4. To quote a friend, ‘The chaplain needs to fill up always and not just pour out.’

I was glad to finally get a call from Chaplain Stephens from Japan. I took notes as fast as I could, so I could share his experience with you our faithful supporters of chaplaincy.  I urge you to lift Jonathan, Melissa, and baby Louisa to God in your prayers.  As you do that, remember the other 189 chaplains serving across the 54 United States, Territories, Commonwealth and the District of Columbia, AND spread around the globe in combat zones, sailing hostile waters, and often flying in dangerous skies.

For more stories describing the ministries of CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.  If interested in learning what it takes to be endorsed for chaplaincy ministry, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Renewing the Shield of Faith

A Law Enforcement Chaplain’s Ministry Story

By Rev. Wylie W. Johnson, Pastor and Law Enforcement Chaplain


In Delaware County Pennsylvania, there are 43 distinct Police Departments, many of which are quite small. Even the larger departments are small by city standards. Each department is stove-piped in policies, promotions, retirements, etc. Competition and isolation are the inevitable results of this structure. Cops are also a very close-knit, clannish group. It’s hard to break in and to find acceptance. When an officer retires, regardless of rank, the isolation can become almost unbearable.

The Law Enforcement Chaplains of Delaware County (LECDC) work cooperatively and collegially to meet the spiritual needs of officers. Until this past year, I’ve been the LECDC Vice-president. We are especially cognizant of the issue of police suicides, among both active and retired officers. Sadly, in the past few years we have seen several officer suicides. In 2012, I had the privilege of instructing (16 hours) our chaplains in the Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Training (ASIST). I’ve also made suicide intervention presentation to officers from across the county.

Recently I’ve had the privilege to minister to John, a medically retired Philadelphia city cop who just lost his wife. John was despondent, and sought counseling from a licensed counselor in a neighboring township. The counselor asked if I could help. Although John had only served six years before his injury, and that had been more than 25 years in the past, he still self-identified as a cop. It is a truth that cops always wear the shield in their hearts, even if they’ve been off the force for years. When I called John, he seemed interested, and I made arrangements for him to come to the monthly POOP (Police Officers On Pension – P.O.O.P.).  luncheon. We prayed over the phone, and agreed to connect with each other.

These luncheons are usually attended by 30 – 50 retired officers, sheriffs and chiefs. For most of the men and women attending, it is a high point of their month. We chaplains bring a strong spiritual emphasis to these meetings with care for the sick, and bereavement arrangements. We also offer a hearty blessing on the lunch we’ve come to share. I share POOP duties with another CBAA pastor, Perry Messick; and Bob Kilmer, a local evangelical pastor. John was immediately welcomed and made some new friends. Here was a group where John could feel accepted. Retirees find commonality in their years of service, and their personal need to connect with others. Part of communicating the Gospel is the simple caring for each other, and John found this among retired officers who were fast becoming new friends in his old age. Our ministry of presence yields fruit because we are often the only pastors these officers know.

Rev. Wylie W. Johnson (pictured left, with Rev. Buccialia) was ordained by the CBAA of NJ in 1982. He has been the Law Enforcement Chaplain in Springfield Township PA since 2010. Additionally, he is the Chaplain for the Delaware County Chiefs of Police (since April 2013); and co-chaplains the local LE retiree group (Police Officers On Pension – P.O.O.P.). Previously, he served nearly 26 years as a CBAA chaplain in the US Army; and for the past 20 years has been the Pastor of the Springfield Baptist Church, Springfield PA.


Across our Nation, pastors and churches are reaching out to Law Enforcement and Firefighters. These brave men and women appreciate the respect and support of God’s people in their dangerous, daily duties.  Many CB pastors are volunteering as LE/First Responder chaplains in their communities.  Chaplain Johnson is open to contact [pastor@springfieldbaptist.net] from other pastors interested in learning more about LE/Firefighter (and retired) ministry.


For other stories and reports of CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. Those interested in learning about endorsement may contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Diving Deep in a Desperate World

Navy Chaplain Deals with Suicide

By Chaplain Darin Dunham, US Navy, with Andy Meverden

 When I don’t hear from a chaplain, I don’t panic, but I do pray for them, as it’s likely that something significant is going on.  Such was the case with Chaplain Darin Dunham, US Navy, assigned to a submarine base.  Rather than paraphrase what transpired, Darin gave me permission to discreetly share his communication.  Darin recently wrote:

9 July, 2017

“Good Morning Andy,

Been crazy here, I just transitioned down to the “waterfront” to my new assignment on a Submarine Base. Now instead of supporting schools and training for new submariners, I am supporting the boats themselves.  Already love the people I work with, and is closer to my heart strings than my last assignment.  God is clearly planning my steps in front of me.

But I did want to write to you special, as we just had another suicide on-board a US submarine (Like the one pictured above) two days ago. I was down with the boat at 3am as soon as I heard, talking to the watchstanders, and pretty much stayed with the boat all throughout the day.  The following day I spent at a hospital about an hour away when his family arrived.  He was still alive but brain dead.  They waited till 11pm when the last family member arrived and then took him off life support and he passed.  Family were not believers, but I did have an opportunity to bond with them during the day and, at the moment of passing, they asked me to pray.  The crew is getting a lot of attention as they called in Critical Incident Teams including my Force Chaplain from Norfolk, but they have left now.  I am preparing for memorial service on Monday which has been a challenge because I am not completely unpacked and looking for my notes and references.  They hurriedly scheduled a memorial service, but it is necessary for operational requirements.  Family members likely to be present last I heard.

Tragic circumstances; but ministry is as rich as it can possibly get. I’m running on fumes but good as I know it’s just a short season and time to decompress will be available.

Asking for your prayers for boat and for myself, that God would be manifest in many ways and touch hearts. Darin”


Darin explained that he had yet to fully set up his office and didn’t have access to his files; so he asked me if I had any resources handy to send in preparation for the unit memorial. Fortunately, I have a full file, so I sent him back some outlines, readings, etc.  Next came his reply:


11 July 2017

Thank you so much for the funeral reference material and prayers.  Good stuff!!  With your permission, I will file these for future reference.  The service was planned so quick, too quick, that I couldn’t really look at it till after the memorial service.  We had the service yesterday, three days after he passed with 14 family members in attendance.  It adds an extra dynamic when family is present; as I am trying to address the crew and their grief but must focus on family if they come; but it went well.  Family were not believers.  The Sailor was on watch right after the 4th of July and went topside by the ship sail and used his service weapon to take his life.  I remained on board the rest of the day, and attended the all-hands meeting when the Commanding Officer broke the news to the rest of the crew.

I crashed later that afternoon, as I was up since 2 am, but my other chaplain went to the hospital later that night to meet mom and some family. Service member was on life support, but it was doubtful his mind was functioning.  The next day I went back to the boat early, and then met with liaison to begin preliminary service planning as outcome was already known.  Later I drove to the hospital and was with the family from 2pm – 11pm when the last brother came in from out of town.  At that time, they removed him from life-support and he passed.  During that time, I bonded with the family, offered prayers, and ministry of presence.  At the time of death, they asked me to offer a final prayer, which was a little surprising as they clearly were not religious.  Grief counseling has been hot and heavy with members of the boat; still got phone calls last night.  Boat is heading out shortly which is why some elements of the service were so rushed.  I was looking for an opportunity to ride with them but they have an imbedded mental health specialist going out.

That is sort of been a private frustration. The chain-of-command has been pushing the psychologist engagement, but the chaplains were there first and longest on the boat, and have the best rapport with the crew.  We were the ones stepping over gore to get to the mess decks at 2am when no psychologist was to be seen.  We were the ones that were spending 8 hours with family till time of death and ones following up but the focus now is “how can we get the mental health folks out there.”  On one hand, I get it; that is the DOD first line of defense to unplanned losses due to suicide, but you and I both know the power of the chaplain (influence) remains unprecedented.  Nothing replaces being and walking with your people where they are and in what they are going through, “getting dirty” with them.

It’s all good. I’m a little emotionally fatigued but the heavy stuff is over and things are balancing out a little more every day.  A pat on the back from my superiors would have been nice, but, they are focused on lessons learned and deficiencies right now and they are not looking at the chaplain’s role.  The boat’s Commanding Officer (CO), Executive Officer (XO), and Chief of the Board (COB) are deeply appreciative.  The CO even asked me to help with notes for his address to the crew at the memorial which I was happy to do.  At the fellowship following the service the CO’s wife found me and told me the CO appreciated so much all that the chaplains had done, and that was when I realized the depth of his anxiety and stress which he wasn’t showing.  That was a good and encouraging moment.

And I thank you for your prayers and encouragement.”


One final exchange with Darin shows a glimmer of hope regarding that which matters most:


July 12, 2017

“Hi Andy,

I have no issues sharing the saga. I understand the value of sharing with those that cover us in prayer and support.  I also have trust in you to cobble a report together, if you would be so kind.  You have “been there and done that.”  I could eventually get to it but I think it might be later than what’s ideal, as I am heading out to the boat again today.  They may or may not be underway sometime soon.

It has been a revolving door of sailors coming to talk, there are two categories. Some are young enough (20, 21) that this is their first up-close-and-personal encounter with death, and it’s scary.  The second group are those that have faced trauma in the past (someone they knew committed suicide etc.) and this incident is a trigger.  Yesterday I had one young man who was a believer and grew up in a God-fearing home, but had drifted.  He was shaken and we talked over two days, he’s revitalized his faith and is making efforts to get back on track.  He may even be a future lay leader for me in time.

Here is the “fun” part; Mental Health Lieutenant called me last night asking for advice!! It’s his first rodeo and he’s going out with them.  Based off what I shared above, I found the irony thick.

Only one real hot personality sailor issue, doesn’t want to go out, but he will. I’m worried a little, not a mature individual and was volatile the other morning with his senior enlisted supervisor.  Grief kicking in and filters gone.

Selfishly, although I volunteered to ride, I am glad underway is coming up as it has been non-stop. I’ll catch my breath and re-engage when they return, which won’t be overly long.



Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden concludes:

Our military chaplains (as do all our chaplains), are literally fighting for the souls (and the very lives) of our men and women in uniform every day. Darin’s recent experience underscore’s the inestimable value of prayer for the ministries of our chaplains.  Incidents like this are tragic and stretch our chaplains to the max.  Your prayers on their behalf unleash the power of Heaven in this ongoing spiritual battle.

Keep Chaplain Dunham and his Submarine Sailors in your prayers. One has already rededicated his life to Christ.  Others still need to find their solace and strength in Him…up to and including the CO, XO, and COB! (Do you remember who these acronyms represent?)

A special thank you to those who support CBAmerica Chaplaincy with your prayers, notes of encouragement, Care Package, and financial support. Frankly, we couldn’t do it without you.

For more stories of “God stories” of our 190 CBAmerica chaplains, see www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.  For information on what it takes to be endorsed for ministry in chaplaincy, contact our director, Andy Meverden at chapandy@cbamerica.org

Veterans Win Post-War Battles

VA Chaplain Engages in Ultimate Combat

By Chaplain Gary Cowden with Andy Meverden

Gary Cowden is the Chief Chaplain at the Puget Sound VA Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. In addition to his supervisory duties, he focuses on some of those experiencing the greatest battles; PTSD, moral injury, and spiritual oppression.  In his recent ministry report he described two of his greatest blessings: one with a young Vet, one from the Vietnam Era.

  • “Helping a young Vet achieve deliverance from demonic oppression; facilitating groups on PTSD and moral injury that has resulted in some real spiritual growth.”

Did you catch that simple reference to extreme spiritual warfare? Some things can’t be described in detail, and Gary is not one to sensationalize. He does battle, assesses the progress, and gets back onto the battlefield. Some battles wage long and hard, like below.

  • “One of my Veteran patients involved in PTSD work lost his struggle with cancer and went home to be with the Lord suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He had come to me with deep anger and PTSD symptoms; a Vietnam Marine who returned with all the classic symptoms. He felt that God could never forgive him or be near him. Over the months, we worked together. He began attending our chapel services every Sunday and grew in his knowledge of the grace and mercy of God. Initially thinking he was unredeemable, he developed a loving trust in the Savior, and finally came to forgive himself. The last year of his life was a peaceful one spiritually, even as his body was being destroyed by cancer. He was a lovely man, and will be deeply missed. I look forward to the day we will be united as eternal friends in Glory.”

Chaplain Cowden, like many of our CBAmerica chaplains, do battle daily for the souls of men and women who serve or have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. Some wounds, like lost limbs and telltale scars, are obviously traumatic; others are invisible.  The horrors of war often produce injuries to the mind, soul, and spirit. These are equally traumatic.  The providers of healing of moral and spiritual injury must be skilled pastoral counselors who can treat matters of the heart, soul, and spirit.

Thank you to those who pray for our chaplains. This report is testament to God hearing and answering your prayers for spiritual wisdom, courage, and power.  It reminds us that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)

For more stories of God working in and through CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

From Tiny Houses to Tiny Chapels!

By Andy Meverden with input from Chaplain Scott Noyes, North Dakota Army National Guard

On a recent trip visiting CBAmerica chaplains in Texas and Oklahoma, I passed a Modular Home Dealer with the sign: “Tiny Houses!” The tiny house movement, a social trend of downsize living space in America, has hit the modern battlefield! Troops deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere know. Not only are troops housed in Containerized Housing Units, better known as “CHUs,” one National Guard Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) Unit in Afghanistan is applying the trend to provide tiny chapels to remote outposts and forward operating bases (FOB).

Chaplain Scott Noyes, deployed with the North Dakota Army National Guard 136th CSSB sent me a storyboard depicting the use of containerized or “Tiny Chapels.” In it he describes the “mission” of the Tiny Chapels; “To provide a place for religious services and a sacred space for all service members, Afghan Nationals, and DoD civilians in order to accommodate for the free exercise of religion.” During Battlefield Circulation (BFC) around Afghanistan, Chaplain Noyes often used available rooms to hold religious activities and counsel Soldiers and quickly recognized the need for sacred space.

Once established and furnished with religious materials, there was an immediate response by FOB residents who began using these containers and rooms for Bible studies, prayer meetings, and simply the use for silent prayer and reflection.

The primary role of a military chaplain is to “ensure the free exercise of religion” among military members and, by necessity, civilian support personnel accompanying the troops. Chaplains “provide or provide for” the religious needs of all in their assigned unit and area of operation. That includes people of a religion other than that of the assigned chaplain. The term used is “pluralism,” which is the recognition and accommodation of other faith groups in the same operational and living space.

From my reading of history, the concept of “religious tolerance” began in Colonial America when “dissenters,” like Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and other non-state religious “sects,” appealed for recognition and respect from the Church of England in the New World. That toleration spread to the acceptance of Jewish colonists, Roman Catholics, and others. It was reflected in George Washington’s Continental Army where all chaplains were Protestants…except one Roman Catholic priest from Canada! Since then, US military chapels have accommodated Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and other emerging religions.   These “tiny chapels,” provide that communal “sacred space” in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It’s an example that needs to be seen.

Given the large, dispersed area of operation, Chaplain Noyes and his assistant SSG Rick Bryant, circulate among troops in remote locations like FOB Arena, where they have tiny chapels that they keep stocked with Bibles, devotionals, DVDs and other appropriate religious materials. These tiny chapels, provide a quiet, shrapnel-resistant place during the day or night, where troops can come for reflection and prayer. And, when the chaplain visits, they gather for counseling, worship and prayer.

In one of the outlying FOBs, Dahlke, the chapel (below) is in the Mayor’s cell* building, indicating the value of religion in daily life.

Pray for Chaplain Noyes and Staff Sergeant Bryant, as they minister to the troops in their area of operation. Pray for safe travel, good health, hearts open to the leading of God’s Spirit, and opportunities to show the love and Good News of Jesus Christ in a dangerous place. Pray also, for their families back home, for spouses missing their deployed service members, and for kids acting out, in large part due to the absence of their deployed parent. Above all, pray for positive communication and healthy and wholesome return, reunion, and reintegration from deployment.

And, pray for “big things” to happen in these “tiny chapels!”

*The Mayor’s Cell deals with infrastructure and support services like handling trash, tracking the population on the FOB, and employing local workers. In addition, various types of work orders are processed through this office, including the work order to construct the chapel depicted above.


For more interesting stories of ministry by CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information on what it takes to become a chaplain, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy, at chapandy@cbamerica.org

New Chapel Atlantic Resolve Center (Powidz, Poland)

As reported by Chaplain Andrew Calvert & Specialist Malcolm Williams, USArmy

As the “Atlantic Resolve” mission becomes more robust in Eastern Europe, and units are standing up new headquarters in collaboration with NATO Allies, the US Army Chaplain Corps, as a representative of The Holy, meets Soldiers where they are.

The 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion recently established a new logistics headquarters in Powidz, Poland.  In anticipation of this need, Chaplain Andrew Calvert and Specialist Malcolm Williams created a sacred space for the Soldiers living there now, and for those of the 497th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion scheduled to take over the mission in mid-Spring 2017.  The space is called Grace Point ChapelWhere God and People Come together.

Chapels are places where Soldiers can worship and volunteer.  This creates a sense of connectedness that is greater and deeper than their unit normally could provide.   Spiritual Fitness and a relationship to The Holy is essential for the well-being and development of the whole Soldier concept.  This space and needed resources were coordinated through a Polish Air Force liaison to “perform and/or provide” full spectrum Religious Support to all personnel both US and foreign.

WHO: CH (CPT) Andrew Calvert and SPC Malcolm Williams (18th CSSB)

WHAT: Setting up an enduring Chapel at Powidz, POL

WHEN/WHERE: Jan-Feb 2017


Chaplain Andy writes, “I was excited to read in Chaplain Calvert’s report, the establishing of this the Army’s newest dedicated chapel facility in Poland, so I asked him to send photos.  He saw the need, and with the eyes of faith, and a diplomatic boldness, he recommended to his command team the transformation of a suitable space into a chapel facility.   Approval was granted, and through a cooperative effort, Grace Point ChapelWhere God and People Come together, came into being.

Pray for this facility to always be available for God-honoring activities, and that it will become a “spiritual home” for all visiting personnel. Join me in celebrating this historic event in USArmy chaplain history!


For more stories about God’s work in and through CBAmerica’s 185+ chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.    If interested in pursuing chaplaincy ministry, contact  Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Divine Interruptions & Medical History

Tony is an active duty Army Master Sergeant who works in my building at the Regional Health Command here in San Antonio. It is a miracle that Tony is alive today.

A couple of months ago as he was in the process of trying to get some medical care to address some chronic pain he had been having as his body began to unexplainably shut down. He was taken to the ER and as soon as the doctors noticed that his legs were turning blue they immediately admitted him and he was almost as quickly in surgery and then in the intensive care unit fighting for his life.

I got the call from my Command Sergeant Major on a Tuesday around noon, I was in the middle of a book study with a couple other chaplains covering the topic of “The Upside of Stress” and the call was short and to the point, “You need to get to the hospital now Chaplain, they are saying he is not going to make it….”

When I got to the ICU, I went straight to his bedside and met Tony’s wife, Lutz, and she told me how bad it was, no kidney function – he was on continuous dialysis, no blood flow to either legs – if he somehow survived both legs would have to be amputated up to the pelvis and would he need kidney transplants. He had tubes everywhere and it appeared that all they were doing was keeping him alive with very little hope of recovery. They told Lutz to gather her children and prepare to say goodbye to Tony.

When all seems so hopeless, the only thing we can do is pray. And so I prayed with Lutz and her friend. When the children came, I gathered them all in the waiting room and we prayed together.  The staff allowed us to all gather around Tony’s bed, and holding hands, we prayed. I showed them where the chapel was and we went down there, on our knees and we prayed.

We prayed for Tony. We prayed for the Doctors and Nurses. We prayed for Grace and Mercy and Healing. The problem was that Tony’s circulatory system was unique, it took this event to discover that, so to try something bold and new they created a bypass system, an artificial vena cava, a large vein for blood flow from the heart to the lower body – it was a new medical procedure that had not been tried before – medical history was made as prayers were answered!

Over the next couple weeks Tony endured more surgeries that allowed blood flow to the legs – they began to heal and then somehow his kidneys began to heal to the point of total removal from dialysis – another miracle. Tony continued to heal, and in the end they decided to amputate one portion of Tony’s leg – below the knee and he is doing better today than ever. He is attacking his rehabilitation with fierce determination and looks forward to his new prosthetic and walking.

Through it all he is telling everyone he knows about this gracious healing touch from his loving Heavenly Father – and he has given me permission to share this story of grace and healing with you.

CH (COL) Randy Brandt


For more stories reporting the fruit of CBAmerica chaplain ministries, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

Care Package Support for Deployed Chaplains

Ministry Update from Chaplain Scott Noyes, Afghanistan, to Andy Meverden, Director

Hello Chaplain Meverden,

We are mostly settled in, but still trying to get a rhythm in our UMT Ministry here. We have been in Afghanistan now for 2 full months.  Lots of change continues to happen in our unit.  Our mission is nothing as we expected.  Rather than being in a Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) mission role – our Soldiers from North Dakota have been spread out all over Afghanistan.

My Unit Ministry Team (UMT) travel has more than doubled and we have yet to get to half of the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to provide chaplain support ministry.

I am grateful that my chaplain assistant and I have a good relationship and are unified in our efforts. I am also grateful that our Brigade chaplain team is supportive and proactive in their efforts.  Many great Unit Ministry Teams here.  Our prayer is that all efforts are not for “business,” but being about “God’s business.”

Thank you for praying for us and our families back home.

Our greatest prayer need here is that unit sections unify – too much pride getting in the way.

Regarding our current needs – we have recently taken a survey and inventory of our “Free-X” (care package inventory) and come up with the following needed items:

  • tooth brush cases
  • men’s disposable razors
  • men’s 2 in 1 shower gel
  • pillow case
  • 4-cup coffee-maker (caution on size)
  • coffee
  • rice crispy treats (various flavors)
  • jerky
  • gum
  • dark chocolate

Mail Care Packages to: (Recommend use of USPS Medium or Large Flat Rate Box – $13.60 with completed PS Form 2976)  

Chaplain’s Office
Noyes, Scott, E.
TF Wagonmaster
APO, AE 09354

Thank you & God bless,

Chaplain Noyes


Director’s Note:  Here’s an opportunity for a church, youth, men’s, women’s, or Veteran’s 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 useful items from “home” to those literally on the front lines.  Be sure to tell the postal clerk this is a military “Care Package” to receive a $1 discount on postage!   Include a signed card with sender’s address info (& email) so recipients can reply.

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

Ground Truth: Retired Military Chaplain in Thick of Battle

By Chaplain Bob Hicks, USAF, “Retired”

Ukraine, December 2016


Several organizations in Ukraine are working to provide care for their Veterans who are engaged in what they call ATO – Anti-Terrorism Operation; which means they see the Russian involvement in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine as Terrorism. These organizations are also trying to provide training in PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder), and battle (moral) injury, to chaplains; and ministry to widows and orphans of war.

So, as Associate Staff of CRU’s military International ministry this is my second trip over in cooperation with other American organizations. My first two days were basically lectures at a Kievan University speaking to mental Health providers, military chaplains, and other Ukrainian military personnel.

Days three and four were spent doing seminars at two different military bases, and a civic presentation hosted by the Mayor of a city outside Kiev. I did three separate sessions: one for all military, one for all female military, one for clergy including some Orthodox priests, with chaplains.  That night I met with widows of soldiers killed. The last day, I did two separate meetings with widows, some having lost their husbands at the front the week before.

Since the Maidan Square revolution gaining their freedom from Russian political domination in 2013, they have had over 6,000 military deaths.  This means there are around 5,000 widows and fatherless children left behind.  Of course, Putin’s answer to their Freedom was taking Crimea and the Eastern slice of Ukraine, done by what Putin calls, “Ukrainian rebels”.

I find the Ukrainians spiritually very open to the gospel but still in many ways bound to their Soviet era humanism, mixed with the only religion they know, the Orthodox Church. But this war has broken down all the barriers, and traditional thinking. I must say, it is the union of Baptist Churches that are providing much of the training and expertise in raising up an all-volunteer military chaplain force.  It is such a privilege to be asked and able to go provide training for chaplains and minister the comfort and reality of the living Christ.

Here are a few photos from my time. I am with Chaplain Visili, (above) who just lost his friend in the war and officiated his recent funeral.  We are at the burial site together. The photo of me speaking with a young woman in pink (right) was a lady who three days before had her husband’s funeral. This occurred at the last widows meeting. My interpreter is Chaplain Visili’s wife.



Andy Meverden, director of chaplaincy writes:

Join Chaplain Hicks in praying for the people of Ukraine as they struggle against Russian encroachment and occupation.

War, in whatever form it occurs, leaves devastation, hurt, and pain. Some of this damage is visible and physical, much is invisible, internal, and spiritual.   Godly, trained, Christian Ukrainian chaplains are needed to address and facilitate healing of the spiritual wounds of this ongoing war.

I thank God for wise, Veteran chaplains, like Bob Hicks, who are still willing to enter hazardous duty zones to share with our allies the message of hope and healing through Jesus Christ. Pray for their health, safety, and effectiveness as they run to the sounds of the guns to help heal the invisible wounds of war.

For more stories of bold and courageous ministry by CBAmerica chaplains go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy .