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]

2015 NEXTGEN LEADERS RETREAT

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Join us for this year’s Leaders Retreat at Silver Spur Christian Camp & Conference Center. Our Guest Speaker this year will be Leith Anderson who serves as President of the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, DC.

There’s plenty to see and do at this year’s Leadership Retreat. Experience fellowship and community, free time to explore the beautiful grounds at Silver Spur and hear gifted teaching that will encourage and impact your ministry as you connect with other pastors and leadership

Bring the whole family for a blessed time of connection & refreshment!

Get More Information and Register Here

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Mission Northeast Board Meeting Held in March

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The Mission Northeast board met March 23-25, 2015 at Cambridgeport Baptist Church in Cambridge, MA.  Paul Bothwell, Ministry Specialist and Boston Area Team Leader with Missions Door, facilitated interaction between the Mission Northeast board and pastors, church planters and Missions Door staff in the Boston area.   The goals of these meetings was to gain a better understanding of what God is doing in the Boston area and discuss ways in which Mission Northeast can foster greater collaboration with the rich multicultural and diverse ethnicity of the Boston area churches.

On Tuesday, March 24th, the board had the privilege of connecting with Workneh Tesfaye from Ethiopia, Pastor of Emmanuel Disciples Church; Torli Krua (by phone) who leads Liberian Refugee Ministry; Torli’s brother, Daniel Krua, and Torli’s father, Rev. Mahn Krua. Ralph Kee, who heads the Greater Boston Church-Planting Collaborative with Missions Door shared his passion connecting the work of the Boston area churches to the greater mission of the region.

On Wednesday morning, Pastor Roberto Miranda shared what God has been doing in the Hispanic community through the Congregación León de Judá. Neil Armandt, pastor in South End Neighborhood Church Boston, pastor for 30 years, and Ben Echevarria, a Church planter in Somerville, part of Elm St. Baptist in Everett.

The board was so encouraged by the meetings in the Boston Area that plans are to do the same in the New York City area in May.

The board will be meeting mid-April to discuss the development of a decentralized leadership network that will be strategically collaborative with the extremely diverse character of the Mission Northeast region.

 

 

 

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5 Resurrection Realities that Reorient Our Evangelism

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]untitledEvangelism rises or falls based upon the reality of the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, there is no good news to share: sin and death still reign, we worship a dead and decomposing deity, and Christians should be pitied because we are deceived and pathetic. On the other hand, if the resurrection is true, every Christian should be compelled to share this good news liberally and with great joy.

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Where Are Our Chaplains Now?

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Prison%20Banner%20web3_JPGJohn Williams and his wife, Margy, may have retired from the US Army 30 years ago, but they are still sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

They have been living in Henderson, Nevada and are active in their area prison outreach. An Emmaus Bible Correspondence program was started several years ago by a man from the church they belong to, Bethany Baptist in Boulder City. Through this program, their ministry has sent out and received back over 5,000 courses last year alone. Including John and Margy, there are about 15 people involved in this ministry.

These Bible courses are distributed to the prisoners to teach them about God’s grace and mercy. While they are not college credit courses, they are quite challenging and are often used for parole hearings and to gain entrance into further educational programs. The curriculum of courses include specific ones that relate to prison life as well as other general and popular courses.

The influence of these courses on the inmates often extends to their families and other inmates when they see the effect of the gospel of Christ on their lives. These changed inmates then become powerful witnesses to others.

In Nevada, there are more than 20 prisons, so all interaction with the prisoners is by mail. That’s where John and Margy come in. The prisoners take exams that are often over 120 questions. Then John and Margy grade the exams. They are able to make comments and answer prisoners’ questions, while scoring them to be returned to the prisoners.

As John says, “It is thrilling to watch people come to the Lord, or come back to the Lord, and then grow in Him to make disciples themselves.  What an exciting opportunity this ministry has offered us in our “mature” years!”

When they are not grading exams from prisoners, John and Margy are enjoying the many activities available to them where they live in Nevada. They have travelled to all 50 states, flying to Alaska and Hawaii, and driving to the others in the 20 foot Class B Motorhome they used to own. They have been married 48 years and have grandkids in Colorado.Their daughter and her husband live in Kansas.

 

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Moral Injury Poses Hidden Risks for Service Members

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By Beth Schwinn, DCoE Public Affairs, March 11, 2015

Dr. William Nash addresses the Mental Health Integration for Chaplain Services program.

 

 

About 30 years ago, two Navy ships were approached by refugees begging for rescue who had escaped Vietnam in underequipped boats. At the time, so-called “boat people” rescues had become so frequent that they were taking Navy ships from their missions. Officers were directed to rescue refugees only when their crafts were not seaworthy.

Capt. Corwin Bell, in command of the USS Morton, a 415-foot Navy destroyer, decided to pick up the refugees since a storm was approaching. He was later reprimanded.

Capt. Alexander Balian of the USS Dubuque, a 16,500-ton amphibious transport vessel, decided the refugees’ wooden junk was seaworthy, gave them ample food and water and sent them on their way. Crew members reported pushing the desperate refugees off the lines as they attempted to climb aboard the Dubuque, the only ship that had stopped to help during their weeks at sea. When the junk’s survivors finally reached the Philippines, newspapers there reported that some had resorted to cannibalism after again running out of food. Balian was court-martialed and resigned his commission.

Decisions like these have a lasting impact on everyone involved and can affect the brain in the same way as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), causing physiological and psychological damage, a phenomenon known as moral injury, says Dr. William Nash, a retired Navy psychiatrist. Moral injury likely affected many of those aboard the Dubuque or the junk that day, he said.

“Think about all of the people who were scarred for life or lost their lives because of this moral choice,” Nash told some 300 military chaplains and psychological health providers during a meeting of the chaplains working group, hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. “It’s tragic, but it’s not unique. I’m sure we all know of choices that seem small at the time but end up having huge moral consequences.”

The term moral injury was coined in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, then with the Department of Veterans Affairs, used it to describe the reactions of Vietnam veterans to atrocities committed or condoned by their superiors. Nash and others have since extended the term to describe what service members experience when they themselves commit an act that violates their own beliefs—for example, when a service member kills a child who is shooting at him. Working group attendees offered other examples: cutting off the ears of fallen enemy combatants as souvenirs; not stopping to give food or water to civilians who may be concealing an improvised explosive.

Moral injury is not clinically defined nor captured as a formal diagnosis, and no clinical practice guidelines are available for it. However, health care providers in the military often address moral injury when treating a psychiatric disorder. Chaplains, frequently the first resort for service members struggling with moral issues, also counsel service members who experience moral injury.

Nash offered tips for treating and counseling service members with moral injury. It’s important to understand that the emotion underlying the injury is not fear, but shame, guilt, or outrage, he said.

Psychiatry defines PTSD as a fear-based reaction that can occur after a life-threatening event such as battle or rape. Exposure therapy, in which patients repeatedly relive the event to lessen the fear reaction, has been clinically shown to be effective for PTSD.

But exposure therapy can actually worsen moral injury, Nash said. Moral injury patients need to experience not safety, but forgiveness. Chaplains and behavioral health counselors can assist by helping them understand how much blame to bear (patients may either deny all blame or exaggerate their responsibility for an event), learn to tolerate their intense negative emotions, and figure out how to become useful members of their communities or make some other form of restitution. Other techniques used in treating PTSD, such as improving physical health, group therapy, or religious practice, can also be helpful, he said.

Moral injury has become a loaded term, in part because some see it as a judgment on the person who experiences the injury. In fact, Nash said, patients who experience moral injury are likely to be highly moral.

“Psychopaths don’t experience moral injury,” he said. Service members, with their ideals of duty and honor, may be especially vulnerable to this kind of injury, Nash said.

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Mission Mid-Atlantic Annual Meeting

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We are excited to present this year’s annual meeting: Turn Around Churches. We will have a great time of fellowship and learning with like-minded believers. The meeting will be held May 1-2, 2015.

What does a church in need of turning around look like? What are some tools we can use to make the necessary changes? Have any other Churches experienced the challenges that my church is facing now? We will explore these questions and many more together as we look into God’s word together.

Click Here to Register

Contact Rebecca Tunstall at office@missionmid-atlantic.org if you have any questions.

A Note From Jim

According to Patheos.com, 4,000 churches close their doors every single year. There is less than half of the number of churches today than there were only 100 years ago. 3,500 people leave the church every single day.

Mission Mid-Atlantic is intimately aware of the state of the church in our region. As a result, the theme for our upcoming Annual Meeting in Lancaster on May 1,2 is the Turnaround Church.

We invite you to attend this year’s meeting as we give special attention to the current state of the church,and what we are trying to do to bring the Gospel to bear on the changes that need to be made.

In His easy grip,

Jim[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Social Media for Ministries Webinar

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Does your ministry have a social media presence? Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or you’re fully immersed, there’s always something to learn. Brotherhood Mutual’s next FREE webinar will cover social media best practices, as well as ways to avoid common missteps.

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