By Chaplain John Hatfield, Rhode Island National Guard
Matthew 8:27 “… even the winds and the sea obey him!”
This past quarter I have been blessed by the LORD in many ways. I was activated for the Rhode Island National Guard back in March and have been serving as Brigade Chaplain for the COVID mission here. During this time, I have been given an unprecedented opportunity to get to know a vast number of Soldiers I would normally not have access to.
Not only to get to know them on a personal level, but to continually and gently remind them that there is a God Who is in control of things and has a purpose in how events unfold – especially when facing unexpected “storms” in life. At a time when so many are disoriented by change and uncertainty, I have had the amazing opportunity to point to the One who speaks a Word and “even the winds and the sea obey him!” At a time when so many are unsettled by the political, social and civil unrest, I have had the amazing opportunity to point to the One who assuredly brings peace. What a great blessing it is to know the stability of the LORD as the storms rage around us! May He continue to sustain us in the stormy days ahead.
Please Pray for:
Continued opportunities to share Christ and boldness to make the most of them.
Revival in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
God was not caught by surprise. He already had a team of military chaplains to accompany the 100,000-plus National Guard Soldiers called up to help with the COVID-19 response. Join me in thanking God for the holy boldness of Chaplain Hatfield, along with that of the 200+ CBAmerica chaplains called into all aspects of the C19 fray. Pray for wisdom, health, ready-response and safety for these and other Guard members being called up to quell rioting and looting. For more stories by and about our chaplains, visit us a www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information of endorsement for chaplaincy, email Director Randy Brandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
”Growing Through Adversity” is a documentary in which several couples share their personal, often challenging, marriage experiences, to provide encouragement to others who want to build strong marriages. U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and Army Leaders, as well as other special guests, open up their lives to the audience, to share a path forward during these difficult times.
Special guests in the film include Tim and Demi Tebow, Tony Dungy, James Woods, Blair Underwood, Johnny Gill, Vanna White, Sam Elliott, Jeff Daniels, and Drew Carey.
The film is designed to encourage the Army’s Soldiers and their Families, by creating spaces where couples are encouraged to grow stronger together
By Joel Van Sant, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Fort Dix, NJ
Over the past 6 months, I have experienced a lot of change at Fort Dix. At the beginning of the year, I was able to start and lead a program that helped inmates work through the spiritual struggle of pornography addiction. After advertising the class, we had over 70 inmates sign-up and participate. Unfortunately, a few weeks after starting the class, we had to temporarily stop the class due to Covid-19.
The past few months have had a different change of pace. Up until March of 2020, the chaplaincy department had been running at top speed. All of that slowed down in the middle of March. As the corona virus began to spread in our area, it was in the best interest of the inmates and employees to move to a modified movement schedule. During these months, we have not had any inmates in our chapel. Instead, we have had the opportunity to go to the housing units. This has been an unforeseen blessing. When the chapel was open, we were almost always doing ministry within the four walls of the chapel. Now we have opportunity to be a spiritual light in the housing units. While we are having an impact on the inmates, we are also able to invest and provide a sense of hope and peace to the officers in the units. It has been amazing to see how a dark situation can provide an avenue for God to work in the hearts of those on this compound.
One of the greatest blessings I have experienced over the past six months was Resurrection Sunday. As chaplains, we have not led any services in the units due to the CDC guidelines. Even though we were not leading services in the units, it was encouraging to hear that the inmates still observed and celebrated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday in their respective housing units. I was so grateful to hear the news that the inmates were able to celebrate such a special time of year, despite the circumstances.
Though the ministry has changed over the past few months, I have had to remain flexible and realize that my ministry is truly a ministry of service. I continue to bring necessary items from the chapel to the housing units and cannot help but think of the words of Christ, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.”
I encourage you to keep our chaplains in prayer. During this pandemic, our style of ministry has changed from preaching and teaching to more one-on-one interactions. This has been a difficult transition for some of our chaplains.
Also, pray for our staff as they continue to provide safety and security during a very difficult time.
Finally, pray for our inmates who have struggled to be away from family during such a dark time in our world. The days get very monotonous for them.
Join us in praying for Chaplain Van Sant and our 200 other chaplains facing the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the obstacles, Spirit-led creativity and persistence is yielding positive results around the world.
For more stories by and about our chaplains, visit us a www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information of endorsement for chaplaincy, email Director Randy Brandy at email@example.com.
By Chaplain Tim Miller, New York Army National Guard, Middle East
This quarter I was able to answer the call from CH (MAJ) Adam Kawaguchi to help provide religious support to U.S. Military forces in Jordan. Adam has become a good friend and co-laborer. Between the two of us and our NCO’s we have been able to provide a good amount of religious support to those in need. This move has resulted in a significant increase in worship services provided, which for me has been exciting!
COVID-19 has put a serious restraint on many religious services, but thankfully my Division has been looking for opportunity to overcome these obstacles. We have resorted to Spiritual ruck marches and many religious field services. Our Public Affairs Officer did an article on our Task Force’s response during this time period.
Being over 60% complete with this mission has been an encouragement. I look forward to what else God has for my Chaplain Section, and the rest of my Division.
The continued safety of the 42nd Infantry Division and our loved ones back home.
Pray or my return to NY and if the Lord will’s my continuation of AGR orders, or transition to federal technician status as a full-time support Chaplain.
Prayers for fellow CB chaplains, CH (MAJ) Adam Kawaguchi, and CH (CPT) Matt Granahan. They have both been great friends and co-laborers in the Lord. I pray they return to their loved ones safe and sound.
Join us in praying for Chaplains Miller, Kawaguchi, Granahan stationed in the Middle East and our 200 other chaplains facing the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the obstacles, Spirit-led creativity and persistence is yielding positive results around the world.
For more stories by and about our chaplains, visit us a www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information of endorsement for chaplaincy, email Director Randy Brandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Chaplain Dan Klender, USN, Miramar Marine Corps Naval Air Station
While transiting back to the states from the British Indian Ocean Territories in October 2018, I spent ten days in Yokosuka, Japan. While there, I was able to fellowship with one of our great Navy chaplains, Jonathan Stephens, and his lovely family. After an incredibly busy tour at Diego Garcia, I finally had some free time to resume writing a book I had started several months earlier, Living With the End in View: Escaping the Tyranny of the Here and Now.
This work is not about the signs of the times, or the apocalypse, but eternal rewards. Unbeknownst to all of us, the COVID pandemic invaded our lives in early 2020.
As the chaplain for at Navy Consolidated Brig Miramar, California, I began to reflect on how this book might encourage our prisoner population and others. As you might imagine, prisoners often find themselves mired in the swamp of despair.
While they eagerly anticipate the day of their release, they fear considerable challenges of employment, re-assimilation into society, family reintegration, and social ostracization.
I began to wonder how the book might offer hope to this segment of the body of Christ. I quickly made several copies available through the chapel library.
The feedback I received from many of the prisoners reading the book was positive.
C.S. Lewis asserted, “God is not as interested in what a man is currently, but what he is becoming.” This is a quote I often cite to the men and women at the BRIG. Erstwhile United States Senate chaplain, Peter Marshall, was surely correct while rhapsodizing, “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.”
Corporal Jason Dunham was born on November 10th, the Marine Corps’ birthday. As a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Dunham was born to be a Marine. What did Corporal Dunham do to merit the U.S. military’s most distinguished award? He had been leading a fire team of Marines who were ambushed. He quickly found himself locked in hand-to-hand combat with an insurgent. As an Iraqi militant had seized Dunham by the neck, he shouted to team members, “Watch out he has a grenade in his hand!” At which point the insurgent tossed the grenade into the group of Marines after releasing his grip from Dunham. This brave young Marine without a seconds’ hesitation thrust his Kevlar (helmet) and body over the grenade to shield his fellow Marines from the impact.
Dunham was mortally wounded, dying eight days later at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. For his heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and had a U.S. Destroyer, the Jason Dunham named for him.
The pastor officiating at his memorial service remarked: “Jason died as he lived, caring more about others than himself.”
The selfless heroics of this dauntless Marine rise out of a warriors’ mentality that greets death with a wink and a nod. Such warriors, much like America’s founding fathers, “mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” After hugging their family members before deployment, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Marines embrace the sobering prospect that it may be their final farewell. In brief, they live with the end in view.
The base commander had a fireworks show on base where we could see it from our driveway (on base) – it was great!!
My Wing (senior supervisory) Chaplain retired – it was tough to see him go — he was prior enlisted and served for 36 years!! My immediate supervisor is transferring to a new location – and it is also tough to see him go. He has been a great mentor and friend. It is always so tough to see good people leave and to let them go.
Big praise – I was ranked #2 of 8 chaplains with a recommendation to attend Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training in the future. I’m very blessed and humbled by that. I hope to attend CPE in the future.
Here are some pictures from this quarter’s baptisms (April – June). It was wonderful to have the opportunity to baptize an Airman on Easter Sunday and the Sunday afterwards. Two Airmen are following their call to serve as a military chaplain (and one of the Airmen was my Chaplain Assistant):
My supervisor (Protestant Chaplain) and I had the privilege to baptize these great Airmen during covid-19 – what a blessing!!
My Chaplain Assistant / Religious Affairs Airman is standing right next to me – he was born in Ghana and he is now a US citizen – his dad is also a Pastor!! Pastor’s kids unite!- lol!!
I pray you & your family are doing well!
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Many Blessings, Steve
Steve Kim, 1st Lt, USAF Chaplain (Active Duty) Sheppard AFB, TX
I have grieved over the murder of George Floyd and grieved for his family as he was laid to rest this past week. Outrage over the incident has spread across the country. People are angry, disturbed, heartbroken. That includes us as leaders of CBAmerica. We are frustrated that these incidences continue to happen with no change in sight. We lament and recognize they are part of American history where thousands upon thousands of names could be added.
I believe that we cannot shy away from these issues. CBA believes that God has created every person in His own image, with inherent value that cannot be taken away. We recognize and repent, that we have not been more proactive as followers of Jesus Christ, that we have allowed indifference, politics and our agendas to divide us. Satan would love nothing more than to see us divide over these issues rather than applying the gospel to them.
When we say that the gospel changes everything, we need to be willing to examine ourselves to see where we need heart change. We recognize that we have not been listening well to the brokenness of all those in minority communities. We have not taken the time to learn about the injustices that they have experienced and endured. We confess that needs to change. Isaiah says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (53:4)”. We want the heart of our Savior, to bear griefs and sorrows, to heal the brokenhearted, provide liberty, righteousness and justice. We ask for forgiveness of any way we have not walked in step with the gospel concerning these issues.
“…the gospel changes everything, we need to be willing to examine ourselves to see where we need heart change.”
We grieve with our brothers and sisters in the African American community, along with all minorities who have similar experiences in life. We can’t possibly understand how this makes them feel, but we do choose to listen to them when they talk about their anger, fears and frustrations.
“We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ tears down barriers, and that the Church is to provide hope that through Jesus …”
We oppose any kind of injustice. We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ tears down barriers, and that the Church is to provide hope that through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the hostility and division that exist between peoples are reconciled. “For he himself is our peace, who…destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…to create in himself one new humanity…thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (Ephesians 2:14–16). We believe we should use our resources and the influence that we have to bring true peace.
We also oppose lawlessness as a means of addressing these issues. We believe all authorities, (including police and civil authorities) are ministers of God (Romans 13:1-7). We also believe that all authority and their policies should be under accountability and that there are legal means by which grievances can and should be dealt with.
We are committed to listening, learning and leveraging our network to listen to the voices that need to be heard. We will take action to be a part of the solution, asking the question of Micah 6:8…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
God calls us to the ministry of reconciliation through the gospel. He gives us the responsibility to call people in broken and estranged relationships to be reconciled to God and to one another through the work of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) …to bring peace.
“God calls us to the ministry of reconciliation through the gospel.“
CBAmerica will deeply examine where we have missed God’s calling. It is our prayer that we will join with our Lord, who enjoys the diversity of human creation, which He created for His glory and good pleasure. Regardless of our racial and cultural differences, we will hold the clear and uncompromising teachings of Scripture as our final authority in all matters.
It is our prayer, that our Lord’s Kingdom will come, that His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. That we will celebrate now, what all followers of Jesus will one day experience: And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
Thank you all for coming alongside us as we develop a better CBAmerica as we venture together, advancing gospel-centered transformational churches in every community we touch!
Dr David Whitaker President, CBAmerica on behalf of the Regional Executive Directors
Chaplain Torrey Garrison, USAFR, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS
Chaplain Torrey Garrison is a United States Air Force Reserve Chaplain Major assigned to RAF Mildenhall north of London. He is married to Carrie and has three children and two grandchildren.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the military grounded all reserve members from traveling overseas. He fell back to Keesler Air Force Base to tele-work. During this time, he was assigned to provide a series of sermon videos to be used for their members on Sunday morning. This is his sermon from Memorial Day Sunday, “Five Qualities of a Good Soldier.”
Join us in thanking God for inspiring creative response to COVID19 restrictions through modern means. Despite, limitations due to social distancing, Chaplain Garrison, along with other CBAmerica chaplain colleagues, have taken a lemon and made lemonade. Pray for their resilience and sustainment through these difficult days.
In most of the Marine Corps, Marines train to deploy. They often travel to different areas of the country to simulate conditions and train in those conditions so that they will be effective, should the call come for them to deploy.
But in PACOM (Pacific Command), U.S. Marines deploy to train. Marines stationed in the Pacific often deploy to different countries throughout Asia to get real-life experience and train in those actual areas through planned exercises.
One of the most well-known and established exercises is COBRA GOLD. COBRA GOLD is a multinational exercise that takes place throughout Thailand. During this exercise Marines hone their skills in different types of warfare simulations. Yet, one thing that is not as well-known during COBRA GOLD are the Community Relation Events that take place.
Community Relation Events, or COMRELs, are typically organized by chaplains, in coordination with community leaders of the host nation, to engage with the local population by providing services and hosting events.
This year, I had the opportunity to organize and participate in six separate COMRELs in the span of two weeks during my time in Thailand. Four of the six COMRELs involved going to local elementary schools to interact with the children. I was able to bring 50 Marines to interact with over 1000 children across 4 different schools. Interaction consisted in the Marines teaching English to the Thai children (with the help of local translators) and then leading games with them. The interaction with the children was such a blessing!
Another COMREL I organized was a local temple clean-up where Marines went to a Buddhist temple and performed beautification around the grounds of the temple. The final COMREL I organized was a beach clean-up at the base I was staying at. The Gulf of Thailand can be beautiful, but there is a lot of debris in the water and much of that debris washes up on the beach.
It does not seem like collecting the debris was a high priority for the Thai Marines. Therefore, taking the initiative of being good guests on their base and leaving it in better shape than we found it, made a positive impact on the Thai Marine leadership.
So where was the ministry in all of this? Was I out preaching to the masses about the love of Jesus Christ? Yes and no. One of my favorite expressions is “preach the gospel every day, and if you have to, say words.”
At every event, I was asked to introduce myself. To help them understand what I did, I explained to the children and teachers I was a “military religious man.” I explain to them, like a Buddhist priest, I am a Christian religious leader. I would also show them the cross that I wear on my left collar (we were required to be in Marine camo uniforms for the COMRELS).
There were many COMRELs conducted throughout the nation of Thailand and they were all coordinated and led by chaplains.
Many of these COMRELs provided school supplies to the elementary schools that were visited. Other COMRELs were actually building schools for children. It was a beautiful collaboration between the Navy and Army Chaplain Corps, the Seabees, Marines and local organizations doing life impacting projects and interactions with the local communities.
Although we were doing the community events in the hope to build relationships with the host nation of Thailand and not evangelizing, the fact the Thai population saw the chaplains out conducting and leading these events spoke of the love of Jesus. Seeds were sown in rocky ground.
Please continue to pray for the people of Thailand that more missionaries would come to do intentional evangelism. Most of the Thai people I met were devoted to their faith and practice in Buddhism. I suspect they would dedicate the same devotion to the gospel and spreading the gospel once they become a believer in Christ.
Chaplain Andy Meverden adds, “What Chaplain Shields didn’t mention was that during another exercise last year on Tinian, Typhoon Mangkhut struck their location, requiring Marines to shelter in place. Chaplain Shields stayed with his Marines to ride out the storm. This commitment to the safety and well-being of his Marines was communicated directly to me from a senior PACOM chaplain monitoring the operation from Japan.”
Join me in praying for the health, safety and effective witness of Chaplain Shields and his family currently stationed on Okinawa and for the other 198 CBAmerica chaplains – military and civilian – scattered across the U.S. and around the world.
By Chaplain John Hatfield, Rhode Island Army National Guard
“For who hath despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10)
A day of “small things” was a blessing to my soul last quarter. I was asked to provide support for a MP* memorial ceremony on Veterans Day. The ceremony was modest and those in attendance were few. The morning was cold and if you happened to be watching from afar, nothing about this gathering would have gotten your attention. Events like these are often seen as unimportant and “small” – even by those in ministry.
Yet, three things happened on that cold morning that made this day of “small things” a blessing. First, I was able to pray and minister to current soldiers in the unit as well as several retired MP’s. All who seemed very happy to see a Chaplain. Second, I was able to speak of the Lord to many who rarely (if ever) have contact with a Christian or a Chaplain. Third, I was able to thank them for their service and show appreciation to those who serve and have served in this special branch. It was a blessing to listen to their stories and establish new relationships. These opportunities made a day of small things a great blessing to my soul.
• For a great work of the Spirit to revive souls in the Rhode Island National Guard.
• That the Lord will open doors to preach the Gospel and open hearts to receive it.
*Note: MP = Military Police whose motto is “Of the Troops and for the Troops.”
For more stories by and about CBAmerica chaplains, military and civilian, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. To learn more about endorsement for one of our many chaplain specialties, email Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at email@example.com.