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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sweet smells of Thanksgiving turkey wafted through the air as Shelley and I arrived at our son’s home to celebrate the holiday with him and his family. The lovely pre-dinner hors d’ oeuvres, and even better conversation, changed with the ring of my cell phone. Yes, it was the hospital and they were calling me to respond to a death … on Thanksgiving Day.
The beauty of the late autumn drive helped to calm my outlook as I rehearsed portions of Scripture that may be of help to the mourning family members. At this point I knew nothing about the deceased or the family, only that a death had occurred and, per hospital policy, the on-call chaplain was called to respond.
Making my way to the nursing station I checked in to be sure of the room and was directed accordingly. That emotion filled knock on the door reminded me of so many times I had to knock on doors as a military chaplain to assist in delivering bad news. This time the knock was answered with a kind but sad family with the body of their recently deceased loved one present.
Soon I became aware that this was a religious family, albeit not of a biblically orthodox faith. Spending some brief moments to greet each family member, the grieving spouse began to share about the deceased. Sensing that this family would welcome some Bible verses, I proceeded to share some short, poignant selections of Scripture about the salvation offered through Christ and the Father’s home in heaven for those who believe. The family nodded their appreciation, adding much about their faith group and the good works of the deceased.
Also sensing that this family would welcome prayer, I asked if I may pray with them and they gave hearty approval. Following the prayer I made sure that they knew where to turn for funeral home assistance and how they could contact a chaplain in the future. They gave warm, thoughtful words of thanks and I departed.
No sooner was I in the hallway than one of the extended family members followed me from the room with tearful eyes to offer profound thanks for reading the Word of God. This one went on to explain years of prayer for the family, that they would know our Savior, and that the Scripture reading had resonated so well at such a difficult time. Yes, this presented another opportunity to witness to our Lord’s saving power, reflecting the faithful prayers of this one family member.
As I drove back to join my family for Thanksgiving dinner (yes, they saved a plate for me!), I reflected once again on the amazing privilege of witnessing for our Lord and Savior at such a time, and with people with whom I would normally not have any contact.
Only God knows the final outcome of the seeds planted that Thanksgiving Day by reaching out to people in need with Jesus’ truth and love!
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NASB
Please pray for our 105 military and 90 civilian chaplains scattered across the nation and around the world.
As unique as the Airborne community is, my unit is part of the Airborne Cavalry Regiment. Essentially, they function as the reconnaissance element of the Brigade: scouting out areas ahead, behind, and all around the Brigade to provide actionable intelligence for the fight, as well as to seek out and destroy enemy reconnaissance elements. As a result, we come with a lot of vehicles and gunners. For us, typical Airborne operations entail not only dropping humans from the sky, but our gun trucks and scout vehicles so that we can be quick and highly mobile.
Part of the Cavalry tradition – hailing back to the days of horses and sabers – is to earn one’s “spurs.” To do this, the Squadron holds a Spur Ride. And what, you may ask, is a Spur Ride? In a nutshell, a test of grit and endurance. For us, it was a long, 36-48-hour mission replete with objectives, lots of rucking with heavy packs, and, of course, copious amounts of “smoke sessions.” In a way, they want to test a “shavetail’s” (that’s what they call non-spur holders) mettle. Do we care enough about the Squadron to learn its history and traditions? Can we endure long days, no sleep, and little food? Can we operate as a part of a team to accomplish our missions? Can we submit ourselves to the whims of spur holders who want to push us to our physical limits? If the answer is yes to all of these, and we Shavetails pass the examination, we earn our Silver Spurs, and forever becomes Spur Holders.
For a Chaplain, this is one of the times where we can really earn our currency in the unit. I’ve found that the greatest opportunities for ministry and growth occur when we do hard things. We learn more about ourselves, others, and God when we are pushed to our physical, mental, and spiritual limitations. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to get there. Other times it takes eating one meal a day, rucking with 80 lbs. of gear, and pushing a Humvee up a hill at 0300 to find out what we are really made of.
Questions like, “How do you stay so nice to everyone, Chaplain? I want to kill all of them right now,” are fairly common. The answer? By God’s grace. I may be frustrated inwardly, but I know that my witness is on the line, and that to be an encouraging, counter-cultural presence, I must rely on God’s strength instead of my own. And that’s the important lesson: it is possible to be a follower of Christ even amid difficult situations; even when I’m not feeling my best; even when I’m tired, hungry, cold, and wet. The beauty of God’s grace is that it’s a gift, and I don’t have to earn it. God freely gives it, and so empowers me to hang tough with the Paratroopers to be a light in this Airborne world – or whatever world He puts us in.
Hard things over and done with, I have some silver spurs to put on my jump boots, but much more importantly, I have some relationships that have gone much deeper than I ever thought possible. And, perhaps most important of all, I’m reminded of just how wonderful, mighty, and gracious a God we serve.
Please pray for: 1. The two Paratroopers who accepted Christ this Quarter. Continued Spiritual growth and healing. 2. Holy Spirit-led opportunities to share the Gospel with Paratroopers. 3. Our rock-climbing outreach event aimed at bringing young Paratroopers to a local rock gym for climbing during PT, breakfast, and a gospel message. 4. Katie’s pregnancy: She’s due at the end of May!
Please pray for Sean and Katie as they reach into the lives of Soldiers and family members in Sean’s unit. While you’re at it, remember our 105 military and 90 civilian chaplains scattered across the nation and around the world.
At the Winter Meeting of the CBAmerica Board, January 29th and 30th held in Laguna Beach, CA, Dave Whitaker was appointed President of CBAmerica. He is taking on the newly defined position:
“In recognition of the covenantal commitment of CBA, the President shall serve the member networks, facilitating national vision, coordinating and managing the network of national resources and services; he shall be a part of the selection process for any new Executive Director of a member network; he shall facilitate the expansion of CBA into more networks.”
Church ministry is woven into the fabric of Dave’s life. A “preacher’s kid” born in Iowa, Dave grew up in the East San Francisco Bay Area town of Pleasanton. After receiving undergraduate and seminary degrees, Dave served seven years as an associate pastor of his home church in San Ramon, CA, then thirteen years as senior pastor of Heart to Heart Bible Church in Phoenix, AZ. During the years in Phoenix, Dave received his Doctor of Sacred Ministries degree from Northland International University. Dave’s burden to return to the Bay Area led him in 2004 to become the lead pastor of Morgan Hill Bible Church, serving also as a volunteer chaplain with the Morgan Hill Police Department.
For over eight years, Dave served as the Executive Director of Next Generation Churches in northern California, one of eight regions in CBAmerica. Along with serving on the various boards of CBAmerica, Dave serves also as Vice-Chairman of Western Seminary.
Dave and his wife, Lanette, have been married for 37 years. Their daughter Kaylan lives in Manhattan and son Jonathan and wife Carrie, and their first grandchild, Sylvia, live in Brooklyn, NY. Dave enjoys hanging out with family and friends, reading, playing golf and playing with his Apple gadgets. Even more, Dave loves communicating the Word and is passionate about seeing local churches and pastors flourishing in the gospel, connecting people into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dave will continue as the lead pastor of Morgan Hill Bible Church but will be handing off his role of director of Next Generation Ministries with the appointment of a new Regional Director.
Just to satisfy my own curiosity about how I’m spending my time during the week, I’ve been tracking the following statistics for July – December 2018:
(1) Total number of hours of direct patient contact: 478.65 hours.
(2) Total work days this period: 113
(3) Hours per day of direct patient contact: 4.24 hours per day.
(4) Number of patients visited: 489
(5) Average length of visit: 0.98 hours per patient.
(6) Number of deaths: 107
(7) Number of funerals conducted: 9
(8) Number of Bibles given to patients: 28
One of my blessings is the increase in the number of hospice patients I am seeing on a regular basis. During my last report, I asked you to be praying that the Lord would allow me to see more of the patients on our hospice census. I was seeing approximately 70% at that time.
As of this past month, I am now seeing 85% of my patients and feel that I’m having a significant impact in their lives. I give all the glory to God for making this happen, because there is nothing different that I am doing. If I offer spiritual care to a person and they decline, then I need to honor their desire and not see them. I thank you for your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for me in this area.
Another blessing is being able to preach at two small country churches in my area twice per month. Although I make it clear that I’m a CBAmerica chaplain, the United Methodist Church (UMC) District Office is glad to use me for pulpit supply. Since this past July, I have been preaching a 9:30 service at Bates UMC (with attendance of 20-25), followed by a 10:45 service at Shade UMC (with attendance of 15-20). They are small in numbers, but I’ve come to love the people there, and they call me their pastor even though I only preach there every other week. One visitor even commented that the service felt more like a Baptist service (like her Baptist church in Florida)!
Please pray for me that the Lord will continue to use me to faithfully preach his Word. Also pray for the people in these small churches that they will be encouraged, that they will grow in their faith, and that they will be motivated to effectively share their faith with others.
I also consider it a great blessing for me to minister to my hospice patients, to be able to clearly share the gospel with them, and to be able to pray for them that they would truly come to know and love the Lord before it is too late for them. We have lost 107 of our patients in the past six months, and many people outside of hospice can’t understand how I can continue doing this ministry. It is only by God’s grace that I continue to do this work of ministry. Rather than focusing on the terminal illnesses of all my patients and realizing that they will possibly die within the next six months, I consider it a privilege to be able to spend a short amount of time with them through meaningful conversation, spiritual music, Bible reading and prayer.
Please pray for my hospice patients that they might call on the Lord in their time of need, and that they might come to truly know and love Him.
Join us in praying for Chaplain Mitera’s hospice and pulpit supply ministry. May he and our other 195 CBAmerica chaplains continue to follow the example of the Lord Jesus who came to seek and to save those who are lost and dying.
I’ve attached a storyboard from a recent event we did in Athens. I took 29
Soldiers in partnership with my Hellenic counterparts to tour Athens and
explore some historical and biblical sites. It was a fantastic trip.
Join me in praying for Chaplain Moen and his Troopers on this unique deployment. Pray for safety in the air and on the ground for this heavily armed Cavalry unit. Pray for successful training and interaction between U.S. and Greek forces. Pray for loved ones back home who eagerly await their Soldiers’ safe return!