Ministry in Austerity: Making the Most out of a Difficult Situation

By Chaplain Sean Callahan, US Army, Middle East

The greatest blessing this quarter has been to minister to our Paratroopers in a very austere environment in the Middle East. There are no other Chaplains in my area of operation, and only occasionally do we have one pass through to provide support to some of our low-density faith groups. This has been a blessing and a challenge: we provide area coverage, but also have the freedom to shape the religious support environment, which has been very fulfilling.

The many locations we have has presented a unique challenge for ministry. That, and the lack of connectivity at times, makes it hard to “livestream” anything. What we’ve done instead is pre-record Sunday services and post them on a YouTube channel. This way, Paratroopers can access them and pre-buffer them before watching. Additionally, we’ve tried to build ministry teams at each location: Paratroopers who want to spearhead a gathering where they read the Scripture, sing songs, prayer together, and then listen to the sermon. This has enabled our UMT to provide consistency with messages and services despite the fact that we only get to each location once a month. I’ve received a lot of good feedback.


Additionally, we’ve leveraged Zoom and other media to provide one-on-one discipleship and small discipleship huddles. There have been several Paratroopers who have expressed a desire to go deeper, and so we meet as regularly as we can to discuss the Word and spiritual formation. There are two in particular who want to go into ministry in the future, and they have been key to providing help in our services.

As the deployment continues, we pray that God blesses us with opportunities to bring Paratroopers together to worship our Lord, to deepen their relationship with Him, and to bring Him glory in their daily lives. Please pray for their safety, provision for their families at home, and the strength to keep our focus until the very end.

Please pray for:

1. Continued safety for our Paratroopers and open doors for the Gospel
2. Katie’s pregnancy as she is due in mid-March
3. Focus and strength to “finish strong” on the deployment

Chaplain Callahan’s update reminds us that many of our service members currently battle more than a virus. Pray for Sean and his deployed paratroopers as they battle a determined enemy in an austere environment. He is one of 200 chaplains in our network of military and civilian ministry specialists who face life-and-death situations, daily. Ask God to guide and sustain them and their families as they follow their unique call to ministry.


For more stories by and about CBAmerica’s 200 chaplains, younger and older, visit Chaplaincy – CBAmerica. For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Veterans Day Ministry: Retired/Redeployed Chaplains Wear the Uniform with Pride

By Andy Meverden with updates from Chaplains, Colonel (Retired) Bob Hicks & Wylie Johnson

One of my continuing duties as Associate Director of Chaplaincy is to scan chaplain reports and correspondence for stories to post on our webpage. Serving a network of humble and busy chaplains, it’s often a challenge to get them to tell their faithful, fruitful and often amazing stories, especially with illustrative photos. The following two emails recently appeared in our inbox ready to share:

Retired Air Force Chaplain Bob Hicks wrote:

Hey guys, last week I spoke at the Veterans Day in Emporia, Kansas.  Since I am a graduate of Emporia State University, and retired USAF chaplain, I was asked to speak by a person in my alumni association.

Emporia is the founding city for Veterans Day which most people know very little about. FYI, I have attached a couple of photos of me speaking plus the printed program. On the back of the program you will see the history of this event, which was the first city to call, Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day.

Hope you both are doing well and staying healthy.

Enjoy, 

Bob Hicks
Ch, Col. USAF, Retired

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Not to be left in the contrails of the Air Force, Retired Army Chaplain Wylie Johnson reported on a special Veterans Day Sunday preaching assignment, requested by a member church in Pennsylvania:

Randy & Andy

I arrived at First Baptist Mifflintown, PA on Saturday evening. It was about a 2.5-hour drive over state highways through the mountains – very scenic. The church is a few hundred yards down the highway. I taught a Sunday School lesson about various Chaplaincies with emphasis upon the military, but including the wide range covered by the CBAmerica.

For worship (in uniform), I spoke from the text Psalm 33:11-12 “Blessed Is The Nation.” At the conclusion I gave a strong invitation and about 6 individuals of various ages raised their hands for having prayed the sinner’s prayer. The congregation was exceptionally appreciative and supportive. Pastor Ron Shupe is a congenial host. 10 members of the congregation took me to lunch and then I departed.

Tuesday, 11/10 – The VA head here in Carbon County PA arranged a small ceremony in the center of Jim Thorpe, across from the county offices. I was surprised and pleased to find that retired Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Daily  was the featured speaker. I brought the Invocation in uniform (photo). The entire event last a bit more than 30 minutes.

Blessings,

W. (Wylie Johnson)

CH(COL) USA, Retired
Law Enforcement Chaplain

Join me in thanking God for retired chaplains like Bob Hicks and Wylie Johnson, who continue to serve in their communities and circles of influence. Their recognized godly wisdom, ministry experience and Gospel message continues to build the Kingdom of God.


For more stories by and about CBAmerica’s 200 chaplains, younger and older, visit Chaplaincy – CBAmerica. For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.


Motorcycle Chaplain Vies for Dream Chopper: How cool is this?

By Shawn Taylor, Motorcycle Club Chaplain, Phoenix, AZ

Brothers and Sisters in Christ I need your vote! I recently entered and was accepted for the chance to win a custom chopper built by Paul Teutul Sr. and Orange County Choppers. The competition is called Dream Chopper.

Those who know me I have a passion for riding and a calling to reach motorcycle riders from all backgrounds.

This is a great opportunity to not only have a one-of-a-kind bike built. But it includes an appearance on American Chopper and the cover of Cycle Source Magazine. Imagine the chance to share my passion and love for Jesus on a nationally broadcast TV show. Also, the appearance on the magazine and other promotions will give a secondary exposure that can reach riders across the country.

My #dreamchopper is a ministry themed bike. Including the nails from the Two Thieves Motorcycle Ministry and a matching color scheme. I have told them I want something built that is low & fast. A bike that has an aggressive “beefy” stance & a big head light that looks like a freight train heading toward you.

I think I can do so much good for the kingdom on this bike. And yes, I confess the bike will be nice to have.

You might ask “How can you help?” I am glad you asked.

Voting starts Monday October 26th. I earn one vote per person every 24 hours by you logging in with a valid Facebook account and voting for me.

There are multiple rounds over the next seven weeks. Each week people are eliminated until December 17th when a winner is selected.

I know I am asking a lot of you and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to help me do this.

Here is a link to my profile page https://dreamchopper.com/2020/shawn-taylor

I will also be giving updates to everyone, so for the next seven weeks you will see a bunch of motorcycle posts on my social media accounts. Wait. That is no different than normal huh?

You can follow me and my progress at:

  • Twitter @intheknight
  • Facebook facebook.com/NotYourEverydayGeek
  • Instagram instagram.com/intheknight/

Associate Director, Andy Meverden writes: “I had the privilege of casting the first 10 votes in Shawn’s favor. Join me in helping Chaplain Taylor win this chopper and the opportunity to share his ministry on this unique, nation-wide platform. I’ve known Shawn since 2015 and have seen his grit and passion in winning bikers to Christ. Vote now!”

Mobilized for Ministry: Guard Chaplain Points Soldiers to the Master

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 Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Deployed Chaplain Encourages Local Missionary-Pastor in War-torn Balkans

By Chaplain Jason Dong, Oregon Army National Guard, Kosovo

Dear Friends,

Greetings!  I hope this finds you well and standing on the promises of God day by day.  COVID cases among the Kosovo population are going down so that is a good sign.  However, we continue to have positive tests among our multinational partners.  Despite continuing restrictions, I was able to venture out into the community last week.

One of those days was a very special religious leader engagement with Pastor “E.”.  He pastors The Word Church, a Protestant Evangelical church.  He and his wife “F.” shared their testimony.  It was a pure joy to meet these heroes of the faith.  Despite a Muslim upbringing they became Christians as teenagers in Kosovo’s capital city Pristina when a mission team from the Netherlands came and held outreach meetings.  They felt called to plant a church in another city not far from where my base is.  For the first five years they had no one.  Then in year five they began getting phone calls from the community for Bibles.  Then they had their first convert, “F”, whom we met which now serves as a deacon in the church. 

Altogether they have been there 15 years serving approximately 100 families with an average attendance of about 45-50 each Sunday.  Our meeting was the first time Pastor “E” has ever met a chaplain from KFOR (Kosovo  Force). They shared how God has protected them from various threats over the years and are in the process of purchasing a new space that will accommodate more people.  Pictured is also a fast food business that helped support the church, but due to COVID it shut down. 

There are two churches in the U.S. that support them financially for various projects and send short term mission teams each year to hold youth camps and adult seminars.  They hope to move into their new space by October 1st.  It was a privilege to fellowship with them and I hope to be able to visit again as they move into their new space.

Praises/thanks:  1)  Meeting Pastor “E” and his wife  2) God’s continued provision  3)  Good health  4)  Continued opportunities in ministry

Prayer requests:  1)  God’s protection upon The Word Church as they move into their new space  2)  Continued protection, peace and safety for the Soldiers  3)  Continued wisdom and guidance in daily ministry  4)  Physical, emotional, spiritual strength to finish strong  5)  Holy Spirit’s work in those attending chapel/Bible study  6)  Peace, health and protection for family back home.  

Quote of the Week:  “Religion says, ‘I obey; therefore I am accepted.’  Christianity says, ‘I am accepted, therefore I obey.'”  –Alistair Begg

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

“Religious Leader Engagement” is one of our military chaplain’s responsibilities.   Taking the initiative to contact leaders of all faiths positively influence civil-military relations. If there’s any place on earth where this has been needed and beneficial, it’s in the Balkans where Chaplain Dong currently serves. Pray for wisdom, grace and health for Jason and his fellow-soldiers, as they serve as ambassadors of good will and safety in Kosovo.

For more stories by and about our chaplains, visit us a www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. For information of endorsement for chaplaincy, email Director Randy Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Growing Through Adversity

Click here to view Growing Through Adversity Video

”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

CB Chaplains Team Up to Provide Ministry in Middle East

By Chaplain Tim Miller, New York Army National Guard, Middle East

Chaplain Tim Miller

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.

https://www.usarcent.army.mil/News/Article/2219690/spartan-chaplains-maintain-morale-and-faith-in-spite-of-covid-19/ Both CH (CPT) Matt Granahan and I are mentioned in this article, along with my Division chaplain.

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.

Prayer Concerns:

  • 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 Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Living With the End in View: A Timely Book for the Miramar Brig

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.”  

Below is an excerpt from Living With the End in View: Escaping the Tyranny of the Here and Now.

What Are You Living For? 

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.  


Once again, a CBAmerica chaplain publishes a timely book on a relevant topic. Published by Covenant Books on May 6th, 2020, Chaplain Dan Klender’s work can be purchased on Amazon and wherever good books are sold.

For more stories by and about CBAmerica chaplaincies, visit www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy. To inquire about endorsement for chaplaincy, email Randy Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.

Pandemic Ministry: Air Force Chaplains baptize and disciple despite challenges

By Chaplain Steve Kim, USAF, Sheppard AFB, TX

Greetings Sir/Gentlemen,

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!!!

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

New Dress Code for Hospital Chaplains: COVID-19 PPE

By Chaplain Gordon Ruddick, Peace Health Medical Center, Springfield, Oregon

Chaplain Gordon Ruddick

As chaplains, we’ve always been required to wear “business casual” to work. Still true. Now, though,  there’s a new addition. All employees are required to wear a yellow, slightly itchy, hospital mask during our workday. In order to enter one of only three entrances we must all successfully pass the temperature check, give our identifying information, and tell them how we feel. Then the mask. No exceptions. And no homemade masks allowed in the hospital. Only the yellow ones, except in special situations when N-95 masks are required for more dangerous duty.

These days it’s more “serious business” and a lot less “casual.” The war continues. And we are the front lines. As a chaplain I am not seeing COVID-19 patients directly, but definitely am at times involved with other staff who have been in the heat of that battle. My job has changed focus from patients to staff. There are no family or visitors these days, except for those on both ends of life, the ones coming in and the ones going out. Those folks can have very limited visitation from a family member. Of course I still see patients as well. I am one of their few visitors.    

While this pandemic is a bother to many in our community, a loss of business for a multitude, and a definite disruption to schedules and plans to millions, it is as well a source of concern and danger for us who are serving in this place. You are supposed to stay home. We are supposed to go to work. And there are days when that is not easy. Especially the first few days when everything was very eerie. It is a place of danger as well as a place of duty. This is who I am. This is what I have been called to do. We feel that way. It’s why we stay faithful. That does not mean we are never afraid. It means we let go of the fear and hang on to faithfulness.

We and our families appreciate your prayer for our safety and effective ministry to the givers and the receivers of health care. The risks are great. As are the rewards. Our God is faithful. May that continue to be our legacy as well. “For such a time as this.” 

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While many Americans are “staying home,” front-line medical personnel in infected areas are working overtime; that includes hospital chaplains. Pray for Chaplain Ruddick and the other 23 CBAmerica hospital chaplains, most of whom are designated “essential personnel.”  Join me in praying for God’s protection and guidance as they minister to staff and patients.

For more stories by and about CBAmerica chaplains ministering during the current pandemic, visit https://cbamerica.org/chaplaincy/.   For electronic brochures describing chaplaincy ministries and the endorsement requirements, contact Director of Chaplaincy, Randy Brandt, at chapbrandt@cbamerica.org.