Just the Right Size

By Chaplain Bob Ishkanian

I serve the inmates as a CBAmerica Chaplain in a Florida prison. I am also a Gideon. I decided that I would do a Gideon Scripture distribution to all 1200 inmates. When they came out of the chow hall for lunch, I asked each one personally if they would like a copy of God’s word. About 250 said yes.Bob Ishkanian

One of the inmates that took one of our pocket New Testaments (let’s call him Jim) was a known drug dealer in the prison; one of your go-to men if you wanted to get high on something. You can get your hands on most drugs easier in prison than on the outside. There is a big profit to be made selling drugs in prison, more so than on the outside so that’s why some staff, some inmates and some visitors bring the drugs in. It’s big business and it’s everywhere.

One day Jim ran out of rolling paper for his joints. He later told me, as he looked at his pocket New Testaments, he figured out that the pages in it were just the right size and thickness to roll a perfect joint for resale. At the time he wasn’t sure how the print would affect sales or the taste of the joint, but that turned out not to be a problem! So starting with Matthew, he started to tear pages out of his testament and rolled his joints. He got up to the page that was around the third chapter of John. Hey, you can’t make this stuff up folks!  He started to read what was somewhat familiar verses from his childhood. Do I have to tell you what verse spoke to him?

Bob Ishkanian2He told me later he read that page several times, figured out what it was saying and committed his life to Christ. The next thing he did was to ask for a chaplain. He took several of my classes and still seems to be walking with the Lord. Bingo!!! Chalk another one up for the Holy Spirit where He promises in Isaiah 55:11 that “His Word shall not return unto Him void.” This kind of gives that verse a whole new meaning!

 

 

Chaplain Bob’s main prayer request is for “safety and God’s leading” in his ministry. Join me in praising God for His continued work in the lives of “the least of these” (Matt 25:40) who find themselves in prison.  Bob is one of 10 CBAmerica chaplains working in correctional facilities (penitentiaries, prisons, jail and other types of detention facilities); military and civilian.  Include them all in your prayers.

For more stories of God’s work through CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

For information on how to become an endorsed chaplain through CBAmerica, contact our Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

Looking for Room 372

Looking for Room 372By Chaplain Gordon Ruddick

It was a Sunday morning. A work day. I don’t usually work on the weekends, anymore, but this was one of those days. I had two hospitals to cover, about six miles apart. The one is big, bustling, and beautiful. I spend most of my time there.

The other is cared for by equally committed caregivers who happen to work in an environment that does not always seem to be the focus of attention. I spent my first year as a chaplain there and feel connected to those folks, many of whom continue to work in this specific location on purpose, bringing all they have to those who need it. I often start my weekend day at what we call “UD”, University District. I attend rounds on the medical floor and then try to make a visit or two or maybe three before I head over to RiverBend, which I kiddingly refer to as the “Big Dog.”

Knowing there would be lots to do at RiverBend today, I listened during rounds and determined that there was one patient I had to try to see. This was a GIP patient in room 372. GIP stands for “General In-Patient,” a term for hospice patients who have been admitted to the hospital, often because of pain issues that cannot be managed outside this acute setting.

That was the situation for this man about 50 years old who was dying of cancer. But he wasn’t dying easily. Or quickly, or painlessly, either, despite the attempts and care of the staff. I peeked into his darkened room and saw him asleep in his bed with another person sprawled on a nearby chair, intently trying to catch up on missed rest during this unofficial truce. There have been two instances in the hospital where I have experienced a terminal patient in agonal pain. I’m not displeased that I did not have to experience that this day. I asked the nurse how the night had gone and about his wife—where she was and how this was for her. Pain control was still elusive at times, she said. For now, he was quiet and not hurting. He was at death’s door, it seemed. But for now that door was locked despite the banging.

There was no one to talk to, and I needed to get moving. Lots of people to see at the Big Dog. Oh well, I had tried. Did my best. Surely didn’t want to wake up this patient for any reason right now. Let him sleep. Let them both sleep. I told the ward clerk I was leaving and headed down to the first floor. I wondered where his wife was. In the cafeteria?

Suddenly I realized this was not my normal exit path. I usually take the sky bridge connected to the third floor over the street and then go down to the parking garage. But not today. For some reason, as I headed towards the crosswalk, I glanced at the woman standing by the bus stop, which in this location was a self-contained unit, consisting of a steel post with a bus schedule at eye level as well as a small bench attached at the appropriate height. She did not look up at me. She seemed to be in her own world.

Then I saw it.

A sticky label attached to her dress. Three numbers on it. “372.” She wore that so staff would know her reason for being in the hospital. This was the wife. The one I had been looking for.

I quietly introduced myself by name as a chaplain (she could see my badge as well) and I told her I had been looking for her. We sat on that small bench and she told me her story of deep pain and suffering. Of the hope for recovery that had grown and faded and now was only a distant memory. She mentioned their faith and the help it had been to them. And she also said how hard a time her husband was having dying. She asked if I would pray that her husband would die soon. I said, “Of course I will.”

So I prayed for God to take her husband home very soon and end his pain. And I asked for God to comfort her in her sorrow, disappointment, and hurt. When the prayer was over I held her for just a second. I then was able to provide some assurance to her that God cared. I said, “I was looking for you and I was not able to find you, I believe God led me to you. And you know what? You are the only person in this hospital that I will probably see today. I want you to realize that you are very special to God and to me as well.” She was touched.

And, oh yes, the door finally opened. He died later that day. Quietly it seemed.

That was the only time I ever saw her.

The story of Jesus in Samaria with his disciples came to me as I drove over to RiverBend. He said to them, “As you look around, would you say it looks like about four months until the harvest? (or in my case, about six miles!) Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. It’s harvest time!”

Room 372 is there, if I just am looking for it. _________________________________________________________________________
Gordon Ruddick is a hospital chaplain in the greater Eugene, Oregon area. Through his own heart issues, he has come to specialize in cardiac patients, both as inpatients as well as in an outpatient setting. God is using him to help them deal with all that serious illness (especially heart issues) brings up for them.

His prayer concerns: Comfort at the loss of his father, a former CB pastor, who passed recently after a long battle with dementia. Thankfully his death was quick and peaceful.

His report noted two first-time decisions for Christ! That’s something we can all rejoice over.

For more stories of ministry by CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica/chaplaincy. For information on endorsement with CBAmerica, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

The harvest is ripe!

No Place Else to Rest

HatfieldBy Chaplain John Hatfield
Rhode Island Army National Guard

Acts 14:22: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

As Paul traveled throughout the Mediterranean preaching the gospel, he also was blessed to “confirm” or strengthen the many brothers and sisters in Christ who were in much “tribulation” or trouble. In a similar way, I was blessed to have opportunity to preach the gospel and minister to other believers who were encountering seasons of tribulation in their lives during our [Army National Guard] Annual Training at Fort Drum, New York.

One particular instance comes to my remembrance. A Soldier who was hurt during training needed to rest for a few days. The only space available happened to be next to me in my tent. Before I even met the Soldier I knew the Lord was moving in circumstances.

When I returned from visiting the [artillery] batteries, I entered a dark tent and found the Soldier with a very somber disposition. He had been laying there all day in the hot tent and seemed dejected and not eager to talk. I was moved to press on and began asking questions about his life and other things.

I soon found that this man was a Christian and was hurting not only physically but spiritually. The next few hours were spent exhorting him in the faith and through much tribulation we enter God’s kingdom.

What a blessing it was to see his face change and his soul lifted up as he remembered who he was in Christ and that sin no longer had dominion over him. Since that day he has continued to show great change and spiritual vigor and even visited my church to hear me preach. I praise the Lord for this ministry!

Chaplain Hatfield adds two prayer requests to his report:

  1. Continued open doors for ministry in the Armed Forces.
  2. That the Lord would grant great boldness in the faith to live Christ as well as preach Christ.

Pray for the 170 CBAmerica chaplains scattered around the globe, on land, sea, and in the air. 95 serve in the military and 75 in a wide variety of civilian settings, to include: hospitals, hospices, prisons, law enforcement, fire and rescue, motor cycle clubs, Veterans organizations and Wounded Warriors programs.  For more stories go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy

CB Northwest Men’s Roundup

Mens-Roundup-Christian-Retreat-and-ConferenceSeptember 9-11, 2016 at Camp Tadmor

Men’s Roundup is a Christian men’s conference and camping retreat held in a forested mountaintop setting at Camp Tadmor where men are challenged to believe, obey, connect and lead. Roundup features an inspiring and challenging primary speaker, well-known guest artists and musicians, biblical teachers leading life challenging action workshop breakout sessions, great food and opportunities for guys to worship, learn, grow, and connect with other guys. Roundup is also a wonderful opportunity to appreciate God’s beautiful creation, hang out with friends, and break a sweat in the Roundup Race or other sports competitions and outdoor recreation activities.

Go HERE for more information and to register.

NOTE: $50 scholarships are available to CB-endorsed chaplains via online website registration at mensroundup.com (use registration code: mru16chaplain).

Let  Chaplain Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy,  (email: chapandy@cbamerica.org) know directly if you plan to attend so he can confirm lodging space in the “Chaplain Yurt.”

One Bad Dude!

 

Bob-2-JPEGMy name is Bob Ishkanian. I am presently a CBAmerica Chaplain serving the inmates at Charlotte Correctional Institution in Punta Gorda, Florida. This is a maximum security level prison and we have some bad dudes here. Many of the men here are in for life.

I have been working with one of the worst of the worst. This fellow, let’s call him Bill, is a retired military officer who became an enforcer for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Murder was his game. When they arrested him, he had 17 loaded handguns and one sawed off shotgun on him, not in his car or in his room, but directly on him. Bill said he didn’t like to reload, that it was too much trouble. I told him he didn’t need a bullet proof vest because wherever he might have gotten shot, the bullet would have hit a gun!

Much of my ministry experience throughout the years has been as a coordinator for Christian Motorcyclist Association (CMA).  It was because of my contacts with the outlaw motorcyclists and my knowledge of motorcycles, that I hit it off with Bill.  We talked the same “Harley” language and I personally knew many of his fellow club members on the street.  At one time, I owned nine motorcycles, one to be with the BMW guys, one to be with the Harley guys, one to be with the Japanese bike guys, etc. A BMW rider would never talk to a Harley rider, etc.  You get the idea!

Well, after befriending Bill for six months and showing him the love of Christ, he enrolled in my prison class called HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS.  Everyone thinks this class is about friends and family relationships.  It’s really about your relationship with Christ.  Bill asked lots of questions.  Next Bill enrolled in my class called DIGGING DEEPER. God was working in his heart.  I took two weeks off for a vacation, came back to the prison and found out that Bill had demanded that one of the other chaplain baptize him.  What a surprise!!

Bill now attends our weekly Monday night worship service, carries around a giant ESV study Bible and will want to bend your ear and tell anyone that will listen as to how God has changed his heart and mind for the better. PTL!!!”  –Chaplain Bob Ishkanian

We recently visited with Bob in his home in Florida.  He shared this and other stories of the impact the Gospel is having in the prisons where he ministers.  Join with Bob in rejoicing over these who are coming to faith in Christ and experiencing radical life transformation.  Pray for him, both his safety as he works in potentially dangerous settings, as well as for hearts prepared by the Holy Spirit to respond to the message of Hope through Jesus Christ. 

Prayerfully, remember Bob, and the other 160 CBAmerica Chaplains who serve in a variety of institutional settings; military, prison, hospital, hospice, police, fire, and other ministries. 

For more information on how you can become a chaplain, contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerical.org and visit our website at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

 

Andy

Rev. Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica.org
3686 Stagecoach Rd, Unit F
Longmont, CO 80504

ChapAndy@cbamerica.org

 

Palm Sunday in a Military Prison

1

“Inmates continue to realize their need to become more devoted followers of Jesus Christ. I baptized five inmates during our Palm Sunday Protestant Service on 20 March 2016. I have baptized a total of 29 inmates in the past nine months at the USDB (US Disciplinary Barracks).” So reports CBAmerica endorsed Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, Mark Mitera, Director of Pastoral Care, and Senior Army Corrections Command Chaplain in the Military Correctional Complex at the US Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Typically known as “Leavenworth,” some notable prison inmates past and present include WW2 POWs, William Calley, Nidal Hasan, and Bradley “Chelsea” Manning.

The USDB motto, “Our Mission, Your Future,” symbolizes the “Can Do” attitude; the spirit of teamwork; and the philosophy of the USDB. The entire custodial staff provides individual treatment to inmates to prepare them for a self-reliant, trustworthy and respectable future. The USDB reflects on the past only to build for the future, emphasizing behavior, education, vocational skills and a chance to choose. The staff balances their critical duty to incarcerate, ensure good order and discipline, and to maintain a safe environment, with providing an opportunity for rehabilitation, hope, and a new start.2

Chaplain Mark asks prayer for the following:

  1. That both inmates and staff would come to know Christ and have their lives transformed at both of our prisons (Medium and Maximum Security) at Fort Leavenworth.
  2. That our chaplains would remain faithful in preaching the Gospel and reaching out to the lost.

4In a companion email Mark shared details about his pending retirement from the Army chaplaincy the end of this year. “I’ve certainly enjoyed my years of service as an Army chaplain, and concluding my ministry at the USDB has been a real blessing…and definitely one of my best assignments. Being directly involved with people ministry and pastoral care to inmates has been very refreshing after having spent my two previous assignments doing mostly administration and personnel management.  Plus, the USDB chapel has become one of my favorite places to preach due to the enthusiastic response of the inmates.  This has been a good way to end my military career.”

3Mark adds in his recent report, “Please pray for us as we go through this time of transition.” I ask you to do just that.  Mark plans to move back home to Ohio, complete some more post-graduate education and pursue ministry in the hospital/hospice setting.  He’s also open to providing pulpit supply in the surrounding area.

I affirmed Mark’s “post-military” plans for continued ministry. After “much prayer and consideration,” he and his wife, Annette, have set their sights on a new ministry vision for the next phase of life.  Join me in thanking God for one “well-done” ministry career in chaplaincy, and asking the Lord to guide their steps into the next phase of ministry.  While you’re at it, reply to this blog post with a note of appreciation and congratulation, as Mark retires the end of November.

If you or someone you know is interested in chaplaincy ministry in its many forms (federal and civilian, prison, police, fire, hospital, hospice, retirement homes, rescue mission, motor sports and clubs, Veterans and Wounded Warrior), contact me at the email below or check out our webpage at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy for more stories and info.

Respectfully Submitted,

Andy Meverden Chaplain, Colonel, Retired Director of Chaplaincy CBAmerica.org Email: chapandy@cbamerica.org

A Long Time Coming: Journey of Pastor/Chaplain

D. Kuntz

A Long Time Coming: Chaplaincy Journey of Pastor/Chaplain David Kuntz

A Portuguese proverb says: “God writes straight through crooked lines.”  It describes the ministry experience of CBAmerica chaplain, David Kuntz.  As a young man, David observed the skilled, compassionate care rendered by a retired military chaplain at his Veteran grandfather’s graveside military burial honors.  It was there he saw himself one day as a military chaplain.  After a number of years as pastor, he became the chaplain at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  Recently, at age 42, David took the oath of commissioning as a chaplain in the US Army Reserve.

Excited to share the news of his church commissioning ceremony, he sent me this email:

 

“Chaplain Andy,

Last week I had my commissioning ceremony at Linworth Baptist Church, Worthington OH where I am a member.  They filmed my story with a professional photographer and showed it to the congregation.  They did a great job.  After showing the video my Pastor Brent Miller prayed for me.  I walked down from the platform and I received a standing ovation.  It was so humbling.  It was a day I will never forget.  You can watch this video on Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/163151622/27ab36a360

Kuntz I will be leaving for Chaplain Officer Basic Officer Leader Course (CHBOLC) Success Training at New Orleans on May 1st.  Then I will leave for CHBOLC in Fort Jackson, SC the end of May and return mid-August. 

 

Blessings,

Chaplain David Kuntz”  

 

 

Chaplain Andy writes:  “My heart warmed as I watched David’s testimony on video.  In his 2015 Year End Report, he sent photos of many aspects of ministry in a major children’s hospital, to include zany shots of him as “Elf on a Shelf” and “Super Chaplain!”  I kid you not. (Evidence included)David Kuntz

There’s a spirit of adventure, audacity, courage, humor and deep reverence in our CBAmerica Chaplains.  From the hospital chaplains who log 1200-1500 patient visits biannually, to prison chaplains who are baptizing hard core criminals by the 100’s yearly, to volunteer fire and police chaplain-pastors who support first-responders and victims of homicides and fatal vehicle accidents, to military chaplains in dangerous, undisclosed locations on land, sea, and in the air – and all points in between.  And let’s not forget recently retired Army Chaplain Dennis Newton who walked 2180 miles of the Appalachian Trail with a new generation of Veterans seeking to find the trail home on Warrior Hike 2015!  I am genuinely amazed!

Join me in praying for Chaplain (Captain) David Kuntz as he heads off to Army Chaplain Training.  He already knows how to be a pastor in church and a chaplain in a huge medical center.  Now he must learn the customs and traditions of military service and how to uniquely serve those in our nation’s Armed Forces.  Pray for the ability to catch on quickly, stay healthy and safe in physical and field training exercises.  Ask God to help David to be a helpful comrade and shining light to all he meets along the way.  David is one of several CBAmerica Chaplains with endorsements in two distinct ministries.

While you’re at it, pray also for CBAmerica’s other 168 chaplains serving across the nation and around the world.

If interested in learning more about CBAmerica Chaplaincy, visit our website at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy or contact me at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

THEN

New Andy

NOW

Andy

Andy Meverden
Director of Chaplaincy
CBAmerica

https://vimeo.com/163151622/27ab36a360

Book By CBAmerica Chaplain

Hicks

CBAmerica Chaplain Dr. Bob Hicks New Book:
Few Call It War: Religious Terrorism: Then and Now

 

“Our political establishment is blind to religion as a significant player in our world today. Blinded by secularism and political correctness they have backed themselves into an ideological corner whereby they refuse to call religious terrorism what it is… war!”

Former USAF Chief of Chaplains Charles Baldwin writes, “At a time when political leaders are reluctant to talk about faith, Dr. Hicks opens our eyes to the truth about religious terrorism… a must read for those of all faiths, no faith, and evangelicals who love their country.”  Chaplain, Major General, Charles Baldwin, USAF (ret)

Available in hardcover and paperback at Amazon.com.

Never Volunteer…Unless the Spirit Leads You!

Chaplain Brian Hargis is unique.  A former pastor from West Virginia, Green Beret sergeant, missionary to the Philippines, and law enforcement chaplain, he enjoys adrenaline-pumping activities.  In between jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, riding dirt bikes, and teaching military combatives (hand-to-hand combat), he takes every opportunity he can find to share the Gospel and minister to people in need.

While attending the Chaplain Captain Career Course (“C4”) at Ft Jackson, he had the opportunity to cover chapel services for a chaplain who went on leave.  Conventional military wisdom is “never volunteer.”  But when the Spirit of God moves you to take advantage of an opportunity to minister in a potentially fruitful situation, it would be wrong to hesitate.  Read what Chaplain Hargis reported.

Brian Hargis“I had the opportunity to cover chapel services for a Basic Training Chaplain (Ft Jackson) while the chaplain was on leave. The Soldiers were in weeks 1, 2 & 3, and the first week there were too many to count that professed Christ as Savior. My oldest son (PFC Jordan Hargis) visited for college Spring break and led music. It was our first time in uniform, ministering as a ‘Hargis team.’  Jordan graduated from his military training Dec 17, and is now in the Ohio Army National Guard. He attends Cedarville University in Ohio. The soldiers were very receptive of Jordan’s encouragement not to quit.  He could really relate to them since he had just completed his Basic Training.

The second week there were approximately 25 saved and 15 the third week. Each week there was a contagious increase in attendance. There were 225 Soldiers at the 3rd service. Many of them sang and played instruments. The Soldiers signed up for prayer and baptism, and I hope to participate in the baptism before graduation.

Brian 2For the third week, a relative requested to record the service but I did not have the equipment. That week, a camera and tripod were donated for the ministry! I did my best to record the service, but the memory card filled and missed the preaching. I am in the process of making a video of the music and testimonies of the Soldiers.

Overall, the greatest blessing of the quarter was to Minister with my son, reach lost souls with the Gospel, and lead them to Christ.  It’s also great to live on post for the first time in 24 years. I’m 1 mile from work and come home for lunch.”

 

Chaplain Hargis requests prayer for the following:

  1. Increased skill in guitar playing as I picked up a guitar a year ago. I started playing in “Chapel Next” and am taking lessons every Thursday.
  2. We are homeschooling our two youngest boys for the first time. God has given my wife the patience to do this for the 6 months of C4. We may continue the trend in Hawaii.
  3. My book, “Marriage is a Four Letter Word,” was accepted by the Army Chaplain School Library and available to students. It’s also become available on e-book. A church group in Missouri is using it for church Bible Study, and the couple who teach the class (CW2 Cameron) were rescued from divorce in 2011 when the husband was saved under my ministry in Afghanistan. (Pray for wider distribution and impact on military marriages.)
  4. Transition to our next assignment in Hawaii.
  5. More opportunities for ministry.

Join me in thanking God for the fruitful ministry of Chaplain Brian Hargis.  Rejoice in the amazing response by the Basic Training Recruits, and pray for their follow-on response to baptism.   As you do, pray for the health, safety, and opportunity of all our CBAmerica Chaplains, military and civilian, serving across our nation and around the world, often in risky situations.  Pray for their families to remain healthy and in harmonious relationships.

AndyFor more stories and reports, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.

If interested in how you can become endorsed for chaplaincy ministry, contact:

Andy Meverden,
Director of Chaplaincy
chapandy@cbamerica.org.

 

Around the World in Eight and One Half Months!

Dan KlenderBy LCDR Dan Klender

In the last 8 months I have witnessed the Lord’s gracious handiwork as it has been my privilege to serve as the chaplain of the crew of the USS NORMANDY CG-60, (Cruiser class), on her historic around the world deployment. During our mission on this storied warship, I conducted over 100 worship services and Bible studies, taught an Old Testament Survey college course, witnessed the salvation of crew members, rededications to Christ, and much discipleship of our loving Lord.  We were able to conduct a baptism in Bahrain and spread the love of Jesus during COMRELS (Community Relation Projects), during Port Visits in Greece, Slovenia, Dubai, Bahrain and Singapore.

 

Around worldIt was as the Apostle Paul disclosed in 1 Corinthians 16:9, “An open door for effective service has been given us, but there are many adversaries.” In May, I returned to Washington State for a few weeks to comfort my family after my brother-in-law tragically took his own life.   While there, both my father-in-law and sister-in-law were called home to be with the Lord, after arduous battles with dementia and cancer respectively. We rejoice that they are with Jesus and no longer suffering!   We thank God that even in the midst of tragedy and loss our God is faithful!

LCDR Dan Klender Chaplain, US Navy USS Normandy