All In a Quarter’s Work

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Report compiled by Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy

CBAmerica requires quarterly reports from each military chaplain serving on active duty or in a fulltime status. Chaplain Darin Dunham’s report from Naval Station Mayport, Florida, reflects the ministry of many of the 40 Chaplains currently on Active Duty. When asked to share his greatest blessing of the quarter he writes, “Hard to determine a single greatest blessing, I feel tremendously blessed in a lot of areas. We continue to enjoy our current assignment with family doing very well and enjoying favor with the command. Initial efforts in the first few years have provided the foundation for well-established working relationships with squadron Commanding Officers. This final year has the making of a good one.”

We ask our chaplains to quantify the outcomes of their ministry activities. Chaplain Dunham reports: 3 worship services, 11 Bible Studies/small groups, 9 (NINE) crisis interventions, 3 first-time decisions, 11 rededications and 1 baptism! These are encouraging results for the first quarter of 2015. When asked for what we can pray, Darin writes: “I’m currently negotiating my next orders (assignment). We appreciate prayers for God’s will to be manifest in the process. We will be crossing a critical juncture in the life of our son as he transitions from high school to college. Our next assignment will influence our options for (his) education.”

Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy, adds, “Each quarter’s ministry results vary, but we can get an idea of the amount, quality, and impact of CBAmerica’s chaplain corps world-wide. Pray for ministry effectiveness, family health and well-being, and for those who will be facing transition and transfer this year. This is a prime example of how CB chaplains are active today reaching those others can’t.”
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New York Guard Engineers’ Frustration turns into the City of Buffalo’s Blessing!

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Tim Miller was commissioned as a chaplain in September of 2014, after several years in the Chaplain Candidate (Seminarian) program. One of his first assignments as a brand new chaplain of the New York Army National Guard came unexpectedly with a snow storm in Buffalo. He explained that his unit was scheduled for deployment, but at the last minute, it was called off. This sudden change in plans evokes many emotions in a soldier. It is a time of turmoil, as many of them had quit their jobs, moved their families and made other preparations of being gone for a year.

Tim writes:

“With joy and sadness my unit’s deployment to Afghanistan was canceled. Soldiers felt relief and others were upset. During this time, the City of Buffalo experienced 7.5 feet of snow and my Engineers, along with myself were called up for one week prior to Thanksgiving. During this time, I was able to hold several services and provide crisis intervention for several Soldiers. Because of the uniqueness of my role within the Engineers, I became the Joint Task Force Chaplain for this mission and provided administrative and logistical oversight for other Chaplains on the same mission. At the end of the mission, the Administrative Chaplain from National Guard Bureau contacted me to create a storyboard for the Buffalo mission. I was told that the storyboard slide was briefed to the Chief of Staff of the Army! The greatest blessing was the honor of providing support to the people of Buffalo, NY.”

It should be noted that CH (1LT) Matthew Laun also participated in this snowstorm, and is also a CB America NY ARNG Chaplain.

Andy Meverden, CBA’s new Director of Chaplaincy observes, When natural and man-caused disasters strike across the nation, and civilian response is overwhelmed, local National Guard units are called up to provide “Defense Support to Civil Authorities” (DSCA).  Faced at times with horrible devastation, Guardsmen and women, likewise can be overwhelmed in their search, rescue and recovery efforts. During such times State National Guard (Army and Air) chaplains team up to provide religious and emotional support to America’s original “Home Team.*” Whenever a major disaster strikes, stop and pray for the 22 CBAmerica endorsed National Guard chaplains spread across our nation, along with the 100 other military chaplains, and 80 civilian chaplains in unique ministry situations, “reaching those others can’t… or won’t!”

*Since 1636, starting in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, volunteer Militias have supported the people of their States in times of crisis.  From the beginning, chaplains have accompanied these units in the field in times of natural and man-made disasters, and war.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Military Chaplain in the Right Place at the Right Time, with the Real Message of Hope

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By Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden

One of our military chaplains assigned to a hospital reported an incident that warmed my heart.

“Recently, I met an 88 year old gentleman in the ER and was later called to visit him while on-call.  He had a history of heart failure and has fought with cancer for over a decade and now he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  He didn’t have any close family or friends; he was here alone.  When I was asked to see him in his room, he was very emotional and scared.  I sat with him for over two hours and let him grieve. He told me that he had never been religious but he believed in God and asked me what I think happens when we die.  I was able to walk with him through the story of how death was never a part of God’s plan but our sin separated us from God and brought about death; both physical and spiritual.  I shared with him the Gospel and he accepted Christ as his Savior.  After he prayed and accepted Christ, he asked about baptism.  He had seen people be baptized before and he wanted to know more about it.  I explained to him that it is a physical symbol of what’s taken place spiritually.  He was very interested and asked if there was any way he could be baptized.  I met with the medical staff the next day and found a walk-in physical therapy tub in the sports medicine center and coordinated to use it for baptism.  Two days after he received Christ we were able to baptize him and five days later he left this world.”

Pray for CBAmerica chaplains serving in military, veterans and civilian hospitals throughout the US and on military installations around the world; that they may be ready, approachable, and Spirit-led in every ministry opportunity.  

*Personal identities withheld out of respect for patient confidentiality.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Russell Retirement Ceremony

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Director of Chaplaincy, Al Russell and his wife Carol, were honored on March 10, 2015 at the CB Northwest Annual Enrichment Conference for over 20 years of service to CBAmerica Chaplaincy.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][x_video_embed type=”16:9″][/x_video_embed][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Where Are Our Chaplains Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Moral Injury Poses Hidden Risks for Service Members

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We Bid Farewell to Al Russell, Director of Chaplaincy

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]193Al Russell will be retiring later this year, but it was decided to celebrate his 21 years of service to CBAmerica ministries and chaplaincy at the upcoming CBNW Annual Enrichment Conference. This is one of the largest gatherings of Conservative Baptists and you are invited to attend. The convention is March 9-11, and the retirement ceremony will take place during the evening session on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at the Convention Center in Seaside Oregon. (See article below)

GO HERE for details and to register for the conference.

We plan to present them with gifts that they will find meaningful; one a framed painting, “The Way to Emmaus,” that will come with an engraved brass plaque honoring their service. Another gift we would like to present is a check for $6,800 towards the purchase of a three-wheeled vehicle. With changes in Carol’s health, Al had to give up the motorcycle they used to ride for pleasure. Al believes this will be a safe and fun way for them to travel in retirement, as it is light, economical, and easily towed behind their RV.

The CBA Board has authorized a special offering for the purchase of these gifts totaling $7,000. You are invited to participate in this “love offering.” We would also like to present a memory book with letters and photos of the Russells’ ministry over the years.

Please send checks payable to CBA or items for inclusion in the memory book to the CBAmerica office at 3686 Stagecoach Rd Unit F, Longmont CO 80504. Please mark everything “Russell Retirement.”[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Chaplain Spotlight

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Chaplain Dave Lundell is the Supervisory/Lead Chaplain for the Veteran’s Health Administration in Tucson, Arizona. He is dedicated to providing chaplain support as a spiritual resource for Veterans.

He retired from active-duty military (Air Force and Army) as an Army chaplain with combat, prison and medical trauma experience. He has a background in social work and has over 30 years of military service including unit and pastoral ministry experience. The VA is committed to holistic care of our veterans, attending to their medical, psychiatric, social and spiritual well-being. Having Dave on board as a hospital inter-disciplinary clinical chaplain reflects this commitment.

Dave’s background helps him relate to what our veterans are experiencing when re-entering civilian and family life. His goal is to help them “glean the spiritual wisdom needed for successful post-military living, even with a past involving trauma.” From his experience, many veterans are open to “considering spirituality as part of their post-service quality-of-life, either personally or as part of a family.”

According to Dave, “(t)raumatic events associated with military service often raise questions about God and challenge one’s long-held beliefs. Spiritual distress may be experienced as anger, guilt, loss of intimacy, loss of joy, loss of a sense of purpose, sadness and a need for forgiveness.”

Dave invests much of his time doing in-patient visitation. But he is also available for out-patient consultation in his office. He wants to encourage and guide veterans so they can find spiritual and religious support. In addition to his consultation practice, he supports OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan), OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom), OND (Operation New Dawn) and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) patients and leads introductory PTSD & Spirituality groups as well as Attribute Meditation to build faith. He also leads a variety of topical Bible studies.

If you would like more information on how to contact Dave, please contact the CBA office.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]