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!”

Infantry Chaplain Still on Point: Trail Chaplain seeks the Lost on America’s Great TrailsBy

Dennis Newton, Chaplain, Colonel, US Army, Retired, current Trail Chaplain

Chaplain Dennis Newton is known around the Appalachian Trail as “Trail Pilgrim.” After his retirement in 2015 from 35 years of service in the Army, he decided to combine his chaplain skills with his passion for the out of doors. CBAmerica changed his chaplain endorsement from Military to that of Trail Chaplain. He spent 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine with the Warrior Expeditions walking along side Veterans making some difficult transitions after their service. The spiritual conversations were many.

It was during this time that he became acquainted with many leaders on the trail and learned of opportunities to put his leadership training to use assisting Hikers.

One such group, the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association (known as ALDHA) focuses more on the people hiking the trails rather than on the administration of the trails. Part of their purpose is education and the history of the trail. This helps hikers appreciate what a rare thing it is find a trail created to take them on multiple day journeys to escape the chaos of modern times.  Dennis says he’s always appreciated that Jesus lived in a culture which had to travel by foot or hoof and that the closer we come to experiencing this ourselves can help us understand the life of our Lord.

While attending a Trail Days gathering (about 5000 hikers participate each year) in Damascus, VA, Dennis overheard a discussion between the Coordinator of ALDHA, Ron Burger, and several other leaders of the group. Ron felt he was not making much progress on putting a replica of the iconic AT “Hiker” plaque back at the original 1934 Southern Terminus. This was located on Mount Oglethorpe about 30 trail miles south of the current starting point atop Springer Mountain near Amicalola Falls.

The trail was moved to Springer in 1958 as post war Atlanta sprawl was causing a loss of wilderness around Mount Oglethorpe. But over the years the reasons for that original location have been forgotten and the story about why the AT was founded in order for city dwellers to experience wilderness.

Dennis approached Ron Burger to learn what roadblocks were keeping the project from completion. The biggest hurdle, it seems, was the replica plaque. No one knew how to copy it and have it made. Dennis said he had worked in a foundry while he was in college and knew of various methods which could be used. Mostly it seemed to him it was more like the contracting duties he had performed where one researches for the best quality and price from the businesses competing in the field. He quickly located two foundries – both with AT ties and obtained bids. He soon favored the East Point Foundry near Atlanta for 2 main reasons. The first was the original plaque was made in Georgia for the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and the 2nd, the foundry owner’s son had completed a Thru Hike of the AT.  East Point committed to a price well below their own costs.

In February another aluminum replica was discovered in Penn State and transported to East Point by Ron and Dennis. Two Bronze “Hiker” plaques were cast from it, one for Oglethorpe and the other for the AT Museum. In March Ron and Dennis met in Abington VA with the COVID19 issues beginning to close restaurants and hotels, where they coordinated for the next steps. COVID19 ultimately delayed project.

Both of the plaques were kept at Dennis’ home in Ozark, AL until a lull in the virus outbreak in October 2020 allowed for the current ALDHA leadership to hold a workday with a Stone Mason and the plaque was mounted in a spot at Oglethorpe where one can actually see Springer Mtn. A very fitting place to tell the story.

Dennis Newton continues as a Chaplain for CBAmerica walking alongside hikers having conversations wherever they may lead. He is currently serving as the Alabama State Chaplain for the Military Officer’s Association of America and as the Recording Secretary for the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association. 

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Join us is asking God’s guidance and sustaining grace for Chaplain Newton. With a faith forged in battle, he brings needed wisdom and insight to those with whom he continues to march and serve. While you are at it, pray for the 200 other CBAmerica/Venture Church Network chaplain in military and civilian settings.

For more stores by and about our conventional and creative chaplains, visit http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/ .  For information on chaplaincy endorsement email Randy Brandt at chapbrandt@cbamerical.org.

Keeping Short Accounts: Chaplain on a Mission to Make Things Right

Chaplain Jason Dong, Oregon Army National Guard, Kosovo

Dear Friends,

 “At least it wasn’t a person”.  Those were the kind words of a Kosovo Serbian living in Southern Kosovo after a U.S. patrol accidentally ran over and killed one of her chickens that wandered into the road.  I had the privilege of joining the mission to replace her chicken.  It was an adventure buying another chicken and trying to remember the exact location of the “scene of the crime”.  We eventually found her house and surprised her with a beautiful laying hen.  The gesture meant the world to her and she invited our team to have drinks and snacks in her humble countryside home.  This reminded me of the saying, “keep short accounts” and how going out of one’s way to make things right can build strong bridges.  

COVID restrictions have eased up a bit for KFOR (Kosovo Force) so our Unit Ministry Team was able to attend a few events in the last two weeks.  We had a visit with another Serbian Orthodox Priest in a town in the most Northern part of Kosovo. 

We also attended a prayer breakfast on 9/11 at one of our camps.  The keynote speaker was KFOR Chief of Staff Brigadier General Larry Henry.  He gave an encouraging and powerful testimony to God and his Word.  Finally, we were able to have a meeting with the KFOR Commander Major General Michele Risi (Italy).  He was very interested in how the U.S. Army chaplaincy functioned and was very supportive of our role in caring for Soldiers.

Praises/thanks:  1)  Easing COVID restrictions  2)  Words and testimony of BG Henry  3)  Continued opportunities in ministry  4)  Good health  5)  God’s continued provision

Prayer requests:  1)  Diligence in finishing strong  2)  Wisdom/guidance in preparing Soldiers for transition back home  3)  Holy Spirit’s work through chapels and Bible studies  4)  Good health  5)  Peace and protection for family back home

Quote of the Week:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  –Ephesians 2:8-9 

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!  Have a blessed week!

Sincerely in Christ,
Jason Alan Dong   

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.

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

C19 Prison Ministry Impact: Change of Pace and Venue

By Joel Van Sant, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Fort Dix, NJ

Over the past 6 months, I have experienced a lot of change at Fort Dix. At the beginning of the year, I was able to start and lead a program that helped inmates work through the spiritual struggle of pornography addiction. After advertising the class, we had over 70 inmates sign-up and participate. Unfortunately, a few weeks after starting the class, we had to temporarily stop the class due to Covid-19.

Chaplain Joel Van Sant

The past few months have had a different change of pace. Up until March of 2020, the chaplaincy department had been running at top speed. All of that slowed down in the middle of March. As the corona virus began to spread in our area, it was in the best interest of the inmates and employees to move to a modified movement schedule. During these months, we have not had any inmates in our chapel. Instead, we have had the opportunity to go to the housing units. This has been an unforeseen blessing. When the chapel was open, we were almost always doing ministry within the four walls of the chapel. Now we have opportunity to be a spiritual light in the housing units. While we are having an impact on the inmates, we are also able to invest and provide a sense of hope and peace to the officers in the units. It has been amazing to see how a dark situation can provide an avenue for God to work in the hearts of those on this compound.

One of the greatest blessings I have experienced over the past six months was Resurrection Sunday. As chaplains, we have not led any services in the units due to the CDC guidelines. Even though we were not leading services in the units, it was encouraging to hear that the inmates still observed and celebrated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday in their respective housing units. I was so grateful to hear the news that the inmates were able to celebrate such a special time of year, despite the circumstances.

Though the ministry has changed over the past few months, I have had to remain flexible and realize that my ministry is truly a ministry of service. I continue to bring necessary items from the chapel to the housing units and cannot help but think of the words of Christ, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.”

Please Pray:

I encourage you to keep our chaplains in prayer. During this pandemic, our style of ministry has changed from preaching and teaching to more one-on-one interactions. This has been a difficult transition for some of our chaplains.

Also, pray for our staff as they continue to provide safety and security during a very difficult time.

Finally, pray for our inmates who have struggled to be away from family during such a dark time in our world. The days get very monotonous for them.


Join us in praying for Chaplain Van Sant and our 200 other chaplains facing the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the obstacles, Spirit-led creativity and persistence is yielding positive results around the world.

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

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.