One Chaplain’s Path: Reflections from a New Active Duty Army Chaplain

By Chaplain Sean Callahan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Sometimes the greatest work God does in a given season is His work on our own hearts. This quarter has been one of great transition, but it has been permeated by God’s awesome work in our lives. Unexpectedly, God called my wife and I to Active Duty Chaplaincy.

The burden was really laid upon our hearts while deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan, where I was immersed in an operational environment that created numerous opportunities for ministry and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Something fit: although it was tough work, much joy accompanied the privilege of being a full-time unit Chaplain. The more we prayed about it, the more we felt God alleviating our fears and confirming His direction.

He even saw fit to surround us with some great Chaplain senior leadership, one of whom was our CBA-own: CH (LTC) Dan Rice. His heart for the Lord, mentorship, and example were an encouragement on our journey: God could do some incredible things through those who remain faithful to him…at any rank or place in life.

I was boarded for the Active Component shortly after redeployment. It was a long journey, one fraught with many headaches and little discouragements, but we had long ago decided to commit it entirely into God’s hands. I found myself often praying, “Lord, if you really are calling us to this, then you are going to have to make something happen here; I can’t do any more on my own.”

In February we were selected, and by April had received notification of our first assignment: the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. Again, we were on our knees before the Lord, laying hold of the grace we knew He would provide in such a fast-paced, drinking-from-a-firehose kind of unit.

Ministry in the Army Reserve remained busy. There aren’t any immediate replacements, especially in a region like the Northeast, and so I continued to walk with my Reserve unit through many counseling opportunities, changes-of-command, and a post-deployment suicide that rocked one of our companies.

To this day I am still fielding a few phone calls, but those calls have led to numerous opportunities to share the Gospel. I figure that those are the remaining, low-hanging fruit from the long tenure God blessed me with in that unit, and as long as I feel like he is burdening my heart to be involved (and at least until they have another Chaplain), I won’t quite pack away the Reserve hat.

After all, these Soldiers are reaching out to the Army because they have nowhere else to go, and no one else to turn to. What better opening than this to point them to the One who can give them true, lasting hope?

We are thankful. We are thankful to the Lord for His wisdom and direction, even though it shook up our lives and ministry, quite a bit.

We are thankful to the Lord for the opportunity, because it truly is a joy to be with these Paratroopers daily.

We are thankful to the Lord for His daily grace and steadfast love, because each day we are in desperate need of it!

We are thankful to the Lord for continuing to mold and shape us, and we are excited to see what He does next in our lives, and the lives of these Paratroopers!

 

Please pray for:

  • Open hearts and minds in our Paratroopers
  • Wisdom and guidance for where Katie will plug into the ministry in the unit and on Fort Bragg
  • Safety and health as I begin to jump [from perfectly good airplanes] again
  • Our chapel community to catch the “Kingdom Vision” and mobilize to make Christ known

 

Director of Chaplaincy, Andy Meverden, writes: “Join me in praying for Sean and Katie as they integrate into life and ministry with the US Military’s only Airborne Division. They join four other CBAmerica Chaplain families assigned to Fort Bragg.”

For more stories about and by chaplains, military and civilian, go to http://cbamerica.org/category/chaplaincy/ .  For information on endorsement for a wide variety of chaplaincy ministries, email me at chapandy@cbamerica.org.

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