Sunday, October 28, 2007 at 9:06 pm
Choice Christian greetings!
Since September 11, 2001, we have seen some 50 deployments of Church of God Military Chaplains. Several of these chaplains have had two deployments; and some are anticipating a third. In my book, these are Church of God heroes. And to my knowledge, I have never heard the first complaint when these chaplains received news of their deployments. Was there stress; the anticipation of loneliness from family; terrible inconveniences of their normal lives, and all the other things that come with deployments? Of course! Our chaplains are human. Who wants to leave a loving wife, a newborn baby, friends, relatives and the comforts of home for a 15-month deployment? The answer is clear, nobody! And yet, because these chaplains know God has called them for this ministry, they focus not on the sacrifice of deployment, but the ministry that awaits them in Iraq or some other area of the world. Martin Luther was quoted as saying, “Anything I have ever placed into God’s Hands is never lost, only redeemed.”
DEPLOYMENTS – PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL:
One of our staff members, Reverend Wayne Roberson, has observed his son, Jeff’s, ministry development over the years. Pride filled his eyes, and the eyes of his wife, Charlotte, when Jeff announced he wanted to attend Seminary, and later felt the call for Military Chaplaincy. Wayne and Charlotte recently went to be with Jeff, Amanda and their grandkids as Jeff spent the last few days at Fort Campbell before leaving for his second deployment to Iraq. Amanda’s reflection on Jeff’s departure says it all: “Jeff left yesterday for Iraq. It was a very emotional day; having experienced deployment once already made this experience even harder. I want to share with you the kind of chaplain Jeff is. Even though he was saying goodbye to his family, he still made it a point to go around to the soldiers and their families to pass out Psalm 91 bandanas and St Michael medallions. I walked with him; and it made me feel so proud to see him comforting family members and encouraging his soldiers. In one of his recent OER (evaluations), his Battalion Commander said that Jeff was the finest chaplain he had ever served with in 26 years of military service.” This describes our chaplains… the pain of leaving, the joy of ministry. I know you will keep our military chaplains and their family members in your prayers.
MILITARY CHAPLAINCY NEWS:
1. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Clayton Gregory, currently assigned to Korea, notes: “The blessings keep coming! In addition to being selected for the rank of Major, I have now been selected to attend the 15 month Family Life Training Program. God is so good. He reminds us, under all circumstances, to continue to press towards His mark.”
2. Prior to leaving for his second deployment, Army Chaplain (CPT) Jeff Roberson, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was awarded his Certificate of Completion of the Air-Assault Course. (This is a rigorous course. Our congratulations!)
3. Dr. Jerry McNabb, Assistant Director of the Chaplains Commission, just returned from a trip to Germany to visit with our chaplains and their family members. While there, he had the privilege of attending the Annual Ministry to the Military Retreat in Garmisch; spoke to this group of soldiers, chaplains and family members and had the privilege of hosting a meal for the military chaplains and their family members. Our many thanks to Reverend Bob Moore, Director of the Ministry to the Military, who paid for that meal. Reverend Ken Bell, Administrative Liaison to the General Overseer, represented Dr. Dennis McGuire for this occasion. Our special thanks to our most senior chaplain in Germany, Chaplain (COL) David Moran, Heidelberg, for hosting Dr. McNabb, arranging for his visits to various posts and chaplains, and providing other support. Those chaplains visited, in addition to Chaplain Moran,were Army Chaplain (CPT) David Hall, Baumholder; Air Force Chaplain (CPT) Gabriel Rios, Spangdahlem; Army Chaplain (MAJ) David Santiago-Cruz, Stuttgart; Army Chaplain (MAJ) Stephen Sexton and Army Chaplain (CPT) Neal Durham, Baumholder.
4. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Steven Cantrell, Fort Benning, Georgia, sends this note: “I am privileged to work with Army Chaplain (MAJ) Jimmy Nichols in developing a transitional support group, formed to minister to young soldiers who, for one reason or another, do not meet the Army’s requirements and are being separated prematurely from active military service. Remember us in prayer; some of these young men really need a touch from the Lord. Also, I am happy to report our Pentecostal service on post continues to grow. Jimmy and Patti work with me in this service.”
5. Army Chaplain (MAJ) David Santiago-Cruz, Stuttgart, Germany, reports: “We have settled into our new duty station, and are enjoying our responsibilities as the new Family Life Chaplain for a large military community. This ministry touches the hearts and souls of our soldiers and their families.”
6. Army Reserve Chaplain (MAJ) Taz Randles, also staff member with the Lee University Counseling Center, reports: “As a result of my work with soldiers, both in the U. S. and Iraq, I have decided to give the focus of my Doctoral project in the area of trauma and PTSD; ministry that grows out of my encounters with soldiers during my time in Kuwait. Part of my research will look at ways in which PTSD separates us from our families, society in general and from the Lord.”
INSTITUTIONAL CHAPAINCY (Campus, prisons, hospitals, hospice, industry, etc.):
1. We continue to get fantastic reports from campuses around the world. One student, as a result of our internet care program for students, writes: “I could not do without your encouragement each week. It may seem simple, but would you pray for my mother. My dad died three months ago today, and it really hurts.”
2. Hospital Chaplain Christian Sandru, Toronto, Canada, notes: “Last Friday, in one of our institutions, a young adult, struggling with a rare disease, committed suicide. It was my privilege to have a debriefing session with 50 staff persons and volunteers. They were able to express their emotions, perceptions and anger. The rest of the day I spent talking individually with staff persons. One staff person stated they could not quit crying. When I questioned the intensity of her grief, she related that her mother, for many years, had threatened suicide. Now her mother is 91 years old, and she has her picture posted above her desk. Leaving our session, she told me that for the first time in a long time she has peace with her mother.”
3. A significant, but under reported chaplaincy ministry, are those chaplains in long-term care facilities. Chaplain Marlene Giordano, Bellevue, Nebraska, gives a sense of the significance of this ministry. She states: “A chaplain is God-sent in these institutions. Many times, the children of the elderly are so involved in their own lives that they have very little time or sense of responsibility for an aging parent. Chaplains are often a substitute for this neglect. By visiting, listening and entertaining the elderly, we have the responsibility as chaplains to do for these abandoned people just what Jesus would do.”
4. Bulgarian Chaplain Dony Donev, sent this report concerning chaplaincy work in Bulgaria: “One of our chaplaincy organizations, the Cup and Cross Ministries, has worked toward the establishment of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association for many years. After five years of training, strategic professional placement and providing ministry in all areas of chaplaincy, we began the process of registration with the Bulgarian government. It was only after resorting to International Human Rights and Religious Freedom organizations that on February 23, 2007, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association received registration by the Sofia Municipality Court to become the first legal chaplaincy organization in Bulgaria officially recognized by the Bulgarian government.”
Chaplaincy has been described by many as a “ministry of waiting.” The hospital chaplain stands outside the room of a patient who has just been returned following extensive surgery. The first ones called to attend to the patient are the doctors; followed by nurses who make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible; technicians follow the nurses, with all the apparatus that will monitor their medical progress; then, the doors are opened for the janitorial staff to clean up all the debris following these procedures;; and yet, outside the door, the chaplains stands waiting patiently. Finally, the nurse will leave the room with the remarks, “Now, chaplain, you can go in.” Chaplaincy is “waiting our turn.” We know that when the medical dust settles and the doctors have done everything within their power, that patient wants to know that he/she is still in the center of God’s grace and will. The chaplain, in this and many other similar scenes, is a key person to give the patient that assurance. It is, indeed, a ministry of “waiting.” Chaplains often are not the first ones called to the scene of an emergency situation; but shortly thereafter, here comes the chaplains…and they are the last to leave. It is not doctors or nurses that give the final words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; there waits for you in glory a crown of righteousness.” Chaplaincy is a ministry of waiting, but also a ministry with eternal implications.
Dr. Robert Crick
Director, Chaplains Commission
Director’s e-mail: email@example.com
Office e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site/Page: www.cogchaplains.com
Categories: Weekly Update