Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 7:29 pm
Choice Christian greetings!
I am often fascinated at the way God calls an individual into special areas of ministry. Having lived a few years, I am of the conclusion that those incidents that put us at a certain place at a certain time are anything but “accidental.” The Lord is building a kingdom; and part of that kingdom building is finding the right person for the right job. In 1952, with the Korean War and other critical events around the world challenging us, I received my “draft notification.” To get the service of my choice at that time, I enlisted in the Air Force. I received my training and was sent to Germany; to a small military post at Landsberg, Germany. I had a passion for Christ and soul winning. It was there, on that small base, that I found myself in chapel services that were formal and lacking in spiritual depth. While I remained faithful in the chapel, a few of us formed a prayer and fellowship group that eventually led to an evangelical/Pentecostal service. To no surprise, this service exceeded the attendance of the chapel service. I discovered I was not the only one hungry for a deeper walk with Christ. When we searched for a song leader, the choice was obvious…Jesse Culpepper, a faithful member of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. Another young Airman, the later to be famous singer, Johnny Cash, often visited our services and sang Gospel specials. But we had no preacher. I was elected to be a “lay speaker,” not knowing that would develop into a firm, committed call to preach. There I was, being introduced to military chaplaincy, ministry, Bible studies and all the other things that go with “the call.” Was it an accident finding myself in Germany? Or could it have been the way in which He prepares workers for His kingdom? Any one of our 2600 chaplains who represent this vast ministry could tell their own unique stories of their call to ministry “beyond the gates.” It begins with one person, one call; and by simply being faithful, God expands that call with unbelievable results.
1. The Care Division Board met October 26, 2007, representing all the ministries of the Care Division including the Chaplains Commission, Operation Compassion, Ministry to Israel, Spirit Care, Ministerial Care, Benevolence and Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. This Board has oversight of all the international care ministries throughout the world. Under the direction of Dr. Donnie Smith, the Board is chaired by one of our FBI chaplains, Reverend Gerald McGinnis.
2. The Theological Seminary Board met November 1, 2007. As most of you know, the Seminary is the Chaplains Commission’s close ministry partner. Most of our full-time chaplains, and a good number of our volunteer chaplains, are graduates of the Seminary.
Army Chaplain (MAJ-P) Mickey Jett, brigade chaplain in Iraq, gives us these remarks concerning his 15 month deployment: “I will be home in a few days. I depart happily and look forward to being with Nan and the children. My little three-year-old girl keeps asking when daddy is coming home. While in Iraq, I had the privilege of seeing 50 soldiers come forward for salvation, and 50 baptisms of soldiers and DA civilians. I witnessed to Indians, Pakistanis, Romanians, Italians, Australians and other nationalities. My prime directive is found in the words of Jesus, Go. I found myself as a man under orders >from the Lord to win the lost, baptize and make disciples. I conducted over 64 worship services in the land of Abraham; 5 prayer breakfasts with hundreds in attendance; and, prayed for and anointed our soldiers as they completed more than 1,000 convoys into dangerous areas. Thankfully, our brigade had to conduct only two memorial services. My prayers still go out for these families. God has proven faithful on every occasion. I found Him guiding me with His Presence, through His Word and with His Anointing. I have been called to do the work of an evangelist, win the lost, strengthen the church and influence this world for Christ. Thanks be to God for leading me out of this place safely. Psalm 91 has been my constant prayer.”
OTHER NEWS FROM THE FIELD:
1. Navy Chaplain (LCDR) Barry Metzger, who will be leaving shortly for his new assignment in Japan, reflects on the fires near his house in San Diego: “Fortunately, I did not have to evacuate my family during these fires. At the same time, we are surrounded by smoke, with ashes falling all around us. The closest fire is ten miles away. I visited some of the shelters for displaced victims. I know you will be praying for these families.”
2. Chaplaincy Coordinator for the Caribbean, Chaplain Ismael Ponce, San Juan, Puerto Rico, sends this report: “I just returned from Columbia, where I joined South American Chaplaincy Coordinator, Dr. Erik Vasquez, for a Basic Course at our Bible College. A good group of students and pastors came together for chaplaincy training. We anticipate that out of this program we will see chaplaincy grow throughout Columbia. I also had the privilege of assisting in the Hispanic Basic Course that was taught at our regional campus, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Joining me for the course was Dr. Hector Chiesa, Co-Director of Correctional Chaplaincy for New York, and Administrative Bishop Miguel Alvarez. Later, Dr. Doc Williams will be teaching in this course. I also was able to present chaplaincy programs at a youth department camping conference, where more than 1,000 were in attendance. I showed the Chaplains Commission’s DVD and encouraged all to promote this vital ministry.”
3. Community Service Chaplain Queen Williams, Canton, Ohio, sends appreciation for our chaplaincy family’s prayers during the recent loss of her dear mom. She states: “Mom went to be with her loving Lord a few weeks ago. Thank you for your prayers. I am glad to report I was recently appointed as chaplain to our domestic violence shelter. I have also received clearance to minister in our local jail to female inmates.”
4. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Terry Simmons, Afghanistan, sends this note: “Be in prayer with us as we begin plans for redeployment back to the U.S. Pray that we will be able, through this reintegration process, to build and strengthen our soldiers’ relationships to their families. We are planning a Hallelujah Fest for our troops and civilians in Afghanistan before they return home. This festivity will include games, Christian choirs and a time of spiritual devotion. We want it to be an outreach for everyone, whether returning home or staying.”
5. Navy Chaplain (LT) Bryan Jacobson, Curtis Bay, Maryland, sends this report: “Pray for the family of one of my personnel who suddenly passed away. He was only 32 years old. His dad is one of our government civilian employees; and this has hit him very deeply. Also, pray for a young female seaman whose fiancé was murdered in Iraq this past week. She will be returning home to be with her family. Finally, I just learned that my oldest son, Justin’s, grandmother passed away. Please keep the family and Justin in prayer; that he would turn his life totally over to the Lord.”
6. Air Force Chaplain (CPT) Victor Pagan was recently reassigned >from Warner Robins Air Force Base to Korea. He sent this description of his new assignment: “I am responsibly for 1400 Air Force personnel working at the flight line and giving ministry to more than 125 in our weekly inspirational Gospel service. During this service, 10 recently rededicated their lives to Christ. Also, several individuals have expressed to me that through these services, they have felt a call to full-time ministerial service. I have been tasked with the Protestant Men of the Chapel to offer a class for those struggling with pornography. I have begun another class with 26 people presenting the ministry of Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University for those dealing with financial struggles. Keep us in your prayers.”
MINISTRY OF WAITING:
Last week in the Update, I made reference to the fact that chaplaincy is a ministry of “waiting.” Director of Mississippi Correctional Chaplaincy Ministries, Chaplain Gene Wigelsworth, gives his reflections concerning my remarks. He states, “Waiting in prison ministry is experienced at its deepest level during an execution. As you know, this is an interdisciplinary team of chaplaincy ministry. One chaplain is assigned to the victim’s family, which is always a difficult job. It ranges from deep emotions of anger and revenge, to a passive sense of justice accomplished. It never satisfies everyone. The chaplain waits for the opportunity to listen, care for family; some doors open, some are closed. Another chaplain is assigned to the offender’s family. In Mississippi, as in many states, they do not allow the offender a last contact visit. Therefore, the chaplain works with the family to help bring closure to this traumatic event. Another chaplain, ordinarily the institutional chaplaincy director, is assigned to the offender. The chaplain’s role is very special. Even if the offender has a minister, they are ordinarily asked to leave with the rest of the family members. Chaplains at times have been asked, prior to the execution, to administer Christian baptism or Holy Communion. Most chaplains are simply there with strong presence. Chaplains are usually the last human contact with the offender after he/she is strapped into the gurney or chair. The chaplain is allowed to stay with the offender during these final moments. These are times when everyone is awaiting either the call from the Governor, courts or some other legal process. Quietly and professionally, the chaplain is the needed spiritual presence. Any words of prayer come from the heart, not from the head. I am so happy that I have ministers that understand their role during this critical time. You will not hear their names mentioned in news reports, but they are present and carrying out their call. Even though I do not have an official role in these moments, I am always there to support my chaplaincy team. Following these episodes, I pull my chaplains together to let them reflect on what they have experienced. I want them to debrief before they make their way from the event back to their families.”
Our chaplaincy ministries speak far louder than my words that appear in my Updates. After 30 years of directing this vast ministry, I understand my role to be that of a coach, not simply a player. While I still have the opportunity to occasionally carry out “hands-on” chaplaincy, my greatest satisfaction and passion is that of coaching one of the best ministry teams found anywhere. They run their races with dignity and passion; and for the most part, they all reach the finish line. They would be the first to admit that they are not successful all the time; but the one mark of distinction for this chaplaincy team is the fact that they are never “out of the game.” Whether at the scene of a terrible incident in Iraq with the bullets flying, or at the bedside of a dying patient, they are in the game offering powerful ministry presence. It would be everyone’s dream as a coach to have players of this caliber. I can genuinely and honestly say Church of God chaplains are the very best. They are well trained, filled with the Spirit and have a definite call to take the very best of the Gospel to those who need it the most. I know you will continue to pray for our team. Sometimes we face dangerous and unpredictable opponents; but with the confidence that the Lord will be with us and that the victory will ultimately be His.
Dr. Robert Crick
Director, Chaplains Commission
Director’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office e-mail: email@example.com
Web Site/Page: www.cogchaplains.com
Categories: Weekly Update