Reach Local: Military Chaplaincy
By InFaith-endorsed Army Chaplain, CH CPT Travis Dalsis
Being on deployment is lonely. Yes, you're surrounded by your battle buddies who are there working with you, but time to reflect and ponder greater life questions while working in the desolate places brings a sense of loneliness. As I walk the line, I watch and help soldiers working and talk with them about the mission, life, and their faith.
One soldier was clipping wire ties for a certain job. Clipping wire ties isn't the most exciting thing to do in the Army, but somebody's got to do it. He sat alone on a Humvee truck bed keeping to himself. I stopped, asked how he was doing. He nodded and said, “You can hop up here and clip some wire with me, Chap.” That's what they call me out here—Chap. I said, “Sure, I have my own gerber and would love to sit and clip some wire with you.” A gerber is a tool that all Soldiers have in their pockets—it's the new Swiss Army Knife of this generation.
As I sat and clipped, we talked. He started with his journey through dance school and instructing. We talked about what he likes to do in his spare time. He explained that he was going to enjoy a decent meal when he gets home. I listened and shared about my family and what I planned on doing as well.
Then a pause came. It was a pregnant pause and I could tell he wanted to tell me something.
He slowly started talking about his faith journey. He shared that he originally thought he’d become a preacher when he was younger. He started his freshman year at a Bible school and quickly learned that it wasn't for him. His school was more about theology than action. He found himself wanting to “do something” with his faith, but the hurt and rejection he experienced when reaching out to the unchurched made him hate the religious people he studied under. He talked and talked. I shared some stories of my own church hurt, but also the loving community and the reality that people are sometimes hurtful even when they mean to be helpful.
At the end of the conversation, he said, “Thank you for listening. You know, it's been nearly 10 years since I've even thought about my faith.” I responded with a soft thank you and that it was an honor to listen.
With slight hesitation, he went on to say, “Hey Chap, if you have time sometime, please say a prayer for me. Ya know, whenever you have some time.” My immediate response was, “Can I pray for you now?” He nodded and we prayed. “That prayer was simple, but it was heartfelt. I prayed that he would feel God's love, know that he is valuable, and for God to help him on his journey in knowing and loving the Lord.” When I finished praying, I noticed him quickly brush away a few tears and thank me.
That was the last time I saw that soldier. A few days later, his unit was sent home. I don’t know if I’ll ever see that young man again, but the sacred and secular of what I'm called to do as a chaplain had a meeting that day. Clipping wire, telling stories, and listening to the heart on that hot lonely day was exactly where I was supposed to be.
The journey of the Chaplaincy is one of living with and for others. It's about meeting them where they are—on the wire line—and lending a helping hand while they give you their hearts, hurts, and hopes.
InFaith is pleased to provide nondenominational ecclesiastical endorsement to U.S. military chaplains, military chaplain candidates, and hospital chaplains. Go to https://infaith.org/live/our-endorsed-chaplains to see a list of our chaplains and pray for them as they faithfully serve those in our armed forces and in hospitals around the country.
Candidate Profile: Marissa Bostick
Meet one of our candidates, Marissa Bostick. Marissa works with refugee youth and families in the Dallas area.
Refugee families from all over the world who are now living in the United States need someone to come alongside them during their period of transition. This can be done by helping youth with academic success, creating a sense of community and fellowship, as well as by helping them to find God and providing spiritual guidance.
“There are so many people in need here [in the United States],” she says. “They tend to be forgotten and neglected. I want to reach these people in our country.”
Marissa will be working with a ministry that provides a wide variety of programs for those in the refugee community; from tutoring Math and English to providing ESL classes for adults who cannot read or write in English. They also have a soccer league that meets year around and holds a tournament during the summer.
Additionally, there’s a fellowship night with the youth every week and a kid’s club year-round, as well as Vacation Bible School during the summer. Read more about Marissa to see if you’d like to partner with her and enable her to reach out to the refugee community.
Read more about Marissa to see if you’d like to partner with her and enable her to reach out to the refugee community.
By Ridge Burns, Executive Director/CEO
Last week my daughter, who is 28, began her quest to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. It’s always been one of her dreams to complete this. It’s a pretty amazing goal. I asked some of my friends to pray over her before she left and to continue praying for safety, as she’s traveling by herself.
I love this verse that was given to me by one of my friends. Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” I love that!
As Barrett makes her way from south to north of our country, she will have to stay on the path. Likewise, we have to stay the course on the path the Lord ordains for us. But I love the fact that it’s behind you. You have to look, observe, and choose what path you’re going to go on and the Lord says, “If you stay on the correct path, not to the right or the left, I will be with you. Now go and walk in it.”
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