One Year as Army Captain

A year ago on August 10, I raised my right hand as my Dad held my Bible, and I took the Oath of Office as administered by Colonel Tony Martin (Ret.) at Haddock Baptist Church.

Much has happened in this year. The biggest things are….

(1). The Army Chaplaincy has been truly the “toughest job I’ll ever love.” I’ve done ministry before, but this has drawn on all the work experiences I’ve had in the past and combined them into a high speed Church Social Work Christian Ministry Mission. Truth is, it is just difficult to describe. But it is certainly life-changing ministry.

It has not only been ministry just to Soldiers in uniform, but to their Spouses and to their Children. And even to their parents and relatives from long distance. Yes, I have had mothers and fathers of America’s Soldiers call me from across the country asking me to counsel, pray for, and look out for their sons and daughters.

At our Squadron Organizational Day, at Strong Bonds Events, and at Chapel Services I am able to minister to Soldiers’ Spouses and Children. I’ve counseled Soldiers’ Spouses, as well as couples in my office. Ministered to Soldiers and/or their Family members in settings as diverse as a county jail, a courtroom, hospitals, in churches and chapels, off-post homes, parks, motor pools, parking lots, the desert of California, Gulf Coast beaches, Stone Mountain GA, in the woods in the middle of the night, at live fire gunnery ranges, my office, tents, hotel rooms, classrooms, conference centers, inside Bradley vehicles and Humvees, in restaurants around the dinner table, in bars, at parties, at weddings, at funerals, at memorial ceremonies, over the phone, at bowling alleys, skating rinks, golf courses and shopping malls. Everywhere you can think of there have been opportunities to provide Ministry of Presence and more to those in the military community….of which I am now a part. The Army Chaplaincy is so much more comprehensive and demanding –and rewarding, than I ever imagined. In reality, it is ministry to Families in a controlled military setting. What makes it so unique is that people come together from all parts of the country. I feel more of an American than ever before, after working with folks from every State and Territory in the nation.

The mission remains the same: Defend the Nation while serving those who defend her. My piece in the mission is to consider not just the Soldier in uniform, but the Soldier’s Family, and to “nurture the living, care for the wounded (physically or emotionally or spiritually), and honor the fallen.”

(2.) Without going into details in this forum, I find myself a Single Parent, sharing custody of my two wonderful children – now both in high school. I am truly saddened by the ending of my marriage, but as I have come to understand – it takes two to be on the same page and wanting to keep a relationship together. When that doesnt happen, it reaches a painful fork in the road. I thought last fall, all through CH-BOLC, that it would end my Chaplaincy career before it even got started well. God is a God of Grace and has called me to this mission and this place. I have been impacted by others as much as they have impacted me. And I still have a great and growing relationship with my children. In fact, I am able to provide better for them a variety of experiences and resources. You never divorce your children nor should you want to! Personally, I am grateful to the Lord, to counselors, and to fellow Chaplains who are helping resources to me to assist me through these personally challenging days.

I continue to care for my aging Dad as well, grateful to be 90 mins away, and 3 hrs away from my Mom in the other direction, and my kids in the other. I know this wont always last – but I will enjoy it while it does.

(3.) Deployment? Always a question. I did deploy to NTC for a month – which was an amazing adventure. But rather than worrying about when and where I’ll deploy to, I will focus on the mission in front of me and all around me: ministry to Soldiers and their Families. And I am quickly learning that during the deployment of a good part of our brigade, ministry during “Rear Detachment” is NOT being “in the rear with the gear.” It’s about not only caring for Soldiers and Families of 3-1 Cavalry, but also of two other battalions! Around 1200 Soldiers (and Families) total. Thank God for two Chaplain Assistants because it takes all three of us to cover. I almost feel deployed. Or at least am feeling the weight of it. At the end of the day, my focus is not on serving myself and trying to win medals. It is serving others according to the Commanders intent. And in doing that, the awards will come. I learned in making derby cars in the past that the reward is not what you earn from completing the work, but the work itself that is produced.

Trusting God, Serving Others.



3 responses to this post.

  1. Very touching message. You are an inspiration and we are proud to call you our nephew. (Aunt) Sandy and (Uncle) Tom


  2. So glad to see your smiling face and to read this update, though, reading about some of the challenges you’re facing reminds me of the complicated sacrifices that folks in the military make in order to serve. I wish and pray for the best for you. Carry on my friend!


  3. Posted by Christy on 29 August 12 at 00:23

    I am so proud of what you are doing – keep up the great work.


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