Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This seems to be the girls' favorite question...needless to say, the answer was usually no. On Saturday morning, we left Fort Jackson, SC for our new home....Fort Hood, TX. We had everything planned out for the trip, including a reservation for along the way. Needless to say, the baby didn't want to cooperate with our plan. We ended up cancelling the hotel and finding another one two hours short of our original stop. After two very long days, we finally arrived on post this morning.
The Lord knows what we need when we need it. As I was sitting in the parking lot, waiting for Angel to get information on housing I received a phone call from a lady who attended our old church in Hanover. She wanted to let us know that we have been on her heart and mind and that she was praying for us. I gave her an update on our situation and she encouraged me about the housing that at least we are all together. Not long after that Angel came out and said that we would be receiving on post housing in the next day or two. YEH!!
Are you looking for a breakthrough in your life? Trust God! He may not always move in the manner in which we think He will.....but get ready for Him to move! Tonight Angel met with someone in housing and rec'd the keys to our 4 bedroom duplex.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
On Friday, November 2, 2007 was an extra-ordinary day for me. Two significant events took place.
First, I had the honor to meet, see, and take a photo with the President of the United States. He had stopped in at the chaplain school to encourage the leaders and students. I was blessed to hear from his heart and see the humanity and the depth of his character. (http://www.jackson.army.mil/PAO/WEB%20UPDATES/Bush%20visit/images/index.html) I am standing behind the right shoulder of the President. We had the opportunity to pray with the President, at his request. Pretty amazing!
The second event was that I passed my Army Physical Fitness Test. I did my run time at 15:25 (2 miles), and 50 push-ups, and 50 sit-ups. In addition, I lost nine more pounds, my waist is at 37 inches, and my body fat percentage is 22% (it has to be under 24%).
Well, 5 more weeks, then graduation. Hooah!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I am looking forward to the last phases before heading out to my duty station.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Here are some pictures of my experience.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
There two more weeks for our initial training, then it will be two months of educating us to be Army chaplains. The first four weeks are designed to educate us to be Soldiers.
Family is doing great. Looks like we are going to do Thanksgiving in South Carolina. During my training, the policy restricts us to go too far away from post. Plus, plane tickets are outrageously expensive. For the amount of money we spend on one plane ticket, we can have enough food for three Thanksgiving meals.
Leave a comment below so that can have an idea who is following this blog.
Blessings to all and remember to expect a Breakthrough, Hooah!
Friday, September 28, 2007
CONFIDENCE AND TEAM COURSE
On another day, we did a good number of obstacles in teams. It was a great experience to build confidence with your team members and with yourself.
The Army is a place to get yourself physically fit and get paid for it, Hooah!
Here, someone recognized me and wanted my autograph. NOT!
We were just getting ready for PT, and I was filling out some paperwork.
My experience so far has been very fulfilling. I am so bless in many ways. One way is the fact that my family is living with me while I train. After we're done, we will be heading to our first duty station. This was a BREAKTHROUGH in prayer.
Another way that I am blessed is with my Class Leadership; the class leader and the platoon leaders. All of which are my peers.
I will not forget the leadership at USACHCS (United States Army Chaplain Center and School). From my platoon sergeant all the way up to the commandant, they are there with one goal in mind, to prepare us to provide spiritual support to Soldiers and their families. They are dedicated to seeing us succeed. Even the staff of the school, they are a phenomenal group of people. I praise the Lord for them.
I will try to keep making entries sooner than later but in smaller sizes. In the meanwhile, please keep Nicole, the girls, and me in your prayers. God has been gracious in many occassions and we would love to continue to see His mighty hand at work
Monday, September 3, 2007
This honorable event took place in the chapel at the altar on the Carlisle Barracks. In the picture, CH Pace is on the left and I am standing on the right. Of course, the United States flag in the center. If you look closely, you can see the stain glass window in the background.
The stain glass window is a picture of “The Four Chaplains.” The Four Chaplains are four Army chaplains, CH Alexander D. Goode, CH George L. Fox, CH Clark V. Poling, and CH John P. Washington; who demonstrated bravery and courage while the USS (USAT) Dorchester sank, after being fired upon with three torpedoes by a the German U-223 submarine. To read more about these four great chaplains do an internet search for “Four Chaplains” or visit http://www.fourchaplains.org/story.html
I look forward to honoring the men and women who have contributed and helped me to reach this point in my life. I will honor this commission by honoring the Lord Jesus Christ in all that I do and say as a U.S. Army Chaplain.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Fort Hood is still in Texas; and it is the home of the III Corps Major Command, 1st Cavalry Division, and 4th Infantry Division. It is adjacent to Killeen, Texas. Think of it as being in the "heart of Texas."
Of course, chaplaincy is ministry, therefore, one must be flexible in ministry. The Bible teaches that man makes plans, but it is God who orders those steps. Living in the palm of God's hand may at times seem scary, because when you think you've figured out what He is doing, the wind shifts and there is a change of course.
It is of the utmost importance to be constantly in relationship with the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of prayer. Prayer draws us close to the heart of God and allows us to hear His voice saying, "Fear not, for I am with you." Prayer is part of the cultivation of our relationship with the Living God. It is most definitely not something we do out of duty or rite; rather because we have realized that knowing Jesus is the greatest thing that any human being could ever experience.
So, we are holding on to the mighty hand of God and seeing one Breakthrough after another.
Friday, August 10, 2007
When I broke the news to my wife, she had a similar reaction, “Really?!” When one entrusts their life in the hands of the Almighty God, all one can do is have the faith to believe that it is exactly where God wants them to be. So, with that in mind, my family and I rejoice that we are no longer waiting to know where we are assigned to and that we are in the center of God’s will.
We now begin to focus our prayers and thoughts for the soldiers and their families that are stationed at Fort Bliss. We pray for our eyes to see the opportunities that God will use us to advance the kingdom of God. We pray that the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ will invoke faith and hope. We pray that the glorious power of the Almighty God would be always present, always evident, and always manifested.
Praise the Lord, for a blissful start!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
During the conference we had breakout sessions, where both the young and the old shared their experiences as chaplains. I was most impressed by the stories told by those who have been deployed once, twice, and some three times. It was heart wrenching the sad stories of people losing their lives, both military and civilian lives. But, it was exciting to hear of the multiple times soldiers were looking for a chaplain in order to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I guess that being in the face of death causes people to accept the reality of their mortality and humanity; which brings an awareness of the need for a God that has their eternity in His hands.
I had the honor of meeting CH Eddie Cook, he is the soldier in the middle of the above poster with his arms wide open praying for the soldiers around him. I must of embarrassed him when I treated him like a celebrity after calling him the “poster guy” during one of the luncheons. After getting to know more about him through my conversation with him, from other chaplains, and from my wife; I was left awestruck. My wife got to hear his wife during the ladies’ session and read a book she wrote about her husband’s deployment.
The night of the banquet, they had all the new chaplains go to the front to be prayed for. So, Nicole and I went forward and waited for someone to come and pray over us. We felt a hand on our shoulders and could hear the voice of someone praying over us. As I was listening to the prayer that was being spoken over us, I recognized the voice. It was the voice of one our chaplain speakers during the conference. His name is United States Air Force Brigadier General Chaplain Cecil Richardson. I was amazed to be prayed for by a General, but not just any General, he is the Deputy Chief of Chaplains for the USAF. His prayer was that of looking at every move and relocation as an opportunity to minister and to see the glory of God.
After he had prayed for us, we turned around and shook his hand and talked with him for a little while. He gave us words of wisdom and the encouragement of the thrill of being a military chaplain. I couldn’t really pay a lot of attention to him because when he shook my hand he placed a coin in it. It was a challenge coin, which is given for a job well done or for the challenge to do your best. On the one side of the coin it has the one star flag (representative of the one star Brigadier Generals), “Deputy Chief of Chaplains,” and “Glorifying God-Honoring Airmen-Serving All.” On the other side, it has the regiment insignia of the USAF Chaplain Service, with the words “Freedom, Faith, Ministry” and the year MCMXLIX (1944). At first I didn’t understand the deep significance of the coin, but after talking with other chaplains I soon realized that the meaning of the coin is that I am entrusted with the call of God as a military chaplain to do the work of the kingdom of God with all my heart and passion. My desire is to honor CH (BG) Richardson by honoring our King of kings and Lord of lords as a US Army Chaplain.
I am honored to be among humble men and women who serve our country with courage in the midst of war to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope of the gift of God, eternal life.
For more information about challenge coins, go to http://www.allaboutchallengecoins.com/
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
To prepare for the physical training, I have been following a workout program from a book written my Stewart “Stew” Smith, The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness. It is a 12 week PT program that covers upper body, abs, and lower body, running, and swimming. So far I am in the second week and I am doing my best to keep up. My goal is to be as physically prepared as possible for CIMT.
In addition, I have picked up reading again in order to keep my mind sharp and apt to understand and retain the information I will be reading during CIMT.
The other form of preparation is at the home front. Nicole and I are preparing ourselves for the season we will be apart. We are also preparing for our first duty station, which at this point we don’t have a clue where that will be. We are also looking over the calendar to strategically celebrate the birthdays of Katelyn (Sept.), Marissa (Oct.), Breanna (Nov.), which I will be missing during the three months of CH-BOLC.
Finally, there is the most important component that I must ensure that I am continually developing, spiritual readiness. Through morning devotionals and prayers, in addition to reading Christian books and fellowshipping with other believers, I am keeping my heart focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. The reality is that being an Army Chaplain is what God has called me to and in order to fulfill His purposes I must be in total connection with God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
While preparing for CIMT, I am preparing to see the hand of God do breakthroughs in my life and the lives of soldiers and military families.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
It feels so surreal. It was the answer I have been praying for, yet when I received the news it seemed too hard to believe. I give thanks to God for His faithfulness for making it all happen.
As I look back at all the steps that I had to go through to be where I am at now, it has been a long journey. There was being ordained by my denomination, complete a Master’s degree from seminary, complete dozens of forms, and to lose 85 pounds.
Now, a new journey begins on a different path. It is the excitement of ministering to Soldiers and their families, being a light of hope in the midst of darkness. It will also have many times of difficulties and struggles. I think about the changes that my family will have to go through, the separation from my wife and my children, but through it all God will be with us and see us through. That is why it is amazing to see and remember the breakthroughs God has provided. It is the assurance of His faithfulness to take us through the rest of the way.
It is an honor to serve both my God and my country. I am looking forward to seeing the glory of God manifested in my family’s life and the lives all around us. Praise the Lord!
Are you ready for a breakthrough?
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
As I meditated on this portion of scripture, I started thinkng about the war on terror. The war has begun to grow weary on various groups of people, especially for the families of our troops. I can't help but think that the enemy of our lives is the evil in our world.
The evil in this world could be very influential on humanity causing it to do things that are thinkable, such as taking one person or a group's life even when they are brothers of the same nation. King David saw such civil war and that "evil" was what he prayed would be disgraced. He knew this quite well because he was being pursued by his countrymen.
Wouldn't it be great to see this evil reduced in our day? It is my prayer that there would be a reduction of casualties among our troops and terrorists, a reduction of insurgents, and a reduction of terrorism. In addition, that there would be an increase of peace in the land of Iraq.
I pray for such a change with a passionate prayer. Meanwhile, it is the peace of God's presence in our lives that will sustain us while we wait for this amazing miracle. How about it? Let's passionately pray for another BREAKTHROUGH!
During June 19-20, the United States Army Chaplain Commissioning Board will be meeting, at which time they will be reviewing my packet. I ask for your prayers that the Lord would continue to show favor, wisdom for the members of the board, and peace for me and my family as we wait for their response.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Breakthroughs occur not on account of our good deeds or we have appeased God in some way, rather they occur due to His very nature, He is merciful. Out of His deep compassion for us, the Lord reveals Himself to us as the sustainer of our lives. From the depths of His love for us flows affection and compassion, which translates into mercy.
I am so undeserving of all that God given me, all that He is currently giving me, and everything that is to come. I am referring to the blessing of His presence in my life. Rather than receiving His judgment and condemnation for all the sins I have committed He has demonstrated mercy. I am so grateful for that mercy. I am so grateful that His very nature is mercy. It is this wonderful nature that is being cultivated in us by molding us into the likeness of Christ.
Today, again, I experienced the mercy of God. I experienced His favor by receiving a favorable interview with the senior chaplain of the U.S. Army. The senior chaplain did acknowledge at the end of the interview that he was going to recommend me to the commissioning board, which will be meeting mid June. I must say that I felt the presence of God during the full course of the interview. I was able to learn a lot from Chaplain Pace. He had so much wisdom and insight to give.
Jesus teaches us, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’” (Mt. 9:13). This lesson is just a reiteration of an Old Testament principle of loving mercy. It should be our desire to show and extend mercy, especially to a world that can be unmerciful.
In my heart, as I have been experiencing the mercy of the Lord, I know that I now need to extend mercy and to be merciful. Therefore, as a recipient of the mercy of God, I must now love mercy and extend it to those around me.
This journey to chaplaincy has been teaching me how great is the mercy of God and how much I need to be more and more like Christ by extending mercy to those around me.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
After this interview, my full packet will go before the Army Chaplain commissioning board, which will take place mid June.
I do ask for your prayers for the Thursday interview. I ask for the Lord Jesus to provide grace, peace, and joy. I am asking that the Lord grant me favor in the eyes of my senior chaplain. I am asking for continual breakthroughs as these final stages are being completed.
Thank you, so much, for keeping me and my family in your prayers. Please, feel free to leave a comment with a prayer or a word of encouragement. You could also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I praise the name of the Lord God Almighty for His faithfulness and His grace. Those that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They will never be disappointed. They will see the glory of the Living God.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
We were asked to sit and then the questions began. Days before, Nicole and I thought of all the kinds of questions they would ask us. To our amazement, they didn’t ask the questions we thought they were going to ask. They asked the questions that we least thought they would ask. They asked questions related to my calling, to interacting with people from other faiths, and they asked Nicole what were her feelings were towards me being deployed. This interview took about 10 to 15 minutes.
Then they asked us to wait outside so that they can make a decision. As we waited outside in the waiting area, I really began to get nervous. Maybe it was due to the anticipation of their decision. Again, what lasted only a minute, seemed like an eternity. They called us in and we stood before the Commission. The Commission stood and the chaplaincy director spoke. All I remember was him saying, “Congratulations, we are happy to award you full ecclesiastical endorsement as chaplain for Army.” I know I am not quoting him correctly; the point is I received the endorsement. Praise the Lord!!
They took Nicole and me to the one end of the super huge conference table to pray for us. I was given a commemorative coin by my military chaplaincy director before they started to pray. Then they placed their hands on us. Then Chaplain (Col.) Kinder prayed for us. It was an enormously great moment of prayer. I was again filled with awe and gratitude unto the Lord. When we finished praying they gave us handshakes and hugs and words of encouragement.
Nicole and I finally made our way out of the board room. As the doors closed behind us, we began to walk down the hallway. I didn’t go that far. I ended up being overwhelmed with such emotion that I had to lean against the wall to hold myself up. Tears flooded my eyes and I began to weep. Nicole realized that I wasn’t right behind her, so she turned around and came towards me. All I could do was hold her close to me. We didn’t say anything. We didn’t exchange words. There was no need to say anything. We both knew. We both felt it. We both cried with tears of joy and gratitude. The day that we have been waiting for had finally arrived. The Assemblies of God Commission on Chaplains granted me their endorsement.
God has so graciously shown favor over our lives and answered our prayers. What a great sigh of relief!! What another breakthrough!!
Monday, May 14, 2007
This endorsement is definitely an honor. It will be my endeavor to be responsible to adhere to the duties it represents. By receiving such an endorsement, I can only praise the Lord for showing me favor. "As unto the Lord" I will serve God, country, and endorser.
By the way, if you have been reading my blog and would like to share a word of encouragement or even ask a question, please leave a comment. Just click on "comments" and let me hear from you.
I will be posting again at the end of this week, so visit again and I'll let you know all the details to my visit with my endorser.
Blessings! Remember, with God nothing is impossible! "Breakthrough!"
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Needless to say, the night before I was concerned with what the results would be. I really prayed to the Lord for peace. My wife, Nicole, stated that if I have done all that I can do to face the physical then I shouldn't worry. She was right and by the grace and favor of God I passed it.
In all the five areas that they examined me they rated me with 1-3. One is the best score to receive, two is still good, but three is definitely not so good. All the five categories had ones except the area of my eyes, which I received a two. The two just indicates that I need to wear glasses to read.
My recruiter and his staff were also over-joyed. On Monday, when I took the physical I had the privilige to meet the recruiting station. Prior to Monday, I had been in contact with my chaplain recruiter, CH Walker, via phone and email. During my visit, we went over the rest of my packet that will be sent to the commissioning board in June. Sgt. Pamplin did an excellent job taking me through the final papers that I needed to sign so that my packet could be closer to being complete.
There are just a few more steps before the final "Good to Go." I need my denominational endorsement and an interview with one of the representatives of the Chief of Chaplain's office. Then the packet will go before the commissioning board. I know that it will go up in June, but I have been praying and asking God for a breakthrough for my packet to go up in May, so that I could have the opportunity to go for training in June. If the packet goes up in June, then I will have to wait for September to go for training.
Well, breakthroughs are what this blog is all about. Join your faith with mine for a miracle so that the doors will be opened for my packet to go before the board in May.
By the way, I lost another half inch off my waist. My body fat content has changed from 23.36% to 22.58%. My weight is at 211 lbs. My goal is to get under 200 lbs. before meeting my endorser in May. Of course the weight varies, so the other goal would be to get my body fat content percentage under 20%; without killing myself. My current waist is 38 inches, I would need to get down to 36 inches to reach that goal. But, what I find rather odd is that I can fit in a 36" waist pants. Wow, to think that I used to wear 46" pants. I have have lost 10" off my waist; that's a lot of fat (80+ pounds).
Well, here is a current picture of myself. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not becoming vain, but considering how far I have come to losing the weight and to qualify physically for the Army, I give God the glory for giving me the courage, strength, and self-discipline to achieve this goal.
Left picture was from August 2005. The right picture is from this month, April 2007.
I'm still looking for breakthroughs, how about you?
Sunday, April 22, 2007
So, after this experience, I will post some details. Hopefully it won't be too humiliating.
Friday, April 6, 2007
I had mentioned that I passed the physical requirement. I wanted to show you a before and after picture of the transformation that has happened after losing close to 80 pounds.
Thank you to all who have been praying and providing encouragement.
Check back next week for the update on my MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) for the medical examination that will determine if I can proceed to the next phase.
Anticipate a breakthrough, today!
Friday, March 30, 2007
So, in order to deal with the anxiety I decided to play the mp3 Bible on my laptop and listen to the scriptures. Of course, I am looking for inspiration and encouragement, instead I get a gentle rebuke. I was listening to the portion of the Gospel of Luke that the disciples ask Jesus why they weren't able to cast an evil spirit out of a young boy. Jesus replied, "You of little faith." BOOM! Not just for the disciples but also for me. I was faced with the question, "Where is your faith?"
I was facing the truth that I have been trying to accomplish the will of God through my own strength. A good reminder that I can never fulfill the will of God apart from believing and trusting the Living God to empower me through His Spirit, who was given to all Christians through Jesus Christ. So, I said a prayer of repentence, asking the Lord to forgive me for not trusting and having faith in His faithfulness and power to fulfill His perfect will. I called upon my wife and kids to pray that today there would be a breakthrough. Our combined faith that this time around I would meet the physical requirement was sealed with a family prayer.
At the recruiting station, the doors to the center were open but the office to the Army recruiter was closed. It was already 4 pm, so I thought that they were closed for the day. While sitting in my car and talking to my wife on the cell phone in the parking lot of the recruiter's station and telling her that the office was closed, a mini-van pulled up right next to my car; it was Sgt. Taylor (the recruiter). "Praise the Lord," I told my wife. The recruiter enters the station and I follow right behind him. He already knows why I am there, so when he was all settled in he pulled out the tape. The first thing he measures is my waist (the trouble area). As he wraps the tape around my waist I am praying and trusting the Lord for a breakthrough. A moment of silence as he looks to see the measurement and then he says, "You're...you are 38 and a half." I was about to rejoice but then he started checking my neck size. Checking the neck size is just as important because the neck size can skew the whole formula. Having a waist size of 38.5 inches means nothing if my neck size is less than 17 inches; if would place me above the 24%. The verdict, my neck was 17 inches. These numbers placed me at 23.36%. I passed! My chaplain recruiter was excited about the news as well. Another breakthrough!
Time to move to the next phase: MEPS. MEPS stands for Military Entrance Processing Station. This is when I get a physical to determine if my overall body will meet and pass the Army standard for chaplains. This will soon be scheduled for next week. The chaplain recruiter will let me know when the examination date is set.
What about my faith? It will always boil down to trusting the Lord my God to walk with me and to be the one who makes the breakthroughs happen. I am renewed again to trust in the Living God for the impossible. He who has called me will also equip me.
Are you ready for a breakthrough?
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I thought that after all the PT that I have done I would have already been under 24%.
So, if I want to see a breakthrough take place, I've got to kick-up another notch. I am determined more than ever to get under the 24% by next Wednesday. Like my wife would say, "If you really want it that bad, you would do something about it." Thank you! By the grace of God, I will do something about it and the Lord will receive the glory for it.
Next week, I intend to give a good report because I am looking for a Breakthrough!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I hope to share through this blog all the various breakthroughs that have taken place in my life as I pursue the call of God to become a United States Army Chaplain. I want to declare the wonders of God's mighty power as He leads me to achieve and live out this dream. Praise be to the Lord God Almighty.
Although I am not currently a chaplain, I have seen God's grace on my life in the pursuit of this endeavor.
The Evening Sun Newspaper did a story on my pursuit. Here is the link: http://www.eveningsun.com/fastsearchresults/ci_5349858
The only thing at those time that is holding up the process to enter the chaplaincy is the physical qualification. I need to have a Body Fat Percentage under 24%. Currently, I am at 24.12%. I am so close, but not there yet. When I first started I was at 34%. By God's grace I have lost close to 10% body fat.
After meeting this requirement, the next hurdle will be passing the Army Medical Examination. If I pass the examination, it will line me up for the Commissioning Board of the United States Army Chaplain Corp, which will grant me to join as a commissioned officer.
I am trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for another incredible breakthrough.