Wednesday morning, the big day arrived. I didn’t sleep a wink. I kept waking up through the night. Nicole was also nervous, I think more than me; so I thought. We got to the Assemblies of God headquarters at 8 a.m. for our 8:20 a.m. appointment which started at 8:30 a.m. The waiting was actually short, but it felt like forever. Then, one of the members of the Commission On Chaplain came out to get us from the waiting room. As we walked down the hall to the executive board room, he said to Nicole and me to remember that this will be a dialogue and not an interrogation. Wow, that was a relief; until he made the next statement, “When you walk in don’t sit just stand and the committee will introduce themselves.” “Just stand?” Oh, oh. I started thinking that when I walk in that I ought to say, “Angel Perez reporting, sir.” But, I didn’t and we stood before the commission. They introduced themselves; all eleven of them took turns around this almost 30 foot conference table (quite intimidating).
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!!