Chaplain Candidate Program: Bearing Fruit

Last weekend was probably one of my last drills at a Recruit Sustainment Program unit for awhile. I am getting to move on to a unit where I will be working with a Chaplain. The change will be nice because I will get to see more of what a Chaplain does at an actual unit, but I will miss getting to interact with the people at the RSP units.

Drill last weekend was probably the most fun that I have had at an RSP unit. I think a lot of that was due to the way they ran the drill which allowed me a lot of time to talk to and interact with the new recruits (the Army calls them ‘warriors’). I was a bit on the tired side when I arrived at the unit. I had to drive from my apartment in Fort Worth, TX to Duncan, OK early on Saturday morning. It was an enjoyable drive through the country in an area of Oklahoma/Texas that I had never driven before. When I got to the unit, I made the decision to do their PT test run with them. It was very cold and windy and no one was looking forward to running in that weather so I decided to go out there and do it with them. I know that opened up some doors for me because a number of the people that I had specifically encouraged during the run were eager to engage in conversation later in the weekend.

I did a service on Sunday morning that went very well. This was the first time that I had a projector made available to me. It made a huge difference having the words projected on the wall where everyone could see them. It also helped that one of the NCOs had been leading worship with the soldiers on previous weekends so they were familiar with some of the songs I played on my guitar. Most of the time the singing has not been very energetic, but this group sang loud and proud.

One of the things that I have tried to avoid at the RSP units is the temptation to recycle the same devotionals. Since I have been at a different unit each month, it would be easy to do. I would definitely be shortchanging myself by doing that. I need practice preparing devotionals/sermons and I need to build a library that I can go back to later on when I really don’t have the time to prepare something. So, I prepared a devotional around the theme of love (it is February after all). John 15:12-13 was the passage I used. I incorporated the stories of two recent Medal of Honor recipients into the message to help drive home the point.

This drill was the first time in the short time period that I have been doing actual ministry to have a soldier respond to the message. As I closed out the service, I left them with an open invitation saying that anybody who wanted to talk with me about the message was free to do so after the service. When the service was over, a young man came up to me and wanted to ask me some questions about his spiritual life. We found an office and sat down and talked for awhile. I shared the Gospel with him using the Romans Road and by the grace of God he made a decision to follow Christ. I spent some more time counseling him and encouraging him to get invovled in a local church and tell a pastor as soon as possible about his decision so that he could start getting discipleship training.

Sharing the Gospel with that new soldier was a great way to finish out the last few months of drill at RSP units. I hope the blog entries on my exerpiences at these units have been helpful to some of you. Hopefully, I will have new experiences to report in the coming months as I start to drill at a regular unit.

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