August 28, 2007

A Long Journey

To get into the Army as a Chaplain is not necessarily an easy task. As a Chaplain I have to be endorsed by a denominational body. Since our church is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) I knew that I would go with one of the two agencies. I had a feeling that we would go thorough the CBF since Laura had been divorced and since I did not attend and graduate from a Southern Baptist Seminary. I contacted the CBF and was waiting to hear back from them. I talked to a missionary friend of ours and he told me I should at least check with the the North American Mission Board (NAMB is the SBC endorsement agency). I called the NAMB and the stated issues would not keep me from being endorsed through the NAMB. I still waited to hear something from the CBF. I sent an email to the CBF, no response. I called and left a message, no response. I finally talked to the coordinator and he told me that he would call me back the next day. He finally responded, three months later. After waiting for more than a week I took this as a sign that God had closed the door to the endorsement through the CBF. I prayed that God would shut doors that he wanted shut and I saw this as a door that He had shut. We began the process of being endorsed by the NAMB.

There was a lot of work that had to be put into the application to be endorsed. One of the things that worried me the most was when it asked for references. These references would have to be from people within the church. I had only shared our story with the Mace and Thompson families. Take a deep breath. One by one I sat down and told those that I needed references from. All were very supportive. I asked that they would keep this to themselves until I shared it with the church. I wanted the news to come from me and no one else. They respected my wishes. Now I had to wait for the complete application to be assembled and presented to the NAMB Chaplaincy Board.

We also officially began the application process for the Army. There was not a real big hurry since it was only June, I needed to loose weight and the first opportunity for me to go to basic would not be until January 2008.

Confirmation continued to come.

Maxine Shockley, who is a member of our church and a good friend, bought this card for us. She felt as though God had guided her to get it for us. After she purchased the card it was misplaced. Later, she found it and then sent it on to us. I am amazed at the words of the card and its timing. At another time it would not have had the meaning that it did. I had prayed for confirmation and this is another confirmation of God's calling in our lives. Maxine sent this to us not knowing what God was doing in our lives. She was not one of the few who knew.

As from the beginning, Laura, Victoria and I were all on the same page. We knew God was calling us and we were responding. I had struggled with the issue of the possibility of death while deployed but God had put me at ease. I knew that no matter what I was in God's hands. If I was supposed to die there I would and if not I would not. God is in control.

However, my concern for Laura and Victoria was present. Who would help them while I am gone? It did not take long to get the answer to that question. We were headed to the Home School Convention in Richmond and I felt God urging me to take the current edition of On Mission to read. The main topic of the issue was for come back churches. I wondered what God had for me in the edition. We had some free time that afternoon and I got out my reading material and turned to the table of contents. Then I realized that before me was the answer to my prayers and concerns. If you would like to read the complete article click on the following link.

God heard my prayers and concerns for Laura and Victoria. I knew that God was assuring me by letting me know that there are churches that have ministries specifically for those left behind. I believe we will be close to such a church while I am deployed.

We have come so far, yet, we have so far to go.

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