Baptisms on ship encourages A/G
Early one morning en route to the
Persian Gulf, Staff Sgt. James Reese stopped by the office of A/G Chaplain
Denis Cox who is embarked with Marines aboard the USS Carter Hall
as the vessel made its way across the Atlantic Ocean. Reese told Cox that
he wanted to get right with God. The men went for a walk on deck and stopped
to lean over a rail and watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. After hearing
Cox explain the plan of salvation, the normally stoic 36-year-old Reese committed
his life to Christ, shedding tears of joy and relief.
Cox explained to Reese that baptism
would be a natural follow-up step in making a public profession of his faith.
The Marine agreed, and Cox began inquiring with the ship’s leadership
personnel about the logistics of such a service. The captain had never been
asked to authorize a baptism at sea. The command master chief, the senior
enlisted person on the ship, had never seen a baptism in eight deployments
covering 20 years on ships.
With a lot of suggestions and help
from Religious Program Specialist Petty Officer Third Class Christopher Oxendine,
Cox secured a makeshift baptismal tank: one half of a casing used for landing
craft air cushion engines. He arranged for 100 gallons of fresh water to be
dumped into the container on deck. With around 50 onlookers, Cox baptized
A few weeks later, Cox baptized
Lance Cpl. Nick Ames, who gave his life to the Lord after attending a Bible
study on ship. Both Reese and Ames attend every chapel service, are discipled
regularly and have shown a tremendous change in their lives. Reese’s
wife had been praying for his salvation for years. Two sailors also have been
baptized on the ship, and Chaplain Cox reports a spiritual awakening in the
lives of many others.
John W. Kennedy
Troops encourage chaplain
to share gospel
Newly appointed Assemblies of God
Chaplain Tim Maracle didn’t expect such a response to his preaching
on his first official assignment in the Army. From everything he had learned
in Christian college, seminary and the pastorate, people — especially
hardened military men — didn’t jump at the chance at hearing the
He heard wrong.
In June, Maracle, chaplain for
the 2nd Battalion, 8th U.S. Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division in
Fort Hood, Texas, embarked on his first day of field services. During the
day he visited various platoons engaged in training exercises. As a government-paid
chaplain, Maracle is there to provide religious support to whatever needs
the soldiers express.
Religious support often involves
individual counseling, providing guidance to soldiers for everything from
getting out of debt to overcoming substance abuse. In addition to 500 men
in his battalion, Maracle is responsible for the spiritual welfare of 700
military intelligence and military police whose units currently are without
Making the rounds that June day,
Maracle spent about an hour with various companies of his battalion, including
a 10-minute devotional on the importance of maintaining a relationship with
God. As he returned to his Humvee after one service with a tank company, a
medic approached him.
“Sir, can you be a little
bit more long-winded?” the medic asked. He and 10 other soldiers stood
there, wanting to learn more. They began peppering the chaplain with deep
questions about faith, free will and accountability for sins.
For 30 minutes, Maracle shared
from his heart the lessons he had been learning for the past decade in his
own theological training.
Often soldiers on training exercises
are eager to return to their quarters, but these men wanted to stay longer
and learn more. They asked Maracle pointed questions about his faith. Maracle
talked about the role of God’s grace and the Holy Spirit in his life.
That day the soldiers, many of
whom had never been to church, learned about the Lord. Maracle had the opportunity
to plant seeds that one day he hopes will yield spiritual fruit.
John W. Kennedy
in the DMZ
following is a firsthand report from an Assemblies of God chaplain
serving in the Demilitarized Zone.
I arrived in Korea in mid-July
and was assigned to the United Nations Command Security Battalion, Joint Security
Area at Panmunjom. Several A/G chaplains have ministered here, and it is very
exciting ministry. We are about 400 meters south of the DMZ, and regularly
go up to the border for various ceremonies, tours and services.
I work pretty closely with the
pastor of the only Christian church inside the DMZ at Tae Song Dong (Freedom
Village). About twice a month he and I go into one of the buildings on Conference
Row (with armed guards of course) and cross over into North Korea and pray.
Then we go to the Bridge of No Return and pray.
Inside the DMZ we have an observation
post on high ground that sits about 25 meters from the Military Demarcation
Line. On a clear day you can see about 17 kilometers into North Korea, including
a splendid view of Ki Jong Dong (Propaganda Village) and the largest flagpole
in the world. It is the only village allowed inside the DMZ in the north.
It is something to do an outdoor service in Freedom Village on a sunny Sunday
with communist North Korea right behind you. I do a late-morning service in
our chapel, which runs about 25 to 30 in attendance each week, and then head
up to Observation Post Oulette when it is manned by American soldiers. About
60 percent of our battalion is Republic of Korea soldiers, which makes ministry
— Chaplain (Capt.) Brad P.
Life in the face of
The following is a firsthand
report from an Assemblies of God U.S. Army chaplain serving in Operation Iraqi
While deployed in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom, my chaplain assistant and I were positioned at a Casualty Collection
Point (CCP) in support of simultaneous and coordinated ground combat operations
with our task force. We flew out from the assembly area with an assault force
to the forward CCP where we immediately took small arms fire. Several individuals
were wounded and had to be evacuated. My assistant and I loaded casualties
from our helicopter onto a fixed wing medivac bird. Once in flight, two enemy
RPG (rocket propelled grenade) rounds were fired at our aircraft, forcing
us to take evasive maneuvers.
Praying without ceasing took on
new meaning. Once we were in safe airspace and the casualties were identified,
the flight surgeon asked me to pray for our helicopter door gunner who was
shot in the head and near death. While they worked on him, I leaned down,
spoke into his ear and told him who I was. I stated he was not doing well
and that I was going to pray for his spiritual and physical needs. We laid
hands on his head, which was covered in blood, and asked God to work on his
behalf, open his heart to Christ’s redemptive love and walk through
this valley with him.
The man’s vital signs were
failing but he was cognizant of what I was saying to him. He acknowledged
hearing me with finger movement in his right hand. Within 10 minutes his health
improved and the medical team went to work to sustain life support systems
and incubate him.
He miraculously survived the flight
to Kuwait and has recovered with only slight memory loss. He accepted Christ
as Savior, and attends chapel with his family now at the installation where
he is stationed. Jesus has given him another opportunity for life and he openly
shares with others that he is a living testimony to the healing power and
love Christ has for us.
— Chaplain (Maj.)
Army 75th Ranger Regiment