I’m editing a manuscript on using Biblical principles to overcome the everyday problems of life. It’s an excellent guide to dealing with challenges from a Biblical perspective.
My friend Fr. Jerry Sherbourne introduced me to the author, Ben Ferguson. Fr. Jerry had met Ben, who is known as “the pastor to our pastors in camo,” through Adopt-a-Chaplain (AAC). I was not familiar with the organization but decided to find out more after hearing Fr. Jerry’s enthusiasm and appreciation for AAC.
Adopt-a-Chaplain was started as a grass-roots ministry by a small group of Christian men who meet regularly for breakfast and prayer. After a contact with a chaplain going through personal struggles, the men realized that the chaplains who minister to our troops need support as well. The chaplains have a huge responsibility to minister to the men and women in the military. That ministry includes not only preaching and praying – it often involves counseling and tangible demonstrations of support.
I remember Fr. Jerry mentioning when he was deployed in Iraq he and his chaplain assistant passed out hard candy among the troops as a simple encouragement and symbol of caring. The AAC goodie boxes provide tangible items chaplains can share with the soldiers for care, comfort, and “a taste of home.” Sometimes chaplains deliver humanitarian items to the people where they are deployed; AAC helps here as well.
Ben shared that Adopt-a-Chaplain ministers to chaplains on three levels based on Scripture:
Physical safety: Our chaplains are serving in a combat zone surrounded by people who want to kill them and their troops. 2 Kings 6:17; Psalm 34:7; Psalms 91:1-4
Emotional stress: The stress level of being in a combat zone is high. Psalm 34:4
The stress of caring for the spiritual needs of his troops brings weariness. Isaiah 40:28-31
AAC prays for preparation of sermons and worship services.
Ministry tools: Prayer support is central to seeking God’s will and receiving His blessing. I Peter 3:12
The care packages are visual aids of the Love of Christ. Chaplains have items available after chapel services and Bible study. This encourages the soldiers to hang around, providing opportunities for personal ministry and counseling.
One chaplain said,
“The goods you provide are more than a cup of cold water; they are the presence of Christ as seen through works of mercy.”
The group also maintains contact with chaplains’ families at home. We sometimes forget – or perhaps never even realize – what a stress deployment is on families. Every family with loved ones deployed away from home, espeically in harm’s way, faces challenges. But when the loved one is a chaplain with the responsibility to focus on his troops, it must be even more difficult for the family. Adopt-a-Chaplain’s family support blesses the families and the chaplains alike.
Not only does AAC offer people the opportunity to help the troops with “goodie” boxes, but it offers something other troop support organizations don’t: opportunities to pray for the chaplains and their troops. Chaplains can post prayer requests on the blog, and site visitors can pray for these requests in their personal prayer time and even post an e-prayer in the comments.
The goodies Adopt-a-Chaplain sends to the troops through the chaplains bless the troops physically and emotionally – the prayers bless the troops spiritually as well. Those who risk their lives for our freedom and the chaplains who minister to them deserve our prayer – and other – support.
[tags]Adopt-a-Chaplain, Christian, troop support[/tags]