Special Activities. In October Tami and I drove together to Buena Vista, CO to participate in the fall OCF Council meeting and our annual staff meeting. We planned our trip around visiting OCF members, supporters, and chaplains at Whiteman AFB, Ft Leavenworth, Colorado Springs, Tinker AFB, and Columbus AFB. The travel also allowed us to stop and see Peter in IL, and George and Sidney in OK. Amazing fellowship in homes, in coffee shops, bowling alleys and chapels. We remain greatly encouraged by the quality of chaplains serving in uniform, by the OCF members who have vision to glorify God by being available to love the men, women and children of the military society, and by the amazing opportunities for the entire OCF body to impact others on bases, on posts, and while deployed.
In September Tami and I were invited by Dr. Mike McQueen to speak to Ft Rucker students, personnel, and families at his house outside the gates of Ft Rucker. We found forty young men and women associated with his church who gathered to hear about serving as a Christian in uniform. This was an exciting time to share with them about the work of OCF and to encourage and exhort them to labor well under the authority God has placed over them.
Highlighted Weekly/Routine Activity. With two Officer Training School (OTS) classes running simultaneously we saw weekly September and October attendance at the Sunday morning Bible studies consistently running right around 70 cadets and officers. That was a lot of breakfast for Tami and the kids to prepare. We carry all the food stuff downstairs in two large foot lockers and then we start setting up the basement—Richard immediately begins brewing the first of many pots of coffee, Isobel and Virginia set up tables, chairs and make the room attractive while Tami unpacks and finishes food preparation. A full family effort to have it all ready twenty minutes later when the first cadets began arriving. We asked OTS class 17-01 how important the breakfast foods were to them (as in, should we keep spending the time, effort and money to bring breakfast?). They emphatically told us how important it was to them. So, we’ll keep buying, prepping, cooking…and lugging it downstairs where lives connect with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God Sightings of the Month. How do I describe the joy of seeing God’s faithfulness in the lives of graduates, friends, and ministry supporters? It was such a blessing to us that we had time to visit men, women and their children at each stop we made along the way to and from Colorado. I was challenged to think more soberly about the military chaplaincy, I rejoiced to hear a graduate express vision to serve anywhere God sends him (that no assignment could possibly be off limits if God is truly who he claims to be), I was humbled by having time with a family facing 15 months apart beginning in January 2017, I was over-the-top ecstatic to sense the partnership we’ll have in the coming years with the Navigator’s work amongst the Air Force, and I was blessed by the love and peace of families who welcomed us for a night’s rest.
Challenges/Concerns. The greatest concern of my life this side of heaven is my own self-righteousness, pride and lack of compassion—these continue to be revealed. I am so thankful to have brothers alongside me for perspective, for support, and to remind me of God’s faithfulness to complete that which he began. I regularly reread portions out of Paul David Tripp’s book, Dangerous Calling, to be reminded to preach the gospel to myself.
Ministry Partner. The Navigator Military Ministry’s Air Force ministry director, Tom Marlin, communicated a great vision for partnership at all the bases we’ll be visiting, sending graduates to, and helping coordinate link-ups for various reasons. Thanks be to God for a brother who has a passion to grow men and women so that lives will be changed, impacted, and matured during uniformed years. Pray that we labor well together in the years ahead.