USMA: Highlights from September

Special Activities

  • 9 September: Unity bonfire at South Dock. This was initiated by our Cadet Leadership team. They had a time of worship and prayer together.
  • 11 September: Tom preached at the West Point Family Chapel
  • 13-15 September: Branch Week at West Point was unique as always, with artillery pieces in front of the Supe’s quarters and an Abram’s tank on the apron. All branches of the Army were represented. It throws off the Bible study schedule for the week as it is all consuming.
  • 17 September: Apple baking and BroNight at the OCF House
  • 21 September: BroLunch and Lunch Bunch Bible study began!
  • 23 September: Service project at church thrift store-a team of a dozen cadets worked to help organize and restock a thrift store run by a local church to support the local under-served community. They worked hard, had a good time, and ate at the OCF House afterwards. We forgot to take any photos.

Highlighted Weekly/Routine Activity

After being told that we would no longer have Bible study meetings during lunch by the Commandant of Cadets, restrictions were reversed effective 19 September. CH Val VanDress discovered Reg 1-1, which states that “Cadets are allowed to attend religious activities during breakfast and lunch.” We got a later-than-usual-start, but we are back in business! These lunches meet the needs of many cadets who do not ever attend church or a Tuesday night group.

God Sightings of the Month

Cadet Melanie Allen, Class of 2018, was recruited to play tennis. During her Plebe year she developed a debilitating condition of swollen joints that was extremely painful and prevented her from playing. Eventually, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, given a medication which immediately took effect in her body, and was allowed to remain at USMA. Throughout her ordeal, she continued to smile and reach out to her teammates. A junior eventually agreed to go to church with her on Easter Sunday and accepted the Lord as her Savior. Cheri began discipling Melanie in the Spring (she attended Navs first semester) and was amazed by her testimony. This year, with some encouragement, Melanie has begun a Bible Study with her teammates, who last year were barely even nice to her. This year they arrived at the first study before she did, eagerly participated, and asked if they could meet twice a week since their time was limited to 45 minutes! This young lady has been God’s instrument to transform this team! We have a strong cadet leadership team who is outreaching. They don’t need to be pushed, but perhaps reined in occasionally!

Challenges/Concerns

The selection of the next staff couple and a smooth transition. There is a movement to start “home churches” in the barracks. A former faculty member has returned to the area to home church and has taken over a Tuesday night group to coach cadets on how to lead home churches. They are then encouraged them to start home churches in their companies. To our way of thinking, this would be starting a Bible study, but these cadets are being told they are starting
churches.

Ministry Partner

I had breakfast with the FCA staff person, Joe DeZelle, who is also the football team chaplain and the leader of the prayer in the locker room that made the news. Being the “oldest guy on the block” in more than one way, I am often looked to for advice and mentorship by the other, younger ministry leaders.

2017-02-28T12:29:23+00:00 December 22nd, 2016|Categories: USMA|

About the Author:

This article originally appeared in COMMAND magazine, or an OCF Ministry Report.