An Update from Officer Training School

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Over a year and a half ago, I was informed of a Chaplain opening at the 134th Air Refueling Wing at Mcghee Tyson in Maryville, TN. I have always had a heart for our military, and after much prayer and advice, Christ Covenant approved me to become a Chaplain in the Air National Guard. I see this as a missions opportunity as I'll be investing in many Airmen who live in East Tennessee. I participate in a monthly drill and preach at their Chapel service and provide counseling to the Airmen. As part of being a Military Chaplain, I have to attend two different schools within 2 years: Officer Training School and Chaplain School.

For the past four weeks I have been at Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. I am getting indoctrinated with the Air Force, learning the history and how it operates. The class I am in consists of people from the Medical, Legal, and Church professions. Our class is the largest class this campus has ever seen. We started out with 326 cadets, and since then over 30 have dropped out due to not passing the fitness test or simply giving up. About 90% of our class is made up of medical (doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.). I've been very impressed with what the medical world is producing, and I believe the future of medicine looks promising because of the young talent that is available.

guys at ots

It has been a rigorous four weeks. This is considered boot camp for officers. We average about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, have to march wherever we go, have to standardize our rooms, uniforms, and backpacks to all look the same, have personal training almost every morning, and are in the classroom preparing for tests and briefs. They also put us in different warlike scenarios and team building exercises to see how we respond under pressure. It's a leadership training course that develops leaders of moral character in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.

Here's some pictures of some action shots with my flight of 16 people:

belps 2BELPS

I had a major scare about two weeks ago. Montgomery, Alabama, in the middle of July is extremely hot. After physical fitness one morning I began to feel dizzy and my hands, legs, and face began to tighten up. I immediately notified the staff who called in an ambulance. I was rushed to the local Hospital, and they pumped a bunch of saline in me to help me regain my strength. I was close to having a heat stroke or even a heart attack. The Lord provided for me great doctors and staff who jumped quickly on the scene. Since then I have been drinking a lot of water, staying hydrated, and feeling much better.

As I mentioned above, I truly see what I'm doing as a ministry. I consider this one of my main mission fields. To put things in perspective, I am only one of two Protestant Chaplains in this training. The others are Mormon, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and there is a Buddist monk who is a Chaplain candidate. This was an eye opener to me to see the need for Protestant Chaplains. Also, I've already had a number of conversations with people who are of different religions or affliated with no religion at all. I'm surrounded by a lot of intelligent and driven people from all around America. I've noticed that many don't know Jesus and are in need of His love and peace. As a Chaplain I have the cross of Christ stand out on my uniform (located on my hat and uniform), so people automatically associate me with Jesus. It's a wide open misson field, full of opportunity for conversations and counseling.

formation

I want to thank my family and my church family for agreeing with me to make this commitment to serve in the military. It is a sacrifice for them to have me away for 5 weeks. I miss my wife, kids, and church family tremendously. I am also grateful for these open doors that God has provided me to show and share my love of Jesus with others who I never would have met.

As our culture continues to change and more and more people are leaving the Church, Christians must be thinking missionally by getting outside of our comfort zones and find/create opportunities where we can rub shoulders with non-believers. I encourage every Christian reading this to get involved in your circles of influence (neighborhood, hobby, kid's activies, work, etc) and begin forming relationships with people so that you can build their trust and share with them the hope, peace, and love that only Jesus can offer.

Romans 10:14-15 - "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

2 Comments

Thank you, Seth, for your heart for Jesus and your love for our country. We all miss you back at CCPC, and look forward to your return. Stay hydrated!

So thankful you seeked medical attention quickly Seth and so glad you recognize the need to keep hydrated through such rigorous training. You are a blessing to us at Christ Covenant and we are so proud of you and what you stand for in Christ Jesus. We pray you will return refreshed and renewed in your mind and spirit.

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