Sunday, June 11, 2006

Young Men, a Cross, and Iraq

ChaplainBlake joined the Army a few years ago. He is serving in the ministry as a chaplain's assistant. The young man has such a heart for God and joined the Armed Services with full intention and hope to be sent to Iraq. He wants to reach people for Christ.

Instead, his first destination: He was sent to Honolulu. Poor thing.

Anywhere Blake goes he has always served in God's Army. When he lived here, he was a good mentor to Justin who badly needed a male role model in his life after suffering rejection of his father for most of his life. When Blake left for the United States Army, God provided another mentor and friend for Justin, but Justin has always had a place in his heart reserved for Blake.

Blake was home on leave and spent some time with Justin. Blake is now being sent to Iraq. When they said their "goodbyes" tonight, Justin gave Blake the cross he has been wearing around his neck since Christmas. It is so heart tugging because Justin has used that cross necklace to evangelize at opportuneDisciple's Cross moments, and he loves that cross! I never really see him without it! He cherishes that necklace because of what it represents, and then he took it off of his neck, and gave it to Blake, who graciously accepted it.

I asked Katie, isn't Blake afraid? She told me he shared some concerns with her earlier in the evening but that he is keeping himself busy and not doing too much thinking about his deployment to Iraq. He knows God has called him to Iraq and he is perfectly content with that, but he does have a small anxiousness about a certain role in his ministry. Blake said his biggest concern will come when he will be called upon to help comfort someone in distress, and possibly dying. He understands that could be something he is called upon to do, and he will be ready to deal with that, but it is one of those difficult parts of being a chaplain. It is one of the ministries that a chaplain provides that one hopes will not be needed.

When it came time to leave, Blake said "I'll see you in 18 months!" and left after a short conversation out at his car.

Justin came into the house and cried.

Thank you Blake for your service to our country, and may God be with you as you carry His message to all the faraway places you go.

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