Revival hits army base with 1459 receiving Christ

By Josie Rabbitt Bingham —

Army Chaplain Jose Rondon believes “there is nothing more exhilarating in life than seeing people come to Christ.” In the last six months, Rondon has experienced that exhilaration with more than 1,400 professions of faith — something one could describe as a spiritual awakening — at Fort Leonard Wood, his place of ministry.

Because of his reputation for being intentional in his ministry, many have come to hear Rondon share the Gospel on Sundays.

“We have seen 1,459 soldiers come to Christ since March of this year,” Rondon said. “God is doing great things at Fort Leonard Wood among the hundreds of soldiers who have come to know Christ personally.”

Retired Major General Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, says what is happening at Fort Leonard Wood is not an exception. Right now there are reportedly 1,348 military chaplains in the Southern Baptist Convention at work.

“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “The current spiritual awakening at Fort Leonard Wood is indicative of a great move of God taking place within the Armed Services today.”

Consider the following, Carver reported:

— More than 2,000 troops gathered in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. this past Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

— Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, S.C.

— The U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy recently rolled out a new program called FaithWorks, which is a collection of evidence-based programs and materials promoting spiritual resilience for airmen and their families.

— The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II.

In the past two years, Southern Baptist military chaplains have reported there have been tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms.

“Historically, God has often used the military as a catalyst for revival,” Carver said. “Many attribute the spread of Christianity in the first century to Roman soldiers deployed throughout the Roman Empire. The Lord is answering our prayers for revival within our military communities. I’ve prayed for over 40 years for our troops and their families to experience the reality of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.”

Chaplain Rondon has been intentional with his words and with how he treats his fellow soldiers. So when a staff sergeant first approached Rondon and asked to speak with him, the chaplain knew the sergeant wasn’t asking for words of wisdom but for listening ears.

“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” Rondon said. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Savior. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”

So, Rondon listened to the staff sergeant, and then he prayed with him to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. Rondon did the same thing when another senior non-commissioned officer asked for the chance to talk to him about spiritual matters. This soldier-leader also asked Jesus Christ into his heart.

“My two soldiers and friends from our current battalion at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri came to Christ because their lives were in need of the Savior,” he said. “All of us at some point need to be a listening ear, to help others to start trusting and believing in anything again, especially when our wounds are so deep that we lose respect for many around us.

“They talked to me about their lives because they respected me and noticed I really cared for our soldiers like I always do during my pastoral rounds. I invited them both to a meal. God always opens great doors like this when we listen to people without interrupting. We show them how much we care by being there for them whenever they need it most.”

In both conversations, a chaplain and a sergeant spoke about their lives.

“Instead of asking them whether or not they knew they were going to heaven if they died today, I simply said, ‘I see that you need Christ in your life. He can not only help you to deal with the challenges of daily living, but He can also save you from an eternal death because of your sins,’” Rondon said. “They both agreed they needed Christ to come into their lives forever and to have His presence to deal with life from that moment on.” — Baptist Press

Godspeed, My Friends!

Brother Murf

Teens stranded at sea cried out to God for help. Then a boat named “Amen” rescued them

(CBS News) Two Florida teenagers are counting their blessings after they were rescued from a strong ocean current right before Easter weekend.

After going out for a swim, high school seniors Tyler Smith and Heather Brown were stranded at sea for more than an hour when they cried out to God for help.

Fortunately for them, their prayers were answered in the form of a boat named the “Amen.” 

Smith, Brown and a group of their classmates from Christ’s Church Academy went to Vilano Beach to celebrate senior skip day on April 18.

Smith and Brown, who have known each other since they were 8 years old, told CBS News on Friday they saw an island and they decided to try swimming toward it, despite the fact that there were no lifeguards on this remote part of the beach. 

Smith said they first went for a red buoy a few dozen yards away, but the distance appeared to grow larger. He then told Brown they’d aim for the direction of the St. Augustine Lighthouse because of its proximity to the coastline — but that suddenly looked harder to do, too. 

“We started to realize we were getting further away from the lighthouse rather than getting closer,” Smith told CBS News. “That’s when we started to freak out.” 

“This current pushed us so far we couldn’t do it,” Brown added. “At that point, we knew were in trouble.” 

Desperation was settling in and exhaustion started to become a factor. They linked arms and floated together; otherwise, Brown feared, “If we kept swimming, we would have drowned.” As they floated, they prayed for help.

“When we linked arms, honestly cried out to God, ‘If you’re out there, please send something to save us,'” Smith said. Around 30 minutes later, a boat en route from South Florida to New Jersey spotted them. 

“It came out of nowhere,” Brown said. “When I saw it, I knew we were getting out of here.” At that point, her first thought was, “God is real.” 

The crew on the boat hauled them in and gave them blankets to warm up. Captain Eric Wagner had a surprising yet fitting revelation for the teens — the boat’s name is the “Amen.” Both teenagers were safely returned to shore. 

On Thursday, they spoke to the captain via Facetime for the first time since their encounter at sea. Smith said Wagner felt “God sent him there.” 

“They weren’t even supposed to there,” Smith said of the boat. “The ocean was really bad that day. The water was really choppy but he and his crew decided to wait it out.” 

With graduation weeks away and college on the horizon, the teens are thanking God and Captain Wagner for their rescue. 

“He obviously has a plan for us,” Brown said. “We’re not supposed to leave this earth yet.”  

…a professor asks:

“In a classroom full of students, a professor asks:

If you had $86,400.00 and someone stole $10.00 from you, would you throw away the $86,390.00 you still have to try and get your $10.00 back? Or would you just let it go?

They all said they would let it go.

Then he told them, you have 86,400 seconds every single day and this time is much more valuable than money. You can always work for more money, but once a second pass you can never get it back. Every time someone upsets us, it probably took 10 seconds, so why do we throw away the other 86,390 seconds worrying about it or being upset.

We all make this mistake and it is time to start letting the little things go.”