Showing posts with label spiritual support. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spiritual support. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Why are you still looking for proof of God's Love?

God's Love Surrounds Us

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 28, 2020

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

In troubled times, people seem to find it hard to believe that God is real. They say prove it, yet, if they open their eyes, they see proof of God everyday.

Right now while most of the country is isolating because of the Coronavirus, we are lonely and afraid that someone we love will be stricken by it.

We see hoarders taking whatever they can, while some are left leaving stores with nothing they need.

We see people act as if it is horrible they cannot go out and enjoy their lives in groups of friends and total strangers, only to pass on the virus to others who did not have a choice in their actions.

None of those selfish acts came from God or what Jesus came to teach His Brothers and Sisters. It came because they allowed their own will, their own lust, their own self worth rise above every one else.

We are all capable of being like that. It is easier to take than to give. Easier to anger than forgive. So why is it that so many others are putting everyone else ahead of themselves? God's Love!

God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-21
We see it when Doctors and nurses work long hours under extreme stress to do whatever they can to save as many lives as possible even though it puts their own lives in danger.

We see it when members of law enforcement show up every shift to protect the citizens in their communities while many of members of those communities hate them.

We see it in other first responders when they leave their own families and homes, put their lives in jeopardy to save strangers.

When people line up to take food to shut ins it is there.

We see it when people all over the country take the time to sew masks for hospital staff it is there.

Whenever you are looking for proof of God's Love, it only means you are not really looking at what is already there!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Samaritan’s Purse response in Alabama after tornado

Billy Graham’s Grandson Shares Greatest Need Facing Alabama Tornado

By Will Maule
March 5, 2019

Amid the utter havoc and devastation wreaked by this weekend’s massive tornados, devoted teams of volunteers have been pouring into Alabama, spending countless hours offering material relief and spiritual comfort to those in dire need. Samaritan’s Purse, an international humanitarian relief organization, is one of the groups that is on the frontline, responding to the destruction through prayer and action.
“Unfortunately, for several families, they have lost loved ones,” the former U.S. Army Major and grandson of the late Rev. Billy Graham told Faithwire in a phone interview. “It was a bad storm.”
Tragically, three children have been confirmed among the 23 who lost their lives, while countless others still remain unaccounted for. Edward Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, is working on the ground in Lee County with Samaritan’s Purse, where the grief and heartache is palpable.

read more here

Sunday, May 20, 2018

PTSD Patrol Finding Your Keys

Lost key ring
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 20, 2018

You are ready to go on a journey. You gather up everything you need. Ready to head out the door, you discover your keys are not where you thought they were. Frantically, you search the clothes you had on the day before. You look all over, and then as your heart begins to race, you look again.

When you do not find them, you start to wonder if you left them someplace else. Well, considering you got back home with them, they have to be where you are, but must be hiding.

Sooner or later, you decide it is best to retrace your steps. Best place for that to start is at the your car.

You soon discover your keys are still in the ignition.

It is the same as with your life. All too often, we forget to turn the key and turn our imagination on.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
If you spent your time risking your life for others, that desire had to have come from somewhere. Right? After all, it is not "normal" for humans to rush toward danger instead of running from it. It is not what the majority of the other humans do. It is what the people we call heroes do.

Thinking about what it takes to do that, you should also understand that other than courage and a fast thinking brain, you are also equipped with what it takes to heal from doing it.

This weeks empowerment message comes from OEF-OIF veteran helicopter pilot Bob Roebuck served seven full tours. He spent time showing me around to see the huge vehicles at Spikes Tactical  earlier this week. 
read more here

Sunday, May 13, 2018

PTSD Patrol Sunday Morning Empowerment Zone: Four Tires

Four tires move your forward
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2018 

My friend Rev. Karen Estes has a message about how all of us need help along the way. One tire won't get you anywhere and you need three more. In other words, if we get help with what we need, then we get to move forward! 

When you are stuck because of PTSD, you may think you do not want to burden anyone else. Those same people would have died for you, but you don't want to bother them? The same people you would have died for, yet you cannot bring yourself to ask them to help you heal?

How is that right? What does that actually say to them when you did not trust them enough with what is going on with you, yet you trusted them with your life in combat?

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 New International Version (NIV)
The second tire is the buddy, or helper to stand by your side. 
read more here

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Burnette Chapel Church Of Christ Fellowship Unbroken Faith

Nashville church tries to move forward amid shooting trauma, questions
USA Today
Holly Meyer
September 30, 2017
"I sat out here. It was early Monday morning and I was looking up and I could see Orion's Belt," Carter said. "I mean just how great — don’t understand why — but how great God truly is." Terry Carter
The sound of gunfire haunts Terry Carter.

She and the young students in her Bible class barricaded a classroom door one week ago as a masked man opened fire at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, killing one woman and injuring the minister and six others, police said.

The shooter did not go into the classroom, but the Sunday morning mayhem clings to Carter's thoughts.

"You can’t get some of the stuff out of your head for a while," Carter said. "I’ll gradually get there. But those sounds. The pop."

Carter and other members of the small Antioch church are trying to process what happened in the violent attack. In the midst of the pain and big unanswered questions, the congregation is moving forward.

The crime scene tape is gone and so is the carpet in the chapel. The 25-year-old suspect, Emanuel Samson, is in jail on a homicide charge. They have buried 38-year-old Melanie Crow, who was gunned down at the end of last week's service. And the victims who remain in the hospital are in stable condition.

After the Wednesday night service ended, Carter stood in the church parking lot chatting. Her great-grandchildren played nearby.

"It’s kind of a relief that we can get together and have a fellowship," Carter said. "That’s what we’re supposed to do, have fellowship and encourage each other. It’s going to take a whole lot of encouragement."

She was not certain the Wednesday service would occur nor that she would want to attend Sunday. But Carter will be there equipped with plans for better classroom safety.

She remembers hearing the first shot. It sounded too close. Carter put her finger to her lips, told the children to be quiet and turned off the classroom lights. Together, they moved furniture in front of a door and she cycled through scenarios in her mind.

Carter has her own questions. She knows nothing is guaranteed in life, but her faith is strong and she believes God is everywhere, Carter said.
read more here

Andrew Nelles
Kaitlyn Adams, a member of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, hugs another church member at the scene after shots were fired at the church on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)

Tennessee church suspect may have sought Charleston revenge

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Military Chaplains Find Help in Silver Spring

Helping the helper: Institute aids military chaplains suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
Christianity Today
Andre Mitchell
June 7, 2016

"I thought I had a handle on suffering. I thought I had a handle on understanding the sovereignty of God. I didn't know crap," Williams shared in a report by The Washington Post.
Members of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps take a moment of silence to pray for their fellow brothers in arms in harm's way.
For soldiers coming home from conflict areas, the military chaplain is the person who is there to listen to all their troubles and help them cope with the trauma they are experiencing.

But after absorbing the woes of soldiers, ministering to them, and seeing the battlefield scene themselves, some of these chaplains also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and need assistance themselves.

The St. Luke's Institute, a Roman Catholic Center based in Silver Spring in Maryland, has made it part of its mission to help these military chaplains.

One such chaplain is Pastor Matthew Williams, who has already been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Williams said he initially thought that he could take in everything he saw in the battlefield—from corpses in body bags to his "friends' faces all blown apart"—until he realised he could not take it anymore.
read more here

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Papa Ward, Pastor to Homeless Veterans Died on Christmas Day

The man who gave hope dies on the greatest day of hope
Daily Commercial
Tom McNiff
December 30, 2015
Papa Ward, the pastor of Logos Christian Fellowship church in Leesburg, died Christmas day. Those who knew him best say it was fitting that Ward, who brought hope to so many, died on Christ's birthday -- celebrated in the Christian faith as a day of hope.
Papa Chris Ward
Gary Kadow, Pastor Chris Ward, and Deb and Bob Peters pose for a photo on the day after Thanksgiving, a day spent worming with homeless people in the Ocala National Forest.
Long before there was a Project SOS, a veterans aid organization that, in part, helps homeless veterans living in the Ocala National Forest, there was Chris Ward.

The one-time Army Airborne Ranger, who became a minister after leaving the service, had been tromping across the pine needles and through the thickets of the forest looking for campgrounds where homeless veterans retreated to wrestle in solitude with the demons they brought back from the battlefield.

He brought them food, fresh water, clothing, blankets -- anything to soften their rugged day-to-day existence. But most of all, he brought something most people couldn't. He brought understanding, the kind of understanding that only another combat veteran could offer.
read more here

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Strength For Service To God and Country Best Seller

Eagle Scout brings back WWII devotional, making forgotten book a Pentagon best seller 
FOX News
By Perry Chiaramonte
Published November 15, 2015
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff sent letters to us asking if we could get this book published, people started sending checks, the Pentagon asked for a million copies to be sent over and everything started to fall together,” Hunsberger said. “There are so many signs that God was playing a role in this project, because there is now way it could have happened without his help.”
Evan Hunsberger was just 13 when his grandfather suffered a stroked that meant he would never be the same again. But the boy made an unexpected discovery among the two-war veteran's belongings that changed his life and gave inspiration to a new generation of American soldiers and sailors.
It was 1999, and Hunsberger, a Boy Scout, was somberly helping his grandmother sort through former Navy Corpsman Gene Hunsberger's possessions as he prepared to move into a Southern California nursing home. A book his grandmother was about to throw away caught the boy's eye.

It was called “Strength for Service to God and Country,” and the veteran had carried during his service in both World War II and the Korean War.

Knowing that the book he now held in his hands had helped his grandfather through difficult times, the boy got a little idea that would soon become a big one. “I wanted to republish book that brought him so much comfort when he was in harm’s way,” Hunsberger recalled to “I asked him, ‘Papa I am going to publish this book, and do I have your blessing?’ read more here

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sarah Palin speaking at PTSD foundation gala?

Sarah Palin to speak at PTSD support foundation gala
The Courier
September 4, 2014

Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will speak at a charity gala event to benefit the Mighty Oaks Warrior Foundation at WoodsEdge Community Church near The Woodlands at 6 tonight.

Tickets are still available to attend the gala. General seating, including admission to the silent auction and dinner, is $100 per person. Premium seating is $150 per person. A reserved table for eight guests with front row seating is $2,000; and a VIP table, including dinner for eight, a private meet and greet, photo and book signing with Palin, is $5,000.
read more here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Homeless veterans facing eviction from group home

Homeless veterans facing eviction from group home
Florida business challenging others to help
Ministry needs $180,000 to buy the home
Jeff Skrzypek
Jul 28, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - The clock is ticking on several homeless veterans in Vero Beach, who will be kicked to the curb and out of the group home they have been staying in unless enough money is raised to buy the house.

Breath of Heaven Ministries, which runs the group home to help veterans, has until Thursday to raise $180,000 or they have to move out of the home.

After hearing about the situation, West Palm Beach tow truck company owner Kenneth Duvall, is pledging money and hopes other small businesses follow his lead.

"Veterans deserve it. They are why my small business is successful," said Kenneth Duvall, owner of Duvall Towing.

Pledging $1,000 to help, Duvall hopes others follow his lead and help pitch in to save the home before the owners sell it.

"There's a couple million people between Palm Beach County to Vero (Beach) and I figured if 1-in-10,000 of those people would give a thousand dollars, it would be $200,000 and it would be done," said Duvall.

Time is running out on the veterans who are counting on the home to get them back on their feet.
read more here

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Vietnam Veteran Helping Others to Come Home

‘We have to learn how to come home,’ says veteran
The Olympian
Staff writer
March 8, 2014

A well-timed bear hug from a Vietnam veteran persuaded Jonathan Wicks to put down the gun he’d raised to his head and start seeking therapy for the post-traumatic stress he developed after serving in Iraq.

Nine years later, Wicks is the one giving back to former military service members as a counselor at the Tacoma Vet Center. It’s rewarding work for a veteran inspired by his own therapists at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“PTSD showed me what my meaning is” in life, he said.

Wicks shared his story Friday with an audience of nearly 200 at the University of Washington Tacoma, urging them to show compassionate, nonjudgmental care for veterans leaving the military after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His testimony was part of a conference on veterans and military families that was targeted at professionals in social work, counseling and human resources. They’re among those most likely to encounter veterans struggling to adjust to civilian living.

“We have to learn how to come home just as well as we learned how to go into the military,” said Stephen Robinson, a retired soldier who helped bring the conference together as vice president of external affairs for Prudential.
“The people who helped me the most were not combat veterans,” he (Anthony Hassan) said. “They just showed me compassion. They showed me compassion I didn’t know people had.”
read more here

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fort Caron Chaplain's assistant cares for 900 in Afghanistan

Soldier Helps to Meet Comrades' Spiritual Needs
American Forces Press Service
by Sgt. Eric Glassey
Sep 19, 2013

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Army Sgt. Michelle McCullah lights a candle, adding its glow to the spectrum of color cast through the stained-glass windows into the chapel.

McCullah is a chaplain assistant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, stationed out of Fort Carson, Colo., who is serving here with Regional Command South.

Her responsibilities are as diverse as the world’s religions as McCullah works with Army Chaplain (Capt.) Samuel Rico to provide spiritual ministry to the battalion.

“In this unit, as a chaplain, I have to be concerned for the spiritual needs of some 900 people in some form or another,” Rico said. “That’s a lot for one person. It helps having her keep me on track.”

McCullah takes being a chaplain assistant beyond simple administrative work by extending Rico’s ministry to the soldiers.
read more here

Fort Drum soldier gets intervention at Massachusetts church

Soldier seeks spiritual guidance at Boxford church
Reported by: Jonathan Hall
September 19, 2013

BOXFORD, Mass. (WHDH) -- Boxford police say a soldier on his way home to Maine from Fort Drum in New York, got off the highway and approached a church Tuesday morning looking for a bathroom and spiritual support. “He saw a church was having a difficult time and wanted to speak with someone about his problems,” said Lt. Jim Riter, Boxford police dept.

As parents were picking their toddlers up from a preschool at the church, someone let the man in to use the restroom. He then asked to speak with a minister, who was in a different building.

“He was wrestling with both psychological and spiritual issues. He was sick, he needed medical help,” said Rev. Laura Gronberg, 2nd Congregational Church of Boxford.

When the soldier said he had a gun in his car, the minister dialed 911. The man accepted and got into an ambulance for a mental health evaluation.

However, police say the soldier changed his mind, bolted and ended up in a garage where he startled a homeowner and then ran off again. Police say he reemerged on Kendall Road where they found him and took him into custody without a struggle.
read more here

Friday, December 14, 2012

Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'

I am so tired of religious leaders taking the easy way out of saying "there is no good answer" when the worst tragedy happens. It shows they lack the ability to see God in all things including times when evil is committed. They forget that God will not interfere with man's freewill. It is up to them if they listen to His voice to do good in this world or to turn away and do evil against others.

Today we focus on the pain and the horror of so many children being killed along with innocent adults just trying to teach them so they could have a better future. That future will now include remembering this evil act, yet I refuse to ask "where was God" because I know He was there.

Some parents are holding onto their children tonight and some will thank God it wasn't them at the same time they grieve for the other parents. Some parents are waiting to be able to claim the bodies of the children they kissed goodbye this morning as they sent them off to school. Some of them are asking "where was God" and some will blame God. All of them will be searching for answers and turning to clergy for help but if they hear "there are no easy answers" their healing will not begin.

God was there when teachers risked their lives to pull children to safety. He was there when police officers rushed to the school only thinking about the kids not knowing what they were rushing into or if they would also die this day.

He was there when arms reached out to comfort and when the nation sent up prayers to heaven for strangers they would never meet. He is there when crisis responders drop whatever they were doing and rush to be there for all of those in need including the responders having to cope with seeing all the children.

God is always there when times of crisis come but we focus on the evil other people are capable of.

The gunman pulled the trigger of the guns and according to reports this far, he was shooting at random. Why he did it we may never be able to understand but even knowing why will not change the outcome. We do know that parents loved their children and their children loved them. We do know that teachers wanted to give these children a bright future as they hoped one day these children would grow up to change the world for the better. We do know that the members of the police force and emergency responders cared about the members of their community enough that they were willing to risk their lives for them. While evil did surface this day, love did as well.

If you are a member of the clergy don't give them easy answers or try to back out of giving any answers at all. They don't need you to fix them right now but help them cope with this horror and listen to them. Don't tell them one of the stupidest things I've ever heard come out of the mouth of a pastor, "God only gives us what we can handle" because when you tell them something that sickening you are telling them that God either did it to them or He allowed it to teach them a lesson. If you think that gives anyone comfort ask yourself how you'd feel hearing that. To be there for them you have to really be there for them, all of you. Your ears must listen, your heart must feel and your prayers for them must include God giving you the right words to come out your mouth to actually give some comfort to them even if it is tiny compared to the depth of their pain.
Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
December 14, 2012 06:17 PM ET

(CNN) – As he waited with parents who feared that their kids were among the 20 children killed at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, Rabbi Shaul Praver said the main thing he could do for parents was to merely be present.

“It’s a terrible thing, families waiting to find out if their children made it out alive,” said Praver, who leads a synagogue in Newtown, Connecticut, and was among nine clergy gathered with parents at a firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the shooting occurred.

“They’re going to need a lot of help,” Praver said of those who are close to the dead.

From the first moments after Friday’s massacre, which also left six adults and the shooter dead, religious leaders were among the first people to whom worried and grieving families turned for help.

Over the weekend, countless more Americans will look to clergy as they struggle to process a tragedy in which so many of the victims were children.

“Every single person who is watching the news today is asking ‘Where is God when this happens?’” says Max Lucado, a prominent Christian pastor and author based in San Antonio.

Indeed, many religious leaders on Friday stressed that the important thing is for clergy to support those who are suffering, not to rush into theological questions. A University of Connecticut professor on Friday hung up the phone when asked to discuss religious responses to suffering, saying, “This is an immense tragedy, and you want an academic speculating on the problem of evil?”

“There is no good answer at that time that anyone can hear and comprehend and take in,” said Ian T. Douglas, the bishop for the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut, referring to counseling family and friends of the dead. “They’re crying out from a place of deep pain.” read more here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saving a life turns into bad reflection of what is going on

I just posted the report of Suicides at Fort Carson appear to be rising and then saw this headline.

3rd Medical Depoyment Support Command prevents suicide through intervention

I read it thinking that this could be a really great story but soon after I began reading it, I was sad. This isn't a feel good story of a life saved but a reminder of how many have been lost because they didn't get what they needed to want to stay alive.

3rd Medical Depoyment Support Command prevents suicide through intervention
3rd Medical Deployment Support Command
Story by Master Sgt. Serbennia Davis and Sgt. Anthony Mitchell
Sgt. Anthony Mitchell
Spc. Ciera Burts shares her story about a time when she saved a classmate from attempting to commit suicide. She stayed with her all night until she could get professional help for her on the next day.

FORT GILLEM, Ga. – “When I got a call on the weekend, I knew something was wrong,” said Maj. Renata Hannah in a very serious tone.

Maj. Hannah recounted a time when she intervened with one of her soldiers who wanted to commit suicide.

“I was on my way out of town, but I immediately turned around and kept her on the telephone for 45 minutes until I reached her house,” continued Hannah.

She had ministered to the soldier for six months prior to the phone call. She could tell that her soldier was in deep emotional distress. Maj. Hannah reminded the soldier of her children and family. She used her training in suicide prevention to avert a disaster. Her actions saved a life on that particular day.

Recently, 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command conducted an extensive suicide prevention stand down. The purpose was to educate every soldier in effective ways to help a struggling soldier who might contemplate or attempt suicide. Army-wide suicide is a very serious problem that 3rd MDSC leadership is fighting to eliminate. In the stand down meeting, 3rd MDSC soldiers were introduced to startling facts and statistics.

“There have been more suicides in the Army than combat deaths,” exclaimed 1sg Sgt. Danny Kelley when addressing troops.
read more here
There is no doubt Maj. Hannah saved a soldier's life that day. The soldier trusted her enough to make that call. That says a lot about the Major.

Now let's focus on the rest of the story.

Six months she ministered to the soldier. Yet she still wanted to commit suicide. That says despite all the Major's dedication, it was not enough to help enough to help the soldier heal enough.

Spc. Ciera Burts had to stay with the soldier all night until the next morning for professional help but we've been told there is someone available around the clock. Why wasn't there someone the Spec. could have taken the soldier to?

There is so much wrong with what is happening that someone needs to be held accountable. Why are there more suicides and more push to repeat the same mistakes?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One in five Americans has no religion

When I am asked why I decided to become a Chaplain, this is pretty much one of the biggest reasons. Talking to veterans and their families it becomes apparent that most of them do not attend church. Most of the people I know don't go and they were turned away more than decided they didn't want to. Too many ended up not getting what they needed from the clergy they were listening to. Even more had bad role models. Instead of finding another church where they would find a place that "fit" their beliefs, they walked away from the institution but did not walk away from God.

Survey: One in five Americans has no religion
Editor's note: CNN recently won four first-place reporting awards from the Religion
Newswriters Association.
By Dan Merica

Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.

Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.

Pew found that those who are religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.

And yet Pew found that 68% of the religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God, while 37% describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.” One in five said that they even pray every day.
read more here

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Georgia pastor hears the cries of homeless veterans and church answers

Pastor's plea inspires charity in Georgia parishioners
By Stephen O'Kane

Marietta, Ga., Feb 18, 2012 / 03:42 pm (CNA).- It began with a simple idea of providing candles to MUST Ministries in Marietta, Ga. for the homeless in hopes of keeping rats away while they slept in the streets.

Just two months later, the response and support of the parishioners at the Catholic Church of St. Ann in Marietta, Ga. has turned into a full-fledged ministry to help the less fortunate.

When St. Ann’s pastor Father Tom Reilly was approached during a liturgy meeting with the idea of collecting candles for the homeless, the priest felt that there had to be something more they could do to help. So he recorded a video message to be played during Mass throughout Advent, encouraging members to get involved in this budding ministry.

“I applaud MUST Ministries for doing this, but at the same time I was deeply affected by the thought of collecting candles so the light would keep rats away,” Father Reilly said in the message. “What has happened to us, as a country, a state and a world? … 16 percent of the homeless nationwide are veterans. In Georgia, that number is eight percent.”

“These veterans are men and women who served our country and fought to keep us free,” he continued. “Many of them have returned broken because of their experience. These are the people Jesus is talking about when he implored us not to harden our hearts when we hear the cry of the poor.”

Father Reilly asked parishioners to light a candle and keep it burning in their homes to remember the plight of the homeless. Over the next week, thousands of candles were collected and distributed at a homeless shelter. Richard Campbell, a friend of the pastor, suggested that the parish also collect military backpacks and distribute them with some basic supplies to homeless veterans.
read more here

Most Christians know the story of the Roman Centurion going to Christ so that his beloved servant could be healed. What most do not think about is how powerful this event really was.

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come here,” and he comes; and to my slave, “Do this,” and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
The Centurion was an enemy to the Jews but above that, Christ knew Roman hands would nail Him to the cross when this man dared ask for help. What did He do? Christ loved him and healed the servant. It took a lot for this man of power to ask Christ for help but he must have trusted just enough to take the chance.

Across this nation there are military men and women coming home from where we sent them to do what was asked of them. We said go and they went. After September 11th, there was no need to worry about people stepping up to respond to the attacks. Young men and women were signing up while still in high school. Older veterans were saying "Send me again." and they reenlisted. They trusted just enough to do all that was asked of them expecting little in return.

They expected if they were killed in combat, their bodies would be laid to rest with honor and their families would be taken care of. They expected that if they were wounded, their wounds would be taken care of and if they couldn't work, they would be compensated for the loss of their ability to provide for themselves and their families.

What they didn't expect was to become homeless and living on the same streets they risked their lives serving. They didn't expect the American people cheering as they left these shores to switch to the other side of the street when they saw them begging for spare change. They didn't expect to hear a Christian say "They are homeless because they want to be." or hear "They are just another drunk looking for handout." They didn't expect to be suffering spiritually and have the churches shut their ears to their cries for help.

If your church has done this, or you hear a friend say the things you just read above, give them a copy of this so they know what is possible when we do what Christ did and when we look at our veterans with love.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chapel of the Net

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."(New International Version)

I have a new blog, Chapel of the Net.  It is for trauma survivors. 

It is a nondenominational blog based on Christian beliefs. There are not many traumatic events I had not been touched by but not one has destroyed me.

Domestic violence

My father was a violent alcoholic until I was 13. With the help of AA, he stopped drinking and never touched another drop until he passed away at the age of 58.

My ex-husband beat me once and nearly killed me. I was saved by my landlord and the police.


I divorced my ex-husband and he stalked me for over a year. I have been married to Jack, a Vietnam vet since 1984.

Car accident

I survived being hit in the rear and sent head on into a guard rail.

Traumatic brain injury

At 4 ½ I was pushed off a slide at a drive-in movie. I fell two stories head first and landed on cement.

Health crisis

Miscarried twins and hemorrhaged.

After my daughter was born, I had an infection that was not treated properly. It caused a massive infection that almost killed me eight months later.

Death of family members

Father at the age of 58

Brother Warren at the age of 42

Brother Nick at the age of 56

Mom at the age of 85

My husband lost his whole family, Father, Mom, two sisters in 13 months.

His nephew committed suicide. He was a Vietnam veteran and committed suicide due to PTSD and heroin.

Job loss

I lost my job working for a church, a job I loved and didn’t receive unemployment. As a church they didn’t have to pay into the system and I was left with no income to support my ministry. We survived on my husband’s disability and pension.

It is the fact I have not lost hope that I am stil here.  I want to give to others what was given to me and that is the support and love that has seen me through it all. 
Please visit Chapel of the Net and as the days go on, I hope you will not only find comfort there but share it with others.  If you went through something, please share it and how you overcame it.
There will be no ads on this site and totally reader supported.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Do you want a stronger, spiritual life

When people ask me what a Chaplain is, I tell them that we take care of people, listen to their problems, help with what they need within our means, offer a caring, listening ear, and love them. A Chaplain works 24-7.

At the local Publix I know the manager well and when I was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, she used to ask if I had the day off. I told her, if I'm awake, I'm working. My Chaplain ID hangs from a hat on my dashboard for when I arrive at an accident or called to visit someone at the hospital. Most of the time I'm just going about my daily business and not dressed up in Chaplain gear, so having some kind of identification to let people know who I am is vital. It reassures them that I am trained and ready for any crisis they have.

Yet as a Chaplain, no matter how much faith I have in God and Christ, no matter how much I pray and put my faith in God's hands, I know I am subjected to the actions of others. Sometimes they are angry and take it out on me. Sometimes they are grieving so much, there isn't much I can say to ease their pain, but I offer a listening ear and all the time they need while I pray for them.

The work I do online is mixed between heartache when I read about another suicide or veteran on the brink, yet I am fed when I read stories about how far we've come in taking care of our veterans or stories about other people stepping up to help. I go to bed each night, praying and saying Thank You to God for the blessing I do have even as I pray for help with what I need, and I wake up with prayers sitting quietly as the day begins. I grieve. I rejoice. I beg. I rejoice. I cry and feel hopeless thinking about how much I mess up my life and then I rejoice knowing God can fix even people like me.

On this I am reassured simply by what He managed to do with the people we call heroes of the Bible. Each one of them messed up. They all made mistakes. They were all simple humans but no matter how much they messed up, God had not given up on them and the world was better off for them having lived.

Yet even with what I know, what I believe or how strong my faith is, there are times when I want to just go home to God unable to carry this burden and times when I regret I asked Him to use me. Times when it feels as if the entire world has turned against me so I would be better off not getting out of bed. I see how mean people can be, how selfish and uncaring, but the next moment I see how unselfishly they reach out to offer comfort to someone else and then, then I know I want to be counted among the caring and belong right where I am.

One of them is another Chaplain in the Brevard County Chaplains' group I belong to. Papa Roy sends out daily reminders of faith to offer support to other Chaplains. Today it was a message too beautiful to not share. He sends them everyday no matter what is going on in his life or what pain he has. He lets nothing stop him from getting up way too early to share the love of God.

Good morning, thank Him for your blessings!
Do you want a stronger, spiritual life?

The more ministry involves working with people, the more we need quiet time with God. In the previous verses in Mark 1, Jesus has been highly involved in people-intensive ministry as he teaches, preaches, heals, and casts out demons. This is exhausting work. Yet there is always more work with people than any one of us can complete. There will always be another need, broken heart, hurting soul, and desperate problem. For us to continue to minister, we desperately need to get alone and be with God to renew our relationship, to restore our soul, and to rekindle our passion in the presence of God. (Phil Ware)

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)

Our response to the normal, ordinary demands of life and the power to cope with those demands must come from our reliance upon Him at work within us. This is the secret: All power to live the Christian life comes not from us, doing our dead-level best to serve God, but from Him, granted to us moment by moment as the demand is made upon us. Power is given to those who follow, who obey. The Father is at work in the Son; the Son is at work in us. As we learn this, then we are given power to meet the demands and the needs that are waiting for us in the ministry yet to come. (Ray Stedman)

Thank You, Father, that the same power is available to me today, making me ready so be your instrument in any and every situation in which demand is laid upon me.

Depending on His grace.

Papa Roy

July 14, 2010

In God we trust

We are not supposed to be prefect. We are simple humans, complicated by living.

Our identification is not what we are paid but what we make different. Our lives are not perfect but we put our faith in Perfect Love. We do not rejoice always but rejoice we have God to turn to when people let us down. We do not judge others as evil but understand what it is like to also do things we are not proud of. We look at the possibilities in others just as much as we look at how far we've come from the days when we lived for ourselves.

Chaplain Kathie
PTSD Consultant
Senior IFOC Chaplain
DAV Chapter 16 Auxiliary Chaplain

Monday, February 9, 2009

One hand in time of need works for AA, why not the DOD and the VA?

One hand in time of need works for AA, why not the DOD and the VA?

Chaplain Kathie

Being a Chaplain, especially an online Chaplain, can be very lonely as well as draining. I've cut back on the hours I do online from 16 back down to about 10. I couldn't keep up with the grueling pace anymore. As it is, I am a Chaplain 24/7. I never know where I'll be lead or who I will come into contact with that needs so spiritual help. It happens at the VA Clinic in Orlando. It happens in grocery stores, amusement parks and on the street when there is a car accident. It also happens in restaurants.

The other day, we took a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. (I posted about this with pictures) and we stopped for lunch at a sports bar on Merritt Island. They had just reopened that morning and they were having a rough time getting things to work right. The manager was making rounds going from table to table checking to make sure we were all happy. I could see he wasn't. I offered to say a prayer for him, the staff and the restaurant as well as the customers. He called over a few waitresses and the waitress we had for our table thought she had done something wrong because I had taken off my sweat shirt revealing my black Chaplain shirt with the official logo that looks like a sheriff's badge. I assured her that I was a Chaplain and not an officer. Most people spot the badge and not the word Chaplain right underneath. We joined hands as I prayed and a look of relief immediately came to the managers face.

The group of Chaplains I'm with in Brevard County call it the ministry of presence. Somehow just showing up in the middle of turmoil offers calmness. Often we don't have to say much of anything. Just being there to listen helps tremendously. This happens when I'm online and get emails from people that need to just be listened to.

It gets very hard when your life is falling apart. You wonder if anyone can hear you. If they cannot hear you, they cannot help you and hope fades, faith is tested to the breaking point and doubt takes over. We could be balling our eyes out in the middle of a crowded room, but if no one approaches us, we feel as if we are invisible to everyone as well as God. When things seem to be getting worse, no matter how hard or how much we pray, we wonder if God can see us, hear us, or we have been forgotten by Him as well. My own faith is tested and tried on a daily basis with my own personal problems. Mostly they are financial ones. It gets extremely hard to do what I do without financial support. I end up asking God why it is that I'm expected to help others if no help comes for us. Days on end with no help at all are like torture. Then a day comes when someone offers to help and I'm stunned. I know that God does in fact hear my pleas for help.

Often in the dark days of waiting for help, one of the Chaplains in my group sends out one of his daily devotionals and it hits me hard. Papa Roy did it again today.

Good morning Friends,

You can be

You can be fruitless and dying, or you can be fruitful and powerful. A lot of doubt comes into play when we are not walking close to God, when we are playing around with sin. James tells us, James 1:6-8 ...Ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. If your life is fruitless, your prayers also are powerless. On the other side of that coin, if you are walking mightily and fruitfully with God, then your prayers will be in accordance with His will. You will find that as your prayers are directed towards His will, they will always be granted to you. (Ron Daniels)

Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

You may wonder why you should say what God says in the Bible about you. First, God is looking for faith, and second, it is the Word planted in your life that will make you free. Speaking God's Word is a way of planting it in you. Yes, it can take faith to say what the Bible says about you. Especially when you don't feel like it and the circumstances don't agree, either. But we have to choose: will we rely on our feelings, or God's Word? Do we trust the circumstances more than God's Word?

Pray for our nation

Loving Lord, You call us into families and You often use our families to accomplish Your will in our lives—to instruct and nurture children, to care for our elderly and to give us glorious glimpses of Your great love for us. We praise and bless You for this marvelous plan, and for the joy and pleasure our families give us.

In God we trust: O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.

Papa Roy

We talk a lot about the fact so many of our troops and veterans are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the wound of the warriors, because their need is so great. They are suffering from the same emotional turmoil we all do but their burden in added to by the simple fact they are serving others and suffering on top of it. If we, in our lives suffer while thinking of ourselves, think of how much it hurts when they have set themselves aside for the sake of others and suffer for doing so. They suffer for forfeiting their own needs and wants because they know they are needed by others. They wonder where their help is, where their heroes are, as they see hope slip away wondering why no help comes for them.

As you read about the suffering they go thru, the numbers are stunning but they don't see the vast flood of wounded. They see only themselves suffering in tremendous pain wondering why no one can see them. It is not until they begin to talk to others going thru the same trials and turmoil they see they are not alone. But what about between now and then? Who is there for them? Who is fighting for them and taking their burden upon their own shoulders for their sake? Do they get a Papa Roy sending out daily reminders of God's love for them when they need it the most? Do they get a phone call from someone in the DOD or the VA wanting to find out how they are, if they are doing ok or if they need anything? Is that too much to ask?

When people join Alcoholics Anonymous, they are put into contact with someone they can call when they need to talk or need support as well as someone that will call them to check on them. The troops and the veterans are not provided with anyone. In a perfect world, they have friends to care and watch over them but too often these friends have no idea what to say or do finding it virtually impossible to know the depth of the pain their friend is in. It's not that they don't want to understand. It's a matter of if they have not been in their place, they simply cannot grasp the complexity of the wound. How can a PTSD veteran gain strength from a clueless, although well meaning friend? They can't. They need someone to understand them and know what that kind of pain actually feels like.

Support groups are wonderful but too often they will go but feel unable to connect to a bunch of strangers. It takes the comfort of a person for many instead of a group so they don't feel lost in a crowd of other people suffering especially when they have it within them in their core to help others. They are then left with wanting to know "who is helping me" because instead of receiving they are yet again the one giving. They end up wondering if anyone can see them, see their pain and focus on them for a change. If God loves them then why doesn't God send someone to help them? If the government respects and appreciates their service, then why do they suffer without help? How can they trust anyone when no one can hear them?

They are not just suffering with the weight of the world on their shoulders, they suffer with claims denied and financial burdens they can do nothing about but somehow find the strength to keep fighting to have their claim honored and their wounds taken care of. They see their family under the financial strain begin to doubt them as they themselves lose hope of better days and prayers answered. Help does not come and hope does not come soon enough for too many. They cannot hold themselves up any longer and they take their own life. Why? Why when so many others have been thru the valley of despair could have comforted them do they feel so totally alone?

I know a lot of support groups out there and they are doing wondrous things but they do not offer one on one help the way AA does. This is what I want to see. I want to see a Papa Roy for every wounded service man and woman needing it. Is that too much to ask for them? You'd think that if the Army can get in contact with every soldier they want to deploy, they could do the same with every soldier they want to help. If the National Guards can mobilize individuals in emergencies and for deployments, they can do the same to help mobilize one person for the sake of another when they have an emergency or need help in a crisis. Is that too much to ask? What would it take to do this? It would only take the time to do it and the desire to do it for their sake.

If I, having tremendous faith in God and His ability, find myself so invisible in the darkest days of need, how can anyone expect them to endure if their own faith is weak and no one comes to help them? Believe me I struggle to hang onto hope and a reason to do what I feel I've been called to do more often than the rain comes into Central Florida. I need to be reminded that God does in fact know I'm still here and trying my best to do what is expected of me. Think of how they feel when no one comes to help them. If we offer one hand in their time of need, we not only help them heal, we help them to find a reason to live and we help their family find hope once more. Just think of that. Saving a warrior's life and his family at the same time you do what God said to do in the Ten Commandments when He said to love they neighbor as thyself. Time to move some mountains!