U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Jose Rondon believes “there is nothing more exhilarating in life than seeing people come to Christ.” This year 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, Missouri, his place of ministry.
Rondon summarizes his part in the effort with one word: intentionality.
It’s about being intentional with 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.
Rondon listened to the staff sergeant, and then he prayed with him to receive Christ. 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.
In need of Christ
“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. “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.’”
Because of Rondon’s reputation for being intentional in his ministry, many men and women have come to hear him 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 Maj. Gen. 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.”
He noted that Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II. And tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms have been reported by Southern Baptist chaplains in the past two years.
“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.” (BP)
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