Download the full PDF newsletter here. During the annual refit and refresher course, I sat down with several of our chaplains and had a chance to talk with them one on one. One conversation that I had stands out among the rest is one that I had with Reech (Santino) Yel. He was selected by […]
Download the full PDF newsletter here. When the first member of my staff was killed, it caused me to spend a great amount of time thinking about the danger for those who served with us and what it had cost the family of this individual. It is a sobering experience for anyone who has ever […]
Download Full PDF Newsletter Senior Chaplain Paul Koul graduated on April 15, 2001, from our second class of chaplains. Paul was then deployed to Bahr el Ghazal, with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan. He has been serving for 13 years as a frontline chaplain. Paul is […]
Download Full PDF Newsletter Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. (Hebrews 13:3b) As we hear more reports about the evil that is sweeping through Iraq and Syria, it is easy to go about our daily lives without much more than a passing thought to the persecution […]
Download Full PDF Newsletter Since the rebel uprising that erupted last December in South Sudan, the chaplains have been deployed to the areas where the fighting has been the deadliest. In the Upper Nile region, where the attacks first began, the loss of human life has been severe. It is on this battlefield where our […]
Download Full PDF Newsletter Islamic State (ISIS), the ultra-radicalized rogue offshoot of al-Qaeda, is the militant jihadist group and self-proclaimed religious authority of Muslims across the globe. Their ambition is to conquer Iraq and Syria, with an even greater goal of world domination. From beheadings to crucifixions, the terrorist group has become the most feared organization […]
Just days after I flew back from South Sudan to speak at the East Coast Mission’s Conference and Pastor’s Conference, I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. As I sat up, Michael, our senior chaplain said, “Pastor Wes, I have some hard news. Chaplain Peter Magar has been killed at the frontline around Bentiu.” This was the seventeenth time that I have received this kind of call over the last fourteen years, but it never gets easier. The news of Peter’s death was especially hard because he left behind a wife, four daughters and a son.
War is a destroyer of lives. The scale of what lies ahead for the chaplains and this ministry would be overwhelming if it were not for the Lord. The recent civilian death toll in South Sudan has left behind destroyed families, and many new orphans and widows. It will require everything we have to comfort these latest victims of war. The scripture is clear when it says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” We have the confidence that Christ alone can work through the darkest of circumstances and bring healing to the broken hearted.
I once visited the former Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed in a single day by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. From the archeological remains, you can see how the people once lived, laughed and played. What remains in the aftermath of the volcanic destruction is the haunting silence of a place that, in an instant, became devoid of life. It was the same with the siege of Masada, Israel, where an entire group of Jews passed into history in 73-74 AD. I did not think that I would ever witness, firsthand, this level of total destruction in my lifetime; but the city of Bor, South Sudan, a place with families who had hopes, dreams and loved ones, was utterly annihilated.
On December 15, Chaplain Char Gatwech Chol, who went by his Christian name Stephen, crossed into the Valley of the Shadow of Death from which he would never return. Stephen graduated with our ninth class of chaplains in June of last year. This young man had only been on the field for five and a […]