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CHAPLAINS DEVOTIONAL



 A familiar passage from the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:27-31) says:

“Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

 

These past few weeks have been very painful for those of us who have served and continue to serve our nation.  For the first time in our history, we have not protected our citizens who are in harm’s way.  We left Americans behind enemy lines.  You may disagree, but this is my column.

When I face difficult times, I do what I know to do, I turn to the One who really knows and understands, the One who really can do something, the One who promises that what the enemy of our souls means for harm, He can turn for good.  (See Joseph’s response to his brothers, Genesis 50:19-20)

I turn to God!  I pray.  I encourage you to pray with me that whatever has happened, God can turn for His Good and for His Glory.  Pray for those left behind that the LORD would send His angels to protect them and rescue them.  Pray for those who are continuing to work behind the lines.  (I read today of some courageous folks who found 50 children and parents hiding in a cave and have led them to safety.  You will not read about this in media, these folks do NOT want press, they just want to rescue as many as possible.)

Pray that God would have mercy on our nation and grant us leadership that will seek Him and follow Him.

So, to be clear, I am disappointed but not discouraged.  I mourn, but I am still hopeful.

May God once again bless our nation.  We do not deserve His blessing, but we call on His mercy and grace.

Dr. Ron Crews, CH (COL) USA Retired - Georgia MOAA Chaplain

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MOAA’s newest virtual chapter brings together military chaplains to share resources and tools, support the association’s mission, and advocate for issues pertinent to the community.

MOAA’s board of directors approved the creation of the Chaplains Virtual Chapter, the association’s fourth virtual chapter.

In addition to military chaplains, non-clergy MOAA members serving as chaplains in their chapters can join, according to Col. Peter Baktis, USA (Ret), president of the Chaplains Virtual Chapter.

“One of our goals is to help chaplains in MOAA chapters who aren’t necessarily ordained people with providing spiritual guidance in their chapters,” Baktis said. “We want to help provide the tools they need.”

The chapter also aims to be a voice on legislative issues. “As chaplains, we also have specific legislative input that is important but doesn’t always get heard,” said Baktis, citing issues such as suicide and PTSD about which chaplains can provide a unique, personal perspective.

[RELATED: Learn More About MOAA Virtual Chapters]

Currently, the chapter has about 30 members from across the U.S. The group is working to set up its first virtual meeting this fall. Anyone interested in joining can contact Baktis at pabaktis@gmail.com.

Council of Virtual Chapters

The Chaplains Virtual Chapter as well as the MOAA Uniformed Services Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter, the Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter, and the U.S. Public Health Service Virtual Chapter are all now part of the new Council of Virtual Chapters, which MOAA’s board of directors also approved in July.

The mission of the council is to provide support to one another as well as assist groups interested in forming a virtual chapter, said Col. Jeri Graham, USA (Ret), council president.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “I think it’s a great service, to be helpful to current and future virtual chapters.”

The council already has several resources available, including a webinar and toolkit, but they also hope to create others, keeping technology advancements in mind.

[RELATED: Here's Why You Should Join, or Start, a Virtual Chapter]

Like in geographic MOAA councils, the virtual council’s leadership team is representative of the four virtual chapters.

Graham emphasized that collaboration is key to the council’s success. “If we’re going to do this how we envisioned this to be, all decisions are made by all of us,” she said.

According to Capt. Erin E. Stone JAGC, USN (Ret), senior director, MOAA Council and Chapter Affairs, MOAA’s virtual chapters are growing, successfully executing their respective missions, and complementing the efforts and membership growth of geographic chapters.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer the opportunity for chaplains and lay leaders to come together virtually around the globe in fellowship and in support of MOAA’s mission,” Stone said. “We create virtual chapters where there is a need and a mission, and, importantly, when we find a champion who believes in the mission enough to commit his or her time and effort to standing up and leading the chapter. To have enough virtual chapters to organize into a council is a testament to the initiative and commitment of our virtual chapter leaders.”

By Contributing Editor Blair Drake who is a contributing editor for MOAA and lives in Souderton, Pa. She previously served on the editorial team of Military Officer magazine for nine years. 

                                          For God and Country!

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Georgia Council of MOAA
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