A career Army chaplain shares the importance of Guideposts Outreach to his ministry.
by Chaplain Charles Howell — Posted on Oct 25, 2012
I was a 17-year-old soldier stationed in Augsburg, Germany, and desperately homesick. Back then the Army radio only broadcast songs that were 10 years out of date and if you turned on the TV all you got was an endless stream of reenlistment commercials.
Not that Stars and Stripes offered much better. But there in the base chapel I found this magazine called Guideposts with famous people on the cover—John Wayne, Loretta Lynn, Michael Landon—and their stories inside along with others, by real people with real problems and spiritual solutions.
I sat in my bunk and read late into the night. It was as though God were speaking through the stories, telling me, “I am with you. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. You can overcome any problem and grow stronger and wiser through it.” When I get home, I’m not going to forget this.
I did get home and the Lord led me to seminary. Wouldn’t you know it but the Army lured me back into service, this time as a chaplain? All at once I had a congregation of soldiers just like I once was, young, lonely, restless and needing hope and encouragement.
“You might enjoy this,” I’d say, and give them a copy of Guideposts.
My ministry team and I have distributed tens of thousands of Guideposts over the last 30 years, particularly in military hospitals. Time lies heavy on a patient’s hands, time for all kinds of worries to creep in.
At the hospital, the doctors and nurses handed out medicine for healing of the body. I offered stories for healing of the spirit.
Most recently I was head of the chaplains at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Often I was dealing with spouses and parents whose loved ones were suffering from grievous injuries.
I’d listen to them, pray with them, offer advice and leave them with a copy of a magazine that still says, “I am with you. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. You can overcome this problem and grow stronger and wiser through it.”
We’re able to reach out to military families through donations from readers like you. Thanks. You’ve helped me say more than I could have ever said on my own.