Capt. Richard Hurst, a Grace Brethren chaplain in the U.S. Army, was deployed to Afghanistan from 2010-2011, where he served as a squadron chaplain for an aviation unit, 6-6 CAV, 10th Mountain Division. He remembers numerous difficult situations.
“Chaplains deal with a lot over there,” he says.
About eight months into his deployment, he received a call from the supervisor of the human resource section.
“Chaplain, we need you. We need you right now,” was the message. The doors had been secured because a soldier, who had been under major combat stress, was “locked and loaded,” ready to shoot.
Hurst prayed as he ran to the scene. He says it is always scary to go into unknown situations, because chaplains are unarmed. However, Hurst was reminded that the Word of God is a weapon more powerful than any other.
As Hurst went in to talk with the troubled soldier, the soldier’s countenance changed. They had known each other in the past, through a counseling relationship.
The soldier acknowledged him, Hurst remembers. “Chaplain.”
“You probably need to hand me that weapon,” Hurst recalls telling him.
“Sure chaplain. No problem,” the soldier replied, holding it out.
Hurst quickly handed it off to a nearby officer.
The chaplain believes he was “strategically placed as a weapon of God to minister to [that] particular soldier and build that relationship so he’d trust” enough to easily hand over his own weapon. “It [was] a blessing from the Lord–it was all Him, not me,” he recalls.
Editor’s Note: Captain Hurst is one of 18 men who serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and in Veteran Affair’s hospitals on behalf of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. He is currently battalion chaplain for 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Sarah Kraus is an intern with FGBC World. A senior at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., she is from Eldersburg, Md.