Michael Jones, a Grace Brethren chaplain who serves at the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., was featured by In Touch Ministries for his use of the Messenger, a portable audio device that is loaded with biblical content and sermons by Dr. Charles Stanley. A portion of the story appears below. Click here for the complete article.
To Serve With Honor: For Chaplain Michael Jones, his mission is clear: Never leave a man behind.
Ample rays of southern California sunshine pour through the windows of the Veteran Affairs hospital, as Chaplain Michael A. Jones inspects the folding tables set up for the afternoon’s event. He’s been laboring for five years to reach this point, preparing for what he has billed as “90 Messengers in 90 Minutes.” Jones expects quite the turnout, having plastered notices around the hospital. It’s all part of Pastoral Care Week—an annual event that highlights the work of the chaplaincy within the VA system. And it’s the perfect chance for Jones to distribute Messengers en masse.
A chaplain for the past 12 years, Jones constantly seeks new ways to serve the veterans in his care. A friend from church who knew about the Messenger suggested that Jones start handing the devices out to his patients. But first there was the issue of approvals. Jones received immediate buy-in from the chief of chaplains, George B. Vogel. But he still had to get approval from Vogel’s supervisor, who asked if there was a cost to veterans. When Jones assured him there wasn’t, the supervisor said, “Can I get one of these?”
Jones gladly gave up the one he presented, knowing that the door was now open to many more Messengers, a product unlike anything the chaplains previously had available. They continue to give out plenty of devotional materials and Bibles, but this audio device has changed their ability to minister in a fundamental way. Patients who have difficulty reading can now listen to the Word of God at the touch of a button.
Back to the Beginning
Jones was born in 1951 at Queen of Angels Hospital, not far from where he grew up in Echo Park, Los Angeles. He was one of 13 children—his father, a widower, had five children when he remarried; Michael was the first of eight more.
As long as he’s been alive, Jones has had a connection to the military. “I always tell the vets, ‘The year I was born, my oldest brother went to Korea. When I graduated from high school, he went from Korea to Vietnam,’” he said. Most of his older sisters married men in the military. In fact, the first time Jones set foot in the Long Beach VA hospital was in 1967, to visit a patient: his brother-in-law. Despite all that experience, ministering to veterans wasn’t on his heart or mind. That would come decades later.
Click here for the complete article.