FORT LEONARD WOOD – More than 2,000 soldiers and trainees at the U.S. Army base here have professed faith in Christ, according to Southern Baptist Chaplain (Capt.) Jose Rondon.
As reported previously in The Pathway, Rondon began to track what has been called a “spiritual awakening” on the military base in March, when he reported that more than 200 professed faith during chapel services on the base on March 11 and March 18. By June 24, that number had risen to 880 professions of faith and has continued to rise throughout the summer – reaching 2,077 on Aug. 19.
In a Facebook post earlier this summer, Rondon wrote that the “key” to seeing so many people come to Christ “is summed up in one word: INTENTIONAL.”
“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” he later said, according to an Aug. 14th Baptist Press story. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Savior. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”
Rondon has served as a chaplain at Fort Leonard Wood since early this year. Originally from Venezuela, he came to faith in Christ in the 1990s through the witness of an International Mission Board missionary. Later, he immigrated to South Carolina, where he attended a Southern Baptist college – North Greenville University – and then worked on master’s and doctoral degrees at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He became a United States Citizen in 2010 and later joined the military as a U.S. Army Chaplain. To learn more about Southern Baptist military chaplaincy, visit the North American Mission Board (NAMB) website at https://www.namb.net/chaplaincy/military.
On this NAMB website, Rondon urges Southern Baptists to pray for military chaplains and for members of the military.
“Please, pray for us Chaplains, that God will give us: focus to see the lost as He sees them; fervor to pray and know that this most powerful God can bring the greatest soul awakening to our military and society at large so millions upon millions will come to bow down to the One Who is worthy of all praise, Jesus Christ; favor with those who will hear the gospel as He enables us to speak clearly and with the Holy Spirit’s power,” Rondon wrote after citing Colossians 4:2-4. “I believe that our nation, our churches and our military are on the verge of seeing God like we have never seen Him before. All glory to Christ alone!”
Retired Major General Doug Carver, NAMB’s executive director of chaplaincy, says what is happening at Fort Leonard Wood is not an exception. Right now there are reportedly 1,348 military chaplains in the Southern Baptist Convention at work.
“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “The current spiritual awakening at Fort Leonard Wood is indicative of a great move of God taking place within the Armed Services today.”
Consider the following, Carver reported:
• More than 2,000 troops gathered in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. this past Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
• Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, S.C.
• The U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy recently rolled out a new program called FaithWorks, which is a collection of evidence-based programs and materials promoting spiritual resilience for airmen and their families.
• The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II.
In the past two years, Southern Baptist military chaplains have reported there have been tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms.
“Historically, God has often used the military as a catalyst for revival,” Carver said. “Many attribute the spread of Christianity in the first century to Roman soldiers deployed throughout the Roman Empire. The Lord is answering our prayers for revival within our military communities. I’ve prayed for over 40 years for our troops and their families to experience the reality of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.”
(This article includes reporting by Josie Rabbitt Bingham, a writer with the North American Mission Board.)