I had never even heard of Killeen, Texas until about 6 weeks ago. It is a major US Army base of some 50,000 men and has been for 20-25 years known as "The Graveyard of the Navigators."
This is because the Nav ministry here languished in division and hierarchical conflict for many years--and all attempts to fix it only burned out the Nav folks sent down here. So I learned in talking to the staff this past week.
It would seem God is now reviving the Body of Christ here at all levels. Once again the Lord has graced me with the privilege of watching Him work in a whole new situation I have never been in before.
During his junior year in high school, I met Mark Goeller from Chico, 8 years ago. Lonnie Heinke brought him down to my house for a memorable weekend and since then Mark has been a close friend and dear brother in Christ. Turns out I had met his dad, Paul Goeller, a pastor, 30 years during the Berkeley days when I was speaking with Carl in a coffee house! Mark wanted to go to Stanford and hang out with PBC with Dorman, but God put him at Catholic Seattle University instead. Mark ended up graduating with a very superior classical education--much better than Stanford could ever some up with these days. Right away at Seattle U Mark noted there was no evangelical voice on campus so he called me on the phone one day and asked what I would do in the same situation. I had him read the story of the old "Palo Alto Think and Pray Group" and told him to start a Core Group with one or two friends, based on Servant Authority. He did just that!
I have since been back to Seattle U. three times for retreats with these folks--the last one at the end of May is pictured on the CrossTraining web site.
At any rate, 5 years from the time it started there remains a very marvelous and thriving evangelical group on the Seattle University campus--endorsed by the University even! The strengths that shine there are the incredible worship times and the great sense of family and community. The end result has been a whole new work of God at SU--and it has remained intact because Grant and Mark and the other founding fathers stayed out of the way and let Jesus do things His way through them, every step.
Mark graduated, went to Ranger school, and Korea and all sorts of favorite ROTC places, and he is now a Lieutenant at Ft. Hood with a bunch of men under him and real tanks, too! His best friend Grant (and wife Jonikka)--who started CrossTraining at Seattle U with Mark--moved down here by faith a few months ago--with no jobs or housing or anything. Grant now has a great job in Computer Science and Jonikka is finishing his ICU nurse's training.
In the last few months, through Mark, Grant and Jonikka, God has apparently transplanted the (a) worship and (b) sense of community from SU CrossTraining into the traditional Nav ministry here. The result is the Chapels on the base are alive, Young Life is picking up, and there is now unity across organizational boundaries and within Navs. Mark rented a house called "The Pad at Fish Pond" where he and 3 brothers are opening the place for dinners, fellowship, worship, prayer. The power of the Spirit is immediately evident here!
From the moment I arrived I have been inundated with brothers and sisters who want to talk. Six of us got into Genesis Friday night for 3 hours. Saturday we had about 20 guys over for a prophecy update breakfast. Saturday night was a wonderful family gathering at the house. Sunday chapel was as moving as any service I have ever been in anywhere. I would not call it a revival yet, but it is very exciting indeed down here!
All my free time is going into talking one-on-one with lonely soldiers. Most are getting their Nav memory verses down right and many have depth in the Bible. But they all need good solid (expository) teaching, and most of all a local family to belong to. Many of them of course joined the army to escape bad family situations at home and they need reconnecting with the past and also a future family of Christians they can belong to. (The many local churches are apparently mostly dead down here according to all reports).
It is a change and a real challenge to hang out with soldiers who know the Lord--they are very polite and say "sir" to me all the time! I never get that at home! The house is as neat as a pin. These guys know how to serve. Not all soldiers I have met are of the highest IQ level, but their love for the Lord gives them a big advantage over us "better educated" Christians. The result is they are teaching me a lot. I could easily be convinced to just stay indefinitely I think!
I would love to see some of good friends in Christ drop down here and hang out at the house in the months ahead. That way more of you can "ride the wave" at Fort Hood.
Meantime I have issued orders to the troops to write up their testimonies and add them to our new Fishpond web site, which is online now in skeletal form,
The pictures will tell you a lot about these wonderful people here!
God is good!
back to Lambert Dolphin's Library
March 15, 1998