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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Voices | 0 comments

Boots on the ground

Boots on the ground

Recently, I attended the training for the Oklahoma Disaster Relief volunteer program in Bixby. The training is a continuation of my desire to be an endorsed chaplain through the North American Mission Board and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. I felt the calling to become a chaplain about a year ago.

I was driving home from work one evening and noticed a really bad car accident. I had an overwhelming desire to just be there and support everyone involved. The medical personnel, police and fire and the victims. I’m not an expert in any of those fields of service, but I am a Christian with a heart for people; especially those affected by disaster.

In this particular instance, I knew there was no way that I would be allowed to approach the scene of the accident, for security reasons and my own safety. Disheartened, I drove home.

The Lord has done some amazing things in my life in the year since. To Him be the glory. I completed my training for the chaplaincy program. One of the requirements in order to be an endorsed chaplain is to attend Disaster Relief training. I knew the Oklahoma DR crew was a big deal. I’ve heard their name and accomplishments come up before. I did not expect to witness the amount of passion and dedication that pours out of each member.

The servitude and pride in being a DR volunteer is infectious. Throughout the day of training I heard stories of relief efforts and salvation and redemption. Of how it didn’t matter how small or large your assistance was, it mattered. It mattered to the victims of disasters. It mattered to the state. It mattered to the church. Most of all, it mattered to the glory of Almighty God.

There was a point in our orientation that Sam Porter, state director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, spoke from his heart “I truly believe there is not a disaster in the world that the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief organization cannot respond to.”

My hair stood on end. Everyone in the room gave their “amens” and nods and fists in the air with cheer. I experienced the bond, camaraderie and historical legacy. It was clear that The Spirit’s presence filled the room as if the Father was saying “This. This is me. These gifts, strengths, hearts filled with love to serve people. This is my active glory manifested. This is not fleeting. It’s not a fad. It’s not a hobby. It’s a lifestyle. I Am here.”

As Christians we are called to do more than extensive training for a stronger spiritual relationship and life of servitude. We are called to be active. To acquire and utilize that warrior mentality. James 1:22-25:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

I see the volunteers of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief and bear witness to not just prepared workers but also doers of The Word. That legacy, that proactive sense of purpose is God’s work. Mr. Porter used the term “boots on the ground” to describe the volunteers on a disaster site. I look forward to being part of the younger generation of warriors both in the DR community, as a chaplain and Christian for His glory. I pray you continue to hunger for Him.

About The Author

Aaron Hanzel
Aaron Hanzel

Aaron was born and raised in the Houston area. At the age of 12 he moved overseas with his family to Kyrgyzstan, where they served as missionaries from 2000-2005. Currently, he lives in Oklahoma City and has an associate's degree in fine arts with a focus in journalism.

Aaron Hanzel has blogged 24 posts at wordslingersok.com

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