A/G chaplain ministers to wounded
The 39 U.S. sailors injured in the October 12 terrorist attack on the USS Cole had plenty of opportunity to think about eternity en route to Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia. Once there, A/G Chaplain Olric Wilkins was on hand to minister to them and answer their questions.
"At every opportunity I asked them, Where are you with your Creator? Do you know the living God? " says Wilkins, a 20-year Navy veteran who has the rank of commander. In a three-week span, he prayed with 35 of the wounded sailors.
Wilkins was one of five chaplains assigned to meet with the wounded and their families, explaining the lodging, food and childcare resources available to them. But Wilkins also used this time to talk about eternal issues and pray with people.
"Its always welcome when you can tell them about the God who saved them and prevented the tragedy from being greater than it was," says Wilkins, who attended Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. "What the enemy meant for bad, God can still turn into something good."
The injured, even non-Christians, responded with gratitude to the attention to detail demonstrated during the pastoral visits, Wilkins says.
"In traumatic events such as this tragedy it is important to have chaplains who are well trained," he says. "However, we must not see the training as the attainment of the goal and substitute it for the commission to bring men and women to God."
John W. Kennedy
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