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2003 Conversations


Joy Williams: Rooted in Grace (December 29, 2002)

Judy Rachels: Christmas gifts (December 22, 2002)

Ralph Carmichael: New music for a timeless message (December 15, 2002)

Roger and Greg Flessing: Media, ministry and society's ungodly messages (December 8, 2002)

Rick Salvato: Meeting medical and spiritual needs around the world (November 24, 2002)

Asa Hutchinson: Drug Enforcement's top officer (November 17, 2002)

Bill Bright: 'Not I, but Christ' (November 10, 2002)

Ray Berryhill: Living by faith (October 20, 2002)

Owen C. Carr: Reading through the Bible 92 times (October 13, 2002)

Curtis Harlow: Combating campus drinking (September 29, 2002)

Wes Bartel: Making Sunday count (September 22, 2002)

M. Wayne Benson: The Holy Spirit knocks (September 15, 2002)

Dr. Richard Dobbins: Understanding Suffering (September 8, 2002)

K.R. Mele: Halloween evangelism (August 25, 2002)

Roland Blount: God makes a way for blind missionary (August 18, 2002)

Cal Thomas: Finding a mission field (August 11, 2002)

Lisa Ryan: For such a time as this (July 28, 2002)

Dallas Holm: Faith and prayer in life’s toughest times (July 21, 2002)

Paul Drost: Intentional church planting (July 14, 2002)

James M. Inhofe: Serving Christ in the Senate (June 30, 2002)

Karen Kingsbury: The Write stuff (June 23, 2002)

Michael W. Smith: Worship is how you live each day (June 16, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal: On the drawing board (June 9, 2002)

Fory VandenEinde: Anyone can minister (May 26, 2002)

Thomas E. Trask: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2002)

Stormie Omartian: Recovering from an abusive childhood (May 12, 2002)

Luis Carrera: Beyond the Shame (April 28, 2002)

Tom Greene: The church of today (April 21, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno: Wisdom for a younger generation (April 14, 2002)

Deborah M. Gill: Christian education and discipleship (March 24, 2002)

Norma Champion: Becoming involved in politics (February 24, 2002)

Steve Pike: A candid discussion about Mormonism (February 10, 2002)

Raymond Berry: More to life than football (January 27, 2002)

Sanctity of Human Life roundtable: Doctors speak out (January 20, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: Ministering in the military (January 13, 2002)


2001 Conversations

Ministering in the military

(January 13, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin directs the Chaplaincy Department of the Assemblies of God. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor, about his ministry experiences in the Navy.

Evangel: You have a strong family heritage in the military. Tell us about it.

Marvin: My dad was in the Navy in World War I. My oldest three brothers joined the Navy when World War II broke out. I’m one of 12 children — seven boys and five girls — and all of us boys ended up serving in the Navy. When I graduated from high school, I joined the Navy Reserves and received submarine training. I was in the reserves for eight years, remaining for five years on the inactive reserve during my years of pastoring. I read an article in the Evangel about the need for chaplains, and in 1971 I came on active duty as a chaplain in the Navy. I spent 27 years with the service that I love, half that time with the Marines.

Evangel: What were some ministry opportunities?

Marvin: As a pastor for 13 years, I had always worked around church people. One tends to develop an expected persona for that ministry. My first duty station was with the Marines at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Suddenly I was in combat gear climbing the hills and eating out of tin cans and C-Rations with Marines. I discovered many of them had a great lack of spiritual knowledge and I had to go back to the "ABCs" of the faith. I had to talk about what salvation is, how one is born again, how one should pray. These men were often completely unchurched and had never had the basic questions of faith answered by a Sunday school teacher or youth pastor. Many had just returned from Vietnam and were trying to transition to peacetime duty. They were trying to overcome terrible memories and experiences. I had to help them through this.

Over the years, I also served at a number of Naval facilities and on the ships USS Ajax, USS Holland and USS Independence. I retired in 1998 as the assistant chief of staff, religious ministries, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

Evangel: Any examples of God’s protection on your life?

Marvin: I never served in combat, but there are situations even in peacetime that can bring risk. God certainly protected me on several occasions when someone emotionally on edge brandished a loaded weapon. One case, in particular, involved a married couple going through trauma. I had just counseled them and we were going to their car. As he sat behind the wheel, she and I were standing next to the car. Suddenly, she pulled a pistol out and shot him in the head. She turned the gun on me and started screaming. I threw my hands up and knocked the gun away.

I leaned into the car and saw that the man was close to death. I just shouted right into his ear that he should ask for God’s forgiveness in order to be ready for eternity. Miraculously, he didn’t die. He was in a coma for several weeks. I visited him in the hospital after he regained consciousness. He could hardly talk, but he said to me in halting speech, "Chaplain, you probably don’t think that I heard what you said. But I did hear and I did what you asked me to do." That brought tears to my eyes.

Evangel: How did your faith reinforce your commitment to military service?

Marvin: I told God repeatedly that I would go wherever He wanted me to go in His service. I never could have imagined the places where I would minister or with whom or under what circumstances. If we will keep moving on faithfully, affirming the scriptural characteristics of God, we can offer ministry in the midst of difficult circumstances. I may not be able to give a reason for something I am going through, but I affirm the faithfulness of God in all of life’s events.

Evangel: Anything else?

Marvin: While visiting our chaplains in Germany recently I was reminded of the horror of war. But when I saw some of the concentration camps there, it reminded me that it is worth any price to fight against totalitarian regimes that would rob us of our freedom of religion and freedom from fear. I believe our Armed Forces have a vital mission, and being able to minister to the men and women who provide for our national security has been very satisfying.

 

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