CHAPLAIN IN A NEEDY WORLD
By SIMON KAHOKO MUREU
I believe many of you have read my story in The wilderness of Africa--- a story that there in narrates how I learned the discover Bible Guides leading me into Advents. The journey was but the rooting of my ways into chaplaincy. The story continue-----
It was about two months since I had joined an SDA church and still in happiness class when out of the blue it was announced that there would be training program for chaplains.
I thought my time have come to get into an area my heart had been desiring to get into for all long. I gathered courage and consulted the elders in this matter. I was signed up for the program--- and a week later we start Learning
As it was to be, the program was to be held every Sunday for three months under trainers coming or being sent through Adventist chaplaincy ministries--- central Kenya conference. it had been planned by senior chaplains Muraya together with Dr Maneno.
I would like to state here in that my desire and inspiration didn`t come as a matter of having joined the SDA church.No.it started when I was still young and have been rooted in the works of Dr Livingstone .his works talks for itself.
Born in Blantyre, Scotland, on 19th march 1813, of poor parenthood and brought up with booth affection and discipline by religious parents, Dr Livingstone came to Africa bringing with him the gospel of Christ and medicine. He preached and care for all, treating the sick and giving a renewal hope in life.
As I set to train in chaplaincy, I wondered if I would be able follow in the footsteps of a man who later wrote of himself:
“In the glow of love which Christianity inspires I, Dr David Livingstone resolve to devote my life to the alleviation of human miseries and therefore set myself to obtain a medical education in order to be qualified.” Note that Dr Livingstone was self educated.
The training program continued slowly and sure and during our third session I noticed that the program lacked sauce of any given chaplaincy. It lacked both theological and educational directions, a dried up satiric. It`s something that couldn`t develop any skills in any way.
Before becoming an Adventist, I had trained in DISCIPLESHIP AND MINISTRY and would be able to say the program was being tailored for pastoral care and lacked any scope in any counseling.
We continued with our training and after three months, we graduated in “chaplaincy level 1”with 20 hours credited- - - and for what?
Then we embarked training in “chaplaincy level 2” which didn`t move a far. What our trainers did not know was almost of us were school teachers and had come across:
- Debriefing – etc
And as things stood, then the program was being taken as a Shum; by many. To myself I undertook it as a laying ground for my journey-----
After being dismayed with the Adventist chaplaincy I engaged myself into a different ministry for training. It`s in this new program I noticed what is chaplaincy.
They are many types and steps on one`s faith identify and what setting one is called to. Steps can vary-----
One maybe called to serve in:
- Schools/ and or in emergency
Services among many others.
It`s during my training where I manage to understand the type of the program the SDA-Kenya has been trying to come up with is institutional ------This is hospital, jail and prison, schools etc.
The training in Kenya is very low developed. It needs be up-graded with an aim of training chaplains who can work both in Kenya and other parts in a wide world I cannot find an Adventist chaplain in Kenya who can work alone.
After understanding the role of a chaplain I then decide to follow not to get into community chaplaincy and instead I decided to follow the path of my role model Dr Livingstone---to get into the wilderness in Africa. I joined the emergency services chaplaincy.
Among the courses I undertook were:
- World religions
- Domestic violence
- Mental health
From this point, I was put into educational programs (as I was) and referred to Johns Hopkins university school of public health _ BROOMBERG.
Here I came across a wider reflection of some of the topical I had learned at SDA-Kenya, now being prepared in a wide educational approach in special areas. What I mean is: stress management is taken as a course in itself and a certificate on its own etc.
I undertook a good number of courses and soon completed this tiresome, heart – breaking and money consuming programs. Since I have been a long –time member of the training ministers and having been ordained as ministers much earlier before become an Adventist, they agree to certify me under their certification as certified chaplain-emergence services.
Many people, both men and women of good faith, people serving God and the world at large would tell you one need to create a special area in service. And one must read and learn widely and agree to continue with education.
Some of the course I undertook with Johns Hopkins was in preparedness and disaster---- which needed additional . I decided to study disaster management programs and entered into FEMA.
It`s in here I found how education is spiral. And one can develop a very strong Career from low level . Iundertook emergency manager: An orientation to position.
Once again, I come across many of johns Hopkins type of programs. Also I did command SYSTEM center, civil rights and Disaster Assistant earning some credit college hours
Earlier in the year 2014, I decided to test the grounds as a Disaster responder among many others- where-in when UN-Habitat called for fund raisers online. They needed funding for the Jimmy and Rosalynn carter work project for DALLAS- U.S.A.
We did it and I received a letter of thanks.
The letter signed by verncia respres, director of online fundraising- habitat for humanity international read in parts:
Dear Simon K
I`d like to congratulate you for a successfull fundraising campaign in the 2014 carter work project. Together, you and other dedicated supporters raised $ 3,475.00 from friends, families and colleagues to help so many families in need of a decent and safe place to live. I can`t thank you enough for your efforts and making a difference in such a meaningful way.
For the first time in a life I noted the seriousness of my long time studying and not taking things and matters for granted. Taking part in an international event would be not be taking a glass of water.
In the year 2015 I decided to travel for volunteer`s mission to Malawi with UN-Habitat _Global village.
The first question they asked was……”have you ever been in any way taken part in our events?”Yes, “I answered. “The Jimmy carter event -2014.”
I was given a room to attend the one week volunteering work in Malawi but fell sick with prostate cancer. I had to give up my place. God willing I will have to go even to another place. It’s not hard for me at present.
As I have started, chaplaincy is one and in many areas. One may start in counseling and end up doing something else Many people would start their ministry in jail and prisons only to find themselves caring for both children and aged.
I started in lay chaplain and now I find myself in various different religious beliefs and must always have to hold respective for these other religious belief while maintaining my Christian values.
Like in the ancient time the chaplain is on the present of battle field.
In Deuteronomy 20:2-4 we read: when you are about to go into battle field, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say; Hear, O Israel, today you are going into the battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid or give way to panic before them. For the lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemy to give you victory.(NIV)
The major role of a Chaplain is to be present in the time of need give or care of needs at the needed time. Jesus Christ was very aware of this.
In john chapter 6:1-4 we see Jesus Christ under taking several things all at once. He crossed the sea, saw a great crowd, went up the mountains side, tested Philip, looked for bread, finds it and prayed for it. The miracle is performed. Lots of bread and fish. Over six thousand hungry people are fed to fully. Isn`t this a great wonderful art in chaplaincy? Don`t we find God feeding His own people with both manna and Quails while travelling in the desert? This is the true art of love and mercy ----- the leading principles in chaplaincy.
One cannot be very good chaplain unless one understands well the healing ministry of our lord Jesus. It is a ministry that Isaiah prophesied –read isaih53.
It`s in the Bible that Jesus healed all maladies with 17healings and about fourteen summaries. This was preaching by action----- giving hope and peace to those who needed it in the times of need. He is but the very lead chaplain.
During my training tenure, I have come across some very daring men all working towards the same goals. These are Franklin Grahams and K.P Yohannan not forgetting mother Teresa.
K.P Yohannan, the author of a bestselling book “Revolution in world missions “and now at an advanced age had dared, worked very hard for this native Indians. He had all along been calling, through his Gospel for Asia ministries for the world community to understand the meaning of native –local trained,. christ-co workers. He maintains: it would be faster and even much cheaper to have a local manpower instead of sending out or in missionaries from abroad.
K.P had tried it and done wonders among major chaplains, had surrendered his life for all kinds of people, religion and tribe.
Brother Franklin Grahams is a son to the world’s famed evangelist Grahams, the
Author of the books—“A rebel with cause and living beyond limits” is the most present day daring chaplain. In no minced words, Franklin had trained more chaplains and Christians co-workers. As the president of the Samaritans purse, he and his team are always faster and first to reach the disaster devastated places worlds –wide chaplains who work Christ must pray for their courage, of mind, love among many others. This is because one maybe called to serve in a yellow---a dangerous setting.
One of many Christ co-workers is our dear brother and a very cross friend to Franklin Grahams ---- Sami Dagher.here is a man of God who had seen darkness in the morning and stars during day time. What would you say about a man who.
Who have been working in the middle east for many years ,been taken a hostage by terrorists for more than three times and is still there –in .I wonder how many of us can master this courage in the muslim world.
Mike had escaped death for many a time when
serving many with love,mercy and humanity out and outside his Christianity belief,out side a traditional religious setting……..in places like schools,prisons,military and hospitals.
Many Chaplains who are serving in this setting can tell us how this can be an exciting,challenging and a rewarding way to fulfill your calling.
In recent years many individuals have received training in chaplaincy and are now appointed as chaplains in many areas to work alongside or instead of official members of clergy.
While training in my SDA- church programe in Kenya, I noticed that many members in clergy are in fears of having chaplains work among them.They term chaplains as”off shoot” a person out to take up their duties through a short –cutting path.
This is not true and the major problem with African brothers all across the continent is only one….”Lack of embracing changes”and lowly educated.
To train a good chaplain in the SDA church,one must be highly educated, holds a degree in Theology or…and be ordained as pastor or a church minister .This doesn’t equals the yester years where high requirements were of no use or needed.
There are a good number of well trained Adventist chaplains in South Africa who amounts to a local chapter.The Nigerians cannot be left along in the way.There had been a time when one of our adventist brother served as a chaplain in the white house. These are men and women of goodwill in the services of their God , country and the human race .They are well educated since one cannot serve in any state house having come out of bush.
It’s good we have what many call a real home cell here in Kenya where in we can plant our first seedling and then develop up from here .Not long ago when a word went around that an SDA-church’s university had agreed to develop a chaplaincy programme.
Nearly two years ago the ministry ,an on-line publication for pastors and other SDA-church clergy members carried an interview Article that reflects how slow is chaplaincy is in its development .As if it’s not there This is a sadness on Earth since SDA didn’t come up only the other day.
Around the global’s face Adventist runs the very best universities who can develop .one of the best chaplaincy programme, one that should be canonized and of a graded international standards and one that can hold in all conferences in the world as one.
In the dictionary of pastoral care and counseling:Rodney J.Hunter, Ed.states:the term chaplain refers to a clergy person or layperson who has been commissioned by a faith group or an organization to provide pastoral services in an institutional ,organization or government entity.chaplaincy refers to the general activity performed by a chaplain ,which may include crisis-emergency ministry, counseling ,sacrements, worship ,education, help in ethical decision making, staff support, clergy contact and community or church co-ordination.
From the above ,one cannot find a chaplain taking up a pastor’s workThere is no cause of us terming chaplains offshoot since there—they are in the services of the maker and designer….to give hope and mercy in all the area one is being called to work in .Instead, we may call them :chaplains for Christ….ministers without boarders.
Many institutions may refer chaplaincy as the following:
Pastoral care, Military chaplaincy
Jail and prison
Schools and college
Mental health and hospitals
All these chaplains call for specialized training and development of skills .Some areas are reserved for ordained , others for non-ordained priests and persons.
A chaplain is an ecclesiastical endorsed from a denomination or a talk group , ordination of commission. This has been taking place since 1920 and by 1940 chaplaincy organizations opted to certify chaplains to function in specialized areas also called ministers.
It’s a matter of interest to note here –in that the roman catholic church has not required it’s chaplains to be ordained and has opened this ministry to womaen since 19880.This gave mother Teresa and the sisters of mercy more Authority n to perform duties on giving hope , spiritual and crisis intervention.our mother Ellen G. White could understand more than this.
In the SDA church , many people are well trained in specialized area but are not trained in pastoral .All they need is a good programme which would carry a world wide certification in specialized and common standardized chaplaincy. After all we are serving one God ,giving love , caring for sick and other related area .May it be in natural , terror or famine .We need to be trained and be well equipped so as to serve our lord Jesus Christ in as many fields .This should be why a great psalmist once stood up and sung:
The eyes of all wait upon thee;
And thou givest their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand
And satisfies the desire of every loving thing.”
In her book “steps to Christ”, Ellen G. White states….”the thorn and thistles , the difficults and trails that make him to and cre were appointed for his good as a part of training needful in God’s plan for his uplifting from the ruins and degradation that sin has wrought.
Like in story book…mark twain’s character whose name carries the book’s title, Tom sawyer cried for some food while sailing in the high seas .This is time and season for all chaplains in the Adventists to cry for some……..
And this is why the story of my journey in the wilderness of Africa is to continue.