Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fort Bragg and God

      My daughter Sara and I made a nostalgic trip to Fort Bragg, NC today.  We lived here for close to 10 years, and we took some time to drive past the places we lived and worshiped during those years.  As we reminisced, I was thinking of the way we grew spiritually at each stage of life.

        When Sam and I got married in 1974, I moved to Cambridge Arms Apartments in Fayetteville since Sam was serving in the Army at Fort Bragg. We started attending church together at the Main Post Chapel on the military base. I was used to going to church twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday night, so it was a little strange to only go once a week. So when the chaplain announced a home Bible study, I asked Sam if we could go.  We went, but we were surprised -- and a little intimidated --because the only others there were Col. Meeks, the head chaplain for all of Fort Bragg, his wife Alice, and the Sgt. Major of the CID, Ed King and his wife, Dot.  They were all the age of our parents and very high ranking in the Army. But they made us feel very welcome, and so our little group continued meeting and studying the Bible together.  Dot and Eddie became close friends, and they were such role models for us!  Later they moved to Washington, DC, where became the Sergeant Major of the Army CID and Dot worked in prison ministry with Chuck Colson.  And this young couple benefited greatly from both the chapel worship and the people who mentored us.
         We stayed at Fort Bragg for 2 years, then the Army moved us to Fairbanks, Alaska, where we lived for 4 years -- and our 2 daughters were born there.  When we got orders to move back to Fort Bragg, we were excited to think about renewing friendships and going back to our favorite restaurants and church.  But everything had changed during those 4 years.  Our friends had all been transferred to other places, our favorite restaurant had closed, and none of the chaplains or people we knew were there at the Main Post Chapel.  The addition of 2 children gave us a new viewpoint -- we needed a church with a strong ministry for children. We moved to a duplex on Fort Bragg, but started attending a Baptist Church in town.

         Our home at 108 Luzon Drive, Fort Bragg.
           This church gave us the opportunity to serve in new ways.  I taught Mission Friends, Training Union, sang in the choir, and eventually directed the children's choir. We loved the pastor and the kind people we knew there. They were so good to our children and it was a wonderful place to worship.
After 5 years, it was time for another transfer -- this time to Germany.  We were gone for 3 years, then we came back to Fort Bragg in 1989 -- just in time for our son Andrew to be born at Fort Bragg.


        We moved to Ashwood Circle, very close to our former church.  But while we were gone, they got a new pastor and evidently there was a split in the church and most of our friends were gone.  We attended a few times, but it just wasn't the same.  So, we found a new church called Church of the Open Door.  At this time I was home schooling, and there were several other home-schooling families attending his church. The senior pastor, Dr. Adams, was excellent.  It was during this time that Operation Desert Storm took my husband -- and many other military members of our church -- to Saudi Arabia.  It was a very difficult time for us, but Dr. Adams ministered to us so well. I still remember the sermon that gave me so much comfort. He reminded us of all the times God had taken care of us in the past, and asked us to trust in Him to take care of us all this time, too. I remember an older lady who handed me a note one  Sunday -- I didn't know her, but she just wanted me to know that she was praying for me. The girls were involved with the youth and AWANAS there, and it was the perfect church for this season of our lives.  It was during this time that my friend Linda and I renewed our friendship -- and she was a Godsend who also helped me get through the war months.


         Sam retired from the Army in 1991, and we moved away from Fort Bragg.  We have come back to visit a few times -- we especially like to celebrate the 4th of July here.  But this will always be a special place, full of memories and answered prayers and spiritual growth.  I am grateful for the years we spent here. Each time we came here, it was a totally different experience. But the same God has been with us, no matter where the Army sent us.

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