When I set out to establish a chaplaincy outreach ministry to our community, little did I know the plans the Lord had in mind for us. I’ve filled you in on all the providences regarding the training, and the open doors through the fire department, and the good connections made with individual police officers. It would be quite enough to keep this going on a very simple level, but the Lord appears to have a larger task in mind.
We’ve been able to set up a good protocol with our area’s dispatch now, thanks to the help of my fire chief, who made the necessary introductions. I have four other men from our area now in the chaplain corps, and we are all on call on a weekly rotation. The dispatch people themselves set up the plan, which is very simple and easy for all the agencies in the area to use.
We are now part of the Local Emergency Preparedness Committee, and are viewed by the other agencies as being on a par with them in the role of meeting emergency needs in the county. Again, my fire chief was the Lord’s instrument to give us entrance into that group.
Being a part of the city fire department has turned out to be a very good decision. Not only does it mean that I can really get to know these men well, with the accompanying trust and “passport” into their lives, it also means that I am regarded by the other fire departments in our area as someone who knows them and has a right to speak to them at the core levels of their lives. Just a couple of weeks ago, the fire chiefs’ association asked me if our chaplain organization would like to become an official member of that association. I was astonished, and replied that we really weren’t fire service, to which the group responded, “Oh, yes, you are!” It was a great confirmation to me that I’m right where I need to be as a fire chaplain.
A real challenge has been getting our chaplains into the police department. In the providence of God, the police chief resigned recently and took another job in Boise. The interim police chief is a passionate Christian, has huge personal capital in the town due to being the police chief before for twenty years, and now serves as the Emergency Services Coordinator for the county. He has made it a priority to get the chaplaincy established in the department. This has taken place in a big way now, as he invited us to attend a staff meeting and meet all the officers and explain what we do. The officers received us with enthusiasm.
The interim chief, acting in his capacity as Emergency Services Coordinator, met with his colleagues in Idaho’s five northern counties recently and told them about what we were doing here. They were so impressed by his description of our activities that they want to meet with me to discuss how they can set up chaplaincy services in their jurisdictions! Amazing. He also worked with a regional community funding foundation to secure a sizable grant for us to purchase emergency outerwear for use on scenes for identification and visibility purposes.
Finally, I had a call from the Sheriff just the other day, asking me if any of our chaplains would be willing to serve in the Sheriff’s department. The Sheriff is coming to us! The Lord’s timing and purposes are astonishing.
I don’t know where the Lord intends to take this. It’s possible that the work begun here could impact the entire state. That thought is overwhelming. But I am confident that God will grant the grace necessary to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and will provide the advocates and open doors necessary to reach this vital segment of our society. Please pray with us to that end. — Dr. Len Pine