Joni speaks with her friend, Tony Ciomperlik, Chaplain Technician from the Brooke Army Medical Center.
What can I tell you, I'm a patriot, I love my country! I love the colors, red, white and blue and singing God Bless America. I even cry when I wheel up to our office building on a sunny day and I see our American flag whipping in the breeze in front of Joni and Friends. Most of all, I love praying for the men and women in our Armed Forces - in fact, whenever I see a soldier in uniform, like when I'm at the airport? I always give them a smile; always a greeting. And it's with a big smile that I introduce you today to my friend, Tony Ciomperlik, Chaplain Technician at the Brooke Army Medical Center...
TONY: We're so thankful to Joni and Friends and their support in helping us put on our Warrior Retreat. We've done one; we're about to do another. Lives were changed; people were saved; marriages were saved. Just an incredible testimony came out of that one retreat of how the soldiers and their wives and their children spent time together and healed from the war. I'm so awestruck, Joni, because God has blessed us so much.
I'd like to share a brief story with you of one of my soldiers, Matt, MP was out front in Tecrete and he was directing traffic into our base and an RPG was shot at him, hit his humvee and went across the street. The RPG didn't go off, but it hit a little 10 year old and the blunt force trauma killed the little boy.
Matt came to me that evening and he said, "Chaplain, I was ready to see the bearded guy with an AK 47 die, but not the 10 year old. All my peace has just left me." I looked at him and the Holy Spirit urged me to say to him, "Matt, let me introduce you to the Prince of Peace." We shared the gospel and the plan of salvation and I said, "Man, I can't pray this prayer, your parents can't pray this prayer, you've got to pray it for your own confusion. Ask God to forgive you of all the things, all the sin in your life and He will cleanse you and He will make you brand new. He will change your heart." And though Matt struggled through the prayer, it was so sincere and immediately after he prayed I prayed with him and you could see that his countenance had changed. He was renewed; you could see the smile on his face. There was a light in his eyes once again.
That very next week he came to chapel and at the end of the service I asked him to come forward and give his testimony. He told all of the soldiers that were there how wonderful the experience was to have Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That's when Matt made his first mistake as a Christian. He turned to me and said, "What now, Chaplain?" And I said, "Praise God, brother. We're going to the Tigris River and you're going to get baptized. So, we put on our PT uniforms and we sent down to the Tigris and Matt was baptized in the name of Jesus and it was just an awesome sight to see him come up out of the water with that smile, that glow on his face that Jesus Christ was truly his Lord and Savior.
JONI: Well, I hope you can see what I like about Chaplain Tony. Isn't he great? Please be praying for our next Warriors Getaway for wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan - disabled soldiers and their families as we share with them the hope and help found only in Jesus Christ!
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