The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
The LORD spoke the above words to Abram, a long time ago. God had a plan to do something great. This plan would change the face of heaven and earth–a plan to save fallen mankind from eternal punishment by sending a Savior from sin. Abram was part of this plan and the LORD called him to leave behind his family, his friends, his home, and go a place that the LORD would send him. Abram had already moved once. After the death of his brother, Abram’s father moved the family from Ur of the Chaldeans (modern day Iraq) to the city of Haran (modern day Syria). Now the LORD was asking him to move again. Abram answered the call: “So Abram left as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him.”
Abram had already left his home in Ur to resettle in Haran and now the LORD had called him to leave again, bringing him to Canaan. He had moved from a place that was familiar to him, a culture he knew, a language he spoke–he left it all to go to a place in which
he was a foreigner. Abram did not know where he was going. He walked into an uncertain and changing future trusting the LORD had a plan for him and that the LORD would watch over him.
The years that would follow gave Abram many opportunities to exercise this faith in God, sometimes under very uncertain and difficult circumstances. God promised Abram he would make him into a great nation even though he was 75 years old and childless. God promised Abram that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky but then asked this man to sacrifice his son Isaac. God promised Abram his descendants would one day own the land in which he now lived yet, at his death, Abram owned only a small portion of that land with a cave, where he had buried his wife Sarah. The list of challenges could go on: his time in Egypt, the situation with Hagar, his battle against and defeat of Kedorlaomer to rescue his nephew from captivity, etc. Through it all, Abram trusted in the LORD as he journeyed each day into the unknown, living as a foreigner in a foreign land.
Those who serve in the military face many of the challenges that Abraham faced. Members of the military answer a call that often takes them away from the places they know and the people they love to a land that is unfamiliar, live among people who speak a different language, and make a home in a culture that is different to that of their own. This journey brings many challenges to one’s faith as questions arise in our minds such as, “Is this a good life for my family?” “What will be the effect of my military service on my marriage?” “How will my children be affected by the life I am putting them into as military children?”
In times such as these it is important for the Christian serving in a military role to be reminded of how God has brought his people through the challenges they faced throughout the millennia. God does not focus on numbers. Every soul is precious to him, including yours. Abram lived as a foreigner in a land where he was different, but God had a plan for him–a plan that was fulfilled because Abram trusted in the Lord. God has a plan for your life as well as you serve in the U.S. military. You may feel alone, you may not understand God’s plan, it may seem to you that the struggles you have to live as a Christian in military service are not worth it because you don’t see any results from all the hard work. Remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don not see. (Hebrews 11:1).
As I now begin my work as the European Civilian Chaplain, it is my prayer that those I serve, whether military members or non-military here in Europe, remember that God always fulfills his promises and he never leaves his people alone. God changed Abram’s name from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of many”) as a sign that he would fulfill the promises he had made. The LORD did fulfill his promise and it changed our lives forever. Through the plan Abraham was part of our Savior came to earth. He died so that we could live–live here on earth without fear and live on after our body dies. God has a plan for you. No matter how alone you might feel; no matter how challenging living in a foreign culture might be; no matter how difficult the obstacles might look–the LORD will be with you. Trust in him. Believe his promises. Live the life God has given you and rejoice in his love for you.
Chaplain Robert Weiss
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
A new bank account has been established to receive offerings. Please contact Pastor Weiss at [email protected] for details. We are also looking into other ways in which offerings can be given directly to the European Civilian Chaplaincy. More information will be distributed here and on our website.
Reformation Retreat – October 27-29 in Frankfurt am Main
We are very excited to let everyone know that the fall Reformation Retreat will go forward this year. It will be held at the Jungenherberge Frankfurt Haus Der Jugend on October 27-29. We have a fun weekend planned with worship, Bible study, free time to explore the city, and fellowship time together. There are many museums within walking distance of the youth hostel in which we are staying, including the Städel Museum, the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum (with a special program for kids about Roman Sculpture), and the Frankfurt Icon Museum. The Frankfurt Zoo and the old city center are also not far away from where we will be staying.
The address for the Jugendherberge Frankfurt is: Deutschhermuler 12, 60594 Frankfurt/Main Sachenhausen
The website for the Jungenherberge is: www.jugendherberge-frankfurt.de
If you are interested in attending the entire retreat or just one day, please email us and let us know!
Easter Retreat 2024
Even as we quickly approach our Reformation retreat, planning is already underway for our 2024 Easter retreat. We will gather in Heidelberg March 28-31. Watch for more information on this on our website over the next months.
A Note from Pastor Weiss
It is both an honor and a joy to be here in Europe and to have the opportunity to serve in the WELS European Chaplaincy. After 19 years of serving as a parish pastor, I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible as the civilian chaplain here in Europe. As I work to bring Word and Sacrament to those living here in Europe, I pray that God will bring all of you both joy and growth in your faith life during your time here.
In our Savior’s name,
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