A military chaplain in Missouri recently shared that he baptized more than 150 U.S. soldiers during basic training this summer.
Logan Lair, a chaplain associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Baptist Press he baptized 84 new trainees at Fort Leonard Wood in July and 73 in August.
“Trainees, typically from my perspective, have been pretty hungry to learn about spirituality and their spiritual strength,” Lair told the outlet.
“It’s great to see their spiritual strength grow through basic training. It’s an amazing blessing for me as a chaplain to be able to see where those trainees have come from and then to see where they are going. I get excited every baptism Sunday. … It’s such a joy to see.”
Lair said there is a “summer surge” of initial trainees who enlist in the army after graduating high school.
The stresses of basic training, he said, often lead young soldiers to seek out a chaplain.
“It goes without saying, basic training is stressful,” Lair explained.
“[A trainee] graduates high school, maybe a day or two later gets on a bus to go an army base. As soon as they get off the bus, they’re immediately encountering drill sergeants, army structure and discipline, and it doesn’t stop for a couple [of] weeks. That’s inevitably a stressful situation for them.
“The Chaplain plays a great role in all of that because we create a safe place for a trainee to process and vent. As a Chaplain I get a lot of tears, in fact, I carry tissues on my uniform and usually go through about a pack a day. Many times, those conversations are spiritual conversations, and we’re able to talk about that spirituality piece.”
Lair also told the Baptist Press that there have been occasions where a trainee would ask about his faith, resulting in him sharing the gospel with them. Overall, the SBC chaplain testified that the baptisms at Fort Leonard Wood show that God is moving in the military.
“That baptism service is one of many testimonies of the good work Army chaplains are doing all around the world in our nation’s military,” he said. “My counterparts, other chaplains, are doing amazing things on other posts (basic training locations) that have similar stories. It’s an absolute blessing to each and every one of us. It’s a team effort.”
Lair, who came to Fort Leonard Wood in January, was commissioned as an active-duty chaplain in 2019 and is also a North American Mission Board-endorsed chaplain and graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Im Yeongsik
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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