Our first mission as senior missionaries was Military Relations in the Atlanta Georgia Mission, where we lived in Columbus, Georgia, and served on Ft. Benning army base, which trained basic, officer candidate, airborne and Ranger soldiers. My husband, a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, and I received training at the MTC in Preach My Gospel and from Military Relations at Church headquarters. We were sent out as soldiers for the Lord’s army, but we couldn’t proselyte on base. It turned out the Holy Ghost influenced people toward the gospel through other means.
It is most impressive how the Church keeps track of all members no matter where they go in the world. Miracles happened each day as the soldiers were supported in different ways. One way to keep track of the soldiers was by volunteering at Martin Army Hospital as non-denominational chaplains, which made it possible to know when soldiers or their family members were ill or injured. There we could minister as the Savior would to anyone seeking comfort and cheer.
Many times while driving on base, we were prompted to go a certain way. Often there would be a lone soldier needing help. One Sunday we noticed a soldier had missed meetings for several weeks. We decided to check for him at the infirmary. When we arrived there, a different LDS soldier rushed over to us and asked for a priesthood blessing. A non-member soldier also asked permission to join us in the room. After the blessing, the other non-member soldier, who had previously attended LDS services, said he was being sent to the hospital the next day and needed a blessing. After his blessing, the soldier slapped his hand to his chest, staggered over to another chair and sat down in a daze. We wished them well and left, thinking his unusual reaction was due to being seriously ill.
The next Sunday, the non-member soldier ran up to us and said he wanted to be baptized. He related how he had been immediately healed with the priesthood blessing, and this confirmed the truth of the gospel teachings he’d been receiving each week as he visited our meetings with his LDS battle buddy.
We know how important every single person is to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Serving one soldier at a time, we were blessed to be the instruments that helped bring the nourishment of God’s love and caring to many hungry souls. There is no greater joy than to see the faces of His children light up in wonder and joy when they feel His love and know He is watching over them.
—Roberta Blain, Eden 1st Ward, Huntsville Utah Stake