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May, 2002 A Raker Looking for Remnants

September 6, 2006

APPEARING IN THE RECORD, A PUBLICATION OF AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY written by David Singer





Battlefield Ministries: God’s Fingerprints Online



One person, obedient to God’s call for prayer, is making an eternal difference for untold numbers of military servicemen. Each day, in an email prayer request that goes out to some 20,000 people in six countries, Phil Presley names soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and, more recently, Israel. A small logo at the top of his email depicts troops knelt in prayer with the caption’ Let’s pray them home!” Through the Internet and a compassion for “getting the Word out” Phil has woven and energized an online network of prayer and biblical witness.



A typical email, such as the one from August 23, 2006, begins, “Father we come before your throne of grace with thanksgiving and supplications.” Phil then names six servicemen, praying, “We humbly ask that your hedge of protection and charge of angels be around them in their going out and coming in. Keep them from all problems and pain, grant them peace and success in all that they do by your power for your glory.”



Emails also incorporate a Scripture-based devotional that speaks to the stress and struggles of spiritual combat, updates on previous prayer requests, specific requests to pray for political leaders, as well as requests and thanks sent in by others in this prayer-based online community.



But daily emails are just the most visible tip of the Battlefield Ministries story that also provides troops with Bible Society Bibles, new socks and underwear. It began on July 6, 2004, when 20 pastors and chaplains trained in CISM (Critical Incidence Stress Management) responded to a request from the Red Cross to provide spiritual care for 800 Marines preparing to leave for Iraq. Out of that experience of providing spiritual care grew a commitment to pray daily for these young soldiers.



Prayer teams from 10 churches were formed, eventually expanding to include 23 churches in six countries. Teams pray for specific soldiers and specific needs; more than 5,000 US and Israeli Armed Forces personnel have been prayed for thus far. Says Phil, “We have prayed for that first marine unit from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, through three tours and six casualties.”



This prayer-care has attracted the involvement of other ministries focused on serving the spiritual needs of our armed services which, in turn, has spawned a care package and correspondence ministry to soldiers and their wives, and the distribution of Rapid Deployment Kits for departing troops. Kits include American Bible Society Compact Good News (GNT) Military Bibles, dog tags with Joshua 1:9 written on them called “Shields of Strength”, and a “Strength for Service” Scripture devotional.



Hundred of volunteers with one partner ministry, Project Prayer Flag, meet in churches and homes to package kits that include inspirational bookmarks and personal letters. “Every soldier or marine for which we get a deployment address from a chaplain will receive a care package from one of our partner ministries and a Spiritual Deployment Kit from us,” says Phil.



Jeannette Hicks, founder of the Moms of Military Prayer and Support Group, testifies to the contagious reach of this online community. Jeannette emailed Phil, “We currently represent over 250 MOMS across the United States, with 3 MOMS Chapters here in California. I have been receiving your awesome and heartfelt emails for quite awhile now, and have been forwarding them to our MOMS who have benefited greatly from them.



I was very moved today by the prayer from Wife Trish Thompson for her Marine husband. The MOMS (which also consist of many Wives in our network) know exactly the heartache she is feeling . . . Unlike many support groups or Family Readiness groups, we are first, a prayer group. We gather together twice a month to pray for our loved ones who are serving in the military. We stand firmly on the Word of God and prayer is a priority in our group.



Another dimension to Battlefield Ministries was added when Chief Petty Officer Ryan Krause, a patient evacuation coordinator who dispatches helicopters to pick up the wounded, began emailing to his church and friends “Reflections from the Battle Field,” in which he relates military situations to biblical themes. People started forwarding them everywhere and Phil got one.



That led Chief Petty Officer Ryan and Phil to hook up and coordinate what Ryan calls “’real-time prayer for the injured.’ I’d send off an email request to pray for a wounded soldier,” says Ryan, “and Phil would send it around the world. We could track patients, let medical teams know of outcomes. Phil could visit the returning injured. In one instance, a Corporal Johnson returning to Camp Pendleton expressed regret to Phil that he hadn’t been able to thank the corpsmen who had saved his life. Phil emailed me at Ramadi (Iraq). Being at the command center, I knew the Chief of the unit in which the corpsman served. When the corpsmen came in from operations I was able to tell him, ‘Corporal Johnson thanks you.’”



“CISM-trained volunteers minister to injured soldiers returned to Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital ... this is God' gift to us,” says Phil.



“Revival is constant,” says Chief Petty Officer Krause. “I’ve never experienced an environment where servicemen were more ready—where radical change happens. Soldiers become eager for Christ in wars’ dark places. On my first tour, in 50 days our Bible study grew from a few to more than a 100. Fifteen made commitments to the Lord.

“For a soldier to attend a worship service is significant. There’s no music (occasionally we’ll have a CD player with two small speakers), no AC, no big-screen videos, just a dusty tent with a wooden floor. Stripped of everything they’ve come to expect in life (except what’s in their pack), soldiers are hungry for the presence of the Lord and a touch of Home.”

Now stationed at the Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, Krause works with Phil and others to distribute socks, T-shirts, GNT Bibles, and “Shields of Strength” dog tags.

“Through emails we have a whole network,” says Krause. “Phil connects the dots. He’s the hub of the wheel—the nerve center. Through him we distribute the Good News Translation. It’s crucial, especially when dealing with unchurched young people; it speaks plainly. How many times have troops come to me and said they were having trouble understanding the Bible?”



Chaplain Scott Radetski, serving with the Marines, says he loves the fact that the American Bible Society GNT Bibles include both the old and new testaments. “The stories of Sampson, David and Goliath, Gideon, Ezra are so tuned to a military context. They open a lot of doors.”



In addition to running his own company as an executive recruiter for the hotel business, Phil serves as chaplain for the Seattle Mariners baseball team, visits soldier’s families, and takes phone calls from their wives. Revival, he says, is an apt description of what he sees happening in the military.



Phil recalls going through the dorm of one of the departing units, “I went from cot to cot visiting with 30 marines, young kids that reminded me of my own sons. They were trained and prepared. But at the same time they felt fear and trepidation. Not one of the 30, and they were everything from atheists to agnostics, refused to have me pray with them. We established some long-term correspondence; they were grateful to know there’s a group praying for them.”



“The American Bible Society has been an invaluable partner in the ministry God has called me to,” says Phil, “of providing compassionate care for those in harms way. It began in the wake of 9/11 when I distributed American Bible Society Bibles in New York City and then to tornado victims in Alabama and Katrina victims along the gulf coast. Ministry in the midst of chaos, to people in harms way, is holy ground.”



Phil invites anyone to be part of this prayer ministry at philpresley@earthlink.net. “Even Christians who aren’t mobile can pray,” he says.

Events

 

Mission So Cal

Update Aug. 19, 2002

In June, Mission New York City announced the beginning of Mission Southern California (Mission So Cal) to respond to the needs of the Arizona wild fires.  Under the local leadership of Phil Presley, (Corona, CA) a two-trip servant to NYC & Ground Zero, Mission So Cal quickly began ministering to those displaced by the raging wild fires.  

Here is Phils praise report: Praise God for He has answered the faithful prayers of the Mission NYC network.  They have been answered a resounding Yes and the Spirit of God has moved as freely and powerfully, as it does in NYC, when we minister.  I have witnessed a number of "miraculous" events through divine appointments as God has brought comfort, encouragement, helps and, more importantly, commitments to Christ as countless seeds for the Kingdom have been planted through His faithful servants in Christ who have answered the call.

The first trip was a tremendous success delivering 1500 lbs. of supplies.  The Mormon shelter director said, I am amazed you have brought all the things we have run out of.  Why is it that a church from California is here already meeting our needs and our own church is not.  Our Mormon apologist was confronted by the President of LDS/Arizona in front of his bishops who said, I understand you believe that the Book of Mormon is false doctrine.  Our apologist replied, Its not what I say, sir, but what the Bible says and the book of Mormon is contrary to the Word of God and it is to Him you will have to answer.  He was unable to say a word and his bishops were embarrassed for him. 

Calvary Chapel Perris Valley and Calvary Chapel Downey put together teams that were able to minister in practical ways and plant many seeds  simply by sifting through foundations, chopping down trees and ministering to the victims of the fire with the love of Jesus Christ in His name.

Ministry News

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Mission So Cal created to respond to Arizona Wild Fires and So Cal Needs

Mission New York City is pleased to announce its expansion into the West Coast.  Effective June 26, 2002 Mission Southern California (Mission So Cal) has been established to immediately respond to the needs being created by the Chediski-Rodeo fire upon the people of Show Low Arizona.

 Under the local leadership of Phil Presley, (Corona Ca) a two-trip servant to NYC & Ground Zero, Mission So Cal has quickly ramped up to make its first mission trip to Az. on Friday June 28th.  Next week Calvary Chapel of Perris Valley is making the next ministry relief run to Az.

Incredibly, at present, there are over 30,000 people that have been displaced by the raging wild fires. Most of these folks have been sleeping & living in high school gymnasiums, wondering if they still have homes to go back too.

Retired senior citizens, low-income residents and Native Americans today heavily populate the region, originally founded by the Latter Day Saints.  To this day the area still maintains a very strong Mormon influence.

Sadly, many of the seniors carry no homeowners insurance so the devastation may just be beginning for many families.  It also goes without saying that the children evacuated from the fires are now deeply traumatized by the fury of these events.

 In just the past 24 hours, Phil has made contact with Pastor Tony Sperl from Show Low Az. who has been trying to organize a relief effort for people of his community.

Show Low needs your help ASAP!!  If you have a burden to assist in the relief ministry work of Mission So Cal, please contact Phil Presley immediately at 909-734-2237 or via email at missionsocalvc@aol.com. 

30,000 displaced individuals are in desperate need of help. If you, your church or your company is in a position to donate any of the items listed below, now is the time to make a

Announcements

PRAISE REPORT FROM THE GRISTON' JUST RETURNING FROM VOLUNTEERING IN PINETOP, AZ
 
I sure am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. our trip to the White Mountains was just awsome. we had a beautiful drive to and back, but the most blessed of all was our meeting leon and sharon D. they are some of the nicest people we have met in a long time. praise report for the area and mission. well I am glad to know that the clean up is probably done by now 9/15/02 and the planning for re-build is under way. many of the people out there are Mormon, as you know, and the response to Christianity was incredible. for a works related belief system; such as Mormonism, they were astonded by the work of the true church. i pray that the Holy Spirit really does a good work in those people. we are appreciative for the opportunity to see and meet the few that we saw. thanks for the opportunity and i pray that we can be used again real soon. God bless.
                                                                the Griston's
*****************************************************
 
Thanks be to God for Somebody Cares Southland who delivered a truck load of supplies on Thursday, August 22.
From Joe Gustafson, FireChief: " The supplies were a God Send...Indeed they were for God provided for their needs in being able to feed 125 for one week. To God Be The Honor and the Glory!
 
 

A Note from Pastor Bryan Richardson, Calvary Chapel-White Mountains who was the "pointman" for Arizona Fire Victims.
 
Hi Phil!

     Thanks for forwarding this.  I will print it & give it to Leon & Sharon. They don't have a computer.  They will be blessed to read this. The fire clean up has slowed down dramatically.  We did not send anyone out this past week end & don't plan to send anyone out this week end.  No work is pending & the phone calls are less frequent.  I'll keep you posted.
Thanks for all your prayers, support & organization.  

Agape,

Bryan Richardson, Senior Pastor

brichardson@wmonline.com

Calvary Chapel of the White Mountains
P.O. Box 3298
Pinetop, AZ  85935
928-368-9014

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The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I come that they may have life and have it abundantly John 10:10

BATTLEFIELD MINISTRIES
PO BOX 34
NORCO CA 92860
951.734.2237