I am continually impressed and blessed by the dedication and faithfulness of our CBF endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. Consider the work of CBF Chaplain Terry Eddinger. What a tough situation in which to minister!
When God commissions people to serve in missions, they generally understand they may not be offered an opportunity to minister in a peaceful environment. CBF endorsed Chaplain Terry Eddinger finds himself in a challenging ministry assignment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While ministering in what he has described as a political and religiously charged location, Chaplain Eddinger is currently serving as the Command Chaplain for the Joint Task Force. He is the primary chaplain to United States troops who work at the terrorist detainment camp.
“I want to provide our forces with hope—hope that humanity is better than what today’s society suggests it is. Hope that we are making a positive difference for our nation by diligently doing our jobs. I wish I could provide them with hope that only comes through knowing the peace of Christ,” stated Eddinger
Another aspect of his job is to advise the command on religious matters including ways to provide ministry for the military community. Reaching out and serving the troops from all five branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy) is a key priority. His office is located on the naval base, but not within the camp detainment.
“My staff and I visit the prison camps once a week to lend support to our guards,” Eddinger said. “Usually, I make these visits in conjunction with my office’s weekly visit to hand out religious supplies to detainees. Most are grateful for our gifts but some refuse them. Occasionally, I do get yelled at, but I ignore it, since I’m not allowed to interact with the detainees.”
A recent project for Eddinger included helping manage the restoration of volleyball and basketball courts for soldiers’ recreational purposes. He also preaches during worship services and in his rare spare time, Eddinger likes to sail, snorkel, perform cardio kickboxing, and run.
“God is teaching me patience through the difficulties of this environment. Patience to consider carefully what I do, that every action has a reaction God has shown me many good people, our troops from all parts of society, that I wouldn’t have met without this opportunity.”
Eddinger has received numerous medals, ribbons, and commendations for his military service. He has also taught college courses and enjoys writing. Eddinger is the author of several Biblical-based books and various journal articles. He also sends out a monthly journal of his experiences at Guantanamo through email.
“Keep us in your prayers. My hope is that we can affect lives for the better here and strengthen people’s personal walk with our Lord.”
(Portions of this article first appeared in the GWU Alumni News.)