By Perry Alliman, Navigators Military
Ted*, a United States Army Field Artillery Captain, never thought that his assignment to Fort Rucker, Alabama would result in discipling a foreign military officer and generations of disciples halfway around the world. He is an instructor for the Aviation Captain’s Career Course and met David*, a Rwandan International Military Student Officer, who attended the course.
During their first week together, Ted had a few work-related conversations with David. Ted asked David questions about Rwanda during those conversations, and David told Ted about his home and life in Rwanda. It was not long until Ted asked David if he was interested in a Bible study that Ted led.
David gladly accepted his offer and showed up every Wednesday. He did not miss a single Bible study after that, until the week he was preparing for his final exam. At Bible study, David always had something impactful to share. There were many times he had profound insights that others never considered. On one occasion, when they were studying John 9, most of the group focused on Jesus’ miracle of making the blind man see and the pharisees’ negative reaction to the miracle. However, David pointed out the faith and obedience of the blind man in John 9:7; David observed how his obedience demonstrates the wondrous relationship between God’s sovereignty and the man’s responsibility.
David took part in many other Navigators Military ministry events while he was at Fort Rucker. The first invitation he accepted outside of Bible study was to help someone move into their new home. After that, David came to numerous other outings, including two trips to the Gulf Coast to visit other Navigator ministries. He also attended a demolition race that one of the other men Ted was discipling took part in. This was something he was not quite used to, but he certainly enjoyed experiencing a novel part of American culture.
Ted thoroughly enjoyed having David join him for Bible studies and other ministry events. Still, the best times he had with David were through Life-to-Life® discipleship. David quickly started the practice of having a daily quiet time and engaging in Scripture memory. Ted asked him about his quiet times every time they met, and David always had things to share with Ted about what God was showing him. These encounters would always lead to deeper spiritual conversations. As a result, Ted and David’s relationship continued to grow.
Ted and David had in-depth conversations about a lot of other things. They discussed purity, witnessing to their non-believing co-workers, ethical issues in their respective countries, the cost of discipleship, and much more. They always agreed that Jesus and the Great Commission is the only legitimate answer to the world’s problems.
David told Ted that it would be irresponsible and disobedient for him to return to Rwanda and not share everything he learned during his time with the Fort Rucker Navigators. David planned to work with one of his friends in his unit to start a Bible study and reach out to non-believers. He also expressed his intention to become more involved in his church in Kigali, Rwanda.
Ted says, “David has become one of my closest friends during my time in the military and in ministry.” Ted’s two children saw David as an uncle figure and were always excited to play with him when he came over. Ted reflected on their time together, saying, “It was a true blessing to disciple someone from Rwanda. The experience gave me a much greater appreciation and urgency for our Lord’s command in Matthew 28 to ‘go . . . make disciples of all nations.’”
Ted never imagined himself discipling someone from Africa while stationed in Alabama. However, he is genuinely thankful for this experience and David’s friendship. Ted looks forward to seeing how God will use David now that he has returned to Rwanda.
Pray that the fruit of Navigators Military will continue to spread around the world, as God uses everyday people to train future generations of disciplemakers.
The opinions expressed here are those of the speaker and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense (DOD).