“Lord, lead me to the conversations you want me to have.” This was my prayer as I walked down to the lake.
About 100 military people (this particular weekend was sailors) had converged on Cadence’s retreat center at Victory Ranch, SC for a day of fun, rest, and relationships away from the rigor of their current training. This peaceful 17-acre property with lake, large event barn, walking trails, fire pit, and so much more is located 12 miles outside of Ft. Jackson in Columbia, SC.
The original Victory Center was dedicated by Billy Graham in the mid 1950s and Cadence has been leading this ministry since the early 1980s. Victory Ranch has a rich history of reaching men and women of the U.S. military with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This good news was on my mind as I walked toward the lake. A delightful sight opened up before me – canoes and paddleboats gliding across the surface, young men fishing off the dock, and a couple of brave souls jumping off a rope swing into the frigid water. Down at the shore enthusiastic games of volleyball and horse shoes had broken out. All around I saw sailors resting in the sun, engaging in conversations, or talking to loved ones back home.
“Would you like company or time alone?” I asked one young man sitting by the water. “Company, please!” he responded. I sat down, and we began a meaningful, one-hour conversation. We talked about his wife and three young daughters he would not see for the next seven months; his anxiety of going to a forward-deployed hospital in a dangerous country (he was a doctor); his religious background and beliefs; and above all – the Gospel, and what Jesus had done on the cross for him.
I had other conversations that day, as did our Cadence staff and volunteers who were also loving and connecting with sailors during the retreat.
I was struck again by how open to spiritual matters these young men and women are – away from home, immersed in intense training, and on the cusp of potentially dangerous deployments. They are ready and eager to talk about important matters of the heart!
You make this ministry possible through your financial partnership, and I am so grateful!