Lord, if I ever have a home of my own, You can have it for servicemen.”
Jesse Miller was stationed in the Philippines when he prayed this prayer. While he entered the Army Air Corps as a believer in Jesus, it was in the home of missionaries Dad and Mom Brooks (Cyril and Anna) that Jesse became grounded in his faith. There he learned to love and obey the Word of God. Along with other servicemen, he memorized Scripture verses and experienced the blessing of hospitality in a “home away from home.”
Jesse never could have foreseen that the Word planted deep in his heart that first year in the Philippines would be his sustenance through the following terrible years of surviving the Bataan Death March and being held as a POW.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Seven years after Jesse’s release, servicemen gathered in the home where he and his wife Nettie lived in Manila, Philippines. The Millers were then serving as missionaries with Far Eastern Gospel Crusade, now SEND International. Ministry to the military was quickly becoming their main focus.
Now that I had a home of my own, I remembered my promise to open my home to military people.”
MORE “PLACES LIKE THIS”
God had brought a young sailor, Dick Patty, to salvation in the Chicago Servicemen’s Center in 1945, where Dick had entered in response to their advertisement of “free food.”
Dick had been raised on a farm and intended to return to it after the war, but God led him to Bible college first. By 1954, in obedience to the call of God, Dick was directing the Oxnard Servicemen’s Center in California, where sailors repeatedly said, “We need a place like this at Subic Bay in Olongapo, Philippines.” Requests for more “places like this” in Okinawa, Japan, and Alaska were also coming in to Dick, and to Jesse and Nettie.
It was June of 1954 when Jesse and Nettie, Tom, Tark, and others gathered in Chicago for a reunion of folks from the early days of the Millers’ military ministry in Manila. They invited Dick Patty to join them, knowing of his military ministry involvement. After the reunion, a few remained to pray. Would God have them begin a mission organization focused solely on military ministry? The answer became clear—yes!
A MISSION MOBILIZED
In the following months, the constitution and doctrinal statement were written and official paperwork was filed by Dick in California to launch the Overseas Christian Servicemen’s Centers (OCSC), now Cadence International.
God brought Tark together with Alma, a nurse, and the two married during the years of Tark’s schooling. In September of 1956, they boarded a ship bound for the Philippines to take over the Manila ministry that had been started by the Millers.
Around that same time, Tom’s fiancée was breaking up with him because he had decided to pursue ministry to the military. Meanwhile, God was burdening Dotty, a friend of Tark and Alma’s, for military ministry with OCSC, though she didn’t know how she would minister as a single woman. God brought Tom and Dotty together and they married in 1956. The Hashes established the OCSC office in Denver before opening the Servicemen’s Home in Panama in 1958.
Dick met Margaret while speaking for chapel at Multnomah School of the Bible where she was a grad student and then again at a Navigators conference in California. With only a few chances to visit before Dick left for the Philippines with Jesse and Nettie in January of 1955, Dick and Margaret wrote letters for several months. Then Dick proposed on a reel-to-reel tape, Margaret worked her way over on a freighter, and they were married at the Miller’s Servicemen’s Center in Manila in October. After a short honeymoon, Margaret joined Dick in welcoming sailors to the Subic Servicemen’s Center in Olongapo.
“Lord, if I ever have a home of my own, You can use it for servicemen” is a prayer God has been pleased to answer. Through many years, in many homes, supported by many prayer warriors and donors, with many faithful people sharing the gospel and their lives, God has been pleased to use OCSC/Cadence International to reach many, many precious military people for Him.