Fort Polk is located in the Vernon Parish of Louisiana. The fort is under the command of the Joint Readiness Training Center of the 4th Brigade and is the only training center in the Army which both trains and deploys units for combat missions. Approximately 9,000 active-duty military call Fort Polk their home.
This past year Cadence staff Brian and Cathy Hutchens established the Fort Polk Hospitality House which ministers to this unique and somewhat isolated military community. God began to form a vision for this ministry many years ago in Brian’s heart when he trained there for a deployment to Iraq.
Joyce and I recently had the privilege of participating in the dedication for this new ministry. We were joined by one of Cadence’s founders CP Tarkington, his daughter Jo, and son-in-law Todd. Brian and Cathy were mentored and discipled by this family for many years.
What a joy to be with approximately 50 military people and their families, including four U.S. Army Chaplains, to celebrate and dedicate this ministry, the people, and the hospitality house to the Lord. Brian beautifully wove the theme of worship throughout the evening—a community who gathers in prayer, in fellowship, in God’s Word, and in worship.
Fort Polk can sometimes be a challenging assignment for Soldiers and their families. The hospitality house offers a place of connection and joy in the middle of potential isolation and loneliness. One Soldier’s wife spoke of how she had been looking forward to retiring and leaving Polk, but is now sad to be moving because they have finally found community.
This is the heart of Cadence—offering life-changing communities where single and married military people and their families can discover a place of connection, growth, and life in Jesus.
I think Chaplain Jameson William’s prayer of dedication at the end of the night sums it up well:
“Father God, who fashioned the first sounds from silence, who thought up every star we can see and not see. The same God who knows words before they are voiced and numbers of days before they are lived. May you fill these walls with worship. Let every heart and tongue that enters this house lift praises to your mighty name. Let every moment in this place be lifted to you as an offering of true worship. Let it not be noisy clamor but loving harmony. Let it not be dissonant selves but united expressions of your body, the church—not just singing, but hearts alive in your Spirit.”
As this prayer is answered in the coming years at Fort Polk and military installations around the world, may you take joy in knowing your prayers and financial gifts are a significant support to an ever-growing worshipping community of believers.