RMC helps turn recruits into religious warriors for Christ
By Cpl. Thomas Perry
| | August 29, 2003
MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
In March 2001, the Depot's Religious Ministries Center and the Military Ministries' Campus Crusade for Life formed a spiritual bond through a program called Warriors for Christ to enhance the spiritual fitness of recruits.
Warriors for Christ, a series of Sunday-morning classes that reconnect Protestant recruits with their faith, has enjoyed great success during its two-year existence. The program has grown so quickly that the program's current pool of 20 volunteers is half the amount needed to be successful.
"We need people to help us graduate a complete Marine - mind, body and soul," said Navy Capt. A. Ralph Gibson, assistant chief of staff for Religious Ministries, who added that all volunteers were welcome and needed, but the RMC's emphasis was getting permanent personnel interested in helping the young recruits in their faith.
"As the recruits arrive at Parris Island, many undergo a renewal of faith," said Gibson, who baptized 13 recruits on Sunday who had participated in the Warriors for Christ program throughout their training. "We promote a follow up in order to teach them how to live their faith in all circumstances."
The volunteer needs of the RMC, much like life's constant barrage of circumstances, cover a gamut of opportunities, including teachers, prayer warriors, small group facilitators, helpers and an assistant to the director.
Reverend Bill J. Boyle, the program's current director, and his wife Jeanette were sent to the Depot's RMC by the Military Ministries' Campus Crusade for Life in 2001 to institute the Warriors for Christ program for Protestant recruits. The results have been overwhelming.
"I really enjoyed the class," said a program participant on the Military Ministries' Web site (www.milmin.com/gateways/parrisisland/wfc.htm). "It was very healing to my spirit and reaffirmed my belief in God and Christ amidst the feelings of loss, emptiness and doubt."
Gibson, Boyle and his wife teach those lessons every Sunday morning at the Recruit Training Facility at 7:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. The trio is bonded by a common goal of renewing the faith of others, and are hoping their efforts continue to pay off in spiritual rewards.
"Our goal is to baptize recruits who have made a commitment to their faith and attended at least seven Warriors for Christ classes," said Gibson, who admitted the reward becomes personal when you experience the joy of the recruits you are helping.
"I experience unspeakable joy," said Jeanette Boyle, referring to when she witnesses a recruit's renewed faith. "I am awed by the work that God is doing here."
Although Gibson and the Boyle's are present every Sunday, Gibson said those who are interested in volunteering need to forsake their own church commitments but once a month in order to make a significant impact.
For more information on how to become a volunteer, call Bill Boyle 322-0028.