A Pre-Deployment Update
Chaplain Drew Goodson - September 25, 2023
I can’t say exactly when we leave. I couldn’t tell you where we are going. What I can say is that this fall I’m deploying with the 350 sailors on my Navy ship as part of Carrier Strike Group 2. We are ready for the adventure. We’ve trained to uphold peace and we’ve trained for combat, if necessary. As the Chaplain, I’ve trained the crew to be ready mentally and spiritually.
There’s a painting called “Dempsey and Firpo” by George Bellows. In it, the boxer Jack Dempsey has been knocked out of the ring by his opponent, Luis Angel Firpo. The amazing thing is that Jack Dempsey came back to win that fight in 1923. Although he was knocked down, Dempsey found the strength to return the ring and win. Our values as Christians are on a collision course with the values of the world. We can expect difficulty. Yet Jesus gives us power and grace to get up and not give up. I’m counting on that.
The other day a sailor came into my office. He was going through a crisis at home that has turned his world upside down. Knowing him to be a Christian, I reminded him that his true identity is to be a child of God. “I’m trying” he said. I gently reminded him that we don’t have to try to be this. It’s God’s gift to us. Because this is true, when life knocks us down, we can have hope that we’ll rise again through the love of Christ.
Deployment is going to be busy. We’re going to conduct a Burial-at-Sea ceremony at the outset for around 20 veterans. It’s one of the oldest maritime rituals we know of. I’ll also lead two worship services each weekend, a weekly Bible Study, and other classes. When we visit ports, I’ll coordinate Community Relations (COMREL) projects that enable the crew to venture out and serve others. I’m excited to see how God forms faith in the lives of this crew and in me.
I’m happy to share that my wife Megan and sons, Zach and Caleb, have done amazing since we entered the Navy. We miss Charlotte but have made some great friends in Virginia Beach. My boys are old enough to understand that Dad is going away longer than usual. Believe me, this is the hardest part. They’re also learning that Jesus calls us to make sacrifices for others to share the Gospel and I’m so proud of them. Please pray for us as we serve Jesus and the Church in this ministry.
In reality, every Christian “deploys”. To deploy means to “bring into action.” When you leave worship, God is deploying you into your school, office, the world. Nobody ever said it would be easy. But “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13). Christ Lutheran, we continue to give thanks for you!
Drew Goodson, LT, CHC, USN
Email me at Andrew.Goodson@cg58.navy.mil
USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CG 58)
UNIT 100258 BOX 2015
FPO AE 09592