by Phil Persing
2019 is now history! Reflecting on the past year, it’s difficult to imagine that God could have packed any more excitement into it for our family. The year began with a much needed reunion, as Phil returned from his nine-month deployment to Iraq on January 14.
We enjoyed a family getaway to Florida, then Phil took advantage of several professional Army training opportunities in the following months. In March, he completed instructor certification to teach marriage enrichment seminars for Soldiers. We were able to lead two of these weekend events for our Regiment in San Antonio during the fall, providing marriage relationship training for over 70 Army families. Phil also had the opportunity to attend Fort Hood’s rigorous Air Assault School in April, and Family Life Chaplain Training (pastoral counseling methodology) for two weeks in July.
It has also been a year of bountiful ministry in Pioneer Squadron. Phil had over 170 counseling sessions with Troopers throughout the year, and these meetings yielded rich times of prayer, searching God’s word for truth and guidance, confession and repentance for sinful, unhealthy behavior, and the forging of God-honoring relationships throughout the Army family. Phil joined the squadron on several field training exercises throughout the year, culminating in a month-long return to the National Training Center in California’s Mojave Desert.
Phil leading a 9/11 Memorial Service
Our family also continues to participate and serve in Fort Hood’s “Chapel Next” community. We have found incredible brothers and sisters in Christ among this chapel family, and are thankful to contribute to a community on post that prioritizes preaching Scripture and following Christ in a world of competing priorities. Fort Hood’s AWANA has also been a huge part of our family ministry. Beckie has reprised her role as Truth ‘n Training Director (grades 3-6), and Phil teaches the Bible lessons for this group. Gabe has been fearlessly serving as a Sparks leader (K-2nd grade), with his younger brothers still participating as Clubbers.
Speaking of the boys, they have discovered the joys of youth athletics here at Ft. Hood. Three of them (Jack, Hayden, Clark) played on soccer teams this past fall, and the four oldest all played their first season of basketball this winter. There are no lack of opportunities here, but the challenge as most families know is trying to fit everything in.
In late summer, we received news about our next Army assignment: Phil was selected for the residential Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, which will begin in June 2020. CPE is a four-year commitment: a one-year internship with an academic cohort at an Army Hospital, followed by a three-year utilization tour at either an Army medical facility or correctional facility.
This assignment will bring different kinds of challenges, as it involves chaplains walking through some extremely difficult trials with other Service Members and their families. It will also present new academic challenges and prospects– candidates in the program are provided the opportunity to earn their Doctor of Ministry degree while serving. It is reassuring to know the God who has led us to this ministry in the Armed Forces will continue to equip us for His work.
Phil playing music at the Regiment’s Dining Facility on Thanksgiving
In late December, we found out that the initial year of CPE will take place at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Washington. So, come this spring, the Persing family will bid farewell to Fort Hood and travel to make our next home in the Pacific Northwest. The next several months will be a time of tremendous transition as we look for a new house and prepare Pioneer Squadron for its next chaplain after Phil’s departure.
So, that’s a small taste of the adventures God has led the Persings on. We love and thank God for you, and treasure your prayers in this New Year!
With Trust in Him and Love for You,
The Persing Family
Gabe, Jack, Hayden, Clark, & Timothy
“And we have confidence in the Lord about you… May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”-2 Thessalonians 2:4-5