Finding Christ at a Navy Base
By Jo Bourne
My husband, Bill, had served in the United States Navy for five years when we met. Most of our courtship were letters and weekend get-togethers. About a year later we were married.
Neither of us were a Christian. We experienced many years of weekend drinking binges. Wherever the parties were, we were there, and when we could not go because of child care, the party came to us.
It came time for Bill to be shipped out on a tour of duty in Vietnamese waters. The tours were anywhere from six to none months. By this time we had three small children - two still in diapers. I wondered, "How am I to cope with this burden?" It was an unanswered question within my mind and heart.
Some of the navy wives that were left behind were drinkers, therefore it was easy to mingle with those that liked what I liked. But one has to be careful, because some would soon want to start running around on their husbands. As a result, friendships did not last long in the fast crowd. Among all my current problems, alcohol would prove to be my downfall.
Upon realizing my need for professional help, an appointment was made with the base doctor. Every fiber of my body trembled with fear, anxiety, and dread of being by myself to care for three small children. They lacked the care and attention of their mother.
Now, while sitting across the desk from the doctor, the trembling seemed to intensify. How well I remember him staring at me as he asked, "What can I do for you?"
Finally, I was able to get an answer out, "Doctor, all I need is a pill to take care of my trembling."
His answer was not what I wanted to hear. A clear "no" came from his mouth. Furthermore, he told me that I did not need any pills, but what I needed was spiritual help. Say what? I had no idea what he was talking about.
He continued to talk, "I am going to call the chaplain to look for you Sunday morning." Then I realized what he was talking about. Church. He implied also that if I was not in church then there was a possibility that the children would be taken away.
Consequently, we were all ready on Sunday morning. But my heart was not in it as I drove out to the base. There were already quite a few people at the chapel, henceforth we had to park in the back forty. We emerged from our vehicle and made our way toward the front door of the chapel. I was "attacked" right in front of the chapel. (I did not know it, but Satan was really attacking me.) After seeing the steps going up to the entry way--I froze. My thoughts were, "I don't want to do this!"
I spun around to leave, but I came face to face with this lady. She asked, "Can I help you?"
"Well I was going to------." I did not get to finish.
She said, "Come, and I will show you the way." Could it be, that this lady was sent by God--one of His angels? I never remember seeing her again.
In two weeks time I accepted Jesus in my heart as My Lord and Savior. I did not have a Bible, so the chaplain gave me one. This Bible was the most wonderful thing I had ever received.
About a month went by. Eagerness to serve my Lord was an overwhelming event going on within me. Soon I was knocking on the chaplain's door asking what I could do to help. He thought it was a good idea, so I was assigned to the Kindergarten S.S. class. The next Sunday morning I was there eager to learn. Not to teach. Guess what? The teacher did not show. What do you do with a room full of kindergartens? Not much. Not an ounce of Sunday School material was there. No Bibles. There was nothing in the room that could be used. Not even me. I convinced myself--never again. This is not for me.
Unbeknownst to me, God had His plans for my life. But He wanted me to wait for His timing. He let me know, "My grace if sufficient for you." Just continue to grow in Me. Later on He took me to where He wanted me--to work with children. It has been a most blessed time down through the years. As long as God gives me strength and wants me to work in this capacity, I will obey.