August 27th, 2011 at 7:00 am
You watch as a soldier gets off the plane. You wonder where he is returning from and if it was somewhere he wants to forget.
He gets back to base and tries to get back into the routine. But that’s all it is… routine. He misses home. Where things made sense. Where he could nap on that old plaid couch (at least until dad let the dog in), drink a cup of good coffee and maybe, if he asked nicely, Mom would still make him his favorite cookies.
“I wish there were some place with just a couch and some hot food,” he thinks. “And if I’m lucky, some good company.”
The primary ministry of Cadence International is in their Hospitality Houses, where servicemen and women can find just that — a home away from home.
“We call it a house because they are missionaries’ homes that we minister out of,” said Matthew Bachali, the vice president for advancement and operations for Cadence. “It’s a place where they can get off the base and have a home away from home… to have safe community that’s open to everyone and anyone.”
Cadence International was founded in 1954 by a group of mainly WWII veterans, who desired to reach out to those serving overseas in the military, to give them a place to “find an open door, a comfortable couch, a home-cooked meal and people who listen, encourage, love and point them to the hope of Christ.”
These hospitality houses host weekly events, depending on the location, such as Bible studies, singles groups, family-focused ministries, coffee houses and weekend retreats. Whatever the event, the goal is the same — to support these men and women.
“I’ve been to one in Germany that had gatherings (not necessarily a Bible study), called Dinner and Discussion one night a week, and about half the group were not Christians,” Bachali said. “The same house had Bible study on another night intended specifically for Christians.”
In order to minister to the military, Cadence missionaries partner with chaplains on each base.
“We like to set up shop next to a base and kind of move into their neighborhood, work with the military chaplains as partners and build great relationships with them,” Bachali said. “We will not move into a military environment without the full understanding and almost always full permission of the chaplain at a base.”
Through the years of ministry, Cadence has had a vision to be reliable advocates for military ministry.
“With the 57 years of working with the military we have a pretty strong reputation. We are seen as advocates, not adversaries,” Bachali said.
Another element of Cadence’s ministry is that they see the mobile nature of the military as an opportunity to spread the gospel through these servicemen and women.
“Our vision is not just to reach the military but exalt God’s Name in the nations through them,” Bachali said. “About half of our missionaries were affected by Cadence.”
More volunteers are always needed, and Bachali mentioned that getting involved can start by contacting a local chaplain.
“Don’t be intimidated to contact the chaplain and set up a meeting to introduce yourself and meet them. Chaplains are super busy so just keep trying,” Bachali said. “You can gain permission to go to chapel services, then you can really experience the needs, similarities and differences.”
Another way that Bachali suggested for getting involved was to contact a Cadence missionary.
“If Cadence is in town, don’t even think twice — call them up, and they would love to have you over at their house the next night,” Bachali said. “They can always use volunteers.”
Cadence also offers different programs that you can become involved in. One called the Kidslink Downrange program helps kids stay connected to their parents who are deployed through letters.
Bachali finished with a simple, yet profound reminder to look beyond what you see and be compassionate to this often-overlooked people group.
“To help someone understand ministry to the military, I would just say to remember that underneath that uniform is a heart, and God loves that heart,” Bachali said. “We’re all about seeing to it that they know God loves them and giving them the message of the gospel.”
If you would like to read more about Cadence International, their other ministries or what you can do to be involve in military ministry, check out their website.
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