Clearing The Way For The Gospel

Posted in: Stories

A community relations project (COMREL) is a military project designed to build good relations with the local community. Recently, Cru Military® team members joined one of these projects with 28 Sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt and volunteers from a local church near Naval Base Kitsap in Washington. The project was to clear bushes in order to develop a trail and frisbee golf course behind the church. 

Community Relations Project

For the group aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, ‘community relations’ may have been on their minds, but others were thinking about building relationships for the Kingdom. Gigi Kirschenbaum, who works part-time as Field Staff for Cru Military and lives on Naval Base Kitsap, was praying this would be the beginning of much more. Her heart’s desire is to build relationships that will become a bridge to Bible studies, mentorship, and an introduction to the church for Sailors who do not attend church. 

As a chaplain on the ship, Gigi’s husband has arranged many COMRELs throughout the community. This COMREL was advertised on the ship as helping a church to clear the back woods area, chainsaw big branches, etc. 28 Sailors and ten men from the church came to help.

“It was great to see the older men in the church getting to know the young Sailors,” Gigi said. “These are Sailors who normally don’t attend church.”

After the Sailors and the men from the local church had put in a good day’s work, they had dinner and fellowship on the course they started. 

“It was a perfect day,” Gigi said. “They had a time to work, a time to eat, a time to play, and afterward we had a time to pray that God would use this COMREL to help reach Sailors who need to know the Savior.”

The good news was that this COMREL project would continue. They looked at all that had been accomplished that day and decided it would take a few more half days over several months to finish the job–more days to build relationships! They are looking forward to more work days after the winter season to complete the project.  

The team was so grateful to the Lord for the amount of spiritual fruit that came from the project. They celebrated signs of fruit such as:

  • One of the Sailors invited a Cru Military partner, a Cadence staff member, to a Mariners game and spent the whole evening together. He told him that this was the first time he had ever stepped into a church. 
  • At least 10-15 Sailors have come to church or to a church member’s home for lunch. 
  • One Sailor spent two hours talking with the pastor and asking spiritual questions. (He is not yet a believer but is so close!)
  • Bob, a former Cru staff member for 41 years, shared the Holy Spirit booklet with one of the Sailors during lunch. Pray for this young man to continue to come to the church and grow in his relationship with God. 
  • One Sailor had been meeting with Gigi for Bible study for a few weeks and asked to bring a friend along to join the Bible study discussions. 

To prepare for more relationship-building projects like this, the team in Washington is planning more training with churches to help their volunteers initiate and engage in spiritual conversations with service members. Then they will be ready for a new year of reaching Sailors with the Good News of Jesus Christ.