US Army Chaplain Reports 150 Baptized in ‘Life-Changing Moments’ at Basic Training

A U.S. Army chaplain recently baptized more than 150 soldiers during summer basic training in Missouri saying it was a “joy to see” God move among new trainees.

SBC Chaplain (CPT) Logan Lair has been serving at basic training camps since 2019, but he has seen a move of God’s Spirit among trainees at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri that he says brings him to tears – almost daily. 

“[A trainee] graduates high school, maybe a day or two later gets on a bus to go an Army base. As soon as they get off the bus, they immediately encounter drill sergeants, Army structure, and discipline, and it doesn’t stop for a couple weeks. That’s inevitably a stressful situation for them,” he told the Baptist Press.

“The chaplain plays a great role in all of that because we create a safe place for a trainee to process and vent. As a chaplain, I get a lot of tears. I carry tissues on my uniform and usually go through about a pack a day. Many times, those conversations are spiritual, and we’re able to talk about that spirituality piece,” Lair added. 

The North American Mission Board-endorsed chaplain told the outlet the high-pressure environment often prompts young recruits to seek out counsel. That gives Lair an opportunity to share the Gospel. 

“Trainees, typically from my perspective, have been pretty hungry to learn about spirituality and their spiritual strength,” he shared. 

This hunger leads trainees to chapel services and Bible studies which are held weekly. They also have an opportunity to seek counseling from several Christian chaplains working at Fort Leonard Wood.

Nearly 2,000 trainees attend both the weekly services and baptism services held on the third Sunday in July and August, Baptist Press reports.  

“It’s great to see their spiritual strength grow through basic training. It’s an amazing blessing for me as a chaplain to be able to see where those trainees have come from and then to see where they are going. I get excited every baptism Sunday. … It’s such a joy to see,” Lair said. 

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate said he has led 84 new trainees to be baptized in July and 73 in August.

“That baptism service is one of many testimonies of the good work Army chaplains are doing all around the world in our nation’s military,” he said. “My counterparts, other chaplains, are doing amazing things on other posts (basic training locations) that have similar stories. It’s an absolute blessing to each and every one of us. It’s a team effort.”

Lair encouraged believers to pray for U.S. soldiers and especially for chaplains who have been positioned to pour into people’s lives.  

“It’s an amazing joy for me to walk with soldiers and family through their challenging days and their joyful days. A chaplain definitely gets to experience the highs and lows of life with people. Words can’t explain how joyful it is to be a part of that. Chaplaincy is the best job in the Army. I’ll fight anybody over that.”

“There are great, life-changing moments that are happening at almost every moment,” he added. 

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