Officer Christian Fellowship an oasis for a new cadet at West Point


Yesterday we received two letters from our son and as you can imagine, it soothes my heart to hear from him.

One of the few things my son is doing which do not produce anxiety in my heart is Officers’ Christian Fellowship and for that I say “amen!”

On Wednesday nights, my son and interested NCs have a first name (their very own!) and are allowed to even find a bit of a personality! What a privilege! Most other times, New Cadets are not afforded such luxury. You and I take these things for granted but you don’t if you are a lowly New Cadet.

A place of smiles and fellowship, being refreshed by the Word of God, fresh cookies and caring people. If I were a NC, I think I would live for Wednesday nights.

That’s also where you will find Barry and Barb Willey with Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Each summer in Wednesday, they join the chaplains and after worship time, the cadets get free time to relax, eat sweets and drink sodas.

Then they can get in a line and the Willey’s take a head shot of the New Cadet along with anyone else they want and then Barb sends the pictures to anyone they choose.  What a treat! This is a wonderful ministry at West Point and it’s great that Nate has plugged into the community. Today we received a picture of our son from Barb. It was the first thing I looked for in my email box this morning.

Nate is smiling!

He looks happy!

He has friends!

I am overjoyed!

Last night apparently my son sought Barb out and made sure he got a picture. He even asked for his buddies to be in the picture which makes me want to cry, (I’m tearing up right now). I am so thankful for the Willey’s. I love their servants’ hearts, they are reaching out not only to the cadets and New Cadets but to their families. I am comforted knowing my son had a mama’s arms around him even if they weren’t my own.

According to Barb’s facebook, she was up until 4am downloading photos knowing eager parents would want to receive the photos. I can relate. Although I wasn’t up until 4am, last night I received a late night email from a student needing a “word of faith.” She was hurting and needed some encouragement. I wrote her back immediately because she needed to know someone cared.

Isn’t that what we all want? To know someone cares? I sure do! In a letter from our son, Nate wrote about how Colonel Cook’s sermon on Psalm 121 was so applicable. “I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help?” He said, “it’s pretty cool when you’re at Trophy Point and you have hills surrounding you.”

Nate will always have beautiful memories of how God’s Word was so alive during his time at West Point.

The Lord is caring and providing for our son, he feels God’s presence in this place.

Maybe not when the cadre are screaming at him but he is finding a peace that passes understanding. God always cares, always understands, is 100% dependable. 

Today I lift my eyes and hands up to the Lord and offer a word of blessing upon friendships, old and new, near and far and the body of Christ working together for His glory and kingdom.

Update: Now, five years later, my oldest olive shoot, Nate knows even more intimately how the Lord and His Word can speak to a Soldier’s spirit. During his recent journey through Ranger School, Nate found God’s Word just as relevant and life-giving. I just love what he wrote on the inside of his cap!

Click Officers’ Christian Fellowship for more info about OCF and check out this facebook page OCF at UMSA!


3 thoughts on “Officer Christian Fellowship an oasis for a new cadet at West Point

  1. Disclaimer: I’m using my wife’s account.OK…I’m finally going to make some comments. The first one is–I love your blog! It brings back memories-not all of them pleasant but they get more pleasant every year! West Point is such a unique place-I think every former cadet has an incredible number of vivid memories–the place leaves a deep impression on you. The next: I was amazed by this blog because almost exactly 19 years ago I ALSO heard Chaplain Cook’s sermon on the same Psalm out on Trophy Point! I will never forget it–I really needed to hear from God and I haven’t forgotten that day. It felt so good to do something as normal as church. I assume it’s the same Chaplain Cook but I don’t know for sure…that’s pretty incredible if he’s still there.I also wanted to encourage you by saying that this will be a wonderful experience for Nate. I also have a very close family and it was painful to leave them. But, effectively losing my support system (my family is in WA state) forced me to make my faith my own and to truly trust God. I really had no choice but to trust Him under those circumstances! There’s nothing like realizing you can’t make it on our own to deepen your faith.That is a GREAT ministry that the Willey’s have! What a neat way to bless NC’s and families. People like that are such a lifeline to the cadets-I had a sponsor family who took great care of me and I’ll never forget them.Just think…In a few short weeks, Nate will be able to email you or maybe even SKYPE you (do you have SKYPE?) so he won’t seem far away at all. We didn’t even have email when I was there-the good old days!It won’t be long before Nate will be like me, looking back, wondering how in the world his 15th USMA reunion could be this year!Paul USMA 1993

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