I was with my family who I hadn’t seen in 13 weeks, soon to graduate from Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, CA. A man walked up to me asking, “Are you Jared?” In front of my loved ones I said, “Yes sir, I am.”
He responded that he was thankful that his son explained to him that through me he returned to the Lord. I had led a prayer group at boot camp and marched recruits to chapel services, being a previously burned out youth pastor with plans to become a chaplain, and couldn’t shake the call to ministry. I found myself in many non-traditional forms of ministry and witnessing while in service. The first was being a prayer group leader in boot camp.
Later on, while training for deployment to Iraq as a field radio operator, a close friend of mine gave me the call sign ‘Preach’ which stuck. The call sign was a term of endearment as well as a fresh reminder of God’s call on my life.
Wherever I went I saw how God spoke to the men and women in uniform. While on training operations in the field leading up to deployment, God spoke in dreams to the infantrymen I worked with, and I witnessed Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21 in action, firsthand.
On deployment in Iraq during 2007-2008 word spread in my unit that I interpreted dreams. Marines would come to me and they would say, “I heard you interpret dreams…well I had a dream…” I would tell them that it was God who interprets dreams and mysteries, taking Joseph and Daniel’s response personally, wanting to give credit to where credit is due(Gen 40:8, Dan 2:28). I would always give Scripture to support the interpretation I sensed from the Holy Spirit, and I would encourage them to spend time with Jesus, and I would give them Christian books.
I was never surprised with some of the ways God spoke to them, but was humbled to be part of seeing God talk to those who are literally on the front lines for our nation. While in Iraq I had a conversation with a Marine who was spiritually hungry for God and I shared with Him personal experiences I had seen God accomplish while I was in ministry, and then asked him if he wanted more of God. He said yes, so we prayed together and he was marvelously baptized with the Holy Spirit. Being part of this made me cry as I felt I was unworthy to see God do this as I was spiritually dry.
In 2009 I had the privilege of watching a fellow Sergeant in my platoon be possibly the first Christian to be water baptized in the Helmand River Valley of Afghanistan in hundreds of years. Though surrounded by darkness and hatred in a combat environment, God’s Spirit was moving on people bringing His light.
One time we escorted the battalion chaplain to officiate field memorial services for fallen Marines. Returning to base we had one of the first remote controlled detonations of an IED in our area of operation. It took place prematurely right in front of my platoon(Before this all IEDs we encountered were pressure plate detonations). I looked back at the chaplain and his assistant in my truck and said, “Sir, God is watching out for us.”
God is talking to our men and women in uniform in direct and wonderfully supernatural ways. And He has placed incredible Chaplains as well as Christians in uniform who minister in power to be part of the harvest within our military, and plant seeds of faith(1 Cor 3:6-8). I have had fellow service members tell me that they gave their lives to Jesus later on in transition to the civilian world but had me on their minds when they made steps in His direction.
I would like to encourage you to pray for your sons and daughters in uniform and the challenges they face daily, and pray for the ongoing outpouring of the Spirit upon them, especially as many return from this long war and need ongoing prayer and support and healing from the invisible wounds.
This article was later published in the Message of the Open Bible on March 4, 2016 here: How God Moved on the Front Lines and then re-published by Charisma Online on April 21, 2016 here: Modern Day Joseph and on April 22, 2016 on Ministry Today Mag: Modern Day Joseph. Charisma News published on April 24, 2016: Modern Day Joseph. HelloChristian republished it February 1, 2017: How God Moved on the Front Lines
GodTV published this article on May 15, 2017: Modern Day Joseph: How God Moved on the Front Lines
–Jared Laskey is currently planting a church with his family in Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA for Open Bible East. Serving in the Marine Corps from 2006-2011, he was the personal radio operator to the battalion commander of 2/8. Some of his unit’s mission is recorded in the movie To Hell and Back Again, and The Hornet’s Nest. He has also co-written a book called Veronica’s Hero.