‘God is your commander’
By CECILY ASSON Monday, July 27 2009
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Glory to God: A soldier and a relative give praise during a thanksgiving service for the regiment at the First Open Bible Church, San Fernando yesterd...
Inspired by the testimony of an ex-convict who has become a preacher, scores of soldiers of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment yesterday accepted the call to be saved.
The “altar call” was made by American pastor and professor Ricardo Caldwell at the First Open Bible Church, Ruth Avenue, San Fernando during a thanksgiving service to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the regiment.
Caldwell, a professor of accounting at the University of the US Virgin Islands, told the soldiers that their ultimate commander-in-chief was God.
“How could you salute your commander-in-chief (God) if you are not saved?” he asked, and went on to say, “in order to be a good soldier you must be saved.”
Caldwell then invited those who wanted to be saved to the altar and to give their lives to Jesus Christ. Without hesitation, scores of soldiers, men and women, responded.
To some worshippers, it was an unbelievable sight to see so many men and women who have been trained to use destructive weapons in defence of the country, show that they were capable of surrendering themselves to God.
There was singing, clapping and dancing as one by one the soldiers walked up the aisle and stood in front of the altar. Other preachers present and members of the congregation stretched out their hands over the soldiers and prayed for their total conversion.
Caldwell, who has also taught at the Oral Roberts University and the University of the West Indies, told the soldiers he was converted in jail more than 30 years ago.
Recalling the moment, Caldwell explained, “There I was 34 years ago in the jail cell, and it was dark but I went to the jail service and the minister began to preach and as he preached the command of God came through that preached word and as I heard the word, the light came into my heart. It came in the form of salvation.”
He said he was delivered from his past when he gave his life to Christ.
The preacher went on to encourage the soldiers to continue their journey, “even to be baptised”. The packed congregation included Lt Roland Mitchell, Commanding Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, and the families of the soldiers.
In his message, Caldwell stressed that the regiment was ordained by God.
“As we celebrate, we know how this regiment came about because it was ordained by God. The soldiers are not only men and women, they are ordained, announced and appointed by God. For 47 years God used what he ordained to help protect Trinidad and Tobago.”
He urged the congregation to pray for the soldiers because “they were ordained by God.”
Before returning to their seats, the soldiers were each handed an instruction package.
“This package,” Caldwell said, “will have instructions about the walk you have made in Christ. You said yes to the commanding officer.” The officers were thanked for “enlisting into the army of God.”
He further warned them that they will still face challenges despite of what happened during the service and called on them to remember who was in charge.
Mitchell later praised and thanked Caldwell for his message delivered, saying, “Pastor Caldwell, thank you for the message. It was well received by me and I am certain judging from the response of my soldiers they know who the ultimate commander in chief is.”
The praise and worship service was led by members of the church choir and also included gospel performances from Lt Richardson and the Defence Force Steel Orchestra.
There was also the march on and march off of the regimental colours and the soldiers prayer which was recited by the congregation.