God in the Camp

george-pattonDo you remember the first General officer (GO’s) you ever met? In 1991, I met and spoke with Lieutenant General William “Gus” Pagonis. Previously, I had seen GO’s from a distance but had never met one. The energy around him arriving in our area was incredible. Being a very young Christian at the time, I simply could not imagine human beings falling over themselves to prepare for his visit. Everything had to be dress right dress; vehicles had to be just so, uniforms, haircuts, offices, and agenda. You never knew when the General would stop by and talk with you just because he felt like it. I did not know it at the time but he was the last of a rare breed of GO’s. He spent almost an entire year in Saudi Arabia and was the first American there prior to the war kicking off. My unit was there was for the purpose of transporting all munitions out of theater and General Pagonis was a logistics mastermind. From the time we arrived in theater he delegated to our Colonel Blanton exactly how he wanted our mission to be completed.

Once the general arrived, I was floored by his stature. He was a very short man, but very forward, courteous, curious and interested in knowing who everyone was and what their job entailed. There was something about him that screamed success and confidence but it wasn’t arrogance. He was a very practical, logical, and reasonable officer. However, his timeline had to become our timeline in order for the mission to be successful.

After he toured our area of operations for a time, he became bored with everyone falling over him and started exploring the human element of the unit. He started talking with the soldiers directly and wanted nothing to do with the pomp and circumstance. He called our colonel by his first name and the colonel called him “Gus”. When he left things almost went back to normal. I say almost because the leadership felt like they had a renewed purpose and started changing things moments after he and his entourage departed. If I did not know better, I would have thought the unit received its marching orders when he arrived. However, I think now that the personal touch on top of the written order adds an all new dimension to mission readiness.

Since that time, I have met many GO’s. As I prepare to PCS this summer, I reviewed the unit I will be joining and realized it is commanded by a Brigadier General. Nothing quite like the general’s office being in close proximity to where you will be working.

In my daily reading yesterday, I came across an interesting passage of scripture that made me think of meeting General Pagonis. It is found in Deuteronomy.

Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you. – Deuteronomy 23:14

20140620 101st Airborne Division Change of CommandSo beyond the obvious question of what would you do if a general made a surprise visit to your operational environment? And onto the real question, “Is your camp ready for God?” Notice the tense in the passage, “your God walks”. As I read this passage, I am struck by the very real presence of God in our “camps”. He is present and walking through our camps even as I write this blog. His mission is pretty clear, “to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you.” We are commanded to make our camps holy. When was the last time you heard any leader say something to that effect?

As we ponder together what it would be like for God to walk through our camp, ask yourself this question: “How much more is God worth falling over ourselves to ensure holiness?” Prepare for God because he is walking throughout your camp!

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.