Fort Bliss, TX — Several dozen Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command came together for a prayer breakfast hosted by the command’s Unit Ministries Team held at the Sgt. 1st Class Charles M. Bamford Consolidated Dining Facility here Feb. 14.
“The significance of having the Prayer Breakfast today was to take advantage of Saint Valentine’s Day, which makes it easy to incorporate the theme of love,” said Chaplain (Col.) Dean Bonura, command chaplain for 32nd AAMDC.
In addition to the meal, the Soldiers indulged in messages about relationships, love and sacrifice.
“This breakfast gave us an opportunity to recognize the importance of faith and spirituality among our Soldiers,” said Bonura. “It also gives us a chance to take a break from the normal routine and encourage one another to care for each other; to be strengthened by what we believe; and overall just to improve what we do as Soldiers.”
The observance began with an invocation delivered by Bonura and was followed by a musical selection performed by the Fort Bliss Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John Rasmussen and Spc. Gregory Lord, a Soldier from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. In keeping with the day’s significance, scripture readings and a prayer that emphasized themes of love and sacrifice were recited by Soldiers from HHB; these themes were reiterated by the event’s guest speaker, Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Jeffries.
“Often times, our greatest desire is to be loved greatly and cared for,” said Jeffries. “The flip side of wanting and desiring to be loved greatly is we must be willing to love greatly.”
Jeffries, who has been married for 19 years, went on to explain a common misconception individuals may have in a relationship.
“We’ve began using the gauge of happiness to tell how well our love life is going; [believing] if I’m happy then love is doing real well, but if I’m not happy then love is doing bad,” he said. “Happiness can be a faulty gauge because it leads us to looking inward, into ourselves, and wondering how is this relationship benefiting me and how is my life being made better by this?”
Relationships require compromise to work, and while reflecting upon his own marriage, Jeffries says he finally saw the big picture.
“I began to realize my marriage [didn’t solely revolve around] my happiness,” he said. “God didn’t call me to be married so I could be happy; he called me to be married so I could learn how to love.”
“Chaplain Jeffries deals with [relationship issues] all the time,” said Bonura. “He sees successes and he sees some challenges, so I think what he had to say comes out of a wealth of experience and knowledge. I hope the Soldiers in attendance learned that we all can improve in our loving relationships with our significant others. We certainly can learn to appreciate one another and to support one another because Soldiers have a lot to care about.”