Wednesday, July 16, 2014

OnFire 318 Will We Ever Get There?

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire 318 Will We Ever Get There?

Hi Folks,

I arrived at CFB Shilo on July 7 and I have spent the first week getting cleared in – seeing all the different groups on base who need to see me. I was measured for my dress uniforms and I got my initial kit – a large pile of gear including my fatigues, ruck sack, sleeping kit, etc.

I am on the basic training list. Sometime this week I will start the distance learning component of my training. Basic officer training will take place in September, with Chaplain school in October.  Then I will come back to Shilo and Jan will join me. Currently she is watching over the house while we are trying to sell it.

To get to Shilo, Manitoba, from Moncton, I spent 7 days on the road and made some great memories along the way. I waded into Lake Superior at a place called Pancake Bay, and I watched a bear walk down the road near my hotel. In Sault Ste Marie I had a flat, but I was able to get it fixed quickly and was very grateful it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere. I attended church in Thunder Bay with a college classmate. Great memories.

A lot of time, however, I was staring at trees, rocks, and marsh, with the odd lake tossed in for good measure. Don’t get me wrong – God’s creation is beautiful - but when you’ve seen a bunch, one marsh looks pretty much like all the others.  

After a while I thought I was passing the same places. It felt like I was driving forever and not getting any closer to Shilo.  Kilometer after kilometer the odometer clicked ahead, but it felt like I would never get there. Rocks and trees, trees and rocks – how would a person know he was getting closer if it wasn’t for the place names to mark progress on the map?

As in driving, so in life. There are times when we feel like no matter how hard we try, or for how long, we will never reach our goal.  Whether it is paying off debt, battling illness, praying for a loved one, growing a church, or some other difficult situation, it is often feels like we’re not getting anywhere. And, to make things worse, we don’t have kilometer markers and place names to show our progress.

It is tempting to give up.

The people of Paul’s day knew this feeling. To encourage them, he wrote these words:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”* (Galatians 6:9)

I love these words:

“at the proper time” – we don’t get to determine the time

“we will reap a harvest” – it will come

“if we do not give up”  - but we must persevere if we want to see the day.

It felt so good to pull my car and camper into the parking lot at Shilo. Kilometer after kilometer, tree after tree, rock after rock – each day was a day closer. And then, finally, I was there.

Let us keep going so that we will see the reward. I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. He is married  to Jan and is a chaplain-in-training in the Canadian Armed Forces. This letter published July 15, 2014. *New International Version, 1984. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or reply, email Blog located at

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