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As an employee of CRCNA’s Thrive team living in San Diego, Calif. I work remotely from the office I keep in my garage. And I pretty much have the garage door up and open year round (did I mention that I live in San Diego?). One early morning I was sitting at my desk, getting ready to check some emails when I glanced to my left and saw a man at the end of my driveway. He stopped and waved. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” he called.  I pushed my chair away from my desk and walked down my driveway. As we shook hands and introduced ourselves, he said, “I notice that you work out of your garage. What is it that you do?”

“Well, Bob,” I replied, “I’m a remote worker.”  I explained my love of the outdoors and why working out of my (open) garage made me feel closer to the outdoors. I continued by sharing my story of being an Army Chaplain and then described my current work as an endorser for CRC chaplains. I told Bob how chaplains are providing ministry all across the USA, Canada, and other parts of the world in all kinds of unique settings.

I noticed Bob was wearing a Marine Corps baseball cap, which is fairly common here in San Diego county with thousands of Marine Corps and Navy veterans. I asked him about his connection to the military. He talked about his time in the Corps and then wanted to know if I had heard of an organization called ‘Homes for Our Troops’?


Bob shared that they help veterans by building and donating ADA compliant homes for those who have suffered injuries. He also shared that he was a writer and was in the process of interviewing a number of these veterans who had been helped by the program and the impact of having a home which was designed for their needs.

We talked a little bit more, and then Bob continued his walk and I went back into my garage. I reflected on our conversation and my appreciation for Bob listening and capturing the stories of those who have found hope after terrible suffering.

I realized that is also why I loved being a chaplain because of the opportunities to sit with someone and hear their story. Sometimes it is a story of hardship and pain. Sometimes it can be a story of joy. With grace and dignity, chaplains help the person find spiritual resources and make meaning of what they’re going through.


Last month, CRC chaplains gathered together in Albuquerque, New Mex. and shared stories of what has been going on in their work, their churches, and in their families. I personally experienced and greatly appreciated the support from chaplains as I shared my story of grief and struggle. I want to thank all our chaplains for their commitment to being in tough spaces in order to bring God’s grace to all his children.

Grace and Peace,

Tim Rietkerk

Thrive Ministry Consultant/Chaplain Endorser


Attached Media
Chaplains at 2024 CRC Pastors Conference

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