Pastor Ministers to Troops in Kuwait

Post a Comment » Written on December 26th, 2003     
Filed under: News
SAN JUAN, TX (December 26, 2003)  – The congregation’s full-time pastor is gone, but People’s Covenant Church near the Mexican border has kept its ministry focus while remembering a minister now serving in the Middle East during wartime.

Pastor Noel Cisneros is a Major in the Armed Forces (Reserve) and is now in Udairi, Kuwait, where he is serving as camp chaplain.  He was called up to serve in February of 2003 and it is likely he’ll be finished with his military service until next spring at the earliest (according to the latest information given to the church).

Cisneros’ battalion unit has been extended from April 2004 until June, said Debbie Cisneros, Noel’s wife. At Camp Udairi, he is responsible for hundreds of people, although the numbers vary. Udairi is an entrance and exit point to Iraq. It is a northern desert site, just south of the Iraq border.

Although it is difficult for Cisneros to receive a lot of on-site pastoral care, Midsouth Conference Supt. Garth Bolinder emails Cisneros on a regular basis and the two talk weekly via phone. Bolinder also alerts Midsouth Conference pastors on his status and has preached at The People’s Church twice in recent months. Given the increase in Cisneros’ responsibilities, the communication with Bolinder has been important.

“It’s a bigger camp (7,000 to 9,000 people) and he’s had a lot more of a chance to do counseling with soldiers during the holiday season,” said Debbie Cisneros. “He’s found the soldiers there to be more receptive to Bible studies and worship services than at his other camp (assignment) and some have shared their musical talents during worship. It’s a lot of responsibility but God is using him and touching his life right now. And it (the experience) will enhance his ministry when he gets back. I see it in his letters I receive and hear it when we’re able to talk on the phone.”

During Cisneros’ absence, the congregation extended a call to the Rev. L. Kaye Beau Lac to serve as pastor on an interim basis.  Pastor Kaye had been at two Minnesota congregations – Bethlehem Covenant Church in Stephen, and Hallock Covenant Church in Hallock – for 12 years.  When her husband John retired, she and John began to travel to the Texas area and they worshipped with the People’s Covenant Church.  The have been parishioners there since the fall of 1996.

The couple has been aiding churches for many years for various periods of time. Both Kaye and John are ordained ministers with the Church of God based in Anderson, Indiana.  Since 1969 they have often worked together as an ecumenical team serving over 40 congregations.

“In an effort to keep the congregation in a continuity of service that Pastor Noel was providing prior to his being called to active duty, close contact through telephone and email is made with him on a daily or weekly basis,” said pastor Beau Lac. “Regular and special services are worked our carefully with the able assistance of Debbie Cisneros. Her involvement, along with the contacts with Pastor Noel, has enabled us to keep before the congregation the Cisneros ministry. Debbie also leads the midweek bible and prayer services. Our congregation utilizes a bulletin board in the entryway to remind everyone that Pastor Noel, as well as other members of the church’s families, is serving our country.  Pictures of these service men and ladies are posted at the church and the congregation is requested to remember them in prayer.”

Debbie Cisneros stated that the church support, and the support of the Beau Lac and Bolinder families, have been especially helpful during the holidays, a difficult time to be without one’s spouse. Thankfully, Noel has a two-week furlough in late January and they’ll enjoy time in Texas and in Chicago with extended family while Noel attends the 2004 Midwinter Pastor’s Conference.

“I miss him but I know he’ll be coming home (January 24 through February 8) and I’m looking forward to that,” said Debbie about her husband. “My role has changed in some ways and at times I’m lonesome. But I’m glad to be placed where I’ve been at this time.

“People have been very understanding and very loving,” she continued. “It would’ve been a lot more difficult if I hadn’t had this congregation to fellowship with, as well as Jack and Kaye Beau Lac. I’m very thankful for that. And Garth Bolinder has been very encouraging both to me and the church.”

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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