May 21, 2020

A Story of the U.S. Navy from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt

The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has been an ongoing source of news since early March when sailors began to test positive for COVID-19. They have given us a modern-day story of discipline and bravery. To date, more than 1000 of the crew have tested positive. The outbreak was discovered while the ship was docked in Vietnam. Quickly, they headed for their closest U.S. port with somewhat adequate medical facilities in Guam. A friend’s nephew was on that ship, so we have been able to get reports on the situation right from the source. He was one of those tasked with testing everyone on board, then helping sick sailors get off the ship to quarantine. Despite that, he has never tested positive for the virus. 

Just like cruise ships afflicted before it, it became evident quickly that it is very challenging to keep this virus contained on a ship full of thousands of people. As strict as the U.S. Navy’s standards for cleanliness on their vessels, and the plethora of manpower available to keep things “military standard clean”, the virus still spread through the ship. 

It appeared that the situation was handled as well as can be expected once they got to Guam. Sick soldiers were removed first and taken either to the hospital or to a local hotel. The latter was cleared out to make room for the men and women, depending on the level of care they needed. Local schools were turned into barracks for the healthy. All but about 500 essential crew were moved off the ship. While bored, the crew was safe and well-fed, and were able  to get some exercise and talk to loved ones back home on occasion. The ship was thoroughly cleaned over and over again, and the crew have been slowly brought back on board. They are still in that process and looking forward to getting back to their mission. At this time, one man, Chief Petty Officer Charles Thacker, Jr., has died and we mourn his death. We pray there are no others. The crew is reported to be in good spirits despite everything. This is a testament to the bravery of those serving us in the U.S. Navy.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13; ESV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Thank the Lord for those who serve in our United States Navy.
  • Ask God to cover each and every crew member aboard ships, other watercraft, and submarines from harm, especially from the COVID-19 virus.
  • Consider the care these sailors are taking for one another’s health. They are all working together for the common good, and they honestly care about each other. Intercede for the Church to come into this place of love and discipline.
  • Some Believers have found themselves critical of the way the government is responding to this virus, or to the way business owners, or even pastors or neighbors are responding. Put that aside now. Repent, if you’ve been one of these accusers. Take on compassion. Everyone is doing their best in a very unknown situation. Become an intercessor instead—standing in the gap between what is and ought to be.
  • Notice that they can’t wait to get back to their mission. Pray for them to be healed and well and whole, so they can!
  • Now, intercede for the Body of Christ to have that same sense of passion to expand the Gospel of the Kingdom as we move out of COVD-19 restrictions!

A prayer you can pray:

Father, we lift up the United States Navy to You. We are thankful for these that patrol the world’s oceans in a constant peace-keeping mission. They are watchful for threats that could come from the sea. It is not an easy life, as they are apart from land, their homes, and their families for very long stretches of time. Currently, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has been gone longer than planned due to COVID-19 being found aboard. This has disrupted the lives of all of the crew in very unexpected ways. We compassionately lift them before You as they attempt to get their men and women healed and their ship prepared, so they can continue their mission. We also intercede for the family of Chief Petty Officer Charles Thacker who lost his life to this disease.

Lord, show the Church how to operate like these members of the Navy did. They have been disciplined to get a job done that they never expected. They have kept a good attitude, even though confined and bored. They have leaned on and looked out for one another’s well-being. They have done all that they can do to get everyone back on board and back to their mission. We need these characteristics of compassion, discipline, and unity. The Church needs to get back to its mission of expanding the Gospel of the Kingdom in our realms of influence. We need to drop competitiveness and criticism of leaders and of one another, so we can move forward as one. Grant us the grace and the passion we need so Jesus can be seen in us. Amen.

Today’s decree:

Our U.S. Navy is an example of persistence and bravery in the midst of adversity.

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