Faith Life, July 2018

Faith Life, A Life of Service

A Life of Service

by Sharon Holeman

Ken Spivey and his wife Amy
Chaplain Ken Spivey and Healing Place Church Spanish Campus Pastor Fernando Gutierrez serve with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

They were on their way out. Ministry was done for the day, and it was time to go home. Standing in front of the elevator, Ken Spivey was suddenly overwhelmed by a vision from the Lord and began weeping. His friend and fellow pastor who stood beside him raised an eyebrow. “We have to go back,” Spivey said. “What? Why?” replied his friend, weary from the day. “We have to go back,” Spivey repeated, this time with urgency.

Together they returned to the last hospital room they had visited. An elderly man who seemed to be only partially present during their previous conversation was now awake. The two pastors greeted him again as Spivey gently explained, “Your daughter sent us. She is concerned about your spirituality.” “I don’t understand,” the man answered. Speaking with his usual calm and kind tone, Spivey responded: “I’ll go slow.” The gospel message was explained, and upon acceptance from the patient, a prayer of salvation through faith in Jesus was said. Now the night of ministry was indeed done. About three hours later, the man in the hospital bed died.

Miracle stories and moments like this flow almost as an unending river when speaking with Spivey about his life of service for Jesus. Called at the age of six, this Texas-raised boy who married the little girl that lived down the street, is more of a servant than most of us dare to let our imaginations ever think we could be. He manages to travel from crisis to crisis with an unexplainable peace that can be nothing other than the spirit of the Lord. He has seen things — and had to minister to others who have seen things — that go unmeasurably beyond the evil of today’s prime time drama shows. When asked how he manages to live and serve in conditions like this, he says without hesitation, “God’s grace.”

Spivey said he feels closest to God when he is serving. “Almost weekly, I will walk by someone, and the Holy Spirit will tell me to go back.” Nine times out of ten the person is receptive, and Spivey’s words of faith are well received.

While it’s exciting to know that God is using you to reach the hurting world, the level of servitude Spivey walks in daily can be exhausting. He frequents hospitals and funeral homes. He listens and counsels with confidentiality, seemingly always on call, and living in response mode. As a public servant, sheriff, pastor and Christian … how does this man, who works as the hands and feet of Christ, bear the price of a life lived in service to others? “It’s cost more for my family than for me,” he says.

Thankfully, he’s been blessed with an amazing wife. Amy, that little girl down the street, grew up surrounded by pastors and ministers, including her father, grandfather and all her uncles. She knew the lifestyle and long hours of ministry. Married for more than 30 years, the Spiveys have a wonderful family. Quality time is precious. That’s the hard part of service. The collateral damage that sometimes happens when we lay aside our life and our priorities to serve others like Jesus. According to Spivey, service can be summed up in one word: others. “It’s cost everything,” he said, “but given everything. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Ken Spivey is chaplain for the St. Amant Fire Department, Deputy Sheriff/chaplain at Ascension Parish Sherriff’s Office; and associate pastor in the Pastoral Care/Counseling Department at Healing Place.



Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator, and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles-12 American Women, 12 True Stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her Glory and Inspire Louisiana. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and The Art Institute of Houston. She is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word. 

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Faith Life, July 2016

William Saint: Wearing the Armor of God

by Lisa Tramontana
William Saint at the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana march from LSU to the state capitol where 10,000 flags were planted in memory of fallen soldiers. Photo by Natalie S. Miller Photography.
William Saint at the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana march from LSU to the state capitol where 10,000 flags were planted in memory of fallen soldiers. Photo by Natalie S. Miller Photography.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Through military challenges and personal tragedies, these words have comforted and motivated Major William Saint for most of his life. As a man, a son, a husband, a father and a military leader, he is bolstered by his faith and can’t imagine life without it.

Saint is Commander of the 62nd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team for the Louisiana National Guard. He leads a group of highly trained soldiers capable of responding to threats ranging from chemical leaks to natural disasters to terrorist attacks. His group often works behind the scenes, providing security for events such as the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, the Final Four or Jazz Fest.

In his position with the LANG, Saint leads a team that responds to threats ranging from chemical leaks to terrorist attacks.
In his position with the LANG, Saint leads a team that responds to threats ranging from chemical leaks to terrorist attacks.

Saint is good at his job, and his leadership skills were recognized early in his military career, which began when he joined the Army National Guard at just 17 years old. Parental permission was no problem since his family boasts a long tradition of military service that dates back to the Civil War. A life in the military was encouraged, if not expected.

College was still part of his plan, and Saint decided to study engineering at Louisiana State University. But when 9/11 happened, everything changed. “I was distracted after that,” he said. “My focus shifted. I suddenly felt a huge pull toward the military, and I knew it was my true calling.” To graduate as quickly as possible, he changed his major to history and finished his studies through Excelsior College — all while also going through officer’s training.

In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq, serving as platoon leader to 27 soldiers. On his third day in Iraq, one of his closest friends was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device) and lost his left leg. It was a test of faith for Saint.

“It was so tragic,” he said. “But it was also my first real revelation. I had never felt a departure from God, but on that day, I was strongly drawn to God. I realized that you must have faith to carry you through times like this. I was in a leadership position, responsible for the welfare of my soldiers and their families. I had to put on a strong face and make sure my soldiers were confident in my abilities. They looked up to me, but who did I have to look up to? I needed someone to release all my fears and trepidations. I needed someone to give me strength. And that someone was God.”

When his deployment ended, Saint was grateful that although some of his troops had been wounded, no one had died. “Even now when some of us get together, we talk about that,” he said. “Something kept us safe. We’re reminded of the Book of Ephesians, chapter 6.”

Put on the full armor of God so that when the day comes, you may be able to stand your ground … with the belt of truth buckled around your waist and the breastplate of righteousness in place. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith …”

Saint is welcomed home by his young daughters after a one-year deployment.
Saint is welcomed home by his young daughters after a one-year deployment.

In short, Saint believes his faith life and his military career are intertwined, one and the same. “The Army uses an acronym — LDERSHIP — which stands for these qualities … loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. And when you think about it, those are all Christian qualities as well,” he said.

Saint’s foundation was always strong. His Korean mother converted to Christianity after she married Saint’s father and came to the U.S. Saint attended church regularly, even through his teenage years. But even a lifelong dedication to God doesn’t mean life will be easy or perfect.

Saint’s second test of faith came in 2008, when his wife Katherine delivered the couple’s twins prematurely at just 24 weeks. Madeleine survived but baby William died at just 18 days old.

“You go through a range of emotions,” Saint said. “I was heartbroken. It wasn’t fair. I wanted to know why God would take my son. Our pastor guided us after William’s passing and let us know that it was okay to be angry and upset. And I don’t put William’s death at the feet of God. I don’t believe God is up in Heaven holding puppet strings and making certain things happen (good or bad) to people. William died and I have to accept it, but I take comfort in the fact that my son is in the Kingdom of God now. He has already gained his reward.”

Saint adds that throughout their grieving, he and Katherine have felt Jesus’ peace through family, Christian friends, worship, music, prayer and reflection. “I often dread long drives because I know my thoughts and emotions will find their way back to me,” Saint said. “But in every instance, Jesus uses those long drives to minister a peace that surpasses all understanding. He truly is a comforter.”

William Saint and his wife, Katherine, cherish their children (from left) David, 4; Juliana, 6; Abigail, 3; and Madeleine, 8.
William Saint and his wife, Katherine, cherish their children (from left) David, 4; Juliana, 6; Abigail, 3; and Madeleine, 8.

Today, the Saints have four children — Madeleine, 8; Juliana, 6; David, 4; and Abigail, 3. Stationed in Carville, La., Saint is now in the third year of his assignment. Although he could retire in just a few years, he plans to have a long career in the military.

On Memorial Day weekend, Saint participated in several events, including a 6-mile road march from LSU to the State Capitol to deliver 11,000 U.S. flags to the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana, Chapter 1, who were hosting their annual Memorial Day Garden of Flags. The flags were then planted by volunteers in memory of the 11,000 fallen Louisiana service members.

The march was an example of how Saint demonstrates the ideals he embraces. Respect. Service. Devotion to Duty. But most of all, he hopes to lead by example, living a life that inspires others, from family and friends to his brothers in the military. His desire is that his faith will be his legacy …

God willing.