Feature Story, Online edition!

A Call To Freedom….”In Christ is found the freedom to choose wisely.”

A Call To Freedom
by Pamela Gauthier

Freedom has been mostly defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. When we take a closer look at freedom, the definition alone may not qualify as a reasonable answer.

When I was a child living in my parents home, I remember having the feeling of not wanting to be restrained. I wanted to do as I pleased. It seemed like a problem for my parents. They were not in agreement with what I wanted to do. I simply could not understand why I could not do as I pleased. As I got older I quickly realized it was they, and not I with the greater wisdom. The boundaries that were set before me were for my good after all. I learned that even though it is in our power to act as we want and do as we please, without boundaries in place, we oftentimes do not achieve the results expected. My parents had already traveled the road before me, therefore they were the wiser.

The word of God says in Colossians 1:15, Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation. Colossians 1:14 (NLT) says, our freedom was purchased and our sins forgiven. This is contrary to our original definition of freedom. Galatians 5:13 (NLT) says, for you have been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters, but don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. We understand freedom when we understand the truth. John 8:32 (NLT) says, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Being rescued from being a slave to sin, we are taught how to live in a new type of freedom.

In Christ is found the freedom to choose wisely. We can indeed do what we want to do but note that Christ has set us free and given us the power to live as He has created us to live. He also has given us boundaries to live in that freedom. When boundaries are in place we can then live out our freedom the way Christ intended.

Today we live in a nation where freedom to do and to choose has affected the foundations we have grown to know and love. It can seem at times as if everyone is on a different page with a different perspective. It is our duty as believers to proclaim the gospel message. 1 Timothy 2:6 (NLT) says, He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. Freely we have received this wonderful message, so freely may we give it. It is our duty and our privilege to proclaim this message of freedom to the saving of ourselves, our family, and our nation.

HeARTune Creations Poetry, LLC., is owned by Pamela Gauthier. Pamela is a writer and poet, who has been writing for over 20 years. She formally started her poetry as a business in October of 2013.

Her poetry has been at several boutiques and stores in the Baton Rouge area. Pamela is a native Baton Rougean, who has lived here all of her life. She is the wife of Ronnie Gauthier, and the mother of four: Mrs. Jamie Baham, Mrs. Jessica Chatman, Joshua and Joseph Gauthier. She is also the proud Grandmother of Five.

Pamela started her writing journey by writing poetry as a way to uplift the spirits of those in nursing homes and the like. This is still the goal today, to touch hearts and lives wherever encouragement is needed.

Cover Story, July 2018

Cover Story, BRPD Chief Murphy Paul, Faith and Family First

Faith and family first

Chief murphy paul calls the community to action

Armed with 27 years of law enforcement experience and standing on a foundation of faith, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul exudes confidence in efforts to stem the rising tide of violence among American youth.

“If we’re going to change the hearts and souls of young men, then I think it’s going to start with our faith-based community,” he said. “Less than 7% of individuals are responsible for a majority of the violent crime. They’re not in their congregations on Sundays – they’re not. So, if we’re going to evangelize to the lost, you have to get from behind the pulpit. We have to hit the streets.”

That means intentionally stepping into troubled areas, building bridges of trust and opening avenues of communication. But they want to do it wisely. This summer, the U.S. Department of Justice is holding sessions in Baton Rouge with faith-based leaders and other community partners on safely engaging the community at the street level.

“We’re going to ask our pastors to try to reach the hearts of these young men, and we’re going to have mentors out there,” Paul said. “We’re going to do everything we can to have a positive impact on this culture of violence.”

“One of the things we recognize is that there are barriers in community-police relations. So, what we’re telling the community is – if you’re scared to come forward to law enforcement, if you don’t want to come forward, then go to your pastor, your faith-based leader and talk to him or her,” Paul said. Faith-based leaders can then present appropriate information to law enforcement.

While current statistics indicate an increase in the homicide rate, Chief Paul expects the number of violent deaths to decrease as their efforts take hold. “We’re below the national average when it comes to solving these homicides and that’s due, in part, because the community is not coming forward and working with us to provide information to put these bad guys in jail,” he said. “Every violent crime that we see right now – there’s a gun involved. And we’re starting to see that some of the criminals are getting younger and younger.”

It’s important to get to know people, then look for crisis signs. “A change in behavior is a big indicator,” Paul said. “So, I think it’s important in this day and age that when we see something, we say something.”

Chief Paul favors the idea of police officers in schools to serve as resource personnel. However, there is currently too little funding and too few officers. Consistent, on-site police officers would develop relationships with students that can break down barriers, flag problems and help kids view police officers in a different light.

“We’re starting to see some progress. The community is saying we’re sick and tired of the violent crime that’s going on in our community, and they’re talking,” he said. Crime Stoppers, the anonymous tip line, is receiving as many as 400 calls per month at 344-STOP.

But the core of the issue is a need for changed hearts, Paul believes. “We are dealing with a culture of violence in the city of Baton Rouge where we have young men who don’t care if they live another day. They don’t care about the consequences,” he said. “Their hearts are not in the right place. With all our work and efforts as police officers, we’re not in the heart business.”

That’s where the faith-based community can work best – by transforming lives, Paul said. He traces his own success to adults who cultivated his faith and understanding of right and wrong.

Growing up in New Orleans, Paul confronted a spectrum of tough choices. “I look at the young men that I grew up with – some are in jail, some have lost their lives, some may not be doing as well. And I look at all the successful [ones].” Education and positive role models are key, he said. “You need mentors; you need people to look up to, people to help lead you in that direction.” Paul said some people who run into trouble with the law were never taught to do the right thing.

“It’s unfortunate that we do have a generation that are lost, but we can’t give up on them. It’s not the Christian thing to do,” he said. “We have to keep trying.” To youth in the community – and his own four sons – Paul preaches the three C’s: control, choices and consequences.

“You have control over everything you do. How you respond to a situation is more important than the hardship itself. That’s why you have to be wise when you make choices because they have consequences,” he said.

“So, I tell kids: Don’t buy into this victim mentality. We make mistakes. Learn from them,” he said. “The way you do that is understanding the 3 F’s: faith and family first. They are the only institutions that don’t judge you and give you second chances.”

Paul said many people invested in his life and led by example. “My mom [Patricia Price Paul] always preached the importance of putting God first,” he said. His parents divorced when he was very young, leaving her to raise Paul and his two sisters.

“She just showered us with so much love. My sisters – we have a great relationship. I can’t ever think of a phone call or a conversation where we didn’t say “I love you” and “I love you, too,” even after an argument. He credits his mother for her awareness of their friends and activities – and for being quick to intervene when something didn’t seem right.

“My mom could come in my room any time and just search the room. I can remember one time she searched the car – she didn’t like the company I was with that time,” he said. “Kids out there don’t always make the best decisions.” He advises parents to take charge by searching their kids’ backpacks and bedrooms. “We need to look under the mattress, we need to pull out the drawers, we need to go to the car, get the keys, search in the glove compartment, the trunk and everything. Be involved.”

“I’m in a great place right now, spiritually,” Paul said. To start the day with a positive attitude, he turns to gospel music. At 6:00 every morning, a cashier at the State Police cafeteria sends a verse of scripture. “Today’s scripture is ‘Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the most of every opportunity,’ [Colossians 4:5, 6 NLT]” he said. He reads the daily scripture on the Bible App. He is refreshed and encouraged at Healing Place Church. “Every Sunday, you get an opportunity to empty that stress cup,” he said. “It puts things in the right perspective.”

That perspective is at the heart of his appeal to the faith-based community, in the belief that a mindset of awareness and mentoring can make a difference. Chief Paul is so committed to the concept of community involvement that – when he decided to retire from State Police – he intended to spend the rest of his life connecting capable volunteers with their areas of passion through his new nonprofit, Work to Give. He prepared to become a certified mentor trainer through the John Maxwell program, Then, he experienced a life change.

“If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans,” Paul said. “God began to bless me and open up doors and opportunities that I could never imagine.” Fellow mentors in the Maxwell program saw his sense of hope, his enthusiasm and his experience as qualifications for a future police chief – something he had not considered. On their advice, he turned in his application for Baton Rouge chief of police just before the deadline.

I’m excited about the future of the police department here. We have great men and women who work here,” he said. “I think God put me here for a reason.”

“It’s a difficult time. I do believe that. And that’s why I think prayer is so important,” he said. “God has a way of calming us in difficult times…I pray and ask God for wisdom, for guidance on decisions.”

“But I think the true change in the crime issues here is not going to come from me,” Paul said. “I think it’s going to come from the community – and it’s going to come from the faith-based community. They’re in the business of changing hearts.”

The Baton Rouge Police Department is seeing success through connections with community leaders including faith-based partnerships.

Susan Brown began her career in radio news. She was news director for WJBO/WFMF radio and a journalism instructor at LSU. She holds a master’s degrees from LSU and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as a chaplain at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women.

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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 2018

Faith Life, The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

By Lisa Tramontana

Bill Smith was one of the founders of the Cowboys ministry for Christ

It’s hard to know where to start when describing Bill Smith. Father and husband, insurance professional, Sunday school teacher, LSU football player, prison minister, chili cook, Bible deliveryman, cowboy …

Well, we might as well start there …

Even now, in his early 80s, Smith is entirely comfortable in his well-worn cowboy hat and boots, moving cattle. At least twice a year, he joins friends in Lottie, Louisiana (about halfway between Baton Rouge and Opelousas) to move cattle from one pasture to another and provide them with medical care, including weighing them and administering shots.

It’s not such an unusual hobby when you consider that Smith grew up in north Louisiana, in an area known as Texarkana. He was surrounded by horses, cattle, and cowboys. He grew up with a strong Christian faith, thanks to his mother, who was half Cherokee. “She was a tiny woman, about 110 pounds,” Smith said, “and she made sure I went to church every Sunday. She knew everybody! Every morning, she’d get up early and make two big pots of coffee, and neighbors and friends would drop by all morning. They’d just sit and talk. Everyone was welcome.”

Smith says he recalls his father going to church exactly twice in his lifetime. He was a good man, Smith said, but quiet about his faith. “I was really lucky to have family and friends, preachers, even a high school coach who really cared about me and set a good example for me to live my life.”

In 1954, Smith arrived at LSU on a football scholarship and roomed with Jim Taylor, who went on to play for 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. The two were not only roommates and teammates, but they also shared a deep Christian faith. For years afterward, Smith was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and even served as president in the 1970s.

Like most young men, marriage, family and work eventually became his focus, but Smith was constantly looking for ways to practice his faith. His daughter, Stacy Bennett, says she couldn’t have asked for a better father or role model.

“My dad was always a very hands-on man who worked hard and set a positive example for his children,” she said. “He always made it clear that God and his family came first in his life. Many times over the years, I’d hear people tease him and say he missed his calling — that he should have been a minister.”

Apparently, that was on his to-do list as well, although he chose to minister to inmates at Angola. In fact, he was instrumental in founding Cowboys for Christ, an organization designed to share the gospel and reflect God’s love with prisoners who sought a relationship with Christ. That was more than 40 years ago, and it remains one of Smith’s biggest accomplishments. The ministry is nationwide and today, includes Cowboy Church, which is conducted at rodeos, trail rides and county fairs. Cowboys for Christ was also the inspiration for the popular Angola Prison Rodeo, which is held twice a year in the fall and in the spring.

Since retirement, Smith has joined his friend, retired Judge Darrell White, in a special project of the American Judicial Alliance. The group personally delivers replicas of the Harlan Bible to judges and courthouses across the country.* Armed with their commemorative Bibles, the two have made road trips to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and beyond.

Judge White has been impressed by Smith’s energy and optimism. “Bill is Baton Rouge’s 24/7 goodwill ambassador and good Samaritan,” said Judge White. “He literally drives around town looking for trouble — with jumper cables, a full gas can, and a tow rope in his truck bed so he can assist stranded motorists. And he’s active in nursing home visitation, prison ministry and a host of other Christlike activities. He’s a living, breathing example of James 1:26-27.”

In spite of his busy schedule, Smith still finds time to work as a Sunday school teacher at Parkview Baptist Church, and he leads several Bible studies in the area, including at local nursing homes. It seems there is always someone to help.

“I love God,” Smith said. “It really is as simple as that. So it makes me happy to be the kind of person He wants me to be. It’s not hard! Smile at people, thank them, hold the door open, do someone a favor, offer your friendship. There are opportunities everywhere to be a good Christian.”

*In 1906 Justice John Marshall Harlan dedicated a Bible to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, every Supreme Court justice has signed the Bible’s flyleaf, a tradition now being replicated by the American Judicial Alliance.

“Bill is Baton Rouge’s 24/7 goodwill ambassador and good Samaritan. He literally drives around town looking for trouble — with jumper cables, a full gas can, and a tow rope in his truck bed so he can assist stranded motorists.”
Retired Judge Darrell White

BRCLM Lagniappe, July 2018

Lagniappe, Called to Serve

called to serve

Rev. Jessee Bernard bilberry, jr

Rev. Bilberry and his wife pose with the Youth Girls Division at a recent gathering to celebrate his accomplishments

Friends, family, and fellow pastors gathered recently to honor a very special man, the Rev. Jesse Bernard Bilberry, Jr. With his wife Verta beside him, Rev. Bilberry was honored for his many years of service and ministry in a career brimming with achievements, including a term as president of the 4th District Missionary Baptist Association.

One of 10 children, Rev. Bilberry was born in Marion, La. In 1929. He earned degrees in social studies and English from Southern University, a master’s of education from LSU, and a doctorate of theology from Christian Bible College. He spent 13 years as principal of Tensas Rosenwald High School in St. Joseph, La., and 15 years in various roles at Southern University.

In 1981, he accepted the call to ministry, and since 1984, has served as pastor at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Over the years, he has collected numerous honors and awards related to his role as an educator and spiritual leader.

From left: Mayor Elvadus Fields. his wife Mamie, anniversary committee and chairpersons Donald and Nona Haynes, and Rev. Bilberry
Anniversary speaker Rev. Geoffrey Sykes and wife Tracy
From left: Cedrick Robinson, Anston Broadway, Caleb Butler, Kamden Jackson, Marquell Coates. Seated (from left): Rev. Jesse Bilberry and his wife Verta
Rev. Bilberry presented roses to his wife, Verta.
Family Life, September 2016

Brotherly Love

Twins Eric and Daniel Guiffreda are examples of character, commitment and compassion

by lisa tramontana

Daniel and Eric Guiffreda
Daniel and Eric Guiffreda

You won’t find many brothers who are closer than Eric and Daniel Guiffreda. Originally from Ponchatoula, they grew up doing everything together, and today at age 32, are fellow firefighters who have answered many calls to serve and protect others.

“You rarely come across men who are so genuine and have such character,” says colleague Stephen Gibbs. “They have helped a lot of people. Their influence and service goes way beyond the walls of this fire station.”

That’s because the Guiffreda twins have followed a career path that has included military service, first responder status and pastoral care. As they are both fond of saying, the best way to show your love for God is to love other people.

When they were still in junior high, Eric and Daniel joined Young Marines, a program that promotes character, leadership skills, community service and good citizenship. Their involvement with the group, along with being raised in a Christian home, shaped their personalities and hopes for the future. After high school, they joined the U.S. Marines. Eric had never wavered in his decision to enlist, but Daniel wasn’t sure until the last minute. “I had decided not to go,” he said. “And then right before the deadline, I called them up and said, ‘I’ll do it if we can ship out on the buddy system’” (together).

Active duty ended in 2005 and included deployments to Iraq. When the young veterans returned home, they were drawn to careers as firefighters. Daniel received his training in St. Angelo, Texas, and Eric trained at LSU Fire & Emergency Training Institute. Today, (both married with young children), they are paramedics with the Gonzales Fire Department – trained healthcare professionals who provide emergency first aid to fire and disaster victims.

IMG_7018As if their spirit of service weren’t enough, they are both chaplains as well, offering comfort not just to the injured, but to their fellow firefighters whose day-to-day responsibilities can be physically and emotionally overwhelming.

“We’re all extremely close,” said Daniel of his colleagues. “We spend just as much time with each other as we do with our own families. We see a lot of bad things together, and sometimes, you just want to be able to talk to someone who can relate. Eric and I know from our own experience that personal struggles at work can spill over into family life. We know exactly how difficult things can be.”

Eric and Daniel are also members of the Critical Incident Stress Team, affiliated with LSU, and provide mentoring to first responders who need counseling. “They might help someone who is having trouble processing a tragedy or someone who thinks they are at fault in a particular situation,” said Gibbs. “Eric and Daniel have a way of talking to people that calms them and makes them see the value of what they do.”

Dealing with disaster victims is another opportunity for the Guiffredas to practice their faith. Especially as paramedics, they are sometimes faced with death. “Some people just know they are not going to make it,” Eric said. “We pray with them and make sure they know they are not alone. The hardest part of the job is having to tell the family that a loved one has died. In that case, we have to just be there and listen to them, whatever they need to get through it.”

Through their work and their ministries, some basic philosophies have emerged. One of the most important is that every individual is valuable in God’s eyes.

“Some people might have trouble feeling sympathy for a drug addict,” Eric said. “But that person is worthy of love and compassion like anyone else. The way I see it, that person is in bondage. In his heart, this is not what he wants for his life. Think about that and you’ll see the humanity that is there … in everyone.”

And there is only one race … the human race, says Daniel. “The colors of our skin might be different, but we are all created in God’s image. No one is above anyone else.”

IMG_7024Jesus set this example, Daniel added, when he cut through the cultural rules and racism of his time by engaging a Samaritan woman in conversation and meeting her at the point of her deepest need.

“We believe our calling as Christians is to do the same by meeting those who are hurting and directing them to ‘the God of all comfort’ who truly cares about them and who alone can bring them lasting hope.”

It’s really simple, though not easy, the brothers say. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

“When you see a need, try to meet it,” Eric said. “Every single one of us deserves dignity and respect. And that’s why we should treat each other well. If everyone focused on that, all of our prejudices would fall away.”

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.