Shane Goodwin, Head Football Coach, Tri City Christian School (USMC Veteran)
When I arrived at Marine Corps. Boot Camp in October of 1994, like many fellow recruits, I was lost and hoping that becoming a Marine would "fix" me. That dream of a big time college football scholarship I had put all my eggs in the basket for was gone. My goal to escape life in an Alabama trailer park could only be met by allowing Marines to rewire me. Up to the age of nineteen I had experienced a life that included child abuse at the hands of a step father, a foster home, the projects, a trailer park, a single mom, death of my father, etc.
The Marine Corps. gave me discipline, the ability to improvise, overcome, and adapt, a sense of pride, dedication, initiative, and many other positive qualities I didn't have before. However, when I witnessed the suicide of a Drill Instructor in boot camp I was only given a brief moment to express my confusion in a chapel. After that day we were never given an opportunity to discuss what happened. This combined with the baggage I brought with me to boot camp created a great desire in me for spiritual guidance.
When I left boot camp I do not recall opportunities for worship. I was stationed on a Naval Base in San Diego. When I arrived I asked for churches or chapel opportunities and was told the Chaplain, "worked on the other side of the base". I do not remember ever meeting a Chaplain while stationed there. I spent the weekends when I had time off driving around the city looking for churches I had seen in the yellow pages. These churches, like most, had loving elderly members who greeted you when you arrived and asked you to return when you left. However, there were no programs for young adults or specifically Military personnel.
I needed God, of course, but I also needed Christian brothers and sisters who understood my struggle. I needed to get away from the noise that comes with preparing for war as an Infantry Marine.
When I began working in ministry in 2006, I often remembered back and thought about how I would love to share the gospel with members of the military. What if I could find that young service member who was like me and share the joy of Christ with him? What if there were a Christ Centered ministry that helped through the hurt that didn't threaten Marines with a psychological label because they reached out for help.
When I arrived in San Diego for the final interview of my current job, my wife and I were given a tour by a lady named Kim Wolf who told me her husband was a Marine. I expressed my interest in ministering to young service members. She then shared that her husband, Rick, had started a ministry called Soul Survivor Outdoor. I met Rick days later and listened to his vision for the ministry. After that conversation I knew God was leading our family to be a part of this ministry as partners. Praise God for how he brings people together in his time. I needed Soul Survivor Outdoor in 1994. Although it was not available, I pray my story can encourage others to see the even greater need for this ministry now. I pray they see the need for their support.