My LopeLife: Ready to serve God and country

Jacob Doest says GCU’s ROTC program has helped grow his desire to serve God by providing pastoral care in the military. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

Editor’s note: Reprinted from the November issue of GCU Magazine. My LopeLife is a feature in which GCU students, staff and alumni share enlightening experiences. To be considered for My LopeLife, please email a short synopsis of your suggested topic to [email protected] with “My LopeLife” in the subject field.

By Jacob Doest

My calling to the chaplaincy, affirmed and deepened during my time at Grand Canyon University, began in my middle years of high school when I baptized two of my childhood best friends.

By the Lord’s grace and faithfulness, He blessed me with the opportunity to witness the Holy Spirit’s work in and through them. From that time forward, I knew that He had placed on my heart a desire to serve Him in vocational ministry.

My commissioning into the ministry field became further apparent through countless conversations with my grandfather, a retired Navy Seabee, about the need in our nation’s military for pastoral care. Through those eye-opening conversations with my grandfather, I understood God was calling me to this ecclesiastical discipline.

Throughout my time in GCU’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), God’s will for my life and the posture of my heart to serve Him have grown exceptionally. My experience in the ROTC program has been marked by rewarding challenges, increased spiritual discipline and the start of lifelong friendships.

Nearly every morning, ROTC challenges me to improve my physical, tactical and administerial readiness.

Doest learned even more last summer at the Sabalauski Air Assault School.

The peak of these challenges came last summer when I was permitted to train at the Sabalauski Air Assault School in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Through the physical and mental battles of the school, I became a better soldier, leader and peer.

Each of the adversities I faced there forced me out of my comfort zone, ultimately leading to a dramatic increase in my dependency on the Lord. Not only did the Air Assault School test my readiness and resilience, but it further affirmed God’s plan for my life.

The ROTC program, in addition, has fostered an exceptional team environment whereby friendships easily can be made and trusted. Without a doubt, I have developed fellowships that will carry on with me in my Army career and beyond.

However, my incredible experiences in the GCU ROTC program will not end upon graduation. Instead, the Army will provide me with a route into professional military chaplaincy, allowing me to provide pastoral care to soldiers and their families.

The chaplaincy supplies me with the ability to serve my God and my country, and I hope to be a vessel for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through servant leadership.

By the will of God and by the strength of His Spirit that dwells within me, my prayer is that God will use my ministry in the Army to lead my soldiers to internal peace with humility. I look to lead with quiet strength and genuine love, providing each soldier an outlet to practice their right to worship.

Through my ROTC connections, I have been graciously enabled to work at the Antelope Reception Center.

The ARC is GCU’s on-campus tour service, providing prospective high school students and their parents the chance to see the beautiful campus we call home. The ARC has equipped me with greater confidence in leadership-oriented environments and allowed me to see the students I have toured make it onto campus to become leaders in their own right.

Only a few weeks ago, I was walking out of a campus weight room when I was stopped by a student who had joined me on a campus tour. I was humbled to know that the tour solidified his decision to receive his education at GCU and even more humbled to hear that he was interested in the ROTC program.

It became clear at that moment that the time I poured into each of my tours meant more than just showing a student or family a college campus; it meant that I could provide a tiny glimpse into the blessings GCU has provided me.

It could determine someone’s future.

The result of my education at GCU and my participation in its ROTC program has been a deeper understanding of my God-given purpose and a strengthened relationship with the Father. I am spiritually and emotionally fueled by the opportunity I have each day to learn from my peers, professors and cadre.

Though my daily challenges sometimes can be overwhelming, I find great peace knowing that I have been placed here as a disciple-in-training. I know with abundant certainty that I have a team and a family to rely on and grow with; it is an assurance that comes only through the opportunities I have been given.

My ultimate prayer is that God would work through me to accomplish His mission, be a light to the nations and be a vessel of Christ’s love to the hurting. 

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ABOUT JACOB DOEST

Jacob Doest is a junior majoring in Christian Studies with an emphasis in biblical studies and a minor in military science. He is a cross country runner turned triathlete, and triathlon training takes up much of his spare time – he planned to compete in the Arizona Half- Ironman this fall. When not studying, training or working at the Antelope Reception Center or In-N-Out Burger, he enjoys diving into God’s Word and serving in his church’s youth ministry.

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