, the Lord has worked in mysterious ways.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
assembles a drum set for the praise and worship team at Patrick Henry Village Chapel
in Heidelberg, Germany.
returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq with a unit based in Mannheim, he
was reassigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company
, U.S. Army Europe, and was given special duty as a chaplain assistant for the Heidelberg garrison.
needed to do something with his
Bible school degree.
Meanwhile, while checking into other opportunities, Andrey
found the Army
was accepting recruits up to 42 years old at that time.
"I thought, 'Lord, if I can do ministry, even as enlisted, I'll just do that,'" he
In 2007, he enlisted in the Army.
Both Wests come from families with military backgrounds, and Judy had been to Germany as a child when her
father was stationed in Giessen and Baumholder.
always wanted to come back to Germany," West
"It's just how the Lord worked it out: I enlisted in the Army
, we came to Germany, I got assigned in Mannheim, and then we ended up living in Heidelberg."
After almost a year on active duty, West
deployed to Camp Liberty, Iraq, for 15 months.
served downrange, his
wife took a position as the Patrick Henry Village Chapel
coordinator and got to know Army
Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Griffith, Heidelbergâ€™s Protestant chaplain, and Army Chaplain (Col.) Jerry Jones, U.S. Army Garrison Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg chaplain.
They guided her
in the right direction for her
husband to become a chaplain.
was downrange, and his wife, Judy, approached me at the candlelight service a year ago at the [Patrick Henry Village] chapel," Jones said.
now is preparing himself to become a chaplain candidate.
To do so, he
must have a bachelor's degree.
can apply to be commissioned as a second lieutenant and then proceed to the Chaplain Officer Basic Course.
Only after all the requirements are met - a 72-hour master's degree program, ordination in a recognized faith group by the chief of chaplains office, and the Chaplain Officer Basic Course - can he
become an official Army
now has 96 hours toward a bachelor of arts in religion and ministry, and is scheduled to complete his
degree in May.
West works at Mark Twain Village Chapel
and volunteers at Patrick Henry Village Chapel
He supports memorial services or services that happen during the week, supports the chaplain, learns administrative duties and helps with community relations events.
He teaches Sunday school and serves on the parish council at Patrick Henry Village Chapel as the services coordinator.
Sometimes, he is an usher or plays music as well, pitching in wherever help is needed.
"Working in the chapel gives me an opportunity to learn how the Army
chapel works, because we volunteered in civilian churches all of our lives," Andrey
West said he plans to apply for his ecclesiastical endorsement as well as his chaplain candidacy in the process of finishing his bachelor's degree.
"I think being a chaplain will be a lot of work, but at the same time, it will be fulfilling, because it has always been my desire since I gave my heart to the Lord," he said.