Those who have done military service (I would like to make it clear that I did my military service when I was not yet persuaded that a Christian should abstain from doing it) know how important it is to meet a brother in the Lord in the midst of such a wicked and hostile environment.

Now, while I was doing military service in Orvieto, in 1985, I had prayed to God that I might meet a brother in the barracks, but God had not yet answered my prayer. When it really seemed that all hope was taken away, I met a brother in the Lord. Let me tell you how that unforgettable encounter took place.

I was a drill-corporal and so when I had to mount guard I was a guard commander together with another corporal. With us there were also another corporal (a higher degree, which was called major corporal) and a second lieutenant.

My duty was to take a new group of guards to their posts every two hours, to keep an eye on the guards who had finished the two hours of guard, to organize the cleaning, etc… One night I had to mount guard, however that night I should not have mounted guard, but orders are orders and I obeyed. Usually I mounted guard half-heartedly, but that night the ill-will was double. During that night I had to choose (as usual) from among the guards who were waiting for their turn (the groups of guards were three, while one group was mounting guard the other two were resting) some guards to put them to do the group ready for action - in Italian ‘gruppo di pronto intervento – (5 or 6 guards ready to intervene in case of need, who usually sat upon a bench outside the guardhouse when the weather permitted it). So I entered into the guardhouse, where the guards were resting, and I chose at random some of them, who went and sat upon the bench outside the guardhouse. I decided to sit down. So I took a stool and I sat in front of them. One of those guards who were sitting on that bench, to whom I had already spoken about the Lord, asked me: ‘Corporal, what do you want to speak about to us tonight?’ I replied: ‘What will I speak to you about? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (and I was about to preach the Gospel as usual). When I spoke those words, one of the guards who were sitting in front of me said to me: ‘Corporal, these words are written in the Bible!’ I replied: ‘I study the Bible’. He said: ‘What do you mean by that?’ I replied: ‘I am a Christian!’, then he said: ‘What kind of Christian?’ I said to him: ‘I am a Pentecostal!’. When I spoke those words that guard shout out, ‘So am I’, and I shouted out: ‘Peace unto you brother, what’s your name?’ He said: Peace unto you, my name is Daniele!’ and so we began a long brotherly talk. I sat beside him and we began to talk about the Lord, and then together we spoke about the Lord to those who were present. The joy and the astonishment were really great in those moments.

Since everything had taken place before the eyes of other people, they were astonished because even though I and Daniele had never met before, we immediately began an affectionate fellowship. One of them said to me: ‘So you have found another person like you!’

Afterward, talking on the telephone with the mother of Daniele, I came to know that his parents were praying to God that their son might meet a brother during military service.

Glory to God forever. Amen


Giacinto Butindaro