Special Forces – Orlando, FL

Jim Van GelderenSpecial Forces Updates

Over the years our team has had the privilege of laboring at Tabernacle Baptist Church and Heritage Prep with the War of Special Forces. We have enjoyed laboring with Pastor Steve Ware and the youth pastor, Markus Secrist. They have been a great blessing! This year was no exception. Pastor Ware was on a mission’s trip this year to Africa so Pastor Markus was the one who led the week.

The week was a great evangelistic blessing. There were over 40 teenagers who responded to the Gospel invitations! It was a thrill to be a part of leading these teens to Jesus!


I greeted a car that had just driven up thinking the driver was a teenager. The closer I got to the car, I realized it was a dad dropping off his son. His son came and played the games. During the invitation he responded and was led to the Lord. While this was happening, the father and his daughter were waiting. Rhonda Van Gelderen asked the man, “Have you ever received Christ as your Savior?” “Yes,” he answered, “I was baptized.” He then named a church he attended. Rhonda said to the little girl, “Can I show you what they are explaining to your brother?” She went through the gospel with her while her father watched. When she finished she asked the girl if she understood. She wasn’t sure so Rhonda explained again how to be saved. This time when she asked if she understood, she clearly indicated that she did. When Rhonda asked her if he she wanted to be saved, she indicated that she did. When she finished praying to trust Christ, Rhonda asked the father, “Did you make sure?” “Yes,” he replied, “I prayed with you.” Recently, we have been thrilled with a number of parents who have gotten saved.


The Marine team captain, Jeremy, recruited two young men that were at the nearby middle school. They were walking down the street and he got their names and numbers after recruiting them. They came the first night and were really excited about the competitions and everything. When it came time for the preaching, they both heard the preaching of the Gospel and were gloriously saved. Their team captain put it this way, “After being saved, you just could see a big difference. They were excited about what God had done in their life.” They came the next several nights and were still talking about what had happened in their life that first night!


In the Christian school there was a young man that really had never made a decision since he had been there over 10 years. On Thursday night God broke his heart and he wept his way to Jesus. He then dealt with some other issues in his life. His team captain later testified, “The last day, I could just see the freedom that was in his life, and it was just exciting to see.”


Several other young people dealt with issues in their lives. When we gave an invitation on Friday for those who had made a decision that week publically or privately, we had a good response. When we got to the room, we opened the prayer meeting up and many of the teens prayed heartfelt prayers of dependence on the Lord. It was refreshing to hear these teens pray!


Below are a few testimonies that were given at the campfire service on Friday evening.

“This week I decided to confess and speak to my parents about covered sin. And I also got some relationships right with others and stuff. I’m glad!”

“This week I made a decision because I was bitter towards some people. So I made a decision to not be bitter to them. And I’m trying to see what God’s will is for my life and surrender to Him.”

“God saved me this week. And He grabbed me in His hand and He… He won’t ever let me go.”

About the Author
Jim Van Gelderen

Jim Van Gelderen

Dr. Jim Van Gelderen is president of Minutemen Ministries, vice-president of Baptist College of Ministry, and evangelist out of Falls Baptist Church. He and his wife, Rhonda, travel the country in evangelism. They have three daughters.