Special Forces – Statesville, NC

Jim Van GelderenSpecial Forces Updates

A few weeks ago, Jamel Hamka contacted me about the team coming to his church and school to conduct the War of Special Forces. Quite a few years ago, I met Jamel doing the War of Special Forces at the church/school where he was youth pastor. I told him that we didn’t have an opening until 2019 unless he took a week we still had open in February. Well, the Lord led Southview Baptist Church and Christian School in Statesville, NC to take the week and what a week it was!!! It was a Divine appointment if you ask me.


There was a lady in the church who worked in the bus system for public schools. She talked to the team and worked it out for the team captains to come to several buses and invite the teens to the War of Special Forces. Wyatt went to one bus and recruited the bus, but only one young man signed up to come. This young man was Hmong from Laos. He brought a car load of relatives on Wednesday night. Their grandmother came as well. She could not speak English. When the invitation was given, they all responded to get saved. My wife dealt with several girls and the grandmother. My wife would give the Gospel and then one of the girls would translate for the grandmother. In the end, they all got saved including the grandmother!

The next day the leader of the Hmong teens stood up on the public school bus and said,

“Last night I got saved. Now I know I’m going to heaven. Something is changed inside of me.”

He went on to say more. A needy young man heard that testimony. He called the lady who drove the bus and who had worked out the invitation of these teens and asked if she could pick him up that evening. She said, “If your mom calls me and gives me permission, I’ll be glad to.” She testified that she had barely hung up when her phone rang and the mother of that teen called and gave her permission. That young man came that night and was the first one to respond in the invitation. The next day on the bus, he told a young lady sitting next to him that he had gotten saved. Don’t you love Gospel testimonies given on a public school bus!

The final night, he gave a testimony. It was short and to the point, but a blessing.

“Yesterday I was brought here for a purpose. It was to be accepted by God, saved from eternal damnation.”

The Hmong young man also gave a testimony at the campfire service.


One young man in the Christian school came back Wednesday during the invitation and talked to Wyatt, his team captain, about bitterness towards his mom. He told Wyatt he would talk to her that day. Wyatt asked him, “Anything else?” He replied, “Pray for my cousin to come to the War. I don’t think he will come. He’s not that type of a guy.” His cousin also claimed to be an atheist. This young man got right with his mom and invited his cousin. Thursday night this young man was late to the War, but his cousin came and was waiting for him. He heard the Gospel that night and when the invitation was given, he stood to his feet to respond. When he did this young man who invited him sobbed. He later testified about that moment,

“I felt a great sense of joy!”

Wyatt, the Rangers’ captain, said that after he prayed to be saved, he had tears brimming in his eye. Wyatt asked him, “Where are you going?” He replied, “Heaven!” The young man in the Christian school testified on Friday night,

“If I hadn’t got things settled with my mama that night, maybe he [his cousin] wouldn’t have come. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten saved.”


Another young man in the Christian school did not come to any War nights until Friday. His team captain kept urging him to come. That evening during the invitation, he and one other responded. When the team captain went thru the Gospel, he started sobbing. The weight of sin was heavy. After he prayed, he smiled and explained,

“That felt so good!”

He said he’d never heard the Gospel before.


Here are a few snippets from some of the testimonies:

“I got saved this week.”

“I just want the Lord to use me. I know I can’t do it in my own strength, but with Him anything is possible.”

“I was angry/bitter at everyone. I didn’t grow up with a father and then I started doing things that my grandmother would not approve of. But this week has really helped me. It’s great to have the burden off of me.”


On Sunday after the War of Special Forces had ended, the youth pastor texted me this,

“We had a great service tonight! 24 teens came including 15 of the 22 that got saved! We had 3 siblings of the teens come and got saved tonight! That makes 25 teens and 1 grandmother….so far.”

I love the words “so far.” I love his divine optimism that God is going to continue to work! May it be so!

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.