My Spiritual Journey: A Walk with God
Hello, my name is Johnnie Flores. I am excited about the free Chaplaincy training program at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about Studying the Bible, Click Here).
I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, and currently have three brothers and three sisters as one of my brothers passed away in 2015. Growing up back home, life was somewhat normal. However, many problems were at home with my mom and dad. We only attended church on special days like Good Friday, Christmas, and other related Catholic holidays. My parents did not attend church often. I often said to myself, “There has to be something more in life beyond what I am currently going through.” I joined the U.S. Army after turning 17 to see the world and seek a better life and opportunity. I retired after 22 years in the U.S. Army.
Towards the end of 1979, on my first overseas tour in Panama, R.P., I met my wife, Vianca. After three days, I asked her to marry me. Truly God became an integral part of our marriage after we returned to the states. I was stationed at NTTC Naval base in Pensacola, Florida. My wife and I wanted to begin having children, but she had some issues where we needed to see a doctor. The doctor confirmed that my wife could not get pregnant because her mind was still in Panama, thinking about her mother.
Therefore, I tried to get reassigned back to Panama, but there was no luck. Suddenly, however, I received a special assignment to Panama. God had his hand on it because these types of things seldomly happen in the military. One month after being in Panama, my wife got pregnant. This was an amazing blessing. She enjoyed the time with her mom and family. Everything was going great.
The night before our son Johnnie Jr. was born, my wife Vianca experienced a lot of pain. We decided to seek immediate medical attention at the Army hospital nearby. They then placed us in a room while we waited to be attended by a doctor. A few hours passed by, and when we asked when we could see our doctor, the head nurse informed us the doctor went home because it was the end of his tour.
Then the machine displayed that the baby was in distress. The hospital staff searched for a doctor to deliver baby Johnnie. By this time, both my wife and baby Johnnie experienced several medical complications. After the staff located a doctor to perform surgery, the doctor stated too much time passed. The baby or my wife may die because the baby was not breathing. The doctor and staff delivered my son, who appeared purple in color and was not breathing. Due to the staff’s negligence for waiting so long to deliver the baby, our son was born with brain damage.
After receiving this information, my world immediately turned upside down. He was my firstborn. My wife also fell very ill due to the medical compilations our son Johnnie Jr. experienced. I did not know where to go or what to do. The tears poured from my eyes, full of pain for both my wife and son. I decided if anyone can help, it was God. I went to the hospital chapel and prayed.
Surrender to God and Blessings
As I keened in front of the cross, I said to God, “Let your will be done. If you decide to take baby Johnnie or my wife, I’ll do my best to live with it. Please, God, bless my family so that we may continue to give you praise.” God gave me this verse: “My friend, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Johnnie Jr. has several medical issues. He is currently 100% disabled and requires 24/7 care. He is 37 years old. Johnnie red-lined three times throughout his lifetime. God has always been there, giving us the strength, hope, and love in taking care of Johnnie Jr. God tells us to trust in Him, for all things are possible with Him. We have been blessed to walk with God through these trials and tribulations and have been married for a total of 40 years. We have three children: Johnnie Jr., Jean Carlos, and Joel. “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
My Ministry Service
During my time in and out of the military, I volunteered in many organizations: The Fisher House, The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, the Special Olympics, The United Way of San Antonio, and Habitat for Humanity. I also attended A.C.T.S. Adoration, Community, Theology, and Services Catholic Retreat to experience the closeness to God on a one to one relationship. I’ve also attended the Oblate School of Theology’s 2-year program study in Pastoral Lay Ministry. There I received additional training in Hospice care, Nursing Home Ministry, Consolation/Bereavement Ministry, Death Notification & Related Issues, and Basic and Advanced Bible Studies. I believe my vocation in life was and is to help others.
Chaplaincy Training Program at CLI
I wanted to strengthen my ministry walk with my church and community in giving back for the many blessings I received from Christ. I want to share God’s grace with others and gain a better understanding of God’s words. My pursuit of knowledge is the path I want to take so that I can serve my God. I received an email from one of the volunteers, Jonathan Porter, from Christian Leaders Institute (CLI). He provided me with some information on CLI. I reviewed the information and decided to look into the Chaplaincy training program to earn additional skills to assist others. Thank you, CLI, for this free Chaplaincy training program.