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Spiritual Formation


Service Before Self

March 12, 2020
By Joshua Stines


When it comes to finding examples of service in our culture, there are none better than our military families. This past week I had the honor and privilege of speaking to one of our military families who is also a part of our CCS family. Lt. Col. Brandon Tellez, Commander of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, United States Air Force, has two sons who attend our Frederickson campus. 

Brandon leads a squadron that transports people to and from Antarctica several times a year as part of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). Here, a whole team of people including scientists study everything from global warming, to stars in the sky, to native animals. 

“A major scientific discovery that has come out of this project over the years was the discovery of antifreeze from fish, for lack of a better term,” said Brandon. “Scientists discovered that the blood in one of the fish native to Antarctica could be used as a kind of 'antifreeze' for the transportation of heart transplants. Sometimes, patients live far away from the heart that needs to be transplanted in them. This 'antifreeze' can be used to safely deliver transplanted hearts to these patients.” 

This is just one of many discoveries that have come about as a result of Brandon's partnership with the USAP in Antarctica over the years. 

Carrying people, supplies, and rations is not the only thing Brandon has taken with him to Antarctica. In one of the above pictures, you will find Brandon with our ALL IN Spiritual Theme sign at the McMurdo station in Antarctica. After sharing with him the theme of service this month, I asked him, “What does it mean to be ‘all in’ in our service to others?” 

He responded, “It means being willing to sacrifice. 'Service before self' is a core value of ours. I try to live by that each and every day. As a result of being in the military, I sacrifice a lot so that I can serve my family, my country, and the people who live on this great planet. Regardless of the sacrifice, I try to stick to that core value—serving others before myself.” 

Being ALL IN in our service to others will require that we sacrifice something. Sometimes the results might be big—like in Brandon’s case where people’s lives are being saved as a result of the successful heart transplants. Other times, however, the results might be small, like simply making someone’s day. Whatever the results or the sacrifice we might be required to make, we can find hope in the One who sacrificed it all for us and know that He is with us. During this month as we consider the One who went ALL IN for us, let’s be intentional to say thank you and pray for those who go ALL IN in their service to us so that we may be ALL IN for others.

Please continue to join us in prayer as we seek God's face in navigating the challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Pray for protection for our healthcare workers, healing for those who have gotten sick, and ultimately the elimination of the virus.