Rev. Peter Hofman graduated about a year ago from the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, making him one of the first Christian Reformed chaplains to complete the grueling training and become a member of the Special Forces.
As a result, Hofman can wear the Ranger insignia on his uniform, placing him in a unique position with those he serves.
“Peter Hofman has done one previous tour to Iraq and was recently deployed on short notice with a Special Forces group to Afghanistan,” said Rev. Ron Klimp, director of the CRC’s Chaplaincy and Care Ministry. “We have had several other chaplains deployed with Special Forces groups, but having the Ranger insignia on his uniform may make him a bit more trusted by the young men in this group.”
Besides holding services on Sunday, Hofman hosts a Bible study every Thursday night. One of the initial Bible studies had an international flavor, he noted.
“There was myself, a woman from Bosnia with her Bosnian Bible, an Australian troop, a Dutch soldier with his Dutch Bible, and Peter Visser, a chaplain for the CRC equivalent in the Netherlands. We talked about what the gospel means and how we communicate it to our various cultures and contexts. It was fascinating. A foretaste of heaven, I would say.”
Soon Hofman will visit the small Special Forces teams in remote parts of Afghanistan. “They live with the people they are trying to protect. Often they are in less-than-desirable conditions,” he said. “They have to build rapport in order for the people to trust them and work with them to fight off the Taliban.”
These soldiers need to be reminded of God’s Good News, he said. Coincidentally, the Special Forces motto in English is “To Liberate the Oppressed,” which, notes Hofman, “was Christ’s same mission.”
Hofman has made that mission his own: “My life is important only in so far that I carry out my mission and message, which is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”