Navy chaplain home for Tyler sermon

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - After braving bullets and bombs in Afghanistan, an East Texas reverend comes home to deliver one more sermon.

He left the comforts of home to become a navy chaplain and comfort others in harms way. After 7 months in Afghanistan navy chaplain Randy Potter returned to the pulpit at Southern Oaks Baptist church in Tyler, and shared his experience with old friends.

"When you have guys that hit IEDs and their vehicles are blown to Kingdom Come, they're broken and sometimes not even alive. It's difficult for you to go back to your tent and wonder why in the world God would allow such things," Potter said.

"He's such a good pastor. He teaches The Word and is just a great leader in our church," said church member Carolyn Jones.

He pastored Southern Oaks for 10 years, but three years ago Potter resigned to give spiritual support to the troops overseas. Without any prior service, he became a navy chaplain.

"God touched me that day and basically said its time to leave this church and go do this thing. The navy told me I was a little too old, but God told me I wasn't, and you see that I'm a navy chaplain" Potter said.

He was in danger almost from the outset, including several close calls with IEDs.

"The fact that I nearly got blown up, I don't sense that it changed me much at all. And I knew if I went over there and it was my time to go, that's fine. I buried 10 guys while I was in country," Potter said.

His biggest job, Potter said, is helping troops sort through the insanity of war.

"It's going to be tough and it's going to take great effort, but we've seen it work in Iraq so it can be done" he said.

Potter remains a navy chaplain, stationed currently in Hawaii. He has two children currently serving in the armed forces.

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