Joseph Wales Shares His Calling to Defend Others

I was born in Tuscaloosa AL, and I moved to Mobile when I was four. I have just about lived my entire life here in the Bay City. I was always a quiet child. To be honest I was very awkward up until about tenth grade. I had little to no experience with bullies until my first year of middle school, but after the first day of school I really didn’t want to go back. I tried my hardest to make friends but I only ended up getting picked on. I was never good at sharing my feelings even with my parents and I often just bottled up my feelings. I still have a bad habit of doing this when I get stressed out. Most days I would wear a big sweater because I was self-conscious about my body because I was overweight and a bit on the chubby side. I had been going to church my entire life but I never really felt a true connection to Christ. It was just something I did every week, and I rarely paid attention. 

One day Jeremy made an announcement that we would be going to our winter retreat at Camp Baldwin. I always enjoyed going to camps, so I signed up. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go, but someone made me a funny bet so I decided that I would. Little did I know a stupid little bet would change my life. Because of that bet I met some of my best friends who have been there for me ever since. On the last night of winter retreat during the speaker’s lesson, I felt Christ beside me. I broke down because I found people who would never bully me or tease me because of Christ. In that moment I knew Christ was telling me that I needed to stand up for others who couldn’t defend themselves from bullies (no matter how big the bully was). At the moment I had no idea how to do that. 

One day my freshmen year, some recruiters from the army came and I spoke to them for about an hour. I found out that the military was a career that would help me fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. I could also share God’s word and help my fellow soldiers who were struggling with their faith. On January 21st I swore in and enlisted in the United States Army, and I have earned the rank of Private First Class since then. I leave in August for four months of training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was my dream to live my life defending others, and joining the Army makes it feel like it’s all worth it. I want to give others a chance to live in freedom and live for Christ, even if it means that I’m sacrificing my own safety.

 

In that moment I knew the Christ was telling me that I needed to stand up for others who couldn’t defend themselves.

Tyler Vittetoe

Christ United Methodist Church, 6101 Grelot Rd, Mobile, AL, 36609, United States