The U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Religious Support Office welcomed a new Family Life Chaplain this month to focus on resiliency areas, such as helping couples with marital relationships and those struggling with the stress and difficulties that come with everyday military life.
With nearly 12 years of experience as an Army chaplain, Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Dawson is eager to take on the job of helping military families here.
Family Life Chaplain counseling services are available to service members from all branches of services, civilian employees and family members in the Kaiserslautern and Baumholder communities. The goal of the Family Life program is to offer professional and compassionate care to the whole person, whether they are from a religious background or not.
Dawson originally studied medicine with an eye on a career as an occupational or physical therapist, but during this time he went on a mission trip with his church to Brazil, and it was there that God began to call him into the ministry, he said.
“I was very reluctant because I was not sure how he could use me in the ministry. I had never dreamed of such a thing,” Dawson said. “Over time, I felt certain that God was calling me into ministry.”
“I had an opportunity to preach in Brazil, and it was through that experience that I felt God telling me to do my part and he would do his. So, I trusted God, and he worked out everything for me to go to seminary. While in seminary, I still questioned the call, but God faithfully continued to confirm my call to the ministry,” he continued.
Dawson said he was a little reluctant about joining the Army at first.
“I had a friend in our pastor’s association, and he asked me one day if I wanted to be a military chaplain. I quickly said no and did not think anything else about it. It was that question that God used to show me he wanted me to join the military,” he said.
It wasn’t so much the work of a chaplain, he said, but the idea of family separations that held him back.
“I was not excited about it because I knew it would mean I would have to leave my family for a deployment. God continued to confirm to me and my family that this was the next thing he wanted me to do,” Dawson explained.
Now that they are here, Dawson and his wife, Laura, are excited to be living in Europe.
“My wife and I love to travel and see the beauty of God’s creation. Some of our pastimes are hiking in nature, one of the great places to explore more fully God’s creation,” Dawson said.
As he settles into his new role in Germany, Dawson continues to embrace his calling and the people with whom he has been assigned.
“I love connecting with people, and one of the most powerful aspects of therapy is the ability to build a therapeutic alliance with Soldiers and families,” he said.
The Family Life Chaplain is located at the RSO office on Kleber Kaserne, Bldg. 3213. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call DSN 541-2105 or Civ. 0611-143-541-2105.