Ex-Cadet Puts Experience to Good Use
By: WJO & EKIM
Regular readers of e-Veritas over the past few years will surely recognize the name Mike Shewfelt. Mike was a longtime correspondent and photographer for e-Veritas. He took a medical release from the CAF just over a year ago. Many will find this update of interest.
When ex-Cadets discuss putting their College experience to good use, they often have in mind leadership experience or something else overtly military. This is not the case for 25366 Mike Shewfelt.
“I did not have the most successful College experience ever,” Shewfelt says. “I developed blood sugar issues in my third year, left the ROTP program in the middle of my fourth year, and was medically released two years later.”
Still, it is that very experience that now serves him well in his role as a minister and online writer. As he says, “My wife and I were married in May 2011, right in the middle of that mess, and as she’s from South Carolina we ended up, like a lot of military couples, spending a lot of time apart. Basically the first three years of our marriage we spent in two different countries.” And as he readily admits, doing so was far from easy. “We had to sustain a marriage over three years from a thousand miles apart, and that was a real struggle at times.”
He recently started a blog, Far North Encouragement, as a means of helping others going through difficult situations. While he doesn’t downplay his beliefs, neither does he try to be too overt about the religious aspects of what he is trying to do. “I graduated from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2015, and I am an ordained minister in the South Carolina Baptist Convention, so obviously I approach these issues from a certain perspective,” he says. “That being said, I hope I’m not too overt about it. At the end of the day, the purpose of this blog in particular is to reach out to hurting people of all backgrounds. For the better part of three years, my wife and I dealt daily with the heartache of being so far apart and of basically being in limbo waiting for the military bureaucracy to move. Every time I write, and every time I have the privilege of speaking in a church, the thought at the back of my mind is always, ‘What would I have wanted to hear back then? If I was going through a similar situation now, what would help me through it?’”
This approach, Shewfelt says, is drawn from his experiences working with military chaplains during the years he spent apart from his wife. “The chaplains I went to for help while I was at RMC in the middle of all that mess called their job a ‘ministry of presence.’ They weren’t there to tell you what to do, or tell you how to fix everything, but rather to listen, to serve as a sounding-board, and to help you process through what you were dealing with regardless of what your background was. And that’s what I’m trying to do through this blog. No judgment, no guilt-trips, just a place to have an honest look at difficult questions.”
Anyone interested in checking out Far North Encouragement can find it: http://farnorthencouragement.wordpress.com.
We wish Mike well.