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Stephens’ brothers to perform in student body play
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Student Spotlight: Student reflects on value of military service

Husband, military sergeant, junior Christian ministries major and servant of Christ—these are just a few of the roles Kenny Smolinski fills.

Smolinski’s journey started when he felt the Lord calling him into the military shortly after he graduated high school in 2002.  After briefly attending college classes but ultimately deciding that they just didn’t fit, he decided to go in to the military.  “It’s just something I wanted to do, something I wanted to prove to myself to see if I could do it,” he said.

So he called a recruiter and decided to enlist. He went on to spend 15 years in the army and is currently a Sergeant E-5. As a Sergeant E-5, he interacts directly with soldiers in his unit as the first line of command.  After 15 years of active duty service, Smolinski began to feel called to go to college so he could become a chaplain.  “The army needs good chaplains, and I want to fulfill that role,” Smolinski said.

Initially, he resisted putting his long-held military career on hold to return to college. However, he eventually followed the call, saying, “What led me here is that the Lord has been pressing on my heart to go to Bible college for a long time.”  After deciding to go back to school, Smolinski began filling out applications and included prayer as part of his application process.

When his acceptance letter from Bob Jones University came in the mail, he saw that as an answer to his prayer. “The Lord answered that prayer, and here I am,” he said. Now, Smolinski is enrolled in Bob Jones University and is also a part of the ROTC program to learn more about officer roles in the military.  Even before Bob Jones University began offering the ROTC program this year, he wanted to join and asked President Steve Pettit about adding it.

Now that it’s available, Smolinski is an enthusiastic member. There he learns more about leadership skills and other aspects of officer roles. Smolinski also sees the program as beneficial for younger students. “If you want to learn more about the military, ROTC is the way to go,” he said.  Smolinski plans to finish his bachelor’s degree and attend BJU seminary.

After graduating, his plan is to return to the military and become a chaplain.  He said chaplains fill several roles and that a major part is providing soldiers with biblical counseling.  “I have a heart for soldiers; I have a heart for serving,” he said. “Being there to provide sound spiritual advice for soldiers is very important.”

With many different responsibilities to balance, Smolinski said time management is extremely important.  “I’m always trying to make time as a husband, make time as an ROTC cadet and prioritize my life to make sure there’s an equilibrium,” he said. “So time management is key.” According to him, people will make time for the things that they want to succeed at.

“My grades are important to me, being an awesome husband is important to me, maintaining my relationship with the Lord is important to me,” he said, adding that he finds God gives the time to do everything necessary.