Finding God at West Point

West Point graduate of Haitian decent finds God, 14 years after active duty pursues calling as chaplain with Maryland National Guard

After having good relations with his unit chaplains and becoming awestruck by their ministry with other service members, Taneus decided not to extend after serving five years in order to go to seminary school, which is the first step in becoming a chaplain.

“I’ve always had an interest in serving soldiers… and I really enjoyed my time in the military traveling, now I desired to minister to them,” said Taneus, further elaborating on why he decided to come back in as a chaplain. 

However, traveling and hanging out with chaplains wasn’t the only reason why Taneus pursued chaplaincy. 

As a young cadet, before his graduation at West Point in 1997, Taneus said he found God while at the U.S. Military Academy. He then realized that God had a lot more in store for him than just serving his nation and becoming an officer in the United States Army.

“I had a salvation experience at West Point through a ministry called the Navigators,” Taneus said. “They had a big impact on my life.” 

The Navigators is a Christian ministry with a mission of helping others, including military personnel, to know God and to grow in their faith as they navigate through life. 

“I heard the Lord in an audible voice tell me, ‘I want you to use everything you’ve been learning at West Point and the military to serve my kingdom,’” Taneus said.

Yet, despite having a spiritual encounter at West Point and being involved with a Christian ministry, Taneus said at the time he really didn’t know specifically how he would serve God. After going on different deployments and growing as a military member, Taneus said he felt God’s calling get stronger and stronger in his life. 

This is when Taneus decided to not extend past his expiration – term of service (ETS) date and to instead follow God’s calling in his life.

“While I was pursuing seminary [part time] I was working in corporate consulting full time,” Taneus said. “I worked in corporate for about ten years… and after having a very successful life in the business world as a consultant, I just really realized that the calling was still there and wasn’t going away.”

Even though Taneus had a lucrative job and was considered successful, he said he was not happy and didn’t feel spiritually full inside.

“I got a sense that the only thing that makes me happy is to help people… and I knew that the best way to help people was through God’s word [Bible],” Taneus said. “So I left everything, took a pick-up truck, and headed out to seminary.”

Taneus was so serious about serving God and becoming a chaplain that he even sold his house in order to pay for seminary school. 

“Five years later, I graduated with high honors at Regent School of Divinity,” Taneus said.

After graduation, Taneus did a one-year chaplain residency at the Veteran Affairs NY Harbor Healthcare System, in Manhattan. He worked with veterans who had post traumatic stress disorder. Taneus said it was then where he understood a part of God’s calling and felt his ministry growing.

“I just really realized that my calling was developing into preaching the word so that people could find spiritual and emotional healing,” Taneus said.

Soon after, Taneus found himself moving to Maryland because his parents requested help with their assisted living business. However, this did not at all stop his goals and God’s plan for his life. Taneus decided to plant a church right in the heart of Baltimore.

“When I started to plant the church I knew that something else was missing,” Taneus said. “The Army had invested so much in me through West Point and through my time in the military… the Army was actually instrumental in my salvation… so this [joining the Maryland National Guard] is my way of giving back, also to bring a Bible-based, spiritual, and emotional healing not only to civilians but also to veterans and soldiers.”

Taneus said when he found out the rate of suicides within veterans he knew he had to come back in as a chaplain. Also, seeing that those numbers included citizen-soldiers coming back from deployments, he pursued coming into the Maryland National Guard. 

“I feel I can really help them,” Taneus said speaking specifically about Maryland Guard soldiers. “This is a dream come true. My ultimate dream is to be a pastor and a chaplain and it’s really coming together.” 

Taneus’s parents are United States citizens now, but they moved from Haiti to the U.S. when they were younger, so they could have the American dream and to be able to give a better life to their children. Taneus, the oldest of his siblings, is reaping the benefits of his parents migrating to the U.S. 

If you’re interested in meeting or contacting our new chaplain, Capt. (CH) Taneus, please contact him at the 581st Troop Command Battalion, Maryland Army National Guard.

Reprinted from the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System

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