Seldom in my lifetime have I encountered an individual who has more completely dedicated his secular career to the glory of God than U.S. Army Veteran—Lt. COL (retired) Howard (Howie) Malone. He was the real deal. He still is. This extraordinary veteran is not just remarkable because of his stellar military service, but because to KNOW his story is to SEE a life lived for GOD’s glory.
Many thanks to Mrs. Melanie for conspiring with me to make this article a surprise for Howie and for supplying the necessary details! I have been so blessed by their friendship and to have served alongside them for several years. Because of their love and genuine heart for Christ, in my eyes they are without a doubt, heroes of the Gospel.
Before we begin, let me share a little about Howie’s chain of command. After he joined the Army, he answered the call of the highest Commander in heaven and earth—Jesus Christ. Jesus taught we are to fulfill the Great Commission by going into all the world to make disciples and share the Gospel. (Matthew 28:16-20) For nearly his entire military career, Howie took this COMMAND literally. He understood that the mission field is where God places us; and the U.S. Army was simply another avenue of opportunity to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. So is your job, your neighborhood, and your family. So are mine.
We pray Howie’s story inspires passion to take the Great Commission of Jesus to your job…and beyond!
Howard (Howie) Malone: Soldier in God’s Army, 31 years and counting; Soldier in the U.S. Army Military Police, 33 years.
Howie gave his heart to Jesus Christ at 8 years old. He was brought up in a loving Christian home and was committed to serving the Lord. He enlisted in the US Army Reserves right out of high school and served a year. He applied for and was awarded a four year ROTC scholarship at Middle Tennessee State University. He graduated at the top of his class and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1981.
As a young 2nd Lieutenant, Howie was sent to Pirmasens, Germany, which brought some tough challenges. Although he excelled as a young army officer during these years, his walk with the Lord faltered. He quit attending church and reading his Bible and walked away from his close relationship with God but—God NEVER abandoned Him.
God had a marvelous plan and great purpose for Howie!
While in Germany, Howie began corresponding with his former girlfriend from college, Melanie. They dated in college, but their relationship ended before they both graduated. God brought them back together and they were married in October 1988. During their first year of marriage while stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, they both recommitted their lives to Jesus and began attending church. They passionately desired to serve the Lord wherever He would send them.
Howie began to develop the remarkable understanding that GOD was HIS primary military assignment officer!
According to Melanie, “ministry in God’s army began for Howie at age 34.” They were transferred to South Korea, where Howie pastored a small charismatic fellowship in the chapel on Yongsan Army Base and led worship with Melanie. Many other ministry opportunities opened up like—teaching in a Korean house church; Youth with a Mission on a college campus; and on the streets of “vegetable hill” (a red light district in Seoul).
This was just the beginning of God opening up so many opportunities for ministry!
Howie’s assignments included Atlanta, Georgia; Hanau, Germany; a deployment to Afghanistan; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During these, the Lord allowed him to preach, teach, and lead worship with Melanie in many different chapels, churches, conferences, and other venues. He was often called “Chaplain Malone” because so many people knew him BETTER from his teaching in the pulpit than they did in his role as a military police officer.
While Howie was excelling in his commission with the army; it was evident that his Army career was eclipsed by his commission with the GREAT Commissioner—Jesus Christ!
Howie understood physical warfare, but far more important, he understood SPIRITUAL warfare. Jesus, as his Commander, was ingenious in providing ministries within his career as a U.S. soldier. Since stories are such powerful teachers, I asked Melanie to share some of her favorite and memorable “God” stories during Howie’s years of ministry in the military. There are MANY, but we chose just a few of their favorites.
60th Anniversary of D-Day, Normandy
While stationed in Germany after 9/11, Howie was selected to lead the security team for President George W. Bush for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, on June 6, 2004. His team would be responsible for all security for the President alongside the secret service and Howie knew it was the assignment of a lifetime! During that early morning of June 6, 2004, as the team was preparing to head out, his boss called for a time of prayer. Every single soldier serving on that team participated. It was a powerful moment as ministry and military intersected. During each of the challenges that lay ahead for the team that day, no one doubted that God was present in ALL that took place. Everything ran just as they had planned and prayed for and—God was glorified!
Not only was God glorified by the answered prayers for a smooth ceremony—but He also gets the credit for saving Howie from what could have been a career-crippling mistake.
Howie had forgotten to pack his green shirt for the uniform of the day. As all were dressing, Howie exclaimed that he was in big trouble and did anyone happen to have an extra green shirt he could use? One of his friends announced, “Don’t know why I did it, but I had the thought that I should pack an extra shirt for this assignment….never did it before!!!” To everyone’s amazement, it was the exact size Howie wore. Howie likes to say, “God always has my back, to HIM be the glory!” That day was no exception!
Afghanistan December 2006-November 2007
In Howie’s deployment to Afghanistan, he was stationed at Camp Eggers, Kabul. He was chief of the J-35 Protection Branch and traveled to every region of that country. He worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day; but even in a combat zone, God opened the door for Howie to preach, teach, and lead worship at a Friday night coffee house service and a Sunday night Protestant service.
Again, the GREAT commission and Howie’s U.S. Army commission intersecting!!!
One particular morning, one of Howie’s peers asked him to join him for breakfast.
After sitting down to eat, this officer asked Howie an interesting question: “What is it?”
Howie said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “There’s something you’ve got that I need, and I don’t know what it is, but you’ve got to tell me.”
Of course, Howie understood that this officer saw Jesus in him and began to share the Gospel. Praise God, this man was born again at the breakfast table that morning!
During the Friday night coffee house services, several “missionaries” from the U.S. attended. Many of them worked for “companies” under the guise of teaching English. Howie became friends with many, and they shared their hearts about how God had opened the door for them to come into Afghanistan and share God’s gift of salvation with the Afghani people through the U.S. Military. They believed their time was short; of course, they had no way of knowing the tragic events that would occur in August of 2021.
Howie’s surrender to the Great Commission of Jesus, while serving out his military commission, is still sowing seeds all over the world. Howie and Miss Melanie have had the opportunity to join in God’s cross-sowing with people from all over the world and—the blessings continue to be harvested. Howie surrendered to the call of God on his life to serve HIM concurrent with his military service and—the Lord opened doors of ministry no man could shut. Praise be to God!
Thank you, Howie, for your faithful service to the Lord and to our Country!
You are a blessing and an inspiration for us to live out the Great Commission in our various duty stations of life, be it—civilian or military. We are challenged to consider the critical importance of our own life in the raging spiritual warfare for the souls of humanity. Furthermore, we are challenged to daily secure our “battle rattle” and closely follow our Great Commander. He paid the ultimate price—waging war against the gates of hell and the fatal consequences of sin—so we can live in victory!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.
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