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GAINESVILLE (FBW)—Second Lieutenant Marc Levitt can fire
an M4 rifle with ease. He’s come a long way since he first enrolled in the ROTC
program at the University of Florida in 2004. Similarly, Levitt, 23, is more
relaxed today about sharing the Gospel since taking part in the FAITH witness
training program at Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville.
While completing his political-science degree last year, the
Plantation native enrolled in FAITH. “I realized I would be leaving soon for
active duty, and I wanted to be able to express my spiritual beliefs to those I
might be leading, especially during wartime,” Levitt said. “I didn’t want them
to face a life-threatening situation without being able to hear the Gospel.”
Levitt recalled an anecdote from an Army chaplain tasked
with telling a mother her young soldier son had died. “At first, she refused to
answer the door, then when she did, she cried uncontrollably, not as much
because her son had died for his country, but because he did so without knowing
Christ, and she knew where he’d spend eternity. I’d never want that to happen
to one of my men,” Levitt said.
Leading two seekers to Christ as part of FAITH is “one of
the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had—even more powerful than being
inside a tank the first time I fired it,“ Levitt said. “It’s extremely surreal
to know that you have the ability to help lead people to God and play a part in
saving them for eternity.”
Now at Fort Knox, Ky., Levitt takes a personal approach to
evangelism amidst his daily routine of PT, classroom time, shooting-range and
armored-vehicle training. He and most of his 76 Armor Corps classmates will
deploy in the next six to 12 months to Iraq or Afghanistan.
“There’s not a lot of free time, but there is a lot of down
time, when folks have time to think,” Levitt said.
Levitt uses conversation starters like Experiencing God Day-by-Day, a camouflage devotional Westside’s
evangelism department sent him from the National Day of Prayer Task Force
Gary Crawford, Westside’s senior pastor, said Levitt’s
involvement in FAITH is a credit to the evangelism ministry and a “personal” encouragement.
“Not only is Marc a personal witness himself, but he has encouraged and trained
others to do the same,” Crawford said.
Although Levitt said the Army’s core principles including
loyalty, respect, and integrity align well with his Christian values, he
resists the usual temptations of a young soldier by bathing himself in prayer
Levitt said he’s also cognizant that others are watching.
“I just try to watch my language and I don’t go out to the
bars and clubs when I get asked,” he said. “It’s just a matter of setting an
example of who you are and what you believe in.”
There is an urgency to witnessing for Levitt. Just three years
ago he survived a car accident that left another motorist dead. Within 48
hours, Levitt was introduced to a campus minister who led Marc to Christ that
“People don’t often rely on God until something traumatic
happens,” Levitt surmised. “I’d like to save others from the trauma I went
through by helping them find God before they find themselves in a crisis.”
Looking ahead to Iraq and Afghanistan in what may be the
near future, Levitt said he has a sense of peace even as he trains for
“Life is about choices and I have no regrets,” Levitt