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Young officer says sharing Christ more powerful than firing tank


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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 website.

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 and devotions.

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 day.

“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 deployment.

“Life is about choices and I have no regrets,” Levitt said.