Thursday, April 27, 2006


Day 19. I started a post on Monday but it was lame so I axed it. This week I am starting MOPping as one UMT(unit ministry team) member from the BCT(brigade combat team) put it. MOP is ministry of presence. MOP is one of the best things about this position. Basically I bring God to the soldiers. I go to where they are working or doing their soldier stuff and talk to them or help them do whatever they are doing. I find out where the soldiers from my Squadron are and go and visit them.

MOP is an important part of ministry here. It brings me in face to face contact with the soldiers. There is something about the chaplain position that goes way beyond the person in that position. It is more than respect for me, I believe that it is respect for God. When my soldiers see me with them, I believe that they see that God is there with them too. It is hard for me to describe, it is sometimes even hard for me to understand completely. Whenever I visit someone it seems to me like it is just me visiting, but I have begun to recognize that to the soldier, my presence reminds them of God and I believe their relationship with him.

Most of the time I just have normal conversations. Where are you from kind of conversations. Other times conversations go deeper and often turn spiritual. When you go, come ready to answer back on any topic even remotely relating to scripture.

On Tuesday I visited one of my Troops and they were ready for me to get there. When I arrived they were waiting in a shaded area and the Troop commander asked me to share a word with them. I was caught a little off guard, but I shared a small part of Sunday's sermon with them. It was about the Ten commandments and how God uses them to build our relationship with him. Then when shift change came, I got to do it again! It was really cool. Like church on a Tuesday. Then I went to visit the soldiers at whatever station they were working. It was a really good day. I hope for a repeat next week.

My wife and others have been asking for things to pray about. I have been thinking of things to keep in mind.
1. Safety of the soldiers assigned and attached to the 1/167 RSTA Squadron.

2. Families of these soldiers. I have a lot of families so it seems like there is always one issue or another. Mainly it is relationship issues. This long term separation is hard on families in many different ways. Pray for mental peace in spouses struggling with the absence of a loved one. Pray for marital faithfulness. I don't know what it is that causes such a high level of infidelity in military families but it is a serious problem. It is a problem with both soldiers and spouses, there is enough of it to make me angry every single day. If you know a married someone with a soldier here keep this in mind and in your prayers. If there was one avoidable struggle I face here this is it. And pray for the emotional stress that the separation puts on a marriage relationship.

3. Pray for the leadership. Pray for the leadership of this country and for the leadership of this Squadron. Pray for LTC Martian Apprich and CSM Larry Hall. Their strong leadership makes all the difference here and will make a big difference on how we come home. And pray for the other leaders in the squadron. They have a huge job to do and many of them still need to learn a pace for this deployment.

4. There will always be specific requests, but most of them are confidential. I will let you know of ones that are not.

5. For me; my family is my highest concern. Please keep them constantly in your prayers.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Al Groves

I received bad news today. A friend, mentor and former teacher of mine is struggling with some serious health issues. It is encouraging to see how this awesome man of God deals with his illness, and even more encouraging to see how his wife is there to struggle with him. Just thinking of them makes me miss their faces. Al and Libby I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for your ministry, thank you for your example. Thank you with your patience for me and thank you for loving me and welcoming us into your home. I don't know what else to say except that my heart is heavy.

P.S. Thanks Reformed chicks for having their link on your site

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What do I do?

Day 11. My wife reports that people like to ask her what I do all day. So this is what I have been doing lately.
A little something called RIP/TOA. The Army has acronyms for everything.
Rest in place/Transfer of Authority.

As a Squadron we are taking over the "job" of the unit which just left. What I have been doing lately is following the chaplain who was here before me around. He showed me where everything is located, he showed me all the "important" sites, and he walked me through some of the things that he did. He also gave me a file of things that were useful to him.

At the moment I am still accelerating into position. I am meeting with people to find out where everyone will be on a day to day basis so I can find people to talk to. I am making contacts with other chaplains that are on the base with me. I am still learning my way around post.

The first thing I learned to find was my headquarters building. Gotta know where that place is located or I miss out on a lot of information. Second thing is a tie between the main chapel on post and the best dining facility. Who am I kidding it was the dining facility hereby known as the DFAC. The DFAC is great, too great for a fat guy like me. I try and resist all the good food there. Mostly I have been living off of grilled cheese sandwiches and applesauce. mmmmmm. I have also learned to like this stuff called rip fuel, it is basically sugar, caffeine and some vitamins thrown in to make it sound like it is good for you. I am not much of a coffee drinker, but one of these babys in the morning is all the breakfast I need. Lastly I am slowly learning to find the different places where the commanders and first sergeants hide. Important to know cause they know where all their troops are.

So a typical day so far (and this will probably change, at least I hope it will) I get up and do the whole shave, shower, brush thing. Go to a meeting, oh wait I forgot drink rip fuel, then go to a meeting. After the meeting I have breakfast if I am hungry and there is time. Next I have appointments set up with people that will help me make a more permanent schedule. Then lunch, usually grilled cheese mmmmm grilled cheese. After lunch I go to work out, anything from lifting weights to some form of cardio.

Then it is shower and get ready for counseling appointments in the afternoon. In an organization this size you can bet there will be somebody with issues on any given day. Hasn't disappointed me yet. Then I plan to do some work on Sunday's sermon and plan out some programs for the guys. I am planning some bible Studies that still need work to get going and these guys are super anxious to get a bible study going. Wow. I am also working on petitioning different agencies for bible study materials. If you know of anyone who could help us out that would be awesome shoot me an email. I am thinking of doing "every man's battle"

Next it is time to call home. I like to call at about the same time so I know she will be home. After all this I find someone to go to evening chow with me. I spend the evening talking with people and finally end up in front of a computer screen talking to ya'll.

I will probably do a "What do I do?" update when things change around some. Hopefully I will be able to include some of the fun activities next one.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hope is on the way

Day 8. Happy Easter. They killed Jesus on Friday. He predicted it would happen. He told his disciples he would be back from the grave. Still they were sad and scared. Everything they believed about this man Jesus seemed to be just a dream that had just been taken away. Sunday came and not only restored their hopes, but it surpassed their wildest dreams. Jesus rose from the dead that Sunday and by doing so defeated death and brought hope to all men. Easter represents all of what was won on the cross, it represents Satan's ultimate defeat. "There is a deeper magic." You may be at a Friday night in your life, you may have lost all your hopes and dreams for the future. Be patient Sunday is on its way. (just quick sum up of today's sermon.)

I got my room today, it is so nice to have a semi-permanent place to stay. I can finally unpack and buy those little things I have been waiting to get like bed sheets. You get really picky about what you have when you have to carry it all around. I went to the local Iraqi bazaar today to see if I could find anything for my room. I tried to buy a bed blanket but we couldn't agree on a price. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find regular old sheets in this place. I think next time I will look for some rugs or something for the floor.

Today I also got a visit from my Brigade chaplain, Chaplain Wendt. It was nice to see him, he is so encouraging. We had a long talk and then went to dinner. He says that this place is much nicer than the place where he is staying. I will have to go visit him sometime and compare for myself.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life goes on

Day 5
I finally have a computer that I can use on the internet. It is nice to have the security of something familiar like my own computer. I have been on the move for over a month now and each little thing that tells me something familiar is a welcome relief. I am in a temporary office right now, but even this is an improvement.

The last week I have been getting an orientation from the chaplain I am replacing. He tells me that I am his favorite person right now. He is a pretty neat guy, gave a lot of good info for my mission here. I also got a good tour of the base with special emphasis on all the good spots.

I have been thinking lately how to explain to someone who isn't here what it is like to be here. I remember when I was about 16, I went to bible camp and stayed in a tent with a paraplegic guy from our church. I asked him what it was like to be paralyzed. He told me that one day in rehab some doctors came in and rode around in wheelchairs for a week. They did all the things that he had to deal with everyday. They were trying to understand what it was like by experiencing it for themselves. He told me that there was one big difference between their experience and his. At the end of the week, those doctors got up from their chairs and went home.

Being here is hardest because we are away from family, but that is not the worst part. The worst part is that life still goes on. I know that everyday things are happening to my family that I will never see. There will be birthdays and holidays, cut fingers and rug stains, trips to church and family visits, thousands of memories that happen everyday. Here it seems like time stands still. Nothing changes and everyday seems the same as the last.

Please don't take my ramblings as complaining, just letting you in on what is going through my mind. Mostly I am just glad to have this computer and finally have a place to unpack. Praise the Lord for small miracles.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

All is nigh well

Day 4. I am in another process if getting settled into a new place. Sometimes it seems like I do more moving around than I do staying around. My accomodations are rather nice so far the best I have had since mobilization. I am getting my bearings with a new map and new locations for everything.

It will be awhile before I know where everthing is located. It is somewhat like moving to a new town with nice neighbors and unfriendly people in the next town. I realize that it is only day 4, but the enemy seems like more of an inconvenience than any real threat. I am sure my opinion will waver over the next year.
Other than the occasional inconvinience I really enjoy this job. The ministry is great and it is really all I have to do all day. Imagine being paid to do ministry all day. It is like some wierd dream come true. The only thing that could make this job better is going home to my family at night.

Anne, Connor I miss you guys so much. Everyone else I miss you too, I just spend more time thinking of them. Thanks for reading and be prepared for more regular posts.

This week being holy week I am busy preparing for Good Friday Service and Easter Service. I am excited about both. I have my own chapel and I am prepared to use it;) For Good Friday I have been thinking about what it must have been like for Jesus' disciples. What must they have been thinking; after Jesus' last words "My God why have you forsaken me." What a dark and horrible day. I'm not planning a cheerful service for Friday.