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.