September 21, 2009

Nurture The Living, Care For The Wounded And Honor The Dead

The title of this blog sums up what I have been doing since my last post. Actually, this is the chaplain's mission statement. I have not been good at communicating to you all of what is going on here. Some of this has to do with the fact that most of the time I really do not have much to say. It is "Ground Hogs Day." I do the same things day in and out. I have reached a rhythm of sorts. That is to be expected since I have been deployed for almost 8 months. Yes, it has been that long. 

Since I last wrote I had to do the part of my job that no chaplain wants to do, honor the dead. On August 23 I lost a soldier to an IED. It was a Sunday morning and I was getting ready for chapel while just a few miles down the road my soldiers were attacked. One soldier died and two others were injured. I am thankful that we only lost one, but I am sad that we lost one. We worked to get everything right for the memorial, and I believe the memorial truly honored our fallen brother.

Because of this event I have had increased opportunities to care for the wounded and nurture the living. God has allowed me the opportunity to fulfill my calling into this ministry and the chaplain's mission statement. God is so good. I appreciate your continued prayers and support.

Many of you have continued to send packages to my soldiers and I want to thank you for partnering with me in ministry to our soldiers. Your love and support is appreciated. 

Until next time...

Garryowen Cross Out!

July 14, 2009

Time Marches On

It is amazing how quickly time goes by. I started this post almost a month ago, but I have not gotten back to it before now. It is hard for me to believe that I have been in the Army for more than a year. June 8, marked one year in the Army. I remember showing up to Fort Jackson with excitement and dread. What would it be like? What had God called me to? 

More than one year removed from that day, I can say I never expected this. I have had the opportunity to share my faith with people that cannot or don't understand my beliefs. I have had the opportunity to stand beside soldiers as they struggle with some of the most difficult of life's situations. I have had the opportunity to minister to family members that are more than seven thousand miles away. 

Even with all this great stuff and more, I miss things I have/had to give up to follow this call. I really do miss my beautiful wife. God truly blessed me the day we met. For a while I did not know she was my blessing from God, but finally got it and I asked her to be mine. Thankfully, she said yes. I also have a beautiful daughter God has blessed me with. I miss seeing her grow up. She is truly becoming a young lady. She has grown so much in her faith and I missed seeing that. I also miss being pastor to the great people of Menokin Baptist Church. 

How is it that so much time has passed since we said yes to God's call into the military? It is because time has continued to march on. Before I know it I will be back in Texas and celebrating two years in the Army.

Garryowen Cross Out!

July 1, 2009

Thought of the Day

I have started having a thought of the day that I share with some of my soldiers. For some reason, I feel like I am supposed to share yesterday's thought. Without further delay.

Today's thought comes from Mark 4:35-41
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

We have no idea with tomorrow may hold. However, we know the one who holds tomorrow. He calmed the storms that day and he continues to calm storms today. I pray that we are like the disciples, going to God when life seems/is threatened. Don't be afraid or lose faith.

Garryowen Cross Out!

June 12, 2009

Absent Minded Chaplain

I forgot some important people who have sent me boxes and I have gotten some more boxes since my last post. I just wanted to add these people and say thanks again. Also, thanks for forgiving my absent mindedness. So, here goes, in no particular order: Jim and Carol H, Randy and Gayle S, Nancy T, Furl M, Edgewater UMC, Michelle L, and last but not least Noah H.

Again, many thanks for your thoughtfulness and generosity. 

May 31, 2009

Care Packages

I have been amazed at all those who have supported me and my soldiers. I have gotten so many boxes of goodies and I have loved sharing them with my soldiers. We all appreciate your thoughtfulness. I do keep some of the things for my personal use.  :)

Pictured are just some of the boxes that I have
gotten. The top picture of boxes are from churches 
I served in: Menokin Baptist Church in Warsaw, Virginia and 
Slash Christian Church in Ashland, Virginia. The bottom picture 
is of the boxes sent from First Baptist Church Rome, Georgia. This is my brother and sister-in-law's church. 

I really do appreciate all that you have sent to me and my soldiers. Here is a list of all the care package senders: Laura D, Glenn & Joy E, Westmoreland Players, Garland and Vivian M, Furl M, Steve and Christine H, Sheila W, Fredricksburg Church of Christ, FBC Rome, Slash Christian Church, Menokin Baptist Church (Children's Church) and Maxine S.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! I really do appreciate you walking along side of me as I get to serve our service members. Here are a few pictures of my soldiers that have enjoyed the goodies sent. May the God of Heaven bless you in the same manor you have blessed me and my soldiers.

Garryowen Cross - Out!

Way Overdue

Well, it is past time to update you all on some of my adventures in Iraq. This is a picture of me in all my gear in my room at Taji. Since I am not there full time, I have a room that I share with others. There are a total of 6 beds in the room. None of the people who stay in this room stay there full time. So there will be times that the room is full and times that it is only me and my assistant.

It is hard to believe that I have been deployed for almost 4 months. Time is going by quickly, and things are rolling right along. I spend a lot of my time being with soldiers. I visit them where ever they are. When I am with soldiers, we talk about all kinds of things. I am honored to be let into their world. I have many opportunities to be one that gives Godly advice to life's situations. Believe me when I say our soldiers are dealing with difficult life situations. Many of these situations are generated because our soldiers have deployed so many times. Our Squadron was deployed in October of 2006 and did not return home until January of 2008. The Squadron was home just barely 12 months before we deployed for another 12 month tour. The majority of my Squadron have deployed before. You can imagine how these deployments can bring about difficult life situations. 

For a moment, put yourself in their position. You are gone for 15 months, home for 12 and gone again for 12. (This does not take into account previous deployments.) By the way, while soldiers are home they are gone about 3 months for training. Can you imagine being away from family half of your career? It is not abnormal or unusual to be away from family half of your Army career. This is just another reason why our soldiers are considered brave and courageous heroes. No, FREEDOM is not free. I am honored to serve FREEDOM givers, my God and our soldiers.

Well, until next time. God bless you all. Keep your eyes peeled, I will be posting again soon.

Garryowen Cross - Out!

April 17, 2009

I Have Internet

I now have Internet connection for my computer. I hope that I will be able to stay in better touch with you all. I really do appreciate your prayers for me and my soldiers. Things are really going well, and I am staying busy. 

Soon, I will be posting some pictures. Some of the pictures are of soldiers I have been able to share goodies with. They enjoy all the things that you have sent. As a matter of fact, I got two boxes today! Thanks Aunt Nancy & Gayle, and Glenn & Joy! 

Until next time, blessings!

March 8, 2009

Here Safely

God is so good!! My soldiers and I have made it to our place of operation in Iraq. We have been gone from TX for about a month. I wanted to let you know we are doing well and that I really appreciate your prayers and support. I hope to have time to blog from time to time but it has been difficult this far. Well, I guess that is all for now. I have to be off and make sure everything is ready for my squadron meeting and my second service for the day.

January 25, 2009

Happy AnniversarWii


Laura and I got a Wii for our anniversary. We will celebrate 9 years in March. I had been looking at getting one for some time, but everywhere was sold out. I could have bought one on E-bay but they were too expensive. Today, we got it hooked up and played it for a few hours. I guess it is safe to say that Wii will have many hours of fun exercise!

Happy AnniversarWii my love! 

January 19, 2009

Soldier For A Day

Last weekend, we had a fun day at Fort Hood. The 1st brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division had a great event for soldier's spouses. "Soldier for a day" allowed spouses to do some of the things that their soldiers do. Now, the interesting thing is that Laura got to do things that I cannot do. Since I am a non-combatant I cannot touch weapons. Anyway...

The day included:
- physical training (PT) - push-ups (regular, wide arm & diamond), crunches (regular and bicycle), side straddle hops (aka. jumping jacks), flutter kicks and jogging in place.

- clearing a structure - There was a wooden structure that the ladies had to go and check for "bad guys." In the structure there were two bad guys that they killed with their blank rounds. Laura was so funny. She was the leader of the stack. When she entered the room where the "bad guys" were, she used up a good portion of her ammunition. After they were "dead" they were told to search the "bad guys." Laura walked up touched the dummy and then backed away shot him a few more times and said, "He is dead!" What happened to the woman I married? :-) LOL!!!

- grenade course - Laura did very well in this event. I did not know that she had an arm on her like she does. There were two targets and one bunker that she had to grenade. For the two targets she had to throw about 30 or so feet. She threw the grenades right on target! On the bunker she had to run up to the bunker and throw the grenade in the opening.

- disassemble and reassemble a M4 - Laura did this beautifully. She has never really been around weapons before but you would not have known it. She did it in the time allotted!

- firing at a stationary target - Laura was given ten rounds to hit the target. She got it on the first round. She was shooting blank rounds but the weapons and targets were equipped with MILES. I do know know what the acronym stands for but it is basically military style laser tag. I have a sharp shooting wife.

- nine line medi-vac - Laura got to take care of a wounded patient (weighted dummy). She also got to transport and load said patient to a black-hawk helicopter. I have not been so close to a chopper as she was. She loved it!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day. Enjoy!


Awards were given to the teams with the highest scores from the events. Laura's group did not get any awards. It was not because they were not good, it was because there was only four of them and the other teams had about a dozen plus. After awards were given, we had dogs and burgers. 

I guess the best way to describe the day is to say that Laura made a great soldier for the day!! I am proud of her!

January 1, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago from today we were making plans for a busy year. It has proved to be a busy/crazy year. Of course, this coming year will be just as busy/crazy. Last year we were planning on a transition from being a pastor of a church to a military Chaplain. With this transition there have been many changes.

Of course, one of the biggest changes is geographically. We left Virginia and went to South Carolina for three months. Then we headed to the "hill country" of Texas. I would not exactly call it "hill country." There are some hills but a lot more flat land. One of the things that we have noticed is the fact that bushes are taller than the trees, really. I would have never believed it if I had not seen it myself. When we look at some of the vegetation we scratch our heads wondering if it is a short tree or a tall bush?!?!

One of the biggest changes for me is not holding services. Ever since I left Menokin, in June, I have only preached twice. Going from preaching every Sunday to twice in six months is quite a difference. Once I get down range I will have more opportunities to preach. I must say that I am looking forward to that.

Family time is very different now. I used to be home for all three meals in a day, but since I have been in the Army I have only been home for all three meals when I am on leave. This has been a big transition for all three of us. I think that we are getting a little more used to this but we still like being together so we miss that time that we are missing out on each other.

It has been different moving away from the people we have really strong bonds with. We have not had enough time to make those bonds here. Laura, Victoria and I have made connections, but not like the ones we left. I know that in time we will, but it makes us aware of how blessed we are. We miss you all and thank God for you all!

There are so many things that happened over the last year that it would be like writing a novel to write about it all. However, we are thankful to God that He has been with us along the narrow path. We are thankful for all the family and friends that support us through prayer. I personally believe that this past year has been a time of preparation for what is to come in 2009.

Ministry in the Army is very different from ministry in the church. I enjoy what I do and I am thankful that my calling is ministry. Please be in prayer for my soldiers, their safety, their salvation, their marriages, etc. Even though you do not know them by name, you can lift them to the Father who knows their name and need intimately. Together we will have a fruitful ministry to our men and women in uniform.

Happy New Year!