Saturday, November 22, 2003

I co-led a baptism class with 3 other chaplains this week. 20 people were there, and a handful asked Christ into their life for the first time (praise God!) I baptized 4 people in the Persian Gulf, and 2 other chaplains baptized 4 each as well. It was cold, but well worth it. Pray for their followup, and more to come! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Since my R&R in Germany fell through, I decided to go to DC at the last minute. I was pleasantly surprised that the Rijsmuseum has an extension in the Amsterdam airport. I stayed at the hotel at Walter Reed Medical Center, since I hope to be stationed there sometime. I met with 4 chaplains there (including one I know from Carson), which may help with working there down the road. My heart goes out to the patients I saw, especially the amputees. As you may know, 16 soldiers were killed when a missile tore a troop transport helicopter out of the sky, which included 4 from Carson. I asked the question, "Why them God, and not me?" We may never know the answer, but it encourages me to keep serving God and Country.

While I was there, I visited the US Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetary, and various other places. I went on a tour of the American History Museum of the Smithsonian. I was touched seeing the flag that hung outside the Pentagon. A nice "coincidence" (could it be . . . God ?:)) happened at the Pentagon. I showed up hoping to get a tour, and who was there to greet me, but my former chaplain assistant, SPC David Robb! He was mobilized in the National Guard to Pentagon duty, so he gave me a VIP tour, which was great. I joined a Boy Scout tour as well. I will end this brief story with some quotes from Then - And Now - Pentagon Review by Nita Scoggan, a Research Analyst and Illustrator there.

"Medal of Honor nominee CPT Humbert R. Versace, Army Special Forces, Vietnam POW, was executed in a Vietcong prison. Fluent in Vietnamese, as he was led through villages after capture, a rope around his neck, he smiled and spoke to the people about God and America. Despite severe and untreated wounds, torture and starvation, "Rocky" defied his captors. Placed in irons and gagged at times to keep him from shouting words of encouragement to other POWs. In 1965, he was shot in the head to silence him. The last thing the other prisoners heard from him, he was singing "God Bless America" at the top of his voice in his isolation box. May God give us more such men (and women.)" p. 18

Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird said in 1970, "The (Pentagon Prayer) room offers a setting in which we can pray as we like. Its existence is a recognition of our dependence on God if we are to progress toward the peace which we seek for ourselves, and for all (hu)man kind. Peace is the business of this building . . . Thought we cling to the principle that church and state should be separate, we do not propose to separate (humans) from God. For without (God), Who is the source of our being, the source of our wisdom, and the source of our strength, we can do nothing." p. 29