First Week on Kelley Hill

“Block Leave” is officially over. The Soldiers have all returned. I know this for three reasons: (1) Parking is an issue now. (2) Traffic has instantly multiplied to a snail’s pace in many places. (3) Soldiers are EVERYWHERE.

As a Chaplain, this makes finding ministry opportunities easy. You don’t have to go looking for them. They come seeking you out. Odd as this may sound to some people, it is my own observation: Soldiers use colorful language. Get used to it. But so far, what I find is that Soldiers don’t wear as many masks as civilians. They just dont have the time! What you see is pretty much what you get. As a Chaplain, you must look past the colorful language to see what the Soldier is really saying. For instance, yesterday when I was being introduced to my Squadron of 450 plus Soldièrs as their new Chaplain, one Soldier in the back hollered “Fuck yeah!”. I smiled. That felt good to me. The squadron has been without a Chaplain of their own since April. They are hungry for one. The Sergeant Major gave out my phone number right there, and nearly all of them either wrote it down or punched it into their smart phones. And then during the day as I still worked on my unit in-processing, the work began. Rule One as a Chaplain: Be with the Soldiers. Rule Two: Dont be afraid to stop, and take the time to ask questions and LISTEN. Soldiers open up. Yes, they use the same sort of language I heard from the college athletes during my days at Brewton-Parker College, and from the many homeless folks I hung out with over the years. But they are refreshingly GENUINE. That to me is what makes loving Soldiers easy. You dont have to dig for infomation. They offer it freely, usually in layers, in accordance to how long you stick around and listen. Yesterday every Soldier I “counseled” or simply conversed with all had the same topic in common: they were concerned with their Familes. As we all are. An expectant father, a newly married couple wanting a Strong Bonds weekend, a Family in crisis, a Soldier contemplating the best choices for his future as it will affect his Family, a Soldier who was married by a Justice of the Peace but wants a real wedding but cannot afford it, a Soldier telling me just once in his life he wants to buy a nice civilian suit – but cannot afford it, a Soldier looking for a local church, a Commander and First Sergeant concerned about their Soldiers Families to the point they had a brief meeting, asked me to attend and offer my observations, and pray with them over the Families. ALL ON THE FIRST DAY. If you don’t wake up in the morning excited about getting up to the Hill to do ministry – and be ministered to, then you are in the wrong business! When the Soldiers aren’t downrange in the combat zone, they are all here working hard preparing, maintaining equipment, and discussing sports and what they did over the holidays. But most of all, they are discussing their Families. What do you think they discuss during down time on a deployment?? Families! America, you want to show support to the Soldiers? Love on their Families. Seriously. Seek out Soldiers Families and take the time to discover what help they could use. Don’t beat them over the head with a Bible. Just be as real with them as they are with you. And if a Soldier or Family member happens to use more colorful language than you do, try to look beyond it to what they are really saying. Besides, as George Carlin said – language is just words. It’s how we use the words is what makes the difference. Some of you may disagree with me, but I personally think that Jesus’ first choice for a ministry team was dirty, smelly, colorful sailor fisherman. NOT the sanitized, sanctified robed religious leaders of the Temple. Why is that? Because Jesus wanted genuine people who wore few masks. And Jesus could look past the smell and sounds of these fellas. Yes, in time they toned it down and cleaned it up no doubt. But religious leaders wouldnt have been upset if the Son of God chose as his disciples THEM, instead of this riff raff. But the Disciples weren’t riff raff. They were genuine. And that’s what I see in Soldiers. Dog-Faced Soldiers. And I absolutely love it. I fit in from Day One. They have welcomed me with a loud, exhuberant “Fuck Yeah!”. A sincere expression of joy towards receiving a new Chaplain. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the vocal Soldier may soon be seeking out the Chaplain. Army Chaplaincy is ministry not for everyone. But if you aren’t too quickly offended by colorful language, and don’t mind viewing some “skin illustrations,” then you are needed in the Chaplaincy. I thank God for placing me here. The fields are abundantly ripe for harvest. Abundantly.
When you say your prayers today, THANK GOD for the Soldiers of Kelley Hill, please, and for all who protect our freedoms with their LIVES. And pray, asking how you can support them — and their Families. Being a Family of a Soldier is very difficult. From what I hear and recognize, many in the civilian world simply dont fully realize how to support Soldiers Familes. Either they never ask, or they ask but dont fully take the time to listen, or they start letting their political views get in the way. It all comes down to this: You’d do anything for your Family. So would they. So should you. Our nation is only as strong as our Families. Our Army is only as strong as its Families. Soldiers laying their lives on the line must know that America cares about the Soldiers’ Families. Can I get a @#%! yeah!?

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mona on 5 January 12 at 14:02

    %#&* YEAH! Those Soldiers were in need and God placed you with them and them with you.

    I saw your post regarding small items needed, please text or email me an address I can send items to.

    Reply

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