New Experiences

Today I had the first time experience of having an inner ear imbalance. I awoke at 0530 planning to go PT, but found myself tired and dizzy. I racked it up to not enough sleep since I was up a little late working through a CD resource reviewing training for my upcoming deployment. So I went back to bed. But upon rising and going in to work, I found it was getting progressively worse and so made my way over to our hospital. After a thorough going over (partly due to my resting heart rate being so low from my being in good physical condition), I was finally diagnosed with fluid behind my ear drum and sent home with some medication. It is amazing how inconvenient a little bit of fluid in the wrong place can be. The rooms I occupy are still spinning from time to time.

A couple of days ago, I received an order from Integrity music that I made for worship resources to take with me on my deployment. I was extremely touched to receive the card that is shown here included in my order and with some items to take with me to facilitate ministry to our military service members out in the world. I wanted to post it here to show that not only is support still strong for our military folks, but to demonstrate the quality of the ministry performed by these folks at Integrity music.

These are also new days for the chapel program at Andrews Air Force base. We have a new NCOIC, a Chaplain Assistant, two new Protestant chaplains, and a new Senior Protestant Chaplain. Next week our new team is having an offsite to discuss planning for future ministry. But I can already tell it is going to be an incredible and dynamic time. I see a great deal of talent in our team members and am most especially impressed with the new Senior Protestant chaplain. I am truly looking forward to the next couple of years as I deploy and then finish out my first assignment in the Air Force.

Next week I am going up to Crystal City to help test some software that has been developed for the chaplain corp as part of a special team, another first for me. This week I gave my first formal briefing to the IDS (Integrated Delivery System: a committee composed of representatives from the helping agencies on base overseen by the Vice Wing Commander) on the topic of making some adjustments to how we reintegrate our people when they return from deployment. Due to short staffing at the chapel this spring, I found myself responsible for this program even though I am somewhat junior as a chaplain. I believe the briefing was well received based on the feedback I received.

And I am truly looking forward to deployment -- another first for me. The last time I was in the military was during Desert Storm. I volunteered then, but all the Navy wanted me to do then was to go to California and help with ammunition supply. I like to kid that I volunteered to deploy and got sent to California.

Finally, to note, in the last few weeks I've had to say farewell to two fine chaplains. One was an IMA reservist who stepped in as our interim Wing Chaplain while our current Wing Chaplain was recovering from an illness. He was an outstanding leader and I was truly blessed by his mentoring. The other is a man I am pleased to say has become a friend. A fellow Tennessean who grew up not far from where I grew up is separating from the Air Force. I will truly miss serving with him.