Yesterday saw me out doing a ride along while our Security Forces folks took their positions during a "Guard Mount". Climbing the towers for visitation, I was able to see the city of Kirkuk up close and personal. We toured the main gates and were present when some locals processed through the gates, quite a careful process to say the least. Then we carried meals out to those who are manning various posts in one of the sectors. I know that thanks to the dedication and attention to detail of these airmen, that are perimeter is secured and we can sleep well at night.
Later in the day we received a call from our EMEDs (Emergency Medical Facility) that casualties were inbound. My fellow chaplain and myself arrived ready to assist in any way we could. The good news was that this was only a very realistic exercise.
There are abundant opportunities for minstry. I've assumed the Thursday evening Bible study group, quite a robust bunch of folks, including some Christians who are from the region who live on base here as contractors. Next Sunday I will be starting a Liturgical service as I've discovered there are a number of Lutherans here. Our protestant program is quite robust with two contemporary services, a Gospel service, and our soon to start Liturgical service. Army chaplains are providing assistance in the rotation with these services. The army offers a traditional service in their chapel. In addition there are a number of Bible classes and fellowship groups that are meeting.
We are preparing to move into our new facilty. The current facility has a common day room with television and capuccino machine flanked by 4 offices. Our new facility is a combined office, day room, worship facility. The worship facility is fairly large and the day room area is easily 3x what we now have. We have new furniture and more televisions. IN addition we are looking to install a game room, and classroom/multi-purpose room. This should help increase morale and also provide even more traffic through for us to interact with folks.
Of course we are getting out to where people work getting to know the lay of the land. Already I've had several counselings ranging from spiritual questions to people having some trouble adjusting to their new work environment. It looks to be a busy rotation.
Soon the weather will be cooling down and the rainy season coming on. In addition the Muslim holy season of Ramadan will be starting soon, which may have an impact on what we experience during our rotation.