“The Lion and the three Bulls,” written by the Greek fable writer Aesop:
Three bulls lived together for a long time in a pasture. Though they ate and lived side by side, they never spoke with one another. One day a lion came along and saw the bulls. The lion was very hungry, but knew he could never attack three bulls at once because together the bulls would overpower him and kill him. So the lion approached the bulls one at a time. Since one bull never knew what the others were doing, they didn’t realize that the lion was working to separate them. The lion, who was crafty, succeeded in dividing them and attacking and devouring them individually. Aesop concluded the story by stating, “Union is Strength.”
How true… I had forgotten how harsh of an environment deployment could be. Just as I was feeling better physically, this last week I caught a stomach bug that has taken half our camp out. Seems I ate something that just didn’t quite agree with me. Every time I come over here I always like to try the local foods, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. They have nicknamed said bug, “Saddam’s Revenge.” Thankfully, I didn’t have it as bad as some, but it took me out of commission for the past three days. I performed worship yesterday and then stayed in bed all day. Seems to be a three-day bug and today I am feeling much better. Thank goodness we have a great team of chaplain’s on the ground who were able to cover the void I left. Union is strength.
This week will bring it’s own set of challenges for us. I have a humanitarian mission in a village outside the wire where we will distribute some relief supplies for the local people. On another front, I got bumped off the helicopter during last week’s mission to Tikrit, but this week my teammate will be going on another trip. So be in prayer for both the humanitarian trip and my teammate’s trip.
I have been meaning to let you in on some of my responsibilities so that you could direct your prayer in these specific areas. My job description includes serving as team leader for ministry to a wing who sends airmen out all over the AOR to work with other branches of service and to forward operating bases. They have people all over Iraq; when I mention taking a trip it will usually be going to see these people who are geographically displaced. In this group is a group of “gun truckers.” These young men and women drive gun trucks that protect the convoys. Praying for these guys before they go out on their missions is quite a responsibility as they meet the enemy on virtually every mission. They are extremely well trained and professional in what they do.
They still do not cease to amaze me every time I am with them. I am also the lead chaplain for the Add on Armor guys. These people save lives every day by thanklessly working 6 days a week 12 hours a day to add armor on to trucks and vehicles that go outside the wire. I have seen the vehicles coming back after getting hit with IEDs and shot at with everything from bullets to RPGs (rocket propelled grenades). What these guys do saves lives. Nothing gets through this armor, and the confidence the crews go out with adds to every mission’s success. And I am proud to say that our Air Force guys are the most requested gun truckers and Add on Armor guys in the country. They are that good!!!
I am also the president for the CGOC where we are doing several projects for both Balad Air Base and the local people. More to follow. I lead the humanitarian trips to the local villages as well as gathering supplies for said trips. I have found that every day somebody asks me how they can help with the supply gathering. The military surely has the best, most selfless people who exist. Not only do they make the sacrifice to come out here, but once here they want to go the extra mile to help out the local people. Since Rome, has an invading army gone to such great lengths to benefit the people of a country? Not just in giving them a representative government, but also building schools, water treatment plants, etc. I wish the press would do more reporting on these awesome people than on the few who do stupid things to make us all look bad.
The civilian ministry team project I have been working on has reached it’s next logical step. I had a meeting with the CENTAF (Air Force Central Command) chaplain who was very agreeable to having such an event take place, but showed us also that such a thing is extremely difficult to accomplish. I have had to scale the project back to the team only coming into Balad and then returning home. I have yet to get the approval of the base commander here, but the package is awaiting his signature. The CENTAF chaplain will be going to those in higher authority with the proposal soon and so please be in prayer for the higher authorities to allow for airlift, the country clearances, and everything else that will need to be accomplished in order for the team to make it out here. I hope that by changing the itinerary that the team will have a chance to go through Germany and give presentations there while they stop over.
BTW, the attached pic is us waiting to get on a helicopter that was never going to happen last week. Blessings to you all…
ABPnews will publish one entry a week from the journal then-Capt. Charles Seligman kept while deployed to Iraq as an Air Force chaplain in 2005. Now a major, Seligman currently serves as the deputy wing chaplain for the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.