Monday, March 21, 2016

Beginning of Farewell

I am beginning my preparations to PCS.

It is hard, saying goodbye to people who I do not know when I will see again.

On Friday, SgtMaj and I said goodbye to our final LCpl Ethical Leadership Seminar at graduation.

We started this program together and it seems fitting that we end together.

I Promised My Mother - Relief and Appointment of SgtMaj Williamson and Siaw

I told my mother of the honor I had to give the invocation for the Relief and Appointments of SgtMaj Williamson and Siaw.

As I have spent so many Wednesday mornings with SgtMaj Williamson and plenty of official functions with him and his wife, I wanted to make sure my words were the right ones to send off a SgtMaj that I respect and can not wait to see what he does in his new position.

I promised her I would post my invocation.


If you would join in me prayer,

Heavenly Father,

When we raised our hand and volunteered to protect Your precious creations from harm, we knew that we were choosing a life of constant change and uncertainty. We also knew, we were asking our families to make the sacrifice with us. 

Lord, when we answered Your call to defend the defenseless and bring hope to the hopeless, we did not know how powerful the friendships we would make along the way would be. We would find teammates, comrades, friends.

God, building these significant ties means that continuing on our journeys guarantees separation from those around us. And if it must be so, we ask that You help us by sanctifying this parting with words of comfort.

As the Priests blessed the people, so too do we ask for your blessing on SgtMaj Williamson, Kim, Katherine and Cullen.
Yiverechicha Adonai V'Yishmerecha- May God Bless you and keep you safe.  
Ya'er Adonai Panav Eilecha Vichuneka - May you feel God's presence always.
Yisah Adonai Panav Eilecha V'yasem lecha shalom - May you walk the paths of Peace and light the way for others.

As we say farewell to a cornerstone of our community, Lord, we ask that you bless SgtMaj Siaw, Samantha, Spring, Andrew, Adrianne, and Jackson as we welcome them to our family. Bless him with Your love and guide him to walk the path between justice and mercy. Sanctify the works of his hands so we can benefit from his wisdom. As Moses said to Joshua, "Chazak V'Ematz" be strong and of good courage.

May we go from strength to strength, Amen. 

Finding My Voice Among The Homeless

On Friday, Kiyoko and I took some Marines to Yogi Park to feed the less privileged.

We helped set up, serve food and clean up all in the name of caring for others.

The most significant moment for me was when all the volunteers came together and the head volunteer led the group in a prayer in Japanese In that moment, I found my voice -. My ministry voice I wanted to pray so the Marines and Sailors to understand the religious and spiritual significance of what they were doing. The prayer I led was nothing special but in that space and time, I let the words come out, unscripted, flowing from my heart a message of love.

Who knew that I would find my chaplain voice at a Christian outreach program of feeding the homeless in Naha?

Mah Gadlu Ma'asecha Adonai? How great are Your acts o God?

Expanding My Horizons

I am going to experience new things.
Today, I learned to paddleboard.

Thank you, Kaycee.

That was a new awesome way to PT!

Answering My Nation's Call

Since coming on island, I participate in the National Prayer Luncheon on Kadena Air Base.
This year, I finally took pictures.

This year's theme was, "Answering my Nation's Call."

The selection that Cpt Horowitz and I read was God answering the call of the Israelites and promising to redeem them, Exodus 6: 5 - 8. 

Cpt Horowitz and I reciting from Hebrew Scripture

The Gospel Choir with the Jolly Green (33rd) behind them.

Origami airplanes for centerpieces.


I can not stress how important it has been for me to find places that bring me inner-peace.

With the workload and extra-curricular activities, I am constantly searching for that balance that is difficult for me and other chaplains to find.

I got to experience this sunset. 

Ordinance Shrine

There are shrines everywhere on Okinawa.

While visiting with Ordinance on Kadena Air Base, the Marines took me to a shrine was discovered to be so old, that the Kanji on the altar and shrines can not be translated. Apparently, families spoke the local language and had their own as well.

We hiked from the road to find the path.