Summary: I preached this at the Colorado Springs, CO Vineyard on July 18, 2010.
1. Jim B is a Vineyard missionary who has been in Afghanistan for more than a year. I was referred to him by Mark Fields, the Missions Coordinator for the Vineyard USA. Jim and I chatted a couple of times by phone when we were in the USA, and we keep in touch by email. He was recently able to bring his family with him, which is great. He asks for prayer for their visas, since it is getting harder for foreigners to be there. Jim is helping with discipleship and he is learning the local language. I have respect for him doing this, since it is not an easy language nor is it an easy place to live.
2. I use the phrase “Godincidences” to give God credit for “interesting coincidences.” Here is an example. I was in my chapel office in East Afghanistan, and Chaplain Dawn walked in. She was passing through to see some of her Psychological Operations Soldiers who were on my Forward Operating Base. We started chatting, and it turns out she’s with the Vineyard, too! What are the odds of that happening? There are only about ten Vineyard chaplains in the US military that I know about, and of all the chapels in the world, she walked into the one where I worked. I’m thankful to the Lord for that “Godincidence.” It’s a reminder that He’s in control and He gives us hints about it when we look for them.
3. Afghanistan summary – There were 7 Forward Operating Bases we visited monthly.
a. Finley-Shields is where we were most of our time & we were able to renovate the chapel. It was nearby that SSG Havens and I found the tent school and a school building and we started giving out school supplies to the needy Afghans. Once it was more than 25 boxes that the US sent.
b. Fenty was the Brigade HHQ across the street. We did redeployment briefings there. As we were redeploying we were attacked there. I also visited Kalagush and Bagram Airfield and we were attacked there as well. We lost about 50 Soldiers from our Brigade in a year. Our freedom is not free. Jesus, be with their Families and friends.
c. Connolly is where the Al Qaede / Taliban mortared the Morale, Welfare, Recreation room where we had chapel. One of our SSGs is still in the hospital recovering. It will take him more than a year to heal. This is also the area where SSG Randy Haney gave his life for our country. I met with his Family while I was on Rest and Recreation.
d. Garcia is where William Seo and Dr. Rafi started www.helpafghanistan.net. Officers Christian Fellowship printed a picture of the tent school, and I was contacted by a Colonel, who put me in contact with Operation International Children, Gary Sinise’s organization, the actor who was LT Dan in Forest Gump and who is on CSI NY. OIC sent us 30 boxes of school supplies. William contacted Gary, who flew out to Garcia with 15 palates of school supplies and helped distribute them. It ended up on the Bonnie Hunt TV show.
e. Torkham Gate and Bulldog are near the Pakistan border. Morningstar Development from Colorado Springs wants to build a community center there. Because she helped with the blueprints, they will dedicate it to Capt Jenna Wilcox, who died in a freak car accident when she redeployed.