The Catholic Defender: Iraq was a great opportunity to spread the Catholic Faith
Wednesday April 11, 2007 I wrote, "Last night was an extra ordinary evening. At 21:00 hours, I went to the ALOC to visit a couple of soldiers on duty with a movie I was able to share. As we watched the movie we began to talk about the Catholic faith. I discovered that both soldiers were former Catholics whose parents left the Church when they were young. I ended up talking to them until 05:00 in the morning after both decided they want to become active Catholics! I got about 2 hours of sleep last night but I am all fired up!!! It was great. One of them actually was emailing his wife about his plans and she got excited because she to was hoping to investigate the Church!!! This is awesome!!! Tonight, after RCIA, I'm going to share the Steve Ray DVD's with them!!! They are joining the RCIA!! One of these guys would become "TheMechanic"! He is doing great. His knowledge base from his own personal study is remarkable. He asked me to be his sponsor in Confirmation. It is an honor!
We had a couple of days to celebrate, now it's time to get back to work. We have a number of Catholics who have not been confirmed that Father wants me to teach for another main event. I've found a few myself so this may be interesting. Keep those prayers coming and your angels helping. I had another one of my Medics shot the other day. Fortunately, it was only a flesh wound to the forearm. He should be OK, but I credit your prayers as a shield of great help. Gigi has been informed that she will have to have her knee replaced. She will be out for 2 and 1/2 months. I wish I could be there to help her, please keep your prayers for her coming as well. I pray for the needs of the board, to include Anna. God bless you all!"
On Thursday April 12, 2007, "I was talking to Gigi this morning early (for her, late at night), and she informed me that we are being extended to 15 months. I will say that this is more than a rumor. Looks like we will remain here until February 08. That will mark exactly 23 years for me in the Army. Gigi is awesome, after telling me this, she just said, "We will get through this". I am so thankful, she is the greatest gift God has given me. I hate being apart, it is for God and country that I keep my morale high. The Lord has given me so much. I was talking to a Lutheran Chaplain who was referring one of his soldiers to see me. This soldier is a Lutheran who want's to become a Catholic. He looked at me shaking his head saying, "there goes another one". I told him he's not far behind, smiled and left!!!"
On Monday April 23, 2007, "The past couple of nights we have had some mortar rounds land near us. One hit our dining facility. Fortunately, no one was hurt. It is still wild walking around at night through the pad and hear the Islamic song in the distance. Kind of reminds me of the movie "Black Hawk Down". That's just the way it is here.
My day begins at 04:00 in the morning when I have to turn in our green two report. That's reporting that all of our sensitive items like weapons are accounted for. I spend some time speaking to my wife on the internet to keep in touch with her. It is a modern day miracle to be able to spend some time with her. I'm basically getting up as she is getting ready to go to bed. Then we go on through the day till most of the time about 20:00 to 22:00 when I can take some time to wind down. It's never automatic because if we have rockets hit near by, we got to account for everyone so we make sure everyone is in their rooms or accounted for in the TMC.
I am always available when casualties are coming in 24/7. I got to be on the ready at all times. I am thankful for the opportunity during the day to find the time to witness for the faith or teach a bible study. I conduct two, one at Division Chapel and the other at our local chapel. I have people coming and going at all times covering all missions outside the wire. All patrols and log packs need medics. We keep it sane taking it one day at a time.
On Tuesday May 1, 2007, I had a soldier come to my door last night asking me about the Catholic Church. I ended up talking to him for about 3 hours last night. He is very interested and he thinks his wife might be also. He came back this morning for a follow up and I think there is a good possibility that they will look into it very seriously. Getting them to come to your door is a good thing. God is so good.
Tonight about 11:30 a soldier came knocking on my door to get me because another soldier accidentally shot himself in the leg. Can I get some prayer out for him. He is a fine young man who had an accident. He had no fractures, luckily, but concerned about possible nerve damage. Keep him in prayer if you can. Thank you and God bless you all!
Hey Catholic Defender,
I haven't been keeping up with the board lately and I just read your thread today. I am really inspired by everything you are doing over there. Your first hand account of what is happening in Iraq is incredible. You should consider writing a book. God bless you and the troops! I wanted to let you know that I will keep you and the troops in my prayers. If you still need any thing like prayer cards, medals or rosaries let me know. I should be able to send some. Tate
On Monday May4, 2007, "Tonight I had a second soldier come to my door wanting to know how he could become a Catholic! That is twice in one week! That's really exciting! Can't help but share that with you all. Your prayers are having an affect. Please keep them coming, that is really something! God bless!"
On Friday May 07, 2007, "I have possibly a couple who might be interested in looking at this great journey of ours. The prospects are high! This past bible study focusing on St. Peter was very good. I had a really good group as we continue to grow at the Division. Some of them will be confirmed here very soon!"
On Wed May 09, 2007, "We've had some press here from New York and Detroit, it will be interesting to see what they say. They seem positive and very supportive of the troops. This all will remain to be seen, but I hope we will get a good shake from them. We had a seriously wounded soldier who is being sent to Germany. If he makes it this would be a miracle. Can I get a few prayers for the young man. He had severe head trauma. Last night he was able to grip a hand and make minor movement. Excellent news to us! I was able to put together the medical coverage and support for a major mission coming up. It felt really good to put it together and package it for the Battalion. My prayer will be for our safety and total success. The bible study went real well! I have a new soldier coming who didn't know how to read the bible at all. In two weeks, he has come along way. This started after talking about morals at the dining hall. He has been coming ever since and is learning where to find things and reading whole books. This is exciting business!
On Friday May 11, 2007, "The enemy is known to target medics, I have made adaptive, alternative aid bags so they do not stand out from a distance. It has helped us I think, we have not had anyone shot for a while, hope to keep that up. God bless you!!!!
On Sunday May 13, 2007, "Two soldiers wearing civilian clothes came in at the front of the chapel. I had been setting up the readings and the Altar for preparation of Mass to help our visiting priest. I overheard them talking about the problems they felt of having all these translations of the bible. Naturally, that caught my ear. I went back and gave them some Catholic bibles when one of them admits he is a former Catholic now a non-denom. I corrected him informing him he was a non-practicing Catholic. Using the bible and their concerns for all these translations, I invited them to look up Daniel chapter 13 when one of them was puzzled that he couldn't find it while the other one did! This set the stage for me to invite them to the Catholic Bible Study on Tuesday evenings at 20:30!
I think they may come to Mass tonight. Our Battalion Chaplain ( a Mormon) even informed me he was thinking of coming to Mass! There are a lot of opportunities out here as I run into them daily!!! Planting seeds is a joy and may they grow into huge trees with much fruit!
(Praise Report) I thought I would bring this story back because an individual here told me now that he intends to follow through and come back to the Catholic Faith. It was a great opportunity to talk with him and get where he is today!!!
I have been speaking a lot to our S-1 who has been reading the Early Church Fathers learning what their writings said about Church teachings. Today we were looking at some of the canons of the Counsel of Nicea which is extremely interesting. He was interested in that they spoke of "Lent" as if common place. He also was interested in some of the disciplines held by the Counsel concerning apostates who wanted to return after peace was given the Church.
Some Bishops had a dim view of that. He has the Church of Christ (CoC) competing on the other side so it is interesting. I've offered to debate the other party but they have declined. We will continue to strive to tell the truth!
Today, I was given the highest honor! Father asked me to give Holy Communion to troops at Warrior Chapel. I conducted a Communion service as Father had his third week in four going to last minute operations for his command. He has not liked the situation at all and today, he let me handle the service. What an honor! We had a good crowd. More to follow!!! Previously, I had conducted the liturgy of the word and gave a brief reflection. Today, I spoke with an Iragi Catholic who was very interested in what I've said to the congregation. He told me he had a cousin who has abandoned the Church for a cult. I was able to explain where they were coming from and how the Catholic Church was the truth. This is a great opportunity."
Now that I am retired, I am thankful to have played such a roll in Iraq with all the things going on there. Everyday I was deeply involved with the missions saving lives and developing plans to help our command with the local people. I was involved with the Standard Operating Procedures of Detainees that helped changed perceptions of the Local people. We were not see as invaders, but liberators. I am thankful that I had so many opportunities to witness for our holy faith, the Catholic Faith.