Sunday April 26, 2009: I have a new Soldier that is interested in the Faith. That is three in the last three days!!! Some of these guys were Baptized as children and that is it. Fr. Calloway's story is great for some of these!!!
Praise the Lord, I just prayed the rosary with another Soldier who prayed with us for the first time. It was their first Rosary. This is very exciting! God be praised! He was able to pray it before his platoon went out on mission!
Monday April 27, 2009: The past two weeks the Rosary Patrol has been able to offer 30 rosaries times 2 = 60! If anyone out there would like us to pray for anything specific let us know and we will add that to our dedications. Plus, if you are not tracking it by now, those of you following this thread are part of the Rosary Patrol mission.
Now that the inventory is completed and the Supplement training under control, I can focus my attention for tomorrow evening with the Bible Study. This will complete the chapters on Moses "Listen to Him" and next week I will begin with King David.
Our Bible study is the biggest one going in the Sadr City area. I encourage any of you to get the "Footprints of God" series for yourselves. Father wants me to get him this series as well. I will donate for that but I'm going to wait for May to do it. I'd like to order from this site!
Attacks on Americans is still a concern in our area so we continue to maintain a high state of readiness. I will continue to run in the mornings and hope that I can get in the best shape I can (1 Timothy 4:7-9)!
"When I say it is getting hot, I have to tell ya, I'm drenching with sweat just moving around out here with little work involved. It is important to drink lots of water and other fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Those of you who are all fellow Texans can attest to that. Now you all from the North East of the Country, we are not talking about alcohol here. That can actually dehydrate you as some people in the Midwest can testify. I'm getting ready for a bible study at the Division Chapel. I will probably be soaked by the time I get there. We have a number who are coming for Confirmation. It is important that we make this mission. God bless you all."
I would walk to and from the Division Chapel and I would be like I had jumped into a pool of water. On my way back I recall hearing the mortars, the gun fire, and I could only pray. I calculated that when we left Iraq, I had walked more than 200 miles for Christ.
Tuesday April 28, 2009: Today, I have Soldiers preparing for the board. I hope that will go well, I also hope that we continue to be lucky as we have no casualties due to enemy attacks. We have been fortunate!
Prayer is the answer, gotta have it!
I love this!!! It is a privilege!!! I cringe when I hear people tell me they were "forced" to go to church growing up so now they are in rebellion. That makes no sense at all, especially if we go out of love for God. It is an obligation, but so much of life is. When you love someone, then out of love you do the right thing. It is a way of life!
When I returned home at the end of January 08, our Battalion held a evening luncheon where everyone to include families were invited. It was rather nice, they had a Mexican room, an Italian room, a German room, and other nationalities so you could try different things. Gigi and I went into one of them and sat down when a Gentleman came up to me and told me he recognized me.
I didn't understand what he was talking about as I didn't recall meeting him before. Then he explained that he recognized me from a video he was given of the Memorial Service conducted for his son. His Son was killed in an IED attack. At that service, I went up, did the Sign of the Cross, prayed, then gave a couple of medals.
Gigi and I spoke with him for a few minutes as he was very happy to learn of the Rosary Patrol and what we had been doing. He told us about the terrible grief his wife had been going through with the loss of their son. She was very emotional about her Son, concerned that there was no Priest there to assure the Last Rites, or the anointing of the Sick. I explained that we had been praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for those who were killed in action and I explained some of the promises Our Lord gave to St. Faustina.
In the end, after about 45 minutes of talking to her, she hugged Gigi and me and thanked me for the reassurance. That meant so much to me knowing that what we did helped someone through such a terrible ordeal. It's something we really do not get over, but we know our confidence is in God and we trust in Him!
Wednesday April 29, 2009: Thank you all so much, for everything. God is good and He is the answer. Yesterday, I was able to speak to a couple of Soldiers and I have another new one that needs Confirmation. They came to the Bible Study last night and both have committed themselves in becoming Catholic. One of them needs Baptism. Please keep them in your prayers.
What is it like living on a JSS centered in a major Iraqi City? It's no place like home, that is for sure. Everything we have depends on push packets being sent to us. Water, food, mail, just about everything we need. We are surrounded by walls reminding me of the Alamo or something. You can hear all around the singing and praying from loud speakers Islamic Shieks or who ever they have leading this prayer. You can also hear the gunfire, the mortars, and the explosions. Sometimes it can be close, or sometimes it is in the distance. I can almost imagine a song about this from a younger Johnny Cash. I have his "Bitter Tears" album that came out in the 1960's. It is about the American Indian.
We go about doing our jobs completing daily missions as they come. It does get busy, when we get a chance we will catch a movie on our computer or try and get some sleep. You can go 6 hours on 6 hours off if your on guard duty. You can be doing foot patrols maintaining security, all the basic things that protect us from the enemy.
That is the vast majority of what goes on. Fortunately, I have been able to set up times for the Rosary, Liturgy of the Word, and Bible Studies. That helps give us a rhythm that helps time go by. This Board is also a huge asset. Mostly, I have been able to talk to Gigi most every day and just to be able to hear her voice helps me greatly.
Today, marks my 80th day here and I still have a long way to go. I thank God for my health because I am essentially doing well. Age is not a factor as I feel great and I plan to go as long as I can.
Thursday April 30, 2009: I am so proud of the way my medics have been performing. To this point we have supported 2,000 patrols, convoys, clips covering the most dangerous terrain in Iraq. They have done well. Like the last deployment, I deployed with young Soldiers, some 17 years old. When they leave here they will be men, veterans. Many of these guys are the future of our Military. It is my job to prepare them for the next generation.
We also have an opportunity to show how great America is by giving a good example to those who live here. I usually have a song in my heart and that sometimes comes out of me. A lot of the Iraqi workers will ask me to sing them a rhyme and I will with a smile. One time a phrase from "Johnny Yuma, the rebel" or "Awesome God". But I have developed a good re pore with them. They will come see me with medical issues they are having, or family members. It is a sad situation for the people here. Their health care is about where we were in the early 1900's.
This morning I found another couple who might be interested in the Catholic Church. It is a married couple whom I ran into one was Baptized the other was not. They didn't know who to go to to begin the process. I am in position to help them. My list continues to grow!!!
I had the chance of sharing Scott Hahn's Conversion story with our chaplain's Assistance and the Chaplain was present for most of it. I think the Chaplain Assistant is really considering the Catholic Church. He is taking it seriously!!! He has already seen the Steve Ray DVD on Mary and that was awesome, I will show him the one on St. Peter soon. I can't hit him all at once, but bits and pieces. That's how it is done sometimes!!!
I've picked up 4 Soldiers in the past three days. The Chaplain's Assistant is definitely taking patience as he is investigating between the Catholic Church and Pentecostalism. I think we have the edge in his consideration as he recognizes Transubstantiation, he is learning of the Petrine Doctrine, and he is understanding Mary.
I walk around the area with a 9 ml pistol in a holster, makes me feel like a cowboy at times. Especially after watching some of these westerns.
I've tried to give something of what it is like on a routine day. So far, it hasn't been bad. I know that at any moment things can change in a heart beat. That's why we have to stay on the ready and not grow soft. Please keep the prayer going!! God bless!
Saturday May 02, 2009: I was watching an old Steve McQueen movie, "Hell is for Soldiers" also staring Fess Parker. What a change from those times to our times. The face of the enemy has changed. In those days there use to be battle lines. Each force would try to break enemy lines to destroy and defeat the enemy. Today there is no such line. The enemy interfaces behind the civilian population. They try to win the people over to their ideology. Vietnam was similar in how the enemy fights. This is why it is dangerous outside the wire. You don't see a visible enemy.
I was graced to teach another new Soldier how to pray the rosary. It is exciting to see how Soldiers are committing themselves to the rosary. That helps them learn the prayers, it helps them become more knowledgeable of the Bible, it gives them peace of mind as many of them are troubled going through tough times.
It is certainly getting warmer so it is important to eat right and drink plenty of fluids. I personally have never done supplements but I always ate well. Gigi is an awesome cook!
Sunday May 03, 2009: I've had people 180 degrees opposed to me, even to the point of ignoring me. But when a crisis hits them I find them ready to talk. So sometimes it is as we are reminded, it takes patience.
I have felt really good about myself recently in that I have been able to pick up weights like I use to. I surprised myself by picking up 185 lbs and military press it 10 times. I hadn't attempted anything like that in 10 years. I suffered a second degree dislocation of the AC joint (right shoulder) during week of the Eagle 1996 at Ft. Campbell. I was ran over on first base and it was not good. People from the sports box, the outfield all saw dust fly and I stopped the guy in his tracks but he ran into my shoulder with his shin running full speed. I saw Popeye, Olive Oil, stars, all the color left my sight. It took me a year to really do push ups after that. So I feel good that I am able to get back into it. Gigi, when I come home I will be lean and mean, a fighting machine!!!