MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
In December 2016, I returned from Operation DEEP FREEZE where I served with the New York Air National Guard as a military Chaplain on the continent of Antarctica. During my tour of duty, I was responsible for the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of approximately 1,250 civilian and military personnel serving at McMurdo Station, Scott Base, and South Pole Station. I provided pastoral care, opportunities for religious observances, and advice to leadership through a ministry of presence, work site visitation, counseling, crisis intervention/response and worship services.
When I first stepped foot on Antarctica on October 20, 2016, I knew that I would be serving on the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth. However, what I did not expect was how I would discover God through people I served with and at the amazing places I visited at the ends of the earth. Below are just three of the ways that I discovered God at the ends of the earth:
1. I discovered God as I built relationships with others. The hours I spent providing a ministry of presence outside of the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station gave me access to some of the most amazing people who were engaged in a vast assay of scientific research. Taking the time to learn about others usually results in a making a new discovery about life.
2. I discovered God when I took a Sabbath from my smartphone. The absence of cell phone service and Wi-Fi internet access in Antarctica allowed me to share meaningful and undistracted conversations with many people during meals. Being “disconnected” from my smartphone for two months was very good for my soul.
3. I discovered God in the beauty of creation. Hiking the scenic trails on Ross Island helped clear my mind and gave me a fresh perspective on my faith journey. It also reminded me of Psalm 61:1-2 which says, “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
For those who want to learn more about my Antarctic adventure of a lifetime, I will be sharing more reflections at the February UTA during the 1030 Sunday Protestant Worship Service.
Finally, please remember to express your love for your family during the month of February (Valentine’s Day is the 14th). Our loved ones deserve to be reminded that we’re grateful for the sacrifices they also make as we serve our state and nation. I hope you have a great drill weekend.
2017 STRONG BONDS EVENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Just in time for Valentine’s Day…and it’s FREE!
Married Couples Dinner/Refresher Event “How Full is Your Love Tank” after drill (1730-2100) on Saturday, February 11th at The Blue Marlin Restaurant (Vista Room) in downtown Columbia
April - Singles Event, Date/Location TBD
April - Family Event, Date/Location TBD
May 19-21 - Married Couples Event, Lake Murray
September - Married Couples Event, Hilton Head, Date TBD
To take advantage of attending one of the STRONG BONDS Relationship Skills Training Events, please call Terry DeLille at 803-647-8089 or Chaplain Pittman at 803-647-8265 for more information and how to register.