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November Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

McENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." (Romans 10:15, NIV)

Many times we ask ourselves when tragedy strikes, "Why me?" Questions like this haunt our human minds as we seek to reason with the trials of the world. Have you faced challenging times in your life? In the past several weeks, South Carolina felt the effects of catastrophic rains and flood waters. Though the results were devastating, I am encouraged by the heartfelt stories and eye-witness accounts of selfless acts of service and sacrifice which brought us all together. These acts of service remind me of a verse in the Bible found in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news," (NIV). As we responded to needs all around us we each brought "good news" of grace, hope and love to those tragically hit by the flood waters.

As I worked alongside other Swamp Fox, I heard accounts of what seemed to be expressions of divine moments. Amidst the smell of must and mildew was the aroma of grace and hope filling the air. One Airman described a scene where the hands and feet of nearly 35 people did what one elderly woman could not do for herself. A group of strangers, including a Swamp Fox, entered her plantation home and cleared antiques and debris from a demolished first floor residence. This expression of grace is where human souls experience the blessing of giving and receiving.

Another Airman drove hours to offer help to anyone he could find. Unknowingly, he came across the home of a fellow Swamp Fox and encountered myself and other SCANG members gutting the home. The Airman came with the gift of hope and expressed what he described as a divine encounter. He was blessed to work amongst his fellow Swamp Fox for one of our own. This same act of service was shown to other residents in the neighborhood. A Swamp Fox retiree was the recipient as well as his neighbors who had no resources to help themselves except the people in blue Swamp Fox shirts seen coming down the street.

Finally, I was touched by a TV interview and account of a Swamp Fox who braved raging flood waters to rescue his grandmother who was trapped in her car. Fortunately, her vehicle had lodged itself on a cross in front of a community church. Spurred on by love for his grandmother, the Airman gathered all the resources he could and made his way to her location. Once he reached the scene he faced a stark reality that he may not make it out alive. As both clung to their lives, rescue workers arrived and saved the two stranded family members. During this ordeal, what was thought to be the last phone call the Swamp Fox would make to his wife was followed by a reunion with her. Also, the question the grandmother asked, God, if this was her time, was replaced with praises to Jesus Christ that she and her grandson were saved.

These stories are what shape our lives and transform our souls which are changed forever by bringing grace, hope and love to each other on this journey called life. There are many stories we will all share for years. We may never know the effects on this community and what it meant to be instruments of love bringing "good news." I will always reflect on October 2015 as a time in the life of South Carolina when many feet traveled all across this state and served the needs of our neighbors. 

From your Chaplain Corps, we are so proud of you all! Your perseverance developed character and spiritual resiliency as your neighbors gained blessings from the many feet of you who brought the "good news" of grace, hope and love to each life you encountered. May the feet of the Swamp Fox always be first to serve others before self. Semper Primus!