Discussion:
A Small Miracle in Afghanistan
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2011-09-10 00:58:00 UTC
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The Following article is from The Voices of Orthodox Military Service
Members & Families Vol. 1 N0. 1 September 11, 2011


A Small Miracle in Afghanistan by Chaplain
(Colonel) Alexander F. C. Webster, USAR (Ret.)

When my chaplain assistant—MSG Malcom Wolfe—and I arrived at the
Salerno Forward Operating Base (FOB) near Khost, Afghanistan, via
C-130 aircraft from Bagram Airfield on Thursday, December 28, 2006, we
discovered to our dismay that the host chaplain staff were not
expecting us. No Orthodox chapel services were scheduled, so we had to
scramble to get the word out about a couple of Divine Liturgies and a
Vespers service in the next three days.

As it happens (or perhaps this was the first sign of divine providence
at work), the heat in our designated tent was excessive rendering
sleep almost impossible. Early the next morning, MSG Wolfe requested
that BaseOps lower the temperature, since there was no thermostat for
us to do it ourselves. At 1:30 that afternoon, as I was about to take
a brief nap to compensate for a miserable night of little sleep, two
Kellogg-Brown-Root (KBR) workers arrived at the tent to adjust the
thermostat on the outdoor unit. Both were Orthodox Christians from the
Balkan nation of Macedonia. At last, I had encountered fellow Orthodox
on this FOB!

C H a p L a I n’ s C A L L

A quiet but profound moment during one of my twelve deployments to
combat areas during the global war on terrorism reveals how God the
Holy Trinity, the Lord of the universe, provides small miracles every
day in His usual inconspicuous way.

As I was attempting to identify myself as an Orthodox priest ("Otets
Aleksandr, ravoslavnie"), one of the workers received a cell telephone
call and repaired to a
quiet area beneath a tree near the tent. After ten minutes elapsed, I
wondered what had happened to Marko. So I went outside and saw him
next to the tree, sobbing uncontrollably in the embrace of his
colleague. Marko had just received the devastating news that his
mother had died back home in Macedonia. I invited him inside the tent,
and there we sat for some fifteen minutes, as he continued to sob for
his beloved mother
and I hugged his shoulder in silence. Then I asked her name
(Hhristana) and prayed for her and for him in a mix of English and Old
Church Slavonic, concluding with the signature Orthodox hymn for the
deceased:

Vyechnaya Pamyat ("Memory Eternal").

Marko indicated that he had to return to his supervisor in the KBR
heating / air-conditioning section in the hope that his boss would
permit him to fly home to Macedonia as soon as possible. Marko was
quite worried that, having returned from two weeks of R&R only a week
or so ago, he might not be able to leave Salerno. I promised to
intercede on his behalf if necessary.

A short time before sundown on Friday, I walked to the KBR village and
learned that Marko’s supervisor was indeed humane. Marko would begin
the long and circuitous journey from Salerno to his mother's house in
Macedonia the next morning. On Saturday, I visited with Marko and
prayed the Orthodox prayer for a journey as he waited for the aircraft
to arrive. I am personally convinced that the Lord God of the Universe
does intervene in the affairs of men and women more often than we know
or even ask. The
quiet moment on Salerno FOB, Afghanistan, was one such occasion of
divine providence at work in a war zone during the Nativity season—not
the spectacular kind we believers sometimes crave, but the more
subtle, non-flashy, almost routine miraculous intervention of a
caring, loving, compassionate God in the personal crises that so often
beset His human creation.
Derven
2011-09-15 07:34:22 UTC
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And a great (and becoming greater) miracle in Lithuania. :-)



"++" <***@gmail.com> wrote in message news:cba4b3b4-7526-46d5-8d4f-***@z18g2000yqb.googlegroups.com...
The Following article is from The Voices of Orthodox Military Service
Members & Families Vol. 1 N0. 1 September 11, 2011


A Small Miracle in Afghanistan by Chaplain
(Colonel) Alexander F. C. Webster, USAR (Ret.)

When my chaplain assistant—MSG Malcom Wolfe—and I arrived at the
Salerno Forward Operating Base (FOB) near Khost, Afghanistan, via
C-130 aircraft from Bagram Airfield on Thursday, December 28, 2006, we
discovered to our dismay that the host chaplain staff were not
expecting us. No Orthodox chapel services were scheduled, so we had to
scramble to get the word out about a couple of Divine Liturgies and a
Vespers service in the next three days.

As it happens (or perhaps this was the first sign of divine providence
at work), the heat in our designated tent was excessive rendering
sleep almost impossible. Early the next morning, MSG Wolfe requested
that BaseOps lower the temperature, since there was no thermostat for
us to do it ourselves. At 1:30 that afternoon, as I was about to take
a brief nap to compensate for a miserable night of little sleep, two
Kellogg-Brown-Root (KBR) workers arrived at the tent to adjust the
thermostat on the outdoor unit. Both were Orthodox Christians from the
Balkan nation of Macedonia. At last, I had encountered fellow Orthodox
on this FOB!

C H a p L a I n’ s C A L L

A quiet but profound moment during one of my twelve deployments to
combat areas during the global war on terrorism reveals how God the
Holy Trinity, the Lord of the universe, provides small miracles every
day in His usual inconspicuous way.

As I was attempting to identify myself as an Orthodox priest ("Otets
Aleksandr, ravoslavnie"), one of the workers received a cell telephone
call and repaired to a
quiet area beneath a tree near the tent. After ten minutes elapsed, I
wondered what had happened to Marko. So I went outside and saw him
next to the tree, sobbing uncontrollably in the embrace of his
colleague. Marko had just received the devastating news that his
mother had died back home in Macedonia. I invited him inside the tent,
and there we sat for some fifteen minutes, as he continued to sob for
his beloved mother
and I hugged his shoulder in silence. Then I asked her name
(Hhristana) and prayed for her and for him in a mix of English and Old
Church Slavonic, concluding with the signature Orthodox hymn for the
deceased:

Vyechnaya Pamyat ("Memory Eternal").

Marko indicated that he had to return to his supervisor in the KBR
heating / air-conditioning section in the hope that his boss would
permit him to fly home to Macedonia as soon as possible. Marko was
quite worried that, having returned from two weeks of R&R only a week
or so ago, he might not be able to leave Salerno. I promised to
intercede on his behalf if necessary.

A short time before sundown on Friday, I walked to the KBR village and
learned that Marko’s supervisor was indeed humane. Marko would begin
the long and circuitous journey from Salerno to his mother's house in
Macedonia the next morning. On Saturday, I visited with Marko and
prayed the Orthodox prayer for a journey as he waited for the aircraft
to arrive. I am personally convinced that the Lord God of the Universe
does intervene in the affairs of men and women more often than we know
or even ask. The
quiet moment on Salerno FOB, Afghanistan, was one such occasion of
divine providence at work in a war zone during the Nativity season—not
the spectacular kind we believers sometimes crave, but the more
subtle, non-flashy, almost routine miraculous intervention of a
caring, loving, compassionate God in the personal crises that so often
beset His human creation.

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