26May22 @ 16:57
Yesterday I boarded an airplane in Michigan (MI) to visit ministry partners, learn from Harris County Sheriff Office chaplains and the Houston PD peer support team in Texas (TX).
In the airport, newspapers and televisions screamed of Uvalde.
Before touching down, I began reaching out to the Billy Graham Rapid Response Chaplain Team. Since the 9/11 attack, trained chaplains have deployed to natural and manmade disasters and would be needed at the shooting site. Emailed confirmation of chaplains being sent arrived before sunset.
Waves of chaplains are being sent and I've been asked to stand by as more are needed. For now, the plan in Texas is to continue learning from law enforcement professionals and updating the prayer partners. A pivot has also included journaling through my time in Texas.
Journaling is a way for me to catch what the Holy Spirit is saying. My blog posts avoid first person language and possessive pronouns. Shining a spotlight on the work of the Lord is a better fit for me. Sitting alone in a city when I like every other parent want to hug our children is messing with me. Rather than post sterile, professional updates to the chaplaincy blog, I'm just letting you in.
There's a way I'm supposed to present to churches and a way I'm supposed to present to my family and a way I'm supposed to present to prayer or financial partners; another way to other chaplains or officers. It's been working (maybe?) but hearing our son ask, "Why is Dad talking to us like he talks to prayer partners?" got my attention.
I talked to him this morning after 24 hours of travel and Uvalde processing. It's just now, as I sit still enough to reflect, that I realize the reason I "used the wrong voice" is because I've been talking to more people about the disaster than I've been connecting with my family. He heard the "disaster response chaplaincy voice" I didn't even know I was using.
Maybe I sounded like that because the thought of being a parent who - like 19 parents in Uvalde - kissed their children goodbye without know it would be the last time is debilitating. Perhaps the thought of extending a Texas stay, because the Rapid Response Team calls my name, threatens to pull me under. A professional voice and demeanor seems a buoy in the chilly waters of a possible deployment; to look in the eyes of parents, as a parent, frightens me.
If I sound like a parent, on the phone with our son, I might start thinking about the parents who wish they could be on the phone with their daughters and sons. Keeping it together by being a ministry professional seems a better bet, but our teenager casually popped the bubble of my pretense. He has been with me in appointments when I'm asking for prayer and financial support; casting vision and answering questions; leaving brochures and sharing a story. He knows what the working voice sounds like.
Today, we talked on his way to school and he later asked his mother why I sounded off. I sounded off because I am off. Talking to him on the way to school, while sitting in Texas, is messing me up. It may be a few days or weeks before I see him again, if deployed.
In blog posts, I avoid first person language and personal pronouns. Letting readers in is risky but being far from my wife and our children - while facing the possibility of ministering with the brokenhearted - and not journaling is riskier. I don't have time to hold it together professionally and undertake the usual therapeutic interventions: swim, golf, read, run, stretch, nap, study, journal, walk, cook. Compartmentalization and "keep us posted chaplain" are too heavy. I'm just going to keep people posted and let the messiness flow a bit. Journalism removes the first person. A blog is not only a news source however; it's also a journal.
I came to Texas to tell of the work of the Lord among first responders but am experiencing a work of the Lord in me.
27May22 @ 18:06
Yesterday, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sent an update on the need for Uvalde chaplains.
27May22 @ 05:04
Am in prayer because there's nothing else to do. Self deployments are frowned upon, though driving to Uvalde to "do something" is a temptation. Rushing into a situation uninvited is prideful and pride precedes the fall. Parking in prayer, a drive away from Uvalde, is humbling me.
When I find things that humble me, they're often sent by the Lord.
27May22 @ 09:22
A Texas resident with Michigan roots met for breakfast. He's a chaplaincy prayer and financial partner for the Lansing PD outreach and underlined the impact of the Uvalde disaster on Border Patrol Agents. Stated the unique outreach to law enforcement professionals is needed in the region. Before the Robb School shootings, Border Patrol was dealing with human trafficking, smuggling and politics. Some of their children were in the school on the day of the shooting. They're hurting, yet are being asked to serve with distinction.
"Who is caring for Border Patrol?" he asked over breakfast this morning. Passed the question on to the Rapid Response Team as we await news on the next wave of chaplain deployments.
27May22 @ 18:38
Posting a video for partner churches and families interested in more information on possible Uvalde deployment:
28May22 @ 13:11
Continuing in prayer and preparation for a possible deployment. A prayer chain is a welcome resource.
Every predator understands the strategic value of isolation. The devil knows that if he can separate you from the voices of your support community, he can surround you with the sounds of the world and the flesh. God put us in communities of faith for our protection. There is strength in numbers. ~ Patrick Morley (The Four Voices, pg 162)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most Highwill rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”Surely he will save youfrom the fowler’s snareand from the deadly pestilence.He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge;his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.You will not fear the terror of night,nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday.A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you.You will only observe with your eyesand see the punishment of the wicked.If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling,no harm will overtake you,no disaster will come near your tent.For he will command his angels concerning youto guard you in all your ways;they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.You will tread on the lion and the cobra;you will trample the great lion and the serpent.“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.He will call on me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him.With long life I will satisfy himand show him my salvation.” ~ Psalm 91