Monthly Archives: February 2022

13 million Ethiopians face famine due to prolonged drought and war but hope is on the horizon

The Good Chaplain visited Ethiopia and Kenya several times during his deployment to East Africa in 2010-11. Now, the area is suffering from massive famine due to several reasons.

“After three consecutive failed rainy seasons, an estimated 13 million people face severe hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Livestock are dying, crops are failing, and livelihoods are at risk due to the worst drought in decades. As more and more families are forced to move in search of water and pasture, intercommunal conflicts are sure to erupt in their wake.”

Michael Dunford in CTGN.com Feb, 23, 2022
Animals in East Africa are dying because pastures are dried up.

Besides the drought, the East African area is also battling a war in northern Ethiopia, COVID-19, and rising costs due to those factors. With the last three rainy seasons failing to produce enough water, pastures have dried up, animals have died and families moved elsewhere to find food, water, and pasturelands.

According to an article in Times of Africa magazine, the World Food Program estimates about 40 percent of the Tigrayans in Northern Ethiopia are suffering from an extreme lack of food. The conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Ethiopian government began in November 2020 when the Tigrayan forces took control of most of the territory. Tens of thousands of Tigrayans died and millions were displaced, causing a shortage of food in that area and nearby Afar and Amhara.

Tigray is in the far north of Ethiopia. Due to war and extreme drought, the area is experiencing massive famine.

But there is a reason for hope. The International Government Authority on Development’s ICPAC (Climate Prediction and Applications Center) recently predicted a more robust rainy season in East Africa, although parts of Ethiopia in the northeast, may experience less rain than usual. In addition, ICPAC warned that any benefits of a solid rainy season, which runs from March to May, will not be seen immediately.

“The March-to-May rainy season is really, really important for many countries in the region. In the region, it accounts for about 70% of the total annual rainfall. So, obviously if there were to be a renewed failure of the rains, there would be massive socioeconomic consequences.”

Good Rainy Season Forecast for Parts of Drought-Stricken …. https://www.voanews.com/a/good-rainy-season-forecast-for-parts-of-drought-stricken-horn-of-africa/6450948.html

The Good Chaplain experienced drought in Ethiopia when he visited, but it was nothing like the situation now. Please pray for peace and an end to the drought soon for all the people involved.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Russia is threatening my peaceful lifestyle and the Good Chaplain’s retirement

With all that is going on with Russia right now, I wondered if the Good Chaplain could be recalled to active duty if needed. Guess what? The answer is yes.

“Our retirement pay is really a retainer,” the Good Chaplain says. And it is.

If your spouse is retired, there is a line on their DD214 form that says they may be recalled to active duty when necessary. We know it happened once.

In 1991, the Good Chaplain was re-commissioned from the Chaplain Candidate program into the Air Force Reserves. At the time, we lived in a town without a military installation nearby. The first Gulf War was happening, and the local National Guard unit was activated. Two retired colonels, probably in their 70s, were called upon to man the armory. One of them commissioned the Good Chaplain.

It can happen, but I pray it doesn’t. The issues between Russia and Ukraine are ugly. In my opinion, I fear Vladimir Putin is going to try to put the USSR back together and maybe go further into Europe. It reminds me so much of what I have read about Hitler and World War II. I’m scared.

This map shows Russian troops amassed on the border of Ukraine

I’m scared for the Ukrainians. I’m afraid for Eastern Europe, and I’m scared we might end up in another war. Nobody wants that. But by protecting the borders between Ukraine and Poland, Romania, and the rest of our NATO allies, maybe we can avoid a long, protracted war and let Russia know that can’t just grab any land they want. That’s my national pride coming out.

Please just pray with me that the powers on both sides can resolve this issue peacefully with no loss of life. And please pray for those troops, mainly from Ft. Bragg, who are deployed to the region.

Sorry, this is so gloomy today, but it is definitely on my mind. I don’t want the Good Chaplain to come out of retirement. Russia is messing with my peaceful way of life..

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Eye-opening Africa deployment taught us both life lessons about hope

In 2010, the Air Force tasked the Good Chaplain to deploy to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. I was so excited for him. What a terrific opportunity to work with people in dire need of help.

The deployment ended up being good for both of us. The Good Chaplain visited several countries in Eastern Africa and met with dignitaries and impoverished people alike. I got to experience life independently without another human being in the house with me.

The Good Chaplain arrived in Djibouti on November 11, 2010. We celebrated Thanksgiving on November 6 since he would be gone for the actual holiday. I imposed myself on my BFF and his family for Thanksgiving, but they didn’t seem to mind. Meanwhile, the Good Chaplain served Thanksgiving dinner to the troops for about two hours.

“It was fun to do chaplain things versus office things,” he said.

Generally, we would both serve at the base dining hall for a few hours and then get together with friends to share a meal on Thanksgiving Day. However, it was a different sort of holiday for both of us.

This deployment was quite different from the first time the Good Chaplain was gone for a holiday. That time he was gone for Christmas, we were in Alaska, and I threw myself one heck of a pity party. That was my most challenging deployment. And to think I got upset when he was gone on Mother’s Day during his Air Force Reserve years. That was nothing.

As he prepared to leave, I instructed the Good Chaplain to make sure he bought gifts from local women who sold their goods to earn a living. And he listened. While not all the presents he brought back were from women, many of them were made by local artisans and beautifully made at that.

This beautiful hand-carved trunk was one of the gifts the Good Chaplain brought back from Africa

We both learned lessons from that deployment. I learned how strong and independent I could be living all by myself. The Good Chaplain saw how faithful, hopeful, and generous people who had nothing (at least in our eyes) were in a part of the world which struggled with extreme poverty, drought, and warfare for many centuries.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Four Chaplains’ Story Epitomizes the Role of Military Chaplaincy

Seventy-eight years ago tomorrow, Feb. 3, four Army Chaplains gave their life jackets to crew members of the doomed and sinking Army Transport Ship Dorchester, thus sealing their own fate.

The four chaplains — Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister — embody the spirit of what it means to be a chaplain in the Armed Forces.

The Four Chaplains’ stamp issued on May 28, 1948.

They were four men of 902 aboard the Dorchester, traveling from Newfoundland, Canada to an American base in Greenland when a German U-boat torpedoed the ship. Amidst the panic on board, the four chaplains spread out and started tending to the wounded and calming the frightened soldiers.

Because of the way the ship listed, survivors could not launch several lifeboats on the port side. As one story tells it,

Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. “Where are you going?” a voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked. “To get my gloves,” Mahoney replied. “Here, take these,” said Rabbi Goode as he handed a pair of gloves to the young officer. “I can’t take those gloves,” Mahoney replied. “Never mind,” the Rabbi responded. “I have two pairs.” It was only long after that Mahoney realized that the chaplain never intended to leave the ship.

John Brinsfield, published by the US Army, January 28, 2014

The four chaplains also passed out life jackets and when they realized there were no more to be given, they each took off their own life jackets, helping to save four more men, at the expense of their own lives.

 “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”

A survivor from the Dorchester. US Army, January 28, 2014

The chaplains stood on the deck of the Dorchester, arms linked, singing hymns, and praying. They were among the 674 people who died that day. The 230 survivors were rescued by two cutter ships accompanying the convoy across the seas.

The chaplains were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart posthumously, but because their death didn’t meet the requirements to receive the Medal of Honor, a special medal for heroism, the Four Chaplains’ Medal, was awarded to the men on January 18, 1961.

A replica of the Four Chaplains’ Medal

They are the only four to ever receive the medal, and it will never be awarded to anyone else.

This story makes me so proud of our chaplain corps. As a retired chaplain’s wife, I know my own husband would do the same thing if he was required to. When the New York City Fire Department chaplain died on September 11, 2001, I looked at the Good Chaplain and said, “That would probably be you if you could be there.” He would have been doing his job, helping people right in the thick of things.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of the new book, Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse available here or by clicking the Shop tab above.

Snowmaggedon finally hit central Illinois. My grand-pup, Korben, the golden retriever, is enjoying himself with his buddy, Tucker.