In November 2010, the Good Chaplain embarked on what turned out to be his last deployment. It was significant for several reasons,
- It was his longest deployment to date — 7 months.
- It was the first deployment since the girls left home.
- The mission was cool.
The Good Chaplain went to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. He was the Deputy Command Chaplain CJTF-HOA and Deputy Director of Religious Affairs for Eastern Africa.
Although Djibouti is not known as a hotbed of tourism, the Good Chaplain traveled to several countries in the area, engaging with the locals to help build connections between the United States and those countries. Part of the mission was to help communities become more self-sufficient.
Although I was scared to be alone with him so far away, I was also excited for this opportunity for the Good Chaplain. The then Chief of Chaplains asked me how I felt about this deployment and then assured me the Chaplain Corps never lost a chaplain in Djibouti, except for the one who died of a heart attack. Until then, I wasn’t worried about my husband’s safety.
Although Djibouti did not have any violence at the time, the camp was just 10 miles from the Somalia border. So it gave me cause for concern. Also, several of the countries the Good Chaplain visited were amidst some sort of strife. But I knew he was well protected when he traveled.
What we didn’t count on was the Good Chaplain picking up some sort of virus, disease, or parasite(we never found out the cause) that left him with lifelong liver disease and ended his deployments for the rest of his career.
The stories of hope, the people he met, and the faith they all had in the face of difficulties we could never dream of led me to decide to write a second book on this deployment. I want to use his trips and experiences to highlight the hope people can have, especially in the face of adversity.
The working title is Eastern Africa: Stories of Hope and Faith. Please give me your thoughts on the book’s subject and on the title. Is this something you would read? Let me know in the comments section below.
Until next time,