NEWS | Nov. 9, 2015

COMMENTARY: New JTF-Bravo Chaplain reflects on Chapel Hike 64

By Capt. Timothy L. Dahl Joint Task Force Bravo Command Chaplain

My introduction to Soto Cano Chaplaincy was Chapel Hike 64. I've been asked to reflect upon the Hike, since it was my first one. Let me begin by saying how humbled I am. How utterly grateful I am for all that God has given me. Chapel Hike 64 reminded me how utterly blessed I am.

I was humbled by the majesty of Creation. It was so beautiful. Looking out from the church at the top of the mountain, across the ridges and trees, into the valley below; I was reminded how beautiful, wonderful and awe inspiring the land around us can be. The scenery itself had words of thankfulness escaping from my lips. Thanking God for the opportunity to minister in this place, at this time.

I was humbled by the poverty of the community around me. The buildings, barely considered shells of structures by U.S. standards, were so austere. Roofs were held down by rocks and large limbs. No windows, just gaping holes in the homes.

Some seemed lucky to have real wooden doors.

The school, another shell of a building, yet used to educate the children of the village. Buildings, that would have never passed muster in the U.S., are used every day on the Mountain. Not only did my heart break for the people on the mountain, but the poverty of my own heart was brought to light.

How I take for granted my comparatively lavish living conditions. How I take for granted my education. How I take for granted my vocation, the privilege to minister to men and women of our Armed Forces.

In taking these things for granted, my heart becomes just as barren and empty as those half-finished buildings. And like those buildings, can be occupied for great things when I proceed with thankfulness in my heart.

Finally, I was humbled by the men and women of Soto Cano, AB. Let's be honest, that was a beast of a hike! Yet, I saw Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines carrying multiple bags in some instances. I saw determination. I saw purpose in the eyes of the men and women of Chapel Hike 64. I continue to see camaraderie that has been built through the adversity of this particular Hike. 

I find myself thankful for those that committed to serve. I'm thankful for my predecessor, Chaplain Christopher Watson, and the exceptional leadership he put forward. I'm thankful for Sgt. Anastasia Proctor, and the hard work that she put into getting everything together. The leadership of Chaplain Angel Barrios; who led the advance team, led us in our invocation and translated for us at the top of the Mountain. For Spc. Terrence Vawters, and the coordination he added to the advance team process. And, I'm so thankful for the men and women of Soto Cano that give me something to aspire to during my time as your Installation Chaplain.

Your example motivates me; and I am truly thankful for being a part of Chapel Hike 64 alongside of you.


Peace and Blessing,
Timothy L. Dahl, Chaplain (Capt)
Command Chaplain, Soto Cano AB

The Soto Cano Friendship Chapel offers spiritual resiliency opportunities throughout the week and can make accommodations for all faiths and followings.
Sundays are Catholic Confession at 8:45 a.m., Catholic Mass at 9:15 a.m., breakfast at 10:15 a.m. and Protestant Worship at 1100 a.m.
Tuesdays are "Lunch and Devotional" at 12 p.m.
Wednesdays are Spanish Bible Study at 12 p.m. and Protestant Bible Study at 7 p.m.
Thursdays are Protestant Women's Bible Study at 6:30 p.m.
Fridays are dinner and a movie at 6 p.m.