(June 21, 2011)
PRISTINA, Kosovo (6/17/2011) - All who join the military serve our great
nation, but not all get to serve their fellow soldiers.
Michael Lindsay, senior chaplain, for soldiers of Multinational Battle
Group East, at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, is one of those soldiers who
does. Lindsay provides Roman Catholic religious services and support
here. In fact, Lindsay was serving soldiers before he ever joined the
military, and as chance would have it, that is how the idea to join the
military came about.
“I helped provide support for a veteran's
assistance workshop at the local armory, as a civilian pastor. After
that I was asked to help counsel several soldiers on personal issues and
one of the soldiers suggested I become a chaplain,” Lindsay said.
Up to that point Lindsay had never considered being a National Guard
“After that was suggested, I thought wow, but I also
thought I might be too old. I pondered it and became interested and it
felt great that someone thought I could help,” said Lindsay. “I then
thought more about it and decided to do it.”
Lindsay was raised
in a family that promoted respect toward members of the military.
“My father served in WWII, my grandfather in WWI and I had an uncle
who served during the Vietnam War,” said Lindsay.
It's now been
10 years since Lindsay joined the military as a chaplain and has since
provided chaplain support in White Sands, N.M., Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort
Knox, Ky., and the Santa Fe Regional Reserve Training Institute in Santa
Here in Kosovo Lindsay leads the Catholic Mass,
celebrates confessions and teaches Bible studies. In addition he
counsels with soldiers who are dealing with personal or family issues.
Lindsay also teaches classes on suicide prevention, relationship
enhancement and interpersonal skills.
Being a chaplain is a great
opportunity to provide support and help to others, said Lindsay.
“Service members have to face some tough challenges and at times
have to deal with some really awful things,” Lindsay said. “Their
commitment and service motivates me to help them deal with the issues of
deployment and then reintegrate back into their normal lives at home.”
There are many gratifying parts of being a chaplain according to
Lindsay, but one stands above the rest.
“Helping these soldiers
get focused and reconnected with family and friends is the most
rewarding,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay will have to wait another six
months before he gets to again enjoy the work of supporting Soldiers and
their families back home. In the meantime he's found other satisfying
ways to serve soldiers, through leading worship services and teaching
Bible study groups.
“Bible class is good,” said Sgt. 1st Class
Rudy Sena, non-commissioned officer in charge of Liaison Monitoring Team
5. “You feel good while you are there and it helps get you through the
Getting through the days can be tough for soldiers and
“Nothing can ever separate us from the love of
God,” said Lindsay who then cited, Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am
convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height
nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
admitted that at times he too looks for, and also needs encouragement
and support from the Holy Scriptures, fellow soldiers as well as family
and friends back home.
Besides the Scriptures, Lindsay often
finds encouragement in the supportive prayers of others.
feel like I'm facing tough times it is great to know that others back
home are supporting us with the power of prayer,” said Lindsay.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mark Lauer, aviation safety officer, agrees that
prayers and service help close the distance between families. While
attending a Saturday evening Mass, Lauer said, “It brings me closer to
the people back home. I do it every Sunday there [back home], so when I
do it here, I don't feel so far away from those I love.”
diversity and culture of Kosovo has provided Lindsay with exciting and
“I presided at a bilingual Polish/English Easter
Vigil Mass, and later attended a local parish mass, where an amazing
choir was singing in Albanian and Serbian,” Lindsay said. “The next day
I was part of a Greek Easter celebration.”
It is these kinds of
events that Lindsay enjoys because they enhance his understanding about
other faiths and he gets to work with other religious leaders.
“I have had a chance to meet with and talk with local religion leaders
that are Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, as well as some other
ministers and leaders of other faiths,” said Lindsay.
meetings the variety of faith and experience, examples of commitment to
God and diversity of culture, strengthens one's own faith commitment,
Lindsay, who has so enjoyed his service, is
thinking of continuing to serve until his mid 60s.
has challenged me to be a better leader and a better man,” Lindsay said.
“It's been a real blessing to be a chaplain. I've probably gotten more
out of it than anyone else.”
By Army 1st Lt. Casey Staheli
200th Public Affairs Detachment
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