What is Stephen Doing? (I thought I would like to include a synopsis of two weeks here so you can get an idea about what I am doing here in Iraq: Friday: RED CROSS MESSAGE: soldiers brother is murdered in the Houston area. I pray with the soldier. I counsel with a soldier experiencing severe stress. RED CROSS MESSAGE: I alert soldier that his child is stillborn. Saturday: Staff meeting. I counsel soldier with seemingly suicidal inclinations (relationship-marital issues). Sunday: Officiated at morning chapel. Chaplain T. preached. Over fifty in attendance. 2LT W. requests religious coverage for reception and visitation. Monday: Attended staff meeting gave thought for the day. Visited Styker chapel. Distributed toiletries to Ugandans. Counseled one soldier about faith matters. Tuesday: worked on bulletin. RED CROSS MESSAGES: two soldiers. One grandfather died, the other Step-father is dying. Report of a suicidal soldier Wednesday: Counseled soldier with anger issues. SPC W-a chaplain assistant requests religious coverage for reception. I visit "visitation." Bible Study. Soldier threatens to commit suicide. I am called but Chaplain N. arrives there first and we are able to take soldiers weapon away and get the soldier to mental health. Two Red Cross messages: Missing child and wife in critical condition. Thursday: Tennant meeting. Men's Bible Study. Distraught soldier counseled. STATS: Counseling for: Anger/morale issues/personality conflicts: Three To become a better Christian: One Suicidal Inclinations: One apparent suicide attempt. One soldier seemingly suicidal and two other reports received. Red Cross messages: Six. Friday: Did visitation at Liberty. Saturday: TOA ceremonies. I prayed the benediction. Attended awards ceremonies. Sunday: I preached. Approximately 40-50 in attendance. Afterwards I went with LT W. to visit with our soldiers doing "visitation" and went to "reception" and visited with soldier working there. Went to Chaplain G's last service said goodbyes. Monday: Visited Liberty again. Lengthy counseling with four soldiers there. Tuesday: 0300 receive a RED CROSS MESSAGE. Counseled and prayed with solider (his father died-unexpectedly). I spend most of the day sick with a cold in bed. I counseled with one soldier today. Wednesday: Mission "beyond the wire" with Alpha Co. doing detainee transport to Triple C-I. Spend quality time with soldiers. Bible study tonight with Chaplain C. Met with commander. RED CROSS MESSAGE at 2300-soldiers father died (after being in a coma for some time-not unexpected). Prayed with soldier. Thursday: Interviewed by Houston Chronicle. Attended Tennant meeting. I lead Men's Fellowship-six in attendance. Counseled two soldiers. RED CROSS MESSAGES: Two "Formal" Counseling Sessions: Six (several informal talks with soldiers) Counseling Issues: Spiritual direction:1. Relationship issues: 4, Morale, stressful work environment: 1.
Houston Chronicle Coverage
We have two reporters here who are embedded with us. (They actually seem to spend more time in downtown Baghdad rather than our base here at BIAP.) The reporters are Marya Beltran and Lindsey Wise. You can check out their coverage of 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at www.chron.com.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer
I want to recommend all books on Islam by Robert Spencer, especially "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam." In it he mentions the sufferings and deprivations of the Aramaic Assyrian Christians that they have suffered under the Muslims.
Gunmen Kill 8 at Egyptian Church After Christmas Mass
The Coptic Christians of Egypt celebrate Christmas on January 7. Three men in a car sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd of churchgoers in southern ("upper") Egypt as they left midnight mass for Coptic Christians killing at least eight people in a drive-by shooting, the church bishop said. They Assyrian International News Agency has done a good job of reporting this incident. I read a news report that says that there are usually good relations between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Egypt. That isn't true! Coptic Christians suffer discrimination and persecution and anti-Coptic pogroms are not uncommon! This recent attack took place in Nag Hammadi, the place where the famous "Gospel of Thomas" was discovered.
Many people think Egypt is a "moderate/westernized" country. In reality the Egyptian government tries to accommodate and make concessions to Islamic fanatics, they persecute Egyptian Christians, and the populace is radical and becoming more radical all the time. It is very possible that Egypt may have an Islamic revolution and become an Islamic Republic the way Iran is now.
I want to recommend the testimony of Majed El Shafie who works for the ICEJ ministry. He was tortured and even crucified for converting from Islam to Christianity but was able to miraculously escape before he was executed.
"Allah in Malaysia"
The word "Allah" is the generic word for "god." Arab and Maltese Christians call God "Allah" in their language. It is possible that the word "Allah" is derived from Aramaic. In the Aramaic section of Daniel, the word for God is "Al-aw." Jesus on the cross cried out "Allahi, Allahi lamina sabacktani!" In modern Aramaic and classical Syriac (church Aramaic) the word for God is "Allaha." So, Christians in Malaysia also call God Allah. In Kuala Lumpar the Muslims sued to stop them from calling God "Allah." The court ruled in favor of the Christians. (The lawsuit was over a church newsletter for Catholics.) In response, three churches were firebombed by the Muslims. Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches have been burned down. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering in Malaysia. This proves that the "Allah" of the Muslims, is not the same God of the Christians and the Bible. At least the Muslims don't thinks so, not in Malaysia at any rate.