3d ESC chaplains renew at Jacob's well
April 10, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Chaplains from the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gathered together for Jacob's Well, an event for fellowship, training and spiritual fitness, here March 24 - 25.
The spiritual retreat was attended by eight chaplains and chaplain assistants from three bases located around Iraq. Jacob's Well was an opportunity for unit ministry teams in the 3d ESC to leave the stressful environment in which they work and engage in spiritual fitness, said Cpt. Joshua K. Ingertson, a chaplain for the 3d ESC.
The purpose of the retreat was to provide training, devotion and facilitate discussion between senior chaplains and junior chaplains, Ingertson said.
The name Jacob's Well stems from a story in the Bible, Ingertson said. In the gospel of John, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well. He asks her for some water and the conversation turned to Jesus offering her living water that can renew her spiritually.
"That was the idea here, chaplains can come here to Jacob's Well for renewal of the living water," Ingertson said.
The chaplains are in different locations around Iraq, which keeps them from coming together for fellowship, said Chaplain (Cpt.) Kehmes Lands, the chaplain with the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. He said training while being deployed is important because it allows the chaplains the opportunity to share their experiences with each other.
Chaplian (Cpt.) Daris Rice, the chaplain with the 55th Medical Company Combat Stress Control team, said he has enjoyed "getting to know the other chaplains in theater and hearing of the exciting things they are doing in their ministry."
The two-day event included two main blocks of training: compassion fatigue and traumatic event management. Traumatic event management training included conducting debriefings amongst Soldiers involved in critical traumatic incidents in a combat setting.
"It's important to have these classes because a lot of chaplains didn't get this training before arriving (in-country)," Ingertson said. "These classes are now offered in officer basic course, but for some it is new information."
Lands, who is from Freemont, Calif, said the training was less formal than other types of training he has received.
"Here we could comment and share with the teachers," Lands said. "We could share our experiences and vice versa."
Rice, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., taught the class on compassion fatigue because he said chaplains have a high rate of the effects of emotional exhaustion. He said chaplains need to recognize compassion fatigue in its early stages.
"Chaplains are known for taking care of Soldiers but not taking care of themselves," Rice said. "They need to take time off to renew their mind, body and spirit."
Lands, who has been in theater for a year, said Rice did an excellent job presenting the class on compassion fatigue. He said he is ready to go back to his unit, refreshed, renewed and ready to serve again.