The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Guest Blogger: SGT Danger; A Very Islam Christmas

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Nathan Geist is currently serving as a Chaplain Assistant in the Army. He is a 2005 graduate of Zion-Benton Township High School, has studied for 3 years at Southern Illinois University, and recently appeared in the film The Promotion. Sgt. Geist will appear as a periodic contributor to The Seeker throughout the next year as he fulfills a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

I just wanted to send a quick Christmas update to all of you:

Things are going okay here in Afghanistan. I’ve learned so much about the culture, and even more on Islam. One of my responsibilities here as a chaplain assistant is to work with the locals who live on the FOB, and I often meet with them. They all have learned to call me Danger now, because they wanted to know what my friends call me. Whenever I walk into their little hut, I announce, “Natersade! Khatar injast!” In Dari, that means, “Don’t be afraid! Danger is here!”

In the Afghan culture, when you enter someone’s house, you will be offered Chiai Tea. You should not refuse it. Unfortunately, I detest tea. The first time I came into my interpreter’s hut, he asked me if I wanted some tea, and I said no thanks. A few minutes later, I could tell that he was disappointed in something, and so I asked, “Am I being rude because I did not accept your tea?” He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Yes.” So, now I always have to drink their tea.

On the FOB is an Afghan National Army (ANA) boot camp. It’s one of the locations that they train the ANA to fight the Taliban. Yet, at the same time, it’s known that there are Taliban that have infiltrated the ANA, and when you walk by a formation of ANA soldiers, you can sometimes pick-up on who you think the Taliban are: when you look into the eyes of an ANA soldier, and he looks back at you with eyes that are full of evil and contempt, you just know that you are but a few feet away from a terrorist who wants your head on a platter.

One of the other responsibilities I have is to meet with the local Mullah / Imam (Muslim religious leader of the village). That, too, has been very eye-opening. We often talk about politics, culture, terrorism, and religion in order to better the already successful relationship between the American forces and Afghan leaders. I asked the Mullah if he believed that there were terrorists within his own ANA troops, and he said he can’t be sure, but if he found one in his ranks, that Taliban member would quickly be killed. On the flip side, if the Taliban were to somehow take control of Afghanistan again, then every Afghan who ever helped Americans would be killed: every interpreter I’ve met, every ANA soldier, every Mullah, and every American within the country would be hanged.

As I send this, my Christmas day is nearing its end, but yours is still going on. And even though I miss America incredibly so, and I miss my family all the more, I know God has me exactly where He needs me, and there’s so much peace in that. It’s difficult to have a bitter Christmas in that sense. I have no pity on my situation, and I would request that you don’t either. Just please don’t forget to support us.

As for prayers this week, I ask you to pray that the Packers don’t lose to the Lions. Oh, goodness gracious, may God have mercy on Green Bay.

More seriously though, I ask you to please pray for my Uncle Jeff Love, who has been battling cancer for the past few months. This month, the cancer was diagnosed with leukemia. It has taken a toll on him as well as his family (as you can imagine). Uncle Jeff often speaks about how he is content with dying if that’s God’s will, but my hope is that God’s will is the same as everyone else’s and that he pulls through. So, may God’s will prevail either way, but may all of us be at peace with whatever that will include.

I’ve attached a few pictures of the FOB area, and one is a
picture of my chapel in which I celebrated Christmas this year.

Thank you, God bless, and have a merry, merry Christmas. Don’t forget the meaning behind the holiday.

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Written by seeker70

December 27, 2008 at 7:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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