Sunday, July 11, 2010

We leave Afghanistan tomorrow!

Finally! We are getting out of this place and heading home! Tomorrow, hopefully we will get out smoothly. First stop, Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. Next stop, make our way to crazy old Fort Dix, NJ. Then, get out of that place and go home!!!

Here are a couple pictures of the chapel band team that I had the pleaser of getting to know, jamming with, becoming friends with, and leading for a time. Praise God for the friendships and for the good times we had together in this war forsaken country.

This is a picture of some of us from today, the last Sunday for me here at KAF.

This is a picture from a week ago, the last Sunday I lead worship with them for chapel.

Here is a picture of the thermometer on the boardwalk in the shade showing 110 degrees. Hot! That is about average during the day here at this time...

Monday, June 28, 2010

14 More Days!!

Only 14 more days - 2 weeks - left until I finally leave this place to head back to the USA!!  It cannot come soon enough!  I cannot wait to be home and with my family again.  It has been a year now since I left home.  By the time I am home it will have been about 13 months that I was away from home.  Way too long to be away from home!  Last year this past weekend we had a farewell ceremony at our reserve station in Tacoma, and then caught a plane to Ft. Dix (not a favorite place, nor is most of NJ).

It is really only by God's grace that my family and I have been able to get through this.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Spin Buldak

I went down to FOB Spin Buldak for just over a week recently, I got back here to KAF yesterday.  Below is a link to some photos I got of the convoy I went on going down and of around the FOB and the area our people work at over there.  Spin B, that's what we call it, is only a couple miles from the Pakistan border.  It is about a 2 hr drive from KAF south east to get there on highway 4.  Our people work in a holding yard a couple miles outside the FOB that the jingle trucks have to go to after coming across the Pakistan border.  The FOB is quiet and pretty peaceful.  It's really dark at night there, so I was able to really see the stars.  The darkness can be so thick outside sometimes that you can feel it in front of you and around you it seems.  I got to see some different things and meet some of the locals and the Afghan Boarder Patrol people there that we work with.  I hope you enjoy seeing these pictures.

Spin Buldak

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chapel Band

I kept forgetting to email myself (from my Army work computer) a couple photos of the chapel band from Good Friday and Easter that Chen had took and emailed me.  Here are those photos, finally...  The first one is of us after doing the Good Friday service.  The second one is of us after the Easter service.  The Easter service was Chen's last Sunday leading the band before he left.  After that Sunday, I took over leading the band, or 'took the reigns' as they say...

Steven, our drummer, his last week was this last week.  Bittersweet to see him go.  He got here after me and is leaving before me... I kept giving him a hard time about that!  It's good he is heading back home.  He left to head back to Washington yesterday, and I believe they got out without a problem.  He worked for the IMPs - International Military Police.  He is an MP in the Air Force.  They planned a going home BBQ and party this last Wednesday night and asked the contemporary chapel band to play a live show!  We have been usually hanging out at the British Cafe' and jamming over some of our favorite old songs, classics and such.  We just transferred that over with a little more practice and put it live with a full band!  Thanks to some of the MWR gear and sound system.  This is a picture of us just before we hit the stage and played through a bunch of songs.  The party was on top of the roof of the MP building, and it was windy!  It was totally fun too.  I hope to get some more photos of this to put on here sometime as there were some people in the crowd taking pictures.  If I do, you will see an update to this probably!  Interesting note as well, Steven does play drums in a band back home in Tacoma.  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Photos

Today I went on a quest for some new photos to add to my collection.  I got a few good shots.  More, really, just of interesting things over here.  Some aren't from today, like the tracked vehicle shot was a week or so ago and the pictures of Steven and I on the roof of his office - the MP building - and the shots from his roof are from a couple days ago.

It was really hot today...upper 90s at least, maybe over 100!

First I will start with some bazaar photos.  Not that they are 'odd' per se, but they are of the actual bazaar here.  I went today to get a couple items, and with the goal to get some more shots of some people there and what it looks like for you back home to get a glimpse of this place.

This local allowed me to take a picture of him at his shop. There is a boy hiding behind him.

This is a shop I bought something from. Nice local. Him & his wife & family make a lot of the clothing hanging there by hand, from what he said.

This picture above, and the one below are of the DVD shop where I've got some of my movies from. This is one of many DVD shops here. There are probably a dozen.
This is that DVD shop again, but here is a vendor on the outside of it who sells souvenirs of sort. He always has a bunch of Zippo lighters that you can see laid out there on the table to the right. 

Here is a stand that sells the Pasmika shawls - there are many of these stands. 

This is looking down one isle of many at the bazaar.

Interesting marble and wood carved objects for sale.

Here is one of the 'designer' purses stands.

Another view of an isle of vendors at the bazaar.

Here are some other photos from around here:

Steven and I on the roof of his office- the MP building. He is the drummer in the chapel band. He's from back home in Tacoma.

Shade break house on top of the building.

View from the top of the roof towards the road.

Another view from the roof towards the British area.

Fighter jet flying overhead from the roof.

The fighter jets about to cross paths. See the dots?

C-17 from McChord Air Force Base back home, on the flightline

Bell tower, or chant tower, connected to a church-like building in an Air Force compound.

I thought this was funny- The Rocket Club bunker! 
You can see a new control tower in the background. I remember when it was just starting to be built with the foundation and some sides. There is a story on that at the ISAF Regional Command South Facebook page:!/pages/Kandahar-Airfield-Afghanistan/ISAF-Regional-Command-South/171441696587?ref=mf

The Kandahar Fire Department.

View from in front of the fire department towards the flight line.

Another view of the TLS (taliban last stand) building.

Since it was so hot, ice cream sounded good. While I was waiting for it I saw this guy in the middle of the boardwalk courtyard practicing twirling these things like fire throwing. This is the picture of him from where I was standing in the shade waiting for the ice cream. Below are a couple pictures of him when I came up to him and asked to take a picture of him practicing. If those were really on fire, and it was night, they would look pretty cool.

This is the inside of Tim Horton's.

View from standing on the boardwalk outside Tim Horton's down the road.

This is a tracked vehicle, foreign, that was rolling down the road one day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bazaar, Pond

Yesterday I went to the bazaar that goes on every Saturday.  It's a really big bazaar with a lot of vendors.  It's like a huge street fair except there is no food and you are with a bunch of local nationals in Afghanistan.  I went a different way to the bazaar than I would usually go.  I think they refer to this as the back entrance.

In the picture: bazaar straight ahead, pond to right.

On the way I took a picture of this pond which had a bunch of weird objects sticking out of it.  I don't think this is poo pond #2, but I wouldn't want to touch that water.  Those must be some pretty hardy plants.  Probably mutated too.

It has been hot out during the day.  In the 90s.  At night it is in the 70s down to the 60s.  Sometimes I wish there was a pool here to go swimming in.  That would be nice on hot days.  It was a thought to take a dunk in this pond, but that thought was only for a very brief instant.  Who knows what kind of radioactive-bio-hazard-mutant water is in that pond.  I will stick with good AC and a cool shower...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Easter!

The tomb is empty!  He is risen!  Easter is one of the most important holidays of remembrance for us Christians.  I hope your day was blessed that day remembering what our Lord did in our place on the cross being crucified (Good Friday - the beautiful scandalous night), dying, and then raising from the grave Easter Sunday!

 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me." -Matthew 28:1-10 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9

This post is a few days after the fact...belated.  But, I'm posting something nevertheless!

I wasn't able to get many pictures Easter Day for the services here in Kandahar that we did other than this one from out in the crowd at the Easter sunrise service.  There was some media at the different services, so I hope to get some more pictures and possibly video.  At the sunrise service I lead a group of us from the chapel Next contemporary Protestant service worship band in a song that morning, one of my favorites, 'How Deep The Father's Love'.  We did it in D so one of my friends could play her penny whistle to it.  It sounded beautiful!  This song is also important to Barby and I because it was performed at our wedding when we took communion together.  This picture is after we did the song and one of the chaplains was giving a message.  This was out on the big stage at the boardwalk.  It was a really nice morning Sunday.

Here is an interesting picture from earlier last week.  On my way out of the office at the end of a work day it was really hazy outside.  It was so hazy that the sun was really blocked out and you could look at the sun without hurting your eyes.  It was really interesting and I thought was a good opportunity for a picture.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A post for Spring

Back home it is now officially the first day of Spring!  Over here, however, it feels more like summer.  It's been averaging in the 80s getting into the 90s the past week or two.

Here are a few different photos from over these past weeks:

This first one is of me having pizza at the new pizza/Italian restaurant that opened up here.  The pizza really wasn't that good.  It was a bit weird.  $13 for that small pizza!  I figured I would try the place to see what it was like once.  That will probably be the last time.  

Here's an interesting photo.  I was walking to dinner one day and noticed some police lights flashing not too far down the road from my room.  The commotion was about this used up ordinance.  Someone threw this away, which caused EOD to be called.  Fins like a bomb sticking out of a dumpster usually will alarm someone.  You can see someone wrote on it, "Hey Dumbass Butts Only No Trash!"  I guess this was being used as a butt can before it became garbage...

Here are a couple pictures of a moth I found.  I was getting ready to go to bed a few days ago when I saw this large bug fly from beam to beam on the ceiling in our room.  I was curious what the heck it was, and also wanted to make sure it wasn't in our room while I slept.  It turned out to be this big moth.  Using a broom to brush it off of the ceiling beam it hung out there long enough for me to take some pictures and let it outside.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Update

Today felt like an early summer day, like in May, in Seattle.  It was a blue sky clear day (every day here pretty much), the sun was warm, and there was a little breeze keeping you cooled just right.  I was walking on the boardwalk back to my room from chapel, and there was a BBQ going on.  The smell of BBQ in the air with the way the day felt reminded me of an early summer day.  It was an encouraging feeling because that means I am getting a lot closer to being done over here and getting home!  We have the rest of this month, and about 3 more months to go...

Last Sunday I went to TGI Fridays over here for the first time.  I got a mudslide, boneless buffalo wings, and chicken tenders.  Unfortunately, they were out of hot sauce, so the buffalo wings were just popcorn chicken, basically.  The mudslide was virgin, of course.  The food wasn't that bad, but WAY over priced for here and what you get.  They had real silverware and nice plates, which was surprising.  Below are some pictures from dinner there with Chen and one of his friends/co-worker.

A couple days ago I was coming back to my room from work.  I noticed the sunset and the clouds looked really cool.  I went to take some pictures of it and noticed a C130 was coming in for landing right under the sunset with the rays going through the clouds.  It was pretty cool.  I got a pretty good picture of the C130 coming in with the rays going over it.  If you zoom in on the picture you can see the rotors.  I like the picture of the sunset with the clouds blocking the sun and the rays peeking through around it.  It almost looks like an explosion in the sky.

Here is a link to some of the photos I took on the way home for leave on the different planes and in Kuwait, and heading back going through Shannon, Ireland and Kuwait. The first aerial shots are coming into Seattle, the last ones are leaving Seattle (you can see the Cascades, Glacier, the Columbia and Vantage), and some of Ireland:
Home on Leave Feb 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home on Leave

It was wonderful to be home for a couple weeks in February. Here is a picture of Barby, Violet and I together thanks to our photographer friend Megan and Barby's mom friends.

After enjoying time with my family on different adventures going to a few places around the Northwest, eating some good food I haven't had in about 5 months, relaxing with my family enjoying being home, and catching up with a few people, I had to go back to Kandahar, Afghanistan. I got back here on Sunday February 21st after 5 days of travel and waiting in Kuwait.

It was hard to leave again, but this last time will be the last time I have to do that. I have about 4 months left until I come home for good. The latest I can be here is mid-July, but I'm hoping we leave sometime in June.
Posted by Picasa