Reverend Benjamin Abeledo is the Task Force Helmand Senior Chaplain, based in Lashkar Gah. He outlines his feelings at the start of Operation HERRICK 12.
“The house was built with some stone finished at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the temple while it was being built”
1 Kings 6:7 NRSV
When King Solomon was building the temple (Jerusalem), he ordered that all materials be prepared at a distance. It was not simply the sacredness of the task that concerned Solomon. He knew something of the disappointment to the builders when a stone could not be used because it was not prepared adequately enough before it was brought to the site.
As members of 4 Mechanized Brigade currently deployed on Operation HERRICK 12 we are engaged in a great undertaking to assist in the building of a more stable and safe Afghanistan. We are trying to build a structure of peace and security, not only for the Afghan people but for our country as well as the rest of the world.
The essential parts of that ‘building’ are not just material and financial, but also human. The preparation before the deployment itself, and the unstinting effort which the troops are doing daily, is nothing short of staggering. The cost is high, to the point of injury and self sacrifice. A truly humbling and worthy effort which is awe-inspiring.
Often we cannot see the use of the long, hard periods of preparation that we have to go through. But if our united effort is to succeed, as succeed we must, we must see to it that, when the crisis and the testing times comes to us, we are ready, believing that any hardship is worth it. It prepares us quietly and perfectly to fit into our appointed place in the house of peace we are building. We all have a crucial and unique part to play.
For the want of a nail the show was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost—
And all for the want of a hose-shoe-nail.
O GOD, make me ready to face what I must; prepared, trained, unafraid, willing, in the faith that if I do my utmost, my effort will not be lost. Amen.