Monday, June 29, 2009

These are some pictures of Annie and Bella hanging out with me while they were up here for my graduation from ODS and my first few days in chaplain school.


Chaplain Training

Well I have been in chaplain school for a little over a week and so far we have been through 10 hour classroom days where we do nothing but look at powerpoint. We went down to the Coast Guard academy to see how they do things down there and we went to Groton Naval Sub base where we went through the Texas (Thank God chaplains aren't on subs!!). I can honestly say that chaplain school hasn't been as fun as I thought it would be, but instead it has been one powerpoint after another. Only about 5 more weeks.

One thing that I have been going through here in chaplain school and during my time in ODS is that my time is focused on what I am supposed to learn, and I have allowed my time in the word and in prayer to wain. This has caused my spirit and heart to be downcast and the hardest part is that I don't really have people here that I can talk to. I am surrounded by 50 other chaplains and chaplain candidates but it's hard to tell them about my struggles. It makes me long for the time I had with my small group in Lynchburg. Mike, Josh, Chris, Brian, Zip, Joe, I miss you guys, and its hard to come to grips with the fact that our time together is more than likely at an end. But we are the body of Christ whatever the distance, so please pray for me while I am here that the Lord would give me a desire for Him. That I might see His beauty all around and that it might propel me on towards a passionate pursuit of Him.

God Bless
to you all
Joshua Earls

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The video that is below is of the Pass and Review section of our graduation from ODS. I am in the last group, second row from the front, and furthest to the inside as we pass closest to the camera.

Graduation Pictures

Friday, June 19, 2009

ODS graduation

Well today is graduation day. The seriousness of the last five weeks has been replaced by lighthearted joking and let me tell you it hasn't come a moment too soon.
I was talking to my roommate yesterday, about the last five weeks, and how it has gone both fast and slow at the same time. At the beginning, where our life consisted of being yelled at and told that we couldn't do anything right, ODS felt like it was going to be an eternity, but towards the end we were given the responsibility of our own company and time seemed to fly by. It is interesting how fast things and our perception of those things can change.
Another interested fact I noticed the other day is that while here you get the feeling that over the five weeks you have really gotten to know the people that you live, eat, and spend all your time with; but you really haven't. A couple of days ago someones first name was mentioned and we slowly began to realize that all the people of Romeo company who "knew" each other so well had no freaking idea what any one's first name was in our company. There is no Josh, Noah, Mike, or Jason, there is only Burchell, Brod, Earls, Atherly and on and on.
I am glad to be done with ODS but at the same time I will miss the people and the relationships that we have established.

God bless
Joshua Earls

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Only 5 days left!

Let me begin by describing my last day and a half to you. On Friday night our liberty (time off and away from base) began at 1630. I quickly made my way back to my room to shower and pack for the weekend because I was going to pick up my wife from the airport at 1900. This was the first time that I had seen her in a little over a month. I picked her up and we had dinner and just relaxtogether. We fell asleep around 2330 excited that we were finally in each others company again and anticipating the next two days together, but at 0300 that would all change.

My phone rang and I was able to get to just before it went to voicemail, it was LT Atherly (a dentist who is in the room next to me back on base). His first words were "Earls I got bad news". He proceeded to inform me that an ODS student in a separate company went out on Friday night, got drunk, and eventually assaulted a cab driver (the word is that he punched him in the throat) and got arrested. This, obviously, angered the XO of ODS and the Class Officer to the point that they started the chain of calls going out to every ODS student that they were to return to base by 1300 the on Saturday. For Annie and I this meant that we were able to wake up, get breakfast, and then drive down to Newport in just enough time so that she could drop me off at the base.

Once back at base our company (Romeo) quietly waited for our senior Chief to come in and give us the news of what would happen to the rest of the liberty weekend. After an hour of standing on the line in uniform (waiting outside the door to our room) he finally came on the hall. First he asked if we had all heard what happened, we said yes. Then he stated that we are all one class, therefore our liberty was to be secured. We are now authorized to be in our building (King Hall) or the galley, nothing else. If your families are here, too bad! If you spent money on other plans, too bad!

Our company works hard to be good to go and have our stuff together is still made to suffer because of one person who is in a completely different company. Needless to say this has dropped the moral of Romeo company alot. Instead of being excited about the last week of ODS and enjoying the rest of our time here most of us have taken on the attitude of we don't really care anymore, we don't want to participate in any of the end of class celebrations that are to take place throughout the week. All we are thinking of is 5 more days.

So now I talk to Annie on the phone just like I have for the last month, but when I talk to her today I am haunted by the knowledge that she is less than 5 minutes away from where I am and there is no way I can see her.

I don't want to be angry or bitter. I want to feel joy in Christ and let that joy radiate out to others even in a time of despair, but today has been a hard day.

May the Lord bless me and keep me
and make His face to shine upon me.

Joshua Earls

Saturday, June 13, 2009

So let me explain the picture. Here at ODS I developed an ingrown toe nail. After some time it became infected and needed to be cut out. After they did it they put acid at the base of my nail so it wouldn't grow back. The picture is my toe the day after the procedure.

I think Annie is going to kill me for posting this picture.

my navy toe

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Country

Today we had our first full out practice for our graduation, which is only 8 days away thank God. The ceremony will consist of marching out in our company ranks doing various marching maneuvers, saluting a few times, listening to speeches by our Captain here at ODS (that's a Colonel for all you non Navy), and a visiting Admiral, and then finally giving our Senior Chief our first salute.

I'm glad that we will be practicing everyday until graduation because we stink. Everyone here has either multiple degrees or doctorates but for some reason most of us can't march.

During one part of the ceremony and the practice today the Star Spangled Banner was played aloud over a speaker system. Now the field where we practice is right in the middle of a complex that makes up Operations Training Command in Newport. This includes ODS, OCS, and a few other schools. So the time came today for the Spangled Banner to play and when it did all people who were walking, or marching in the vicinity came to a complete freeze and saluted the flag. The whole situation made me a little emotional and I began to realize that even though there are many things wrong with our Country it is still an amazing place to live and be a part of. I am very proud to be a sailor in the United States Navy. I love my country, I love Jesus Christ more, but I love my country.

God bless
Joshua Earls

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sorry so long.

So it has been a week since my last post and to be honest I don't really have a reason for the delay. Things have slowed here at ODS, we have most evenings off now and we are allowed to go anywhere on the base. This upcoming weekend is our first full liberty and Annie (my wife) is going to fly in to see me, it has been about a month since I have seen her. The first week being gone was terrible, whenever she would send me a picture of her and Bella I would have a hard time looking at it because I would get so emotional. Now I have gotten in the groove a little bit, I miss them both very much but the initial shock of being gone has past and I am just doing what I need to do.

I am trying hard to understand and feel my way into what the role of a chaplain should look like. Some chaplains want to have a say in everything and they think that if there is any kind of problem the chaplain can solve it. It kinda feels like going to a church where everyone always says "we give the glory to God", but they never explain what that means and most of them have no idea what it means. What I mean is that they are going off a notion that the chaplain should be involved with everything and that everything needs to be a drawn out churchy answer instead of working hard to be authentic and someone that real people, or sailors can relate to. I don't know, I think I am rambling a bit.

It still hasn't sunken in that I am in the Navy. At every turn I think the truth is going to be revealed that this has been one big mistake and I am not really in. My pay was a little late, that must mean that I am not really in, the list of people going to chaplain school came to ODS I thought for sure my name wouldn't be there because they figured out that I am not really in. I thank God everyday that He has allowed me to be able to do the thing that I have dreamed of for the past 6 or 7 years. I hate it though that my time in Lynchburg is over, I loved it there and I loved our group of friends there.

Ok I end this post with a passage from Psalm 118,

25 Save us, we pray, O LORD!
O LORD, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever

Dear Lord thank you for answered prayer. Thank you for the support of friends and family. Most of all thank you for your Son!

God bless
Joshua Earls

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Well we where right, our Senior Chief met us after PT on Monday morning and informed us that someone had apparently not saluted a LCDR over the weekend. The punishment was that we got our talking and coffee privileges taken away in the galley, we had to go to the sand pit, and we got a good butt chewing.

Our time in the sand pit consisted of alot of screaming and a constant rotation between jumping jacks, push-ups, 6 inches, leg flutter kicks, and mountain runners. It only lasted about 30 minutes, but by the end of it we were pretty grimy. I guess it is back to step one and being treated like a child.

Everyone here is getting a little on edge. It is the stopping and starting that is getting on every one's nerves. One minute we are all buddies and doing great, the next we are getting yelled at and being told we are losers. I think I have reached the point of getting all that I am going to get out of my time at ODS (Military bearing, and how to wear my uniform)

God Bless
Joshua Earls

Monday, June 1, 2009


First, I am sorry about the picture quality but I am taking these with the camera on my phone, so what do you expect. Second, last few pictures that are up are (in order from bottom one to top) 1) a picture of the Newport Bridge which is visible from our school house. 2) One of two old decommissioned carriers that are parked across the bay from our school house. 3) The front of King Hall, ODS occupies the fourth floor.

God bless to you all.
Joshua Earls