First of all, you need to click the link to hear first hand what a Navy Chaplain does day in and day out, it's inspiring: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10100225243826383&ref=mf
From my perspective (as the wife of a Navy Chaplain), I feel like people do not understand the role that Chaplains play. Most people think Josh sits at a base all day and prays with people. They think, as I did before he joined, that Chaplain's don't do much of anything. He does so much more than I ever thought or imagined. He is a counselor, motivator, encourager, friend, shipmate, leader, giver of bad and good news, and the overall representative of Christ to his ships. He deploys with his guys/gals and suffers along side. He laughs and cries with them and feels their struggles first hand.
In my conversations with Josh, he has shared that the ministry opportunities on the ship are endless. He is ministering 24/7 and thankfully, to Josh's credit, he has an uncanny way of befriending and devoting himself to the needs of others. Josh is not the type of Chaplain that is "holier than thou". He's not going to sit there and list all of the sins committed by a sailor. He's going help them see that the life of a Christian is one full of joy AND pain. He's going to explain that the suffering they are experiencing compares little to the suffering of Christ Jesus. He's going to go the the root of the problem: their hearts.
Imagine being in your late 20's counseling on rape, adultery, depression, suicide, and anger. Imagine the weight of these topics and the emotions evoked when you have to cry with someone who has just lost their newborn baby (and cannot even hold their loved one and weep). I cannot fathom that responsibility. I am proud of my husband. My heart leaps with joy at the thought of his ministry. I have to admit, sometimes I wish Bella and I could live on that ship and witness this ministry first hand, but God has kept us here--and I take seriously the ministry of family, friends, and other military wives. Oh, and I'm guessing the ship would not be the best environment for a toddler who loves to dive into water. I can see it now, top of the ship deck, "Where's Bella"???
So, for now we will just pray for him and with him and think fondly of his time on the ship. I know it's not easy for him and that home seems really far away but, we are always there in his heart. We are always praying for him. We are always looking at pictures and reminding Bella who daddy is: Chaplain Joshua Earls