BAGHDAD (BP)--Four weeks ago, I boarded a plane for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the land of desert sheikhs, Aladdin's lamp and Ali Baba. A land where the desert sands hold the history of its ancient peoples. A land so ancient it is considered the cradle of civilization. The birthplace of Abraham. The land where Nebuchadnezzar held Israel captive. I was headed to Iraq. My mission: to embed with Southern Baptist chaplains serving in the U.S. military.
On the way to Baghdad, my co-worker and videographer, Tim Kwiat, and I overnighted at a military Life Support Area (LSA) in an undisclosed location in the Middle East. This was my first trip to the Middle East, and I marveled at the barren land surrounding the military base. Beyond the metal fence and concertina wire lay the desert -- stretches of sand for miles, with dust clouds whirling over it.
Looking out over the landscape, I imagined Bedouin tribes traveling by caravan on their desert ships. While the sand and dust soon became a nuisance, I tried to remind myself that the dust I was shaking off my pants was possibly the same sand tread upon by Abraham, Ezra or Daniel.
The LSA consists of scores of brown tents housing the 3,000 to 5,000 military personnel and contractors who pass through on their way in and out of the Middle East Theater. Read More