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When Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off in 2003, I was an Army chaplain assigned to a battalion in the 3rd Infantry Division. We spent the first four days of the war in a convoy heading toward Baghdad.
On the last day of Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) orientation, we are sent off to be commissioned at churches in the Hudson River Valley near Stony Point Center. Several churches in the area agree to host small groups of YAVs for worship where we are commissioned for our year of service, followed by a meal and conversations. We as YAVs come as we are, bringing our whole selves, exhausted from the past week of orientation, to a table of strangers, to share our intentions for our year of service and what we have already begun learning during the first week.