25 June 2011

Driving to West Point (part 1)

The time has come for me to journey to West Point, NY to assist in a program called “The Beast.” This program is designed for New Cadets at West Point. The goal is at least two-fold: to filter out the uncommitted students, and to also develop and train our young men and women into professional and capable leaders of the United States Army. My job as a Chaplain Candidate is to provide spiritual support where possible, and to develop my own skills as a shepherd and guide. My orders are for 30 days, beginning this coming Monday. Oh yes – and I’ll be driving there – 14 hours one way!
Because of the long drive, I decided to take my time getting there, using the weekend as my buffer. I have some friends in Cleveland who was part of the RVL Israel team in the fall of 2009. The Hocevar family was extremely kind and generous to offer me a place to stay on my way to NY.
I left at 5:30am today, hoping to arrive around the lunch hour in Cleveland, OH, where my friends live. The traffic was extremely light at this time of day (being a Saturday morning), so I had no problems getting there. The tolls were insane however! I think I paid over $25! Praise God that the Army reimburses me at the end.
I arrived to the Hocevar’s just around lunch time. It was SO great to see my friends again! It was about 18 months since I had last seen them (on our Israel trip). David is around my age, and he works for his parents (John and Barb) at their insurance company. I guess technically he works for his dad, but Barb definitely plays a major role in the business as well :)

So I arrived to their beautiful home, and was greeted with the smell of steaks and chicken on the grill! David was the chef today, and boy was that a tasty dinner!
Next up for the day was a short drive over to a Slovenian celebration, to celebrate 20 years of Slovenian Statehood (independence from Yugoslavia) and 50 years of the Slovenska Pristava here in Cleveland. Little did I realize how much Slovenian blood I myself carry! It was truly an honor to witness this historic occasion of my cultural background. The Pristava here is beautiful! Click here for a link to their website! Some of the visitors to this party included:
the minister for Slovenes Abroad, Slovenian Ambassador to the United States, Slovenian Consul General, and the United States Ambassador to Slovenia! Click here for a PDF with my photo in it, as well as a better description of the event that took place!! I’m sitting next to my buddy David on the third page (look for the yellow arrow pointing).

So that was a wonderful afternoon/evening spent with my fellow Slovenian friends and family :)
After mingling for a while and attending the festivities, we went back home for the evening. Barb and David took me to the office, where we watched RVL’s latest DVDs on Israel! It sure brought make memories and brought everything back to life again! It was like having a mini-Bible study/Faith Lesson again together! I should also mention that the office is amazing! The landscaping and exterior/interior was all designed by John himself! Great work!

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