by Chaplain Krystle Solomon
As I reflect on the world and the multitude of languages, cultural traditions and daily lifestyles I sometimes wonder how it is even possible that two completely different individuals from two sides of the globe could ever find a way to make a meaningful connection? Yet, as someone who has traveled to 5 continents, the answer to this question has been clearly revealed. That is, while we are all uniquely different we are all still very much the same. See at the basic level of life, there is an inner ache and desire within us all that reveals a universal cord which bonds us all together. That ache is both the need for love and desire for some sort of recognition/fulfillment in life. Essentially, we want our lives to matter and we want to know that we are truly seen as a person. Most of the time this is not so much pursued on a grand scale of fame, fortune and legacy but through the minutiae of day to day life. Examples of this range from having someone walk by you, look you in the eyes and acknowledge your existence, to showing someone you care by holding the elevator or stopping for a brief moment to really hear how someone is doing.
Having this understanding, as a chaplain, is key for providing care at one the most utilized cross cultural connection points - the airport. It is here where people from all over come to one central place and cross paths with the unknown. Yet in their journey of the unknown their desires remain consistently similar: that somehow, someway they will be loved, recognized and known by another.
My goal as a person who has been given this opportunity to operate as an airport chaplain has been to uphold this notion as the main agenda. I believe it is from this foundation that true care and ministry of presence can be extended to all individuals that we encounter in this cross cultural context.
by Reverend Veronica Brown Williams
When I tell people I am a Chaplain at the airport, I get asked this question all the time and my response is we do the same as your pastor, priest or spiritual leader we provide a ministry of presence to people. Unlike the local church where many of the same people show up repeatedly most of our encounters with people are one time so the message must be the concise and on point Word from God. But for those who are employed at the airport or travel frequently we provide the opportunity for ongoing care and counsel.
But how did I get here? Fourteen years ago as an American Airline employee I asked the Lord to give me a fresh anointing in my ministry and He introduced me to the Chaplaincy at DFW Airport over 10 years ago. I told Chaplain DD I am looking to serve for many more years.
I am a preacher’s kid and becoming a minister was not what I wanted to do. But God has a great sense of humor as I have been an ordained minister for over 30 years and loving it. The Father allows us to grow in our ministry and He grew me beyond the local church of which I served for years into parish ministry – which for me is serving as an airport Chaplain. I pray daily for directions in my service here at DFW so when I show up He never fails to bring someone in my path that for many reasons might never grace the doors of a church again but needs encouragement. I have no idea who God will bring into the chapel on Sunday mornings for worship but it has never failed that every sermon has been applicable to the congregants. This is a powerfully meaningful ministry. Every night I thank God for allowing me to be an instrument of His peace and to step into my tomorrow to make my today be what it needs to be and to bless my colleagues at the airport. You see I don’t know what tomorrow brings but I know who brings tomorrow. God knows who He will send to the chapels to be fed and without fail He delivers the right Word to meet their needs. The Lord has taken my stories and my struggles and used them to encourage others. He reminds me as I remind others that the things we go through are not about us it’s about connecting our story to His Word and making it applicable to people. Our story for his glory.
My introduction to this ministry was working the R&R during the Iraq and Afghanistan war and DFW chaplains provided a ministry of presence to the thousands of service men and women who traveled through DFW. I am grateful for the many volunteers, contributors and chaplains who made this ministry a success. Truly a ministry of presence reminding service men and women that even on the battle field God is still there.
Here we had men and women laying their lives on the line for freedoms that most of us did not deserve and I could only think of Jesus dying on a cross for sins that he did not commit giving us forgiveness that we did not deserve. But the sacrifice was done out of love – thank God for Love. This experience has imprinted an indelible mark in my mind and soul that keeps me coming back year after year. Daily I tell the Lord here I am send me.
In closing, I am so grateful to be a part of such a life changing powerful ministry with my chaplain colleagues. To God be the glory for what God is and will do in us, through us and around us as we bring a ministry of presence to the airport and to each other.