Q&A with Hous Waring
How did you come up with the idea of a road trip across the U.S. to visit Air Force installations?
Since we would be traveling from Alaska to Alabama through Canada, and I had several months of leave to use, I sat down with a map to see if it was possible to visit all the Air Force bases in the lower forty-eight states.
What were some of the objectives of your visits?
To become more current and relevant, we wanted to talk with airmen and chaplains out in the field and with those who are alone. How can OCF members support the chaplaincy, and work through it better, both at home and deployed?
What were some of the outcomes from your trip?
I found God uses even quick visits to allow us to connect deeply and have a starting point for further fellowship. Face-to-face travel took me from being a stranger on email or in a text, to being an acquaintance or friend of someone I met at a previous base. My hesitation to enter the lives of men and women on a short-term basis was removed.
Most surprising things you learned on the trip?
The most surprising was the access I have because I’m a colonel. Few administrative assistants wanted to make an appointment for me when I was simply “Hous from Officers’ Christian Fellowship.” When Colonel Waring was on the line, however, I was always able to make an appointment.
Some snapshots of your life on the road?
Our dog was at the feet of our three girls in the back seat; Tami, Richard and I in front. Tami taught Richard nearly every day with a tile-based system to develop his ability to read, helping him cope with dyslexia. The kids used computers and books to keep up with school. We planned many of our stops around class requirements so that we could have wireless access while one of the girls was online in a classroom.
Challenges you encountered?
Having a plan to stop for the night, pop up the trailer, cook dinner, allow the kids to do homework or write letters, update our travel blog, and try to communicate a day or two ahead with those places we were going to visit next. Sometimes we were hosted by OCF families, but as introverts, there were times we really needed to be apart in our pop-up. And it’s fair to say I completely underestimated what it takes to travel, visit, attend meetings, and head off to the next base to repeat the process.
Most meaningful visit along the way?
So many fond fellowship memories happened. One experience made a big impact on how I teach OCF leaders to support their military leadership and the chaplaincy, and to be found as godly partners operating under authority. The size and wonderful love we found in one particular group sticks out because it had a significant communication disconnect with the wing chaplain. Despite the immediate suspicion I sensed when asking about their familiarity with the base chaplains, the next day we had an appointment with the wing chaplain—also an OCF member—who had tried on several occasions to reach out to these local OCF leaders. But they didn’t understand his responsibilities—nor ever communicated what was happening in their local body.