Marine Memorial Chapel supports station residents
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan, March 23, 2015 -- The mission of the Marine Memorial Chapel aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwkauni, Japan, is to aid and enhance mission readiness by supporting emotional and spiritual fitness.
Navy Lt. Latoya Zavala, acting command chaplain for MCAS Iwakuni, says she helps station residents overcome their dilemmas no matter how big or small.
“Chaplains are available 24/7, we don’t necessarily have an off time,” said Zavala, a Boston, Mass., native. “The duty phone allows us to be available for anyone in any type of need. We offer various types of counseling; anger, stress, marital, pre-marital, but I think the most important service we offer is a place to be heard, a place to be cared for without judgment, criticism or agenda.”
Zavala said visitors can expect a comfortable and welcoming environment. They can also expect a fun time if they’re looking for community relation events, activities to be involved in and retreats.
“They can expect spiritual enlightening,” said Zavala. “Regardless of what their belief is, we can help get them to the next level.”
The chapel offers all Catholic services, children’s services, and several bible studies from different beliefs and backgrounds. It also facilitates for members who do not regularly meet in the chapel but would like to use it to have a meeting for their spiritual wholeness.
“Our conversations are 100% confidential,” said Zavala. “There isn’t any limitation on how that can be initiated. If you see us out and about, you can always talk to us there. You can call and leave a message. You can talk to the religious program specialists who will inform us so we can get you the help you need or the guidance you seek.”
Petty Officer 2nd Class Raymond J. Suiter, leading petty officer for the chapel, works the administrative side, but says he enjoys helping others when he has the chance.
“We, as RP’s, try to be involved throughout the command so everyone knows who we are,” said Suiter, a Longview, Texas, native. “Some of the younger service members are afraid to directly talk to the chaplains so we are that bridge for them. We screen them so we can let the chaplains know who we are bringing in and the direction the conversation will take.”
Suiter said RP’s have to respect all people of the world because their mission is to help others no matter who they are or what they believe.
With the chapel right around the corner, the chaplains encourage residents to visit whether they need help or would like to help others.
For more information on services the chapel provides, volunteer opportunities or to speak with a chaplain, contact 253-3371.