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Local chaplains hosting prayer vigil for those struggling with deadly chaos in Afghanistan


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IDAHO FALLS – As the Taliban seizes power in Afghanistan and U.S. troops continue to withdraw, many in eastern Idaho, especially those with loved ones in the military or Afghanistan, are worried about what’s happening.

In response, the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho is organizing a prayer vigil to help those who are distressed. Christa Trinchera, the senior chaplain with the nonprofit, tells at least a dozen chaplains will be at the Veterans War Memorial along the Riverwalk in Idaho Falls Tuesday night to help those who are trying to cope with current events.

“For military members, this may bring up memories for them. We’re making our chaplains available to anyone who may be struggling,” Trinchera says. “I think it’s time we all come together and pray for our country. We definitely need it right now.”

Trinchera felt impressed to offer some support to the community after reading through the comments on a story posted Monday morning about the Taliban takeover. Among those who commented were people who once served in Afghanistan. They expressed concern for the Afghan people and for the U.S. military members dealing with this situation.

“I pray for my son! Active Army, my heart is worried,” wrote one woman, who has not responded to a request for comment.

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Trinchera says when she saw the video of Afghans clinging to and falling from the U.S. military plane as it took off from Kabul’s international airport, she thought of the flight crew and “what they must be feeling and how horrific it must be for them.”

“They have to leave those people behind and take off knowing that those people were going to fall to their deaths. Seeing their faces pleading for help as they were taxiing down that runway — how horrific for them,” she says.

Trinchera says there are likely many more with similar feelings and she wanted to do something to help.

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There are no VA chaplains in Idaho Falls, but Trinchera says law enforcement chaplains are trained to help people in the aftermath of a traumatic event and many of them are military veterans.

“They’ve been through these types of situations. They know how family members are feeling, what they’re experiencing. We want the community to know that we’re here to help them navigate this difficult time. We’re here to support them in any way that we can,” Trinchera explains.

In the midst of increasingly tumultuous events around the world, Trinchera says one of the most important things people can do right now is extend a little extra kindness to one another.

“That person who maybe took your parking spot or cut you off in traffic, maybe they’re struggling. Maybe they have a family member over there or maybe they’re a veteran and this has triggered something in them. Just give everybody a little extra grace right now,” she says.

The prayer vigil is open to anyone. It begins at 7 p.m.