A minister from a private Christian university in Kansas has been selected for a two-month deployment as a chaplain at a research center in Antarctica.
Baker University campus minister Kevin Hopkins will head out Jan. 2 for the assignment at McMurdo Station, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. The base houses about 1,000 National Science Foundation researchers, as well as military personnel who maintain the facility.
Hopkins said he’ll first undergo a two-day orientation at Christchurch, New Zealand, where he’ll receive gear needed for the extreme cold. While temperatures can reach a high of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the station is known for its strong winds, which can cause frostbite and knock people over, he said.
“You have to walk between buildings quite a lot,” Hopkins said. “It seems like putting on a space suit to walk 20 feet, but you do not want any body parts exposed to the cold.”
Hopkins said he’ll conduct Sunday morning services, worksite ministry and counseling at the Chapel of the Snows. He’ll also visit the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which has about 40 researchers in the summer.
“Those flights will be on transport planes with skis,” he said. “That will be an eight-hour flight. Antarctica is a big place. I’ll provide chaplain services to those who want to come. It’s so isolated, they look forward to chaplain visits.”
Hopkins said the hardest part of the deployment will be having no contact with his six adult children.
“They’ll be fine,” he said. “There’s no internet or cellphone service. I’m still figuring out how to make calls. It will involve a phone card and phone bank.”
Source: The Associated Press