What is it like to be an American soldier, stationed in Iraq? We listen to the media but how do the troops who are actually there feel? How can we offer encouragement? What about the people of Iraq caught in the middle of the war? How can we help them? Laura Dale, one of our church members had an interesting encounter while waiting for a delayed flight at Atlanta airport.
“We were both stranded in Atlanta airport. You know me. I’ll talk to anyone. He was in camouflage so I told him about my young son, Brad, being obsessed with the Army and asking me if he should join the army or work at Burger King. Well, that tickled the soldier and we began to talk. I told him it was my son’s birthday which I was missing. He produced a coin and told me to give it to my son as a present. It was a medal given to soldiers who deserve a reward. I was touched he would do that for a child he never met.”
“When we arrived, I gave the medal to my son, Brad who was just thrilled. Then as the soldier walked by, I told Brad to thank him. Later, my husband said: “Did you happen to notice his rank?” That’s when I found out he was a general. I was amazed that a man with so much on his plate could take the time to help a little boy he didn’t even know. I wanted the chance to thank him.”
“We took the medal to be framed and took it to Brads kindergarten class for show and tell. The entire class then wrote and drew pictures to send to the general, our newfound friend. I never expected to hear back. We just wanted to thank him for making a little boy’s birthday special. Since then we stayed in touch. No matter how people feel about the war, we owe it to the men and women on duty over there to let them know how much they are appreciated and loved.”
The General received the package from the class and wrote the following letter: “Laura, you are a champ, and I really appreciate what you are doing. Tell your Pastor, I have 5 chaplains assigned to me, and the best thing he could do is write a letter of encouragement to help them take care of my soldiers. They are extremely hard workers and because of how busy we are, they have to do services at all hours of the day or night, provide counsel to soldiers on a wide array of problems, and spend their spare time at the hospital tending to wounded soldiers. If he and other pastors could send a note of encouragement, it would be greatly appreciated.”
“As for me or my men, we really don’t need much. We are an Infantry unit, so we only take what can be carried on our backs. Most have small electronic radio or cd players for relaxation during down times but everything else is army issue. The soldiers do love cookies, especially Oreos and any kind of chocolate chip. Chocolate things do not send well through the mail but chocolate chip seems to be OK. The best thing would be letters from the children of your church like the ones you sent before. The soldiers still talk about your son’s class and how nice it was to get hand made cards. The only other thing would be if your church had something small soldiers could carry to remember their faith, like a small cross, or what we used to call angel pins. We have an old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” meaning when someone is shooting at you, even non-believers start looking for help from above.”
“My soldiers are very special to me and any prayer for them is greatly appreciated. I try to answer all mail and email that comes to me. (I usually answer about 15-20 a night.) Sometimes it gets overwhelming but it is important to me to answer a wife or Mother when they take the time to write with a problem or a question, or just to help calm their nerves about their soldier. I have a lot of combat veterans, but I also have a lot of 20-25 year old young men and women where this is the first time they have been out of the US. I have to put them in a place where people are shooting at them, so they and their families are understandably anxious.”
“Thanks for the offer to do something for the soldiers. In addition to the cards such as you sent before, they also need small things to give to the Iraqi children. The children here will break your heart. They live in horrible conditions amidst war every day but they are bright and cheerful and need more help than we can give. Small toys, pencils, balloons, would be great gifts.”
This story is very real as is the General and his troops. If you would like to send an email of support, you can do so at the following address: mailto:LarryDavies@SowingSeedsofFaith.com We will forward your email on to the general and his troops.
Our ministry will also be purchasing items to send to the troops and to the children of Iraq. If you would like to participate, click here: https://sowingseedsoffaith.com/s-cart/form.phtml?g_intCatID=1