September 22, 2008 By Denise
The friendly young soldier I met today just finished boot camp at Fort Linerdwood in Missouri. He grew up in the dry heat of Arizona, so the muggy summer in Missouri was a struggle in itself for this young man. I knew that (since I was born in Missouri), but we were standing in the very hot Arizona sun at the moment so I was having a hard time even remembering that it could be any hotter anywhere else! He wasn’t in any hurry though so we chatted a few more minutes.
We talked about his possible deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. His unit was already in Iraq. He wanted it over with as soon as possible because he had a wife and children, but I really sensed he was at peace with whatever the U.S. Army gave him. He was in church today because of his grandmother. He talked about what a wonderful woman she was. You could tell he loved her very much.
Later today, after he was gone I learned that he had not always been at such peace nor would I have had the opportunity for such pleasant conversation with him even a year before. The loneliness of basic training for him and his brother who was not in his unit but in the same boot camp, caused them to seek each other out. In basic that isn’t ordinarily allowed though, except if they went to church. On that one day a week in church they could see each other. Church was not something they had done back home in Arizona, but certainly God’s ways aren’t our ways…and with that motive–just to visit with his brother–God used that to bring about a changed life in this soldier on the eve of his departure–a US base or a foreign soil–I don’t think it matters because he is ready. I consider that story one of God’s miracles!