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Today's word on

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Those were the days:

"The way I had it is all gone now. The bars are
gone, the drinkers, gone. There remain the smartest, healthiest newspeople in the history of the business. And they are so boring that they kill the business right in front of you."

--Jimmy Breslin, newspaper columnist, 1996 (Thanks to alert WORDster Jim Doyle)


Letter No. 10: Some thoughts about prayer after a blast kills 9

By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98

January 25, 2005 | Hello everyone, Greetings from Baghdad . . .

The last couple days, as I have mentioned to some, have been quite tumultuous. The VBIEDs (vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices) are getting closer to our front gate, although not directed at us. The resounding concussions of blast and twisted metal are becoming more frequent as we approach the dates for the electoral process in Baghdad.

Yesterday morning I was taking some time to watch a movie, my headphones glued to my head, and my attention on the small screen in front of me. As I sat in total concentration listening to the wise words of Kevin Costner, the sound of thunder reverberated outside my window. The . . . sound . . . of . . . thunder??? Wait, it's not raining outside. In fact, it was perfectly clear the last time I stepped outside.

Oh well, I re-focused my mind on the task before me and as I lay there, snuggled into my sleeping back, lying on my cot. . . . Vavoooooooooooooooooooooooooom. Again with the thunder. I pulled the headphones off to hear sounds of confusion and excitement.

I yelled out over the wall of my cubicle, "Anyone hear that thunder?" A response came back immediately, "That wasn't thunder." Oh man, we haven't heard a bomb that loud since we had an IED go off right near us on the freeway. And yet, this seemed even louder.

A couple of us went up on the roof to look for the aftermath. Three hundred meters outside our front gate, was a smoke plume so large, one might think that a building was on fire. Well, maybe it was. . . .

Later that day, my Yahoo! search page listed the top story from the day: VBIED kills 9. I watched as those nine lives went up in smoke three football fields away from us.

Thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers. CPT Lyle Shackelford, a chaplain here in Iraq with the HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion, has requested our support. The chaplain requests, "Let us work with our troops in prayer."

The chaplain has suggested the following prayer for those who might be willing to extend a request for assistance upward.

Lord God in heaven, I acknowledge that You are sovereign, You are Lord. You have said that You are a Shield and a Strong Tower. I ask for Your protection over our troops as they work to allow the Iraqi people to vote. Would You send Your warring angels to fight in the heavenlies, to surround all that is good, to prevent destruction and interference of the election in Iraq. Would You deflect and interrupt the plans of darkness and increase truth and light in that country. May the people not only know the freedom of voting, but also the freedom of spirit that Jesus Christ can give them.

Each of our units are working hand-in-hand to make this dream of democracy a reality. Our unit, 2nd Battalion, 162 Infantry is responsible for patrolling and keeping peace at nearly two dozen of the polling sights.

The chaplain continues by saying that, "as a transportation battalion, my unit will be delivering the voting machines and the ballots to villages and cities throughout Iraq during the upcoming elections. . . ."

Much like our infantry unit, the chaplain states that "...our convoys are prime targets for the insurgents." He notes," [This is] because they do not want the equipment to arrive at the polling stations nor do they want the local Iraqi citizens to have the chance to vote; timely delivery must occur so that the elections occur."

The chaplain would like to "encourage your friends and family members and those within our churches to pray specifically for the electoral process."

Under Saddam Hussein, this process of one voice, one vote, would never have occurred. Without "intelligent and competent officials," the chaplain suggests that democracy will not become a realty.

The chaplain would like each of you to "announce this prayer request to your contacts throughout your churches, neighborhoods, and places of business. Those with leadership roles within the local church[es] post this message in as many newsletters and bulletins as possible."

Those of us here in the 162nd Infantry have witnessed many miracles, and the chaplain would like to emphasize that, "there is unlimited potential for God's presence in this process but if we do not pray . . . our enemy will prevail." This is seen in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verses 10-17.

The chaplain would like a call-to-arms. He would like to inspire as many as possible to conduct "a prayer vigil prior to the end of the month." He suggests that "this is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention."

Many examples of "God's intervention" can be found throughout the standard works of scriptures. One such example, according to the chaplain, can be found in 2 Samuel 23:8-33. "David and his warriors were victorious because of God's intervention. We want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom. David's mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel. (Iraqi insurgents' vs God's praying people)." Chaplain Shakelford emphatically states, "They don't stand a chance."

The chaplain closes his statements by saying, "I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates. . . . My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections. Your prayer support and God's intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country."

I would like to extend a note of thanks to all of our supporters and send out a request for prayers for all of our troops; our Transportation sections, Infantry soldiers, Medics, Mechanics and Administrative personnel. Each of these groups of people work hand-in-hand to make each and every mission a success.

Best wishes,

David Jenkins

Click for Letter No. 1 and a photo of David J. Jenkins
Click for Letter No. 2
Click for Letter No. 3
Click for Letter No. 4
Click for Letter No. 5
Click for Letter No. 6
Click for Letter No. 7
Click for Letter No. 8
Click for Letter No. 9


Copyright 1997-2004 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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