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A SILVER REMINDER

At Camp Udairi in the desert of Kuwait, the loss of the dining facility has brought with it an unlikely reminder of God’s protection.

Chaplain (Major) Barbara K. Sherer tells the story in an article on Beliefnet.com. The dining hall caught fire one morning, and because of the high winds, destroyed the surrounding 5 tents in less than half an hour. Several of those tents would have been filled to capacity that morning. But as God’s providence would have it, they were mostly empty of soldiers at the time the fire broke out.

God had provided protection.

Later that week, as Chaplain Sherer began preparing for Holy Week services, she was contemplating the ashes she would need for the Ash Wednesday service. It seemed fitting to use ashes from the earlier fire-- a reminder that God protects us in this life, and he protects us in the life to come.

She went to the scene of the accident, and the firefighters thought her request seemed quite appropriate. One of the soldiers scooped some of the ashes into a cup for Chaplain Sherer, and she gratefully took them back to her tent.

Later in the week, when preparing for the service, she noticed something silver peeking from the ashes. She dug it out, and discovered it was a cross, imprinted with the inscription "Jesus is Lord."

God had provided protection--protection on this earth, and in the life to co...

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Contributed By:
Guy Caley
 
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On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday this year, the central dining facility in Camp Udairi (Kuwait) caught fire, flames quickly spread to engulf all five tents and completely destroyed them in less than 30 minutes.

After the smoke cleared, and all units checked the status of their soldiers, it was apparent that everyone had made it out alive. Amazing. It was Sunday morning and a worship service had just concluded, but most of the worshippers had left. A Catholic service was scheduled next, and one of the tents would have been packed. During breakfast, all the tents were packed, but not at the time of the fire. What could have been a major catastrophe merely resulted in the loss of some equipment and soldiers eating MREs for a few days. Chaplain Barbara Sherer of the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion called it a miracle. I mentioned that the fire occurred on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. This is the day many Christians observe the beginning of the season of Lent. It is a time of penitence-being sorry for sin, in preparation for Easter. As a symbol of this time of preparation they mark their foreheads with ash. Chaplain Sherer had planned to offer ashes for Protestant soldiers who wished to observe this ritual. Traditionally, you burn palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration to make ash for Ash Wednesday but she didn’t have any. So it seemed to her that the most significant ash to use for this occasion would be ash from the DFAC.

The site was under guard, so she asked an MP to fill a cup with ashes from the fire. He walked to the rubble, scooped up some ash, and returned it to her. She placed the cup in a Zip-loc bag and put it in her tent.

Two days later she decided to open the bag and see if she needed to crunch up the ashes into smaller pieces. She was digging around in the cup with a plastic knife when she noticed the edge of something metallic. She reached in, and pulled out a cross. A flat, metal cross--just like this one [show picture]. It had some dark smudges on it from the fire, but it was otherwise undamaged. She could still read the etching on it: "Jesus Christ is Lord."

Chaplain Sherer wrote "I can’t even f...

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Contributed By:
Brad Bailey
 
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Some years ago I read the story of a young girl that came what became well known as Covenant House here in L.A….
“She came to our front door Tuesday morning, dressed in dirty rags, holding a little aluminum paint can in her arms.
From the second she stepped inside our shelter, she mystified us. Whatever she did, wherever she went, the paint can never left her hands.
When Kathy sat in the crisis shelter, the can sat in her arms. She took the can with her to the cafeteria that first morning she ate, and to bed with her that first night she slept.
When she stepped into the shower, the can was only a few feet away. When the tiny homeless girl dressed, the can rested alongside her feet.
"I’m sorry, this is mine," she told our counselors, whenever we asked her about it. "This can belongs to me."
"Do you want to tell me what’s in it, Kathy," I’d ask her? "Um, not today," she said, "not today."
When Kathy was sad, or angry or hurt--which happened a lot--she took her paint can to a quiet dorm room on the 3rd floor. Many times on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, I’d pass by her room, and watch her rock gently back and forth, the can in her arms. Sometimes she’d talk to the paint can in low whispers.
I’ve been around troubled kids all my life, (over 43,000 homeless kids will come to our shelters this year!). I’m used to seeing them carry stuffed animals (some of the roughest, toughest kids at Covenant House have a stuffed animal). Every kid has something-needs something - to hold.
But a paint can? I could feel alarm bells ringing in my head.
Early this morning, I decided to "accidentally" run into her again. "Would you like to join me for breakfast?" I said. "That would be great," she said.
For a few minutes we sat in a corner of our cafeteria, talking quietly over the din of 150 ravenous homeless kids. Then I took a deep breath, and plunged into it....
"Kathy, that’s a really nice can. What’s in it?" For a long time, Kathy didn’t answer. She rocked back and forth, her hair swaying across her shoulders. Then she looked over at me, tears in her eyes.
"It’s my mother," she said.
"Oh," I said. "What do you mean, it’s your mother?" I asked.
"It’s my mother’s ashes," she said. "I went and got them from the funeral home. See, I even asked them to put a label right here on the side. It has her name on it."
Kathy held the can up before my eyes. A little label on the side chronicled all that remained of her mother: date of birth, date of death, name. That was it. Then Kathy pulled the can close, and hugged it.
"I never really knew my ...

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