I received an e-mail from my daughter, Ruhiyyih, enclosing this photo of Sgt. Mike Davis in Iraq holding up a photograph of my children! He had just received a couple of care packages from Ruhiyyih, filled with cookies! Sgt. Davis runs a coffee shop in Mosul in his spare time, to help boost the morale of American soldiers there. He uses his own resources to manage it, and he was happy to get the packages of home made cookies from Ruhiyyih.
Brad Brauser, a civilian working in Iraq, took the photo, and e-mailed this message to her: "I passed along your care package for Sgt Davis with the Coffee Shop. He saw me drive up, and walked out to meet me. As I exited my truck with your boxes, he said, 'ok..let's do this fast', because if he stops to think about what you and those like you have done for him, he gets misty eyed very fast! I laugh at him when he does it...and it brings him around. So he was kind enough to stop and take a picture with your special box for him, and I also gave him your small cookie box! The soldiers outside the shop on the patio came running when he said, "home-made cookies!". He's really a great man, and does spend his share of time outside the wire in harms' way, as well as running his coffee shop / nighttime steak / barbecue pitstop for the soldiers."
Ruhiyyih found Brad's website, "Supporting Troops", wrote to him, and he found a way to get the cookies over to Sgt. Mike for the coffee shop. The end result is a group of happy people, and an astounded mama! Little did I know that when we took those wedding photos of our children on September 16th, that a copy would be in the hands of a U.S. soldier over in Iraq. It makes me realize how small the world is, how everyone seems like a part of the human family, a family we care about.
I thought of the long hours of Brad Blauser, his dedication to the spiritual wellbeing of those caught up in war, and I felt grateful that he has dedicated this part of his life to such noble service. He writes:
"For those who don't know, I'm on a military base in a combat zone. Civilians and soldiers work everday, with civilians working 12-13 hours/day. One cool thing for me is to have the chance to hang out with the troops in the off time. I'm involved in a couple of different projects I started - Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids and Study Bibles for Soldiers. Yep, I'm an man of faith, and feel I've been placed here to help the troops who are seeking answers to eternal questions, since the foxhole conversions manifest themselves frequently during times of war and uncertainty. I'm here to help the guys who have questions get answers to their questions, and nurture them along in their faith as young Christians for those who choose the path."
I feel grateful that my daughter spent her time and resources to reach out to those who struggle so far away. She has sent out about 8 packages now, and one of the recipients, a woman, e-mailed a video of herself receiving the gift, with a 'thank-you'. It amazes me that all of this can be done over the internet, so instantly. Our ability to communicate, to show gratitude and thanksgiving is instant, with a photo or a video.
William S., pictured below, also e-mailed Ruhiyyih. He wrote: "I visited the chapel services at Mosul, Iraq yesterday and was delighted to receive a package of delicious, home made chocolate chip cookies with your name on them. That was very thoughtful of you to do that for the soldiers and even though I am a civilian working here, I ate them and enjoyed them very much. I am a safety instructor for KBR, a large civilian contractor who provides many services for the soldiers (laundry, food, billeting, electricity, drinking water, etc., etc). I met Brad Blauser several months ago at another base (Tikrit) when he was a student in my class and was delighted to run into him again yesterday at chapel in Mosul. I am from Oklahoma where my wife and I still maintain the home where we raised our 5 grown children. Of course they are scattered to the winds now, but we are looking forward to being together in Oklahoma for Christmas. There is an old Christian monastery from the 5th century inside the Mosul military compound and my safety class went there for a field trip to do a safety inspection and take our class picture. That is me standing in the middle of the group wearing a red shirt."
"I am so proud of our soldiers here who put their lives on the line every day to try to help Iraq build a society built on peace, freedom and democracy while others oppose them who want to build a society built on death, fear, hatred and violence. These soldiers hear so much news on CNN and BBC that their sacrifices are pointless, futile and misguided. They really need to know that there are people back home who support them, love them and honor their efforts. I am delighted to be able to hear from one of them and to enjoy her cookies."
Additional link: Adopt a Chair - provides wheelchairs and other mobility products for people in developing countries without regard to political affiliation, religious beliefs or ethnic identity.