A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


December 19, 2012

Christmas at Fort Sam

     As you know if you are a faithful follower of this blog, I have a heart for ministry to our Wounded Warriors.  This past year, it has been a blessing for PLW and myself to become involved with the Angel Chefs ministry.  Four times a year, this group goes to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and serves three meals a day, for an entire week, to our soldiers and their families.  It's a way for us to fuss over them and serve them, as they have so valiantly served our nation.
Chicken salad croissants, Caesar salad, and
home-made cookies expressing the joy of the Season.
     This past week, we made a one-day trip to bring some Christmas cheer and good food to these families we have come to love so much.  As always, God showed up to play His part.
     But first a report on some of the people I have introduced to you in the past .... We were able to see Crystal and Robert, the newlyweds, for whom PLW and I were happy to be their stand-in family at their wedding last fall.  I am happy to report that they are moving out of Fischer House and into their own apartment.  They have also secured a used car, which will make it easier for them to accomplish the things they need to do.  They still need our prayers, as Crystal reported that Robert's PTSD is still a struggle for them.  But they seem happy and content.
     PLW was thrilled to see Bo come wheeling through the kitchen with a big smile on his face.  His father shared that reconstructive surgery has allowed the doctors to give Bo an optimistic chance that he will be able to get the prosthetic legs that he so badly wants.  You see, hunting is Bo's passion and being a double amputee made it difficult for him to imagine ever hunting again.  But the doctors have given him hope, and that is what keeps him moving forward.  His father seemed to have had a weight lifted from his shoulders, as well.  In the near future, I will be telling you about a project that PLW has in mind; one that he hopes will make Bo's dreams come true.  I'll keep you updated.
Isaiah and his soldier dad share our
Christmas offering
     Each trip to Fort Sam and the Fischer Houses results in stories that tear at your heart strings.  We met beautiful Tiffany, whose husband, Steven, is suffering from a severe brain injury.  He is having to learn everything all over again; to walk, talk, eat.  I told her we would pray for her, and she thanked me, saying, "I am really beginning to see the power of prayer.  I know it works, so please don't stop praying for us."  There was young Isaiah and his parents who have been facing the endless frustration of military bureaucracy, including lost paperwork and missed deadlines, in their attempts to get off-post housing.  And now with Christmas upon them, that means another delay as office personnel take off time for the holidays.  Each day is a struggle for patience and progress.
     OK, now for God's hand in this trip.  Each time we make the trip to Fort Sam with the Angel Chefs, we renew old acquaintances among our ministry team, and meet new volunteers.  This time there was an entire contingent from the Flint Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas.  They were a large group and I never did catch all their names.  But during our devotion time that morning, we all gave a few minute description of ourselves and why we were drawn to do this volunteer work.  Each of the ladies seemed to have a connection to the military, or just felt strongly about giving back to these young men who have paid such a heavy price.  There was one woman, who brought her grand-daughter along because she wanted her to experience giving back, and because their family had paid a dear price, too.  I will call her Nancy.  As she told a little bit about herself, we learned that her first husband had been listed as MIA in the Vietnam War and ultimately, did not come home.  You could see a sadness about her, and she said she thought maybe she could relate to some of the family members somehow.  She just wanted to give something of herself to them.
     As it turned out, as we finished our meeting, we noticed a beautiful young black woman who seemed to be gathering things together to move out.  Inge, the Fischer House Manager, informed us that her husband had died the day before --- not from battlefield injuries, as we might have expected, but from a rare blood disease he contracted in Afghanistan, and which the doctors did not detect until it was too late.  As the rest of Fischer House was preparing for a week of Christmas activities, including parties and the receiving of gifts from various volunteer groups, she was having to prepare to move out of Fischer House.  Her name was Joy, and it was obvious that she was feeling anything but that.  She was distraught and looked lost and confused.
     The rest of us began preparing our lunch meal for the residents, and when I made a pass through the dining room, I noticed Nancy and Joy in a tearful embrace.  They must have spent an hour talking, hugging and crying.  We left them undisturbed, knowing that this was a connection that was meant to happen.  After lunch, Nancy rejoined us, clearly emotional and spent.  She said, "I just thought, 'God you've put me here in this house today for this reason.  Just tell me what I need to say to her.' ".  Whatever it was, I'm absolutely certain that it was what Joy needed to hear.  God had brought these two women together.  They were from different backgrounds, eras, and wars; yet they shared a common loss and pain that only they could understand.  I pray that this chance encounter will help them both heal.
     While it is our plan to try and bless these soldiers and their families, there are always those injured warriors who go out of their way to thank us and bless us more than the simple meal we provide them.  One young man, made a special effort to come through the kitchen and hug each one of us, and tell us how much he appreciated what we were doing for them.  Can you believe that?  They just don't seem to get that we are there to thank THEM!
Smiles for a patriotic quilt
     And that afternoon before we left, Connie, the founder of Angel Chefs, was able to present a hand-made patriotic quilt to a Wounded Warrior.  This young man was a triple amputee and had not smiled all day.  His mother shared with PLW that he was really in a dark place. But when Connie presented him with this quilt, you could see that it meant something to him.  I don't know his name, but if you pray for him, God will know His child.
     It is always good to spend some time at the Fischer House in San Antonio.  It is the only way that I can offer some small service in return for the sacrifice these men and their families make for us.  The fact that it was at Christmastime made it all the more poignant.  There is oftentimes an element of darkness in the eyes and faces of these soldiers.  But this holiday reminds us that God sent the Light of the World into this dark place to give us hope.  And that is what I wish for these warriors..... Hope and Peace so that there is never a need for another Fischer House.

Luke 2:14       "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests." 

4 comments:

  1. Thank you Belle for sharing this story with us as well as keeping us updated. I just loved this! I know that God has a very special place for you and your husband and those who work with you in this great endeavor and will enrich you and bless you in this life and in heaven. Thanks for all you do!

    Lisa

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    1. Lisa, we don't deserve the praise .... they do! And we are no different than anyone who sees a need and meets it. I just wish everyone could receive the blessings we do from this ministry. We receive so much more than we give!

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  2. FYI Wounded Warriors program runs some hunts in NE NM, out of Raton NM. Eric Armstrong of Rocky Mtn Physical Therapy located in Raton Nm, does the hunts. I know that he has done them for 5 years and this year he had 5 tags for the program, and he had some vets that were amputees

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  3. Great program! We need to publicize any and all such groups that serve our Heroes. Thanks for sharing!

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