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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Letter to 1LT Dan
My family and I wrote a letter and sent a "care package" to 1LT Dan in Iraq, the friend of a friend. Here's the letter that I sent a long, judiciously edited to remove some of the more personal details:

You don't know me, but we have a mutual friend in Jay <lastname>. Jay is interning at our church while he goes to Seminary to become an Army Chaplain. He gave me your name so that my wife, my three children, and I could write you and let you know that we are thinking of you and praying for you. Jay is a fine man and is still constantly thinking of you all in his former unit.

Enclosed, you should find some things that I hope you like. I have read that Skittles are all the rage in Iraq, so I have included a couple of bags. In addition, there are some Jolly Ranchers, Sweetarts, and red Twizzlers. Please enjoy them. I was going to send some M&M's, but I didn't think that they make it through the desert very well. If you like them, I'd be happy to send lots more. If you need or want anything at all, please let me know, and we'll do what we can to oblige.

In addition, I've read that you guys want good books. I've heard that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a pile of crappy romance novels, so I have grabbed some of my favorite titles off of my shelf for you and your troops. Lonesome Dove is, in my view, the greatest novel ever written, and well worth reading. My only fear is that you won't be able to put it down and thus shirk your duties. J Also included is The Firm, which is John Grisham's best. The Key to Rebecca is a great WWII spy novel, and of course To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic. I've also included four books by my favorite author, Frederick Forsythe. Mr. Forsythe is a fine novelist (start with his magna opus The Day of the Jackal) and a strong supporter of the war on terror. I hope that you find these books enjoyable reading and that they help pass the time in Iraq.

Finally, my three children have included some artwork and other items for you. They are sent with love and prayers, and I hope you appreciate their art skills as much as I do.

But of course, no letter of encouragement would be complete without letting you know that we appreciate what you are doing and that we are praying for you. I served in the Navy for twelve years as an intelligence officer, and while I never had to suffer anything worse than a few weeks floating around in the Indian Ocean, I can appreciate and understand the sacrifices you are making and the hardships you are enduring. I've never had to engage in combat, but I imagine it isn't a lot of fun. However, please, please know that we appreciate your service more than we could ever express in this meager care package. You are risking your life to protect me and my family from the very people who would gladly murder us, and we are eternally grateful. We owe you a debt we'll never be able to repay.

We are also praying for you daily. We pray that you are safe, encouraged, and of good cheer. We pray for your safety and the safety of the men under your leadership. We pray that you are able to vanquish your enemies. We pray that your mission will soon be complete and that you will be able to return to your family. Mostly we pray that God will bless you and lift you up. If there are any specific prayers that you would like us to pray, please don't hesitate to let us know what they are. In addition, Jay told us that you have a family, and so if you are so inclined, please let us know as much as you are comfortable with about them so that we can pray for them as well.

I am sure that things are difficult and tough for you wherever you are. Whatever you may be feeling, please know that many millions of us here in America are very, very grateful for what you are doing. Remember that God is calling you to a righteous cause, and he will empower and equip you with all that you need to fulfill that mission.

In closing, we want you to know that you are appreciate, and that we are grateful for your sacrifices on our behalf. We are praying for you every day. Keep your head down, and your aim straight.

I hope he likes the candy and appreciates the sentiment, which is quite heartfelt.

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