"Ma’am, Thanks for contacting me. I’m currently sitting here in my hooch in Baghdad. It is nice to know someone wants to tell our stories."
These words of gratitude came to me from an Air Force chaplain deployed in Iraq last year. He had gotten word that I was writing a book of stories told by military chaplains, and he had one he wanted to tell me.
This chaplain's story is one of about 50 stories I'm telling in my book Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Military Chaplains. My editor and I are working feverishly so my publisher, Leafwood Publishers, can meet the launch date of March 2011.
I've heard so many wonderful stories -- touching stories, heart-breaking stories, even funny stories. One chaplain talked down an armed homicidal soldier, and another composed a dying soldier's last letter to his family. One told me of how a simple Christmas card helped him overcome his homesickness in Korea. Another chaplain led a "whispered service" surrounded by the enemy in a Vietnamese jungle. One chaplain tells of being tracked down by the NCIS at the request of the woman who later became his wife!
Our military's chaplains are eyewitnesses to amazing displays of divine intervention, whether in small moments of grace or through events experienced as miraculous. It is these moments that I want to bring to life, so that these spiritual advisors and mentors to our nation's three million active and reserve duty military personnel can be recognized and celebrated.
I'll be blogging about my chaplains and their stories in the months to come. I'll also share some well-known and some lesser-known stories of chaplains whose brave and selfless actions landed them in the history books. I've never enjoyed writing anything as much as I have these stories. I can't wait for you to read them!