Photo by Sybil Holland




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Cell Phones for Soldiers

December 27, 2011

Tags: Cell phones for soldiers

My son got a new cell phone for Christmas. Even his old phone was better than the ancient one I carry around, so I'm upgrading to his.

I thought I'd find out if I could donate my old phone to an organization that benefits military members. Sure enough, right away I stumbled onto the website for Cell Phones for Soldiers.

The group accepts gently used cell phones (and accessories like chargers) through drop boxes or by mail. They recycle the phones and turn the cash they get for them into calling cards for troops.

On the website, you can print out a mailing label. You can even link to a program that erases data like stored phone numbers from your phone before you donate it.

If you got a new phone for Christmas, please consider giving your old one to Cell Phones for Soldiers. You'll be making a great call!

Christmas prayers for the deployed

December 19, 2011

The executive director of the Christian Missionary Alliance's chaplain endorsing agency, Rev. Robert W. Collins, II, Chaplain (LTC), U.S.Army(Ret.), sent me this message about praying for deployed troops during the holidays. Thank you, Chaplain Collins, for sharing these thoughts and prayers with us.

"Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for military families. Many are serving at installations far from home, family and friends. Others have a loved one deployed, making it hard to focus on the 'reason for the season' as they anxiously mark the days until their family member's return.

In addition to the pains of separation during the holidays, many National Guard and Reserve families experience reduced income while the breadwinner is deployed, making gift exchanges problematic. Deployed personnel have limited opportunities to shop, and gifts sent to them are subject to customs limitations, and must be mailed by late November or early December to arrive by Christmas.

The absence of a parent or other family member during the holiday season invariably dampens the joy of a family celebration of the Savior's birth, and many military families opt to delay 'Christmas' until the return of their loved one.

Churches can help mitigate the 'holiday blues' for military families by reaching out to encourage and involve them in holiday activities to ease some the stresses they face.

Remember our deployed troops in your prayers during the upcoming holidays. Here are some specific requests you can make on their behalf.

- Lord Jesus, as we celebrate your birth this Christmas, may we also remember military families who are separated by the requirements of their service.

- Blessed Savior, be especially with those women who, like your mother Mary, may be giving birth over the holidays, yet can not fully enjoy the experience because their husband is deployed.

- Gracious Lord, bless and protect those who defend our nation in distant lands during this special time, and give them the joy of the season even though they're away from home and family.

- Heavenly Father, shower our chaplains with your grace and bless their ministry of presence as they remember your son's birth with the troops.

It's an iBook!

December 5, 2011

I just learned from my publisher that Miracles and Moments of Grace is available as an iBook in the iTunes iBookstore. (Say that three times fast!)

If you have an iTunes account, you can download the free iBookstore app and find the book under its title or my name. For those who already have an account, the link is here.

The book received a lovely review over the weekend from a reader identifying herself only by her initials, CBW. In part, she says, "What a beautiful, insightful, inspirational book.... We have all seen news reports of wars, and the fighting in other countries, but not much of the behind-the-scenes happenings. This book gently takes us there, showing the commitment, dedication, and faith of our soldiers and clergy.... This book would make a wonderful gift, for others, and for yourself."

I'm honored by CBW's review, and I appreciate the fact that she mentions giving Miracles and Moments of Grace as a gift. That's something I always had in mind while I wrote the book. I think the book would be a great gift for a member of the military, or for families of those serving. In writing the book, I wanted to show that our servicemen and women are not alone, that our miltiary chaplains are caring for them. I hope that brings some comfort, particularly during long and dangerous deployments.