Third Grader’s Christmas Letter Evokes Tears

Post a Comment » Written on January 6th, 2006     
Filed under: News
MOSUL, IRAQ (January 6, 2006) – It was a Christmas service that Covenanter Yong Chun will always remember.

Like many places around the country, Christian Iraqis in towns around this violent city gathered amid fears of reprisals to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Loud speakers played Christmas hymns such as “Oh Come Immanuel” – the music could be heard throughout the predominantly Muslim community.

Christmas Eve Service “It was quite an experience,” says U.S. Army Lt. Cmdr. Chun, who is a surgeon stationed in the region. “It was like being at home.”

There were some obvious differences, however, from his home in Eagle River, Alaska, where Chun attends Community Covenant Church. The small Iraqi towns were protected by barriers and guards to prevent attacks by insurgents.

Still the atmosphere was festive, says Covenant chaplain Capt. John Grauer. “Streets were decorated with Christmas trees. Christmas lights were seen in many areas.”

Chun and Grauer led the singing of “Silent Night” at one of the local Catholic churches. “It was truly amazing to see one elderly woman moved to give one of our officers a cross,” Chun says. “God was truly at work in the lives of the soldiers and Christians here in Iraq.”

Grauer later led a candlelight Christmas Eve service for the 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry. Accompanied by drums and two keyboards, the troops sang a mixture of traditional hymns and praise songs.

A highlight of the evening in the small chapel came when Grauer read a letter sent from a third grade school girl in Anchorage, Alaska: I wish I could help you guys. I feel this must be hard for you. Is it hard to fight out there? You are very brave to fight out there. Are there a lot of battles in Iraq? I hope you never feel lonely … I hope you don’t die!

“I don’t think there were many dry eyes when I read this letter,” says Grauer. He then told the soldiers, “And if you know Christ, we don’t ever have to be lonely because we have this person – his name is Jesus – and when we know him, we will never die.”

(Editor’s note: the accompanying photo shows some of the children who were present during the special Christmas Eve service in Iraq.)

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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