A Veteran Talks About Faith in a War Zone
Listen to the spiritual side of war from Iraq War veteran, Retired Sergent First Class Vernon Samuels. Award winning journalist Twana James spoke to Samuels about his experience praying with his fellow soldiers in the field during the height of the war.His unit included soldiers of all different faiths and backgrounds, yet during time of war they would come together to pray before heading out on their mission. You'll find out how the experience changed him, his prayer life, and his outlook on prayer in general.
Twana:Good evening my name is Twana James and I welcome you to Prayables radio tonight on Blog Talk Radio. I am your host, again my name is Twana, I am a praymaker, I'm a mom I'm a wife and I'm a member of the online community Prayables.com where Susan Diamond is the founder and publisher and as we love to call her our Chief of Pray. We invite you at some point to log onto prayables.com. You can learn more about this online community of women of all different faiths who have the common goal to make prayer our priority of our every days life.
In honor of veteran's day I spoke with an American soldier who is a veteran of the Iraq war. His name is Sergeant First Class Vernon Samuels, he is now retired but I learned so much in speaking with him and I would love to share this with you as we look at our veterans on today and there are so many prayers that go out to them, often we don't think about what their prayers are when they are out on the battle field. Take a listen.
In honor of Veteran's Day we take an inside look at prayer on the battlefield. Often, we take for granted the time we're aloted in our everyday lives to set aside and have prayer, but when your life is on the line and there's a war all around you what are the words that come to mind? How does one find peace in the midst of battle?
I spoke with retired army Sargeant First Class Vernon Samuels about his time with the 89 transportation unit out of Fort Ussex, VA during their mission in Iraq where prayer was essential, no matter your religion.
Samuels:Every day from day 1 that we was on the ground over there and we prayed was a significant emotional event. On any given day that we would have our convoy brief, we would pray even if they weren't Christians, it really didn't matter. It was 36 people, at least 30, that stood in the prayer. I don't think it matters but once we left our compoiund you really didn't know what lied before you on the road. You know looking at roadside bombs IEDs and different types of stuff, you hear about it and actually we live through it.
Twana: With so much going on at once, there's much to remeber while you're in uniform. What meant the procedure the mission and more, while bullets are flying over head and the wounded are being cared for, Sergeant First Class Samuels said they still made time to look toward a higher authority.
Samuels: Everytime we went out it kind of differed. Sometimes we would hold hands and get in circles. Sometimes we would just come togehther in a circle, bow our heads, take off our helmet and it would be a different person to lead the prayer depending on whatever the day was. When I gave the payer it would be "Dear Lord we come to you today to give thanks for you for waking us today and we ask that you keep us in your protective custody despite change as as we depart and keep us out of harms way as we depart from here go to our destination and protect us from our enemies and keep us mindful as the work is undoubtedly focused.
Twana: And focused they were indeed on completing the mission at hand, trying to provide the day and staying prayerful throughout it all.
Samuels:I've had soldiers where we been ambushed. I've lost a soldier. When we did get ambushed I was truly blessed. I mean personlly for the simple fact that once we got to our location my vehicle was shot up and from where my vehicle took hits at it should have comped out on me but it didn't. It got me to the save haven and I lost one soldier and sent 4 home wounded. We've had instances where we got held up and had we not been held up we would have been in another incident. We've been delayed from departing because of suspicious stuff and turns out the suspicious stuff was real stuff so that in itself to me was a prayer being answered; Keeping us out of harms way.
Twana: Sargeant First Class Samuel's reflects on how his prayer life has changed since the war.
Samuels: Being back here now and being retired. My wife and family we actually applied to the ploin. We joined the Church, First Mount Zion Baptist, and we go to church more often and our prayers we can see the meaning in what we pray about and see how somewhere through the course of our life how that prayer would come into play and how just having the faith worked.Twana:And what an appropriate way to end that conversation with Sargeant First Class Samuels that faith does indeed work. I truly believe that.
Good Evening again, my name is Twana James and you are listening to Prayables radio. We invite you to call in and participate in the conversation as we reflect on those words of Sargeant First Class Vernon Samuels. The number is 1-347-855-8506. That's 1-347-855-8506.
And we do thank you Sargeant First Class Vernon Samuels for your service, your sacrifice, your bravery throughout your time in Iraq along with all of your comrades, your fellow soldiers, including of course those who lost their loves. We do in fact take for granted the opportunities we have in this country to practice any faith of our choosing and to make prayer a priority. I found it so eloquent to the things he was saying in our every day lives where we take time out to have prayer, especially when we are in battle with our own spirituallity or with our every day lives when you think about getting the bills paid or going to work or sitting in traffic even.He talked about being delayed in departing from point A getting to their destination, point B and they were dealayed, they were held up, and that definitely correlates with your every day life. Often you're sitting in traffic trying to get home to get dinner on the table or maybe you're trying to get there to the daycare to pick up the kids on time but you're delayed and you don't know why it is that you can't get there on time.
Prayer is in the midst of all that could actually make it clear to you that you might perhaps be avoiding an ambush that's ahead that is infact what happened with Sargeant First Class Vernon Samuels he's being delayed while he was in Iraq while he was getting from point A to point B it's so apropo when you think about it.You want to reach your goals, you want to get to a certain point in your life and you're being delayed and perhaps you don't know why, and it isn't until much later when we understand that we were blessed in times like these that the delay was actually a blessing in and of itself. He also talked about not knowing what's ahead for you. You know he was actually out there in a war zone, on a battle field, but we face battles every day of our lives and we don't know what ahead. We're constantly preparing, you can only do so much so prayer definitely comes into play. You can call in and participate in the conversation. The number is 1-347-855-8506. That's 1-347-855-8506.
I'd love to share with you more about our prayables.com website. It is an online community, women of all different faiths, who share the same values and a common goal and that is to ad more prayer to our day.All women want to achieve a success in their own right. So how do you manage to feel good and be productive throughout it all? How do you manage to make time for prayer when you have children and you have so much going on in your household? How do you make time to pray for those who you know are in fact in a war zone? As we reflect on the war in Iraq and we pay homage to those who were there as well as the ones who are in Afghanistan and in fact all over the world are soldiers and our service men and women are there protecting us and our way of life. And we do thank them so much as we reflect on this Veteran's Day. Again the website is prayables.com. That's PRAYABLES.
And I want to take this time to thank Susan Diamond, who is the founder and publisher of prayables.com and she is lovingly and affectionatly known as our chief of pray.We invite you to log on to the website at some point, invite your mothers and wives and sisters to participate in the website. We welcome the opportunity to pray with you collectively in this world, this cyberworld. The world is getting smaller aas we know it when you go online, you can join hands in a cyber perspective if you will and make prayer with those across the world. It is not limited to any one faith, that's what I love about prayables.com. It is open to women of all different faiths and backgrounds.
Again, my name is Twana James, I am a praymaker, I pray for my children and of course for those who were listening and tuning in tonight. I am a mom, a wife and a member of the online community prayables.com. Call in if you want to join in on the conversation before this show ends at 1-347-855-8506. That's 1-347-855-8506.Perhaps you are the wife or the daughter of a service person in our military who is out on the high seas, or away from home, on your behalf, on our behalf to protect our way of life here in the United States. And you want to join in a make a prayer with them or for them as we reflect on veteran's day we continue to pray for all of our service people all around the world as they continue to put their lives on the line to ensure our way of life here.
Again, I would like to thank retired Sargeant First Class Vernon Samuels, and his family of course because of sacrifices of not just the service person but of the family members as well.I truly enjoyed my conversation with him and learned quite a bit about how those who are out there in the war zone and on the battle field and how their experiences are directly in line with ours, spiritually, as we live our everyday lives here in this country while they are out there fighting those wars. It is a constant battle spiritually to get it all done. And we do again thank you so much for your sacrifice for all of our military personel and their families. We would like to end the program now with a special prayer from our prayables.com website and their special collection. Thank you.