Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stunning movement of the Lord in Iraq

Despite threat from ISIS, 100 children receive First Communion in Iraq


The first communion Mass in Alqosh was an historic moment for a “frontier town” that has been under threat from the militants of the Islamic State (IS) for a long time. Now it can “hope for peace and normalcy” around these hundred children, said Mgr Basil Yaldo, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad and close associate of the Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako.
The Chaldean primate presided over the ceremony that was attended by “all the priests of the city, the nuns and more than 700 people. The faithful were excited because for the first time, the patriarch celebrated communions in the community.” 
Like many other towns in Iraqi Kurdistan, Alqosh too welcomed scores of refugees.
“Life in the area is almost back to normal,” said the vicar of Baghdad. “We hope that soon the whole plain [of Nineveh] can be liberated from the jihadists, and that refugees can return to their villages.” 
The work to secure the area, he added, has “already started and for the past two days Iraqi troops have launched the battle to liberate the villages surrounding Mosul.” 
…Addressing the boys and girls who received the first communion, Patriarch Sako urged them not to abandon their land, the city of Alqosh, but to stay and help in the reconstruction “because there is a (Christian) heritage to be preserved. ” 
The Chaldean primate, Mgr Yaldo noted, also called on young people to “be stronger, come to church and participate in the life of the Christian community as one participates in the life of a family.” 
After the service, the children asked Patriarch Sako some questions. One of them, Mgr Yaldo noted, said that when he “grows up he wants to become a priest to serve the poor and the needy.” 
The patriarch could not hold back his emotion after listening to such words, adding that “it is important to support and share the suffering.”

Friday, August 5, 2016

No thank you to $5 Million

Dear Mrs. Coleman,

I am emailing in response to your kind offer, received this morning, of donating $5,0000,000 to our church. I am sure that you are sincere in wanting your late husband's estate, now held in escrow in Abidjan, to be used in Christian missions to benefit orphanages, widows, and evangelism. And I appreciate you offering me the chance to use the millions for those purposes.

I am so sorry that you are about to die of an undiagnosed illness, so I fully understand why you want me to take possession of the money quickly by contacting the security company in Abidjan and providing it with all my personal back-account numbers so they can transfer the money directly. That's very thoughtful of you!

However, I regret that I must decline your offer for the following reasons:

1. Due to the number of offers I receive similar to yours, mostly from Nigerian oil-minister widows, I no longer accept donations of less than $15 million. If you can come up with another $10 million, please let me know. However, that is a constantly-moving target that rises practically weekly. So you should shoot for probably $17 million. At least.

2. My personal service fee, accruing solely to me, is 15 percent of the total donation amount. In your case my fee would come to $750,000. However, I no longer accept donations for which my fee is less than seven figures. And be assured that I would spend it on things other than your wishes stated herein, mainly on riotous living, expensive baubles, extensive vacations, expensive wines, toys for men (such as motorboats or Purdy shotguns), fast cars, and what is left over on simple dam-foolishness.

3. "Coleman" is a funny name for a native-born, Muslim, Kuwaiti government official, even if his widow does want his fortune to be spent on Christian charities.

4. And finally, I decline because frankly, I am not an idiot.

Have a blessed day, whoever you really are, and maybe you could actually try working for a living.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Honey, sorry I am going to have you blown to smithereens."

Saw this on one of my FB feeds and it brought back some memories.

Under the nets are 155mm self-propelled howitzers taking part in the REturn of FORces to GERmany (hence, REFORGER) exercises that took place by US Army Europe from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s. This is from the 1986 exercise; I do not know which unit.

The one in 1984 took place in the severest winter Germany had experienced since WW2. I froze my kundingi off. I was a battery commander  in 2d Battalion, 3d Field Artillery, 3d Armored Division. My battalion was stationed in the town of Butzbach, West Germany, about 55 km north of Frankfurt.

At the time, my wife and I lived in a very nice, govt.-contracted duplex in Dorf-Guell, near Giessen, pinned here in this screen grab from Google Earth:

This was a northern Reforger (they alternated north and south in the country), so the town was in the thick of the action. During the exercise one day I pulled into a phone booth to call Cathy. She told me that an aviation unit had set up field operations in the very large fields behind our house. I already knew that was "enemy" territory.

So, artilleryman that I was, I apologized to her that I was going to have her blown to bits. Then I grabbed the grids off my map sets and sent it with target description to 3AD Division Artillery's operations center. From there it got handed off to V Corps Artillery, which moonscaped the field (in an exercise-y sort of way) with 8-inch artillery. Darn shame about my wife, though.

Later I learned that Divarty had actually credited her by name as the target-intel source, though, so she had that going for her at least.

Bookmark and Share