Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Soldiers' Angels and Avalanche Ranch VBS

There is something really enjoyable about going to small town America and talking to people about Soldiers' Angels and supporting our troops. It is in small towns that the military and those that serve are closer to home. Not necessarily because, as some people believe, the military is full of people from rural America looking for a way out. A large percentage of our armed forces come from urban and suburban areas. The difference is, in small town America, everybody knows that Chad or Joe or Diane joined the military and is stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan or many other places around the world. In urban and suburban America, most people don't know their neighbors very well, much less whether their son, sister, brother, or father is in the military and fighting in the war.

Because of this reality, it is small town America that is more likely to show their patriotism and support, unashamed and unbowed by politics, news or other's opinions. It is, after all, members of their community and in these communities, everyone knows somebody and everyone is important. And, in that way of small communities, no one is a stranger. Even if it is a group of soldiers they never met before. Because the town has men and women in the military and many veterans, these soldiers become a part of their family, too.

Monday, July 16, Soldiers' Angels Kansas City was invited to the Peculiar United Methodist Church in Peculiar, Missouri for their annual Avalanche Ranch Vacation Bible School. Every year, the vacation bible school performs a mission. These missions include providing for the underprivileged and the elderly. These missions teach the children the joy and satisfaction of giving back to their community. This year the church was looking for a new mission. Some soldiers newly arrived in Iraq were looking for support. Soldiers' Angels provided the perfect match.

After a brief introduction, Soldiers' Angels showed pictures and talked to the children about what it was like for deployed soldiers: how they lived, where they slept, how hard they worked and what it was like to be far away from home for a long time. The children were asked if they had been away from home and did they miss their families. Of course, they did, so they understood that the soldiers missed their families, too. Then they were asked if they had someone far away who would send them cards or letters. How did it feel to open the card and know someone was thinking about them? One little girl replied, "Happy!" That's exactly how the soldiers feel when they get mail.

At the end of the presentation, all the children got together and sent the soldiers a big "Howdy" for the video that will be included in the care packages. Then everyone went to their classes and each group, from pre-school to fifth grade, wrote a message or drew a picture to send to their adopted troops. A brief message and short list of items, including toiletries and snacks, were sent home with the children to give to their parents. These items will be collected throughout vacation bible school and over the next Sunday. The church is requesting a "love fund" on Sunday, June 22, to pay for the shipping of the care packages and to let others in the church know about the collection of items if they wish to contribute. Soldiers' Angels and Peculiar United Methodist Church will hold a packing party on June 28 to prepare the items for mailing.

Soldiers' Angels
thanks the Peculiar United Methodist Church and the wonderful children of Avalanche Ranch Vacation Bible School for their fantastic support of our military men and women.

If you would like to show your patriotism and appreciation, please join Soldiers' Angels in supporting our men and women by going to our website, soldiersangels.org, and checking: adopt a soldier.

If your organization is interested in a similar program or would like more information about Soldiers' Angels, please email us at kcsoldiersangelsmo1@gmail.com.

Peculiar United Methodist Church put up this Soldiers' Angels display in their foyer giving basic information about Soldiers' Angels and shows a sample care package put together by Angel Christy.

Barbara from Peculiar United Methodist Church put together the display and provided many decorative touches throughout the church for their "Avalanche Ranch" theme.

Children writing messages of love and support to the troops during "missions and crafts" at Peculiar United Methodist Church "Avalanche Ranch" Vacation Bible School.

One of the children holds up a picture that they drew on the back of their letter for the soldiers at the Peculiar United Methodist Church "Avalanche Ranch" Vacation Bible School.

Angel Christy makes a new friend at the Peculiar United Methodist Church "Avalanche Ranch" Vacation Bible School.

- May no soldier go unloved