Salvation in Time of War
I am telling this particular story from my own faulty memory. Facts are as recalled, not necessarily completely accurate.
While most of us were digging in to the second half of the year-long deployment, Sarah was preparing to welcome her husband Zack home from the war. Then they were planning to immediately exit the Army and move down to San Antonio, where they were from.
Bless her. Sarah was dealing with all of these enormous life changes, and none of us had a clue as to how to relate. Sarah had a large support network that included not only our group but many other in-town friends, as well as sisters she was close to, her parents down in San Antonio, and our Sunday School class.
Have I mentioned that somewhere along the way Sarah started going to church with me too? Cloe and Sarah both went to First Baptist Killeen with me. In fact, that’s where we met Kayla.
First Baptist was a traditional church in downtown Killeen. It’s still a church, but they moved to another campus years later. Traditional Baptist churches have an hour of Sunday school, followed by an hour-long service of singing and preaching. It’s all I’ve ever known, but I know that many denominations do church differently.
Well, that first hour of Sunday school was balm to our souls that year!
Not only did we get together and listen to a lesson. It was ever SO much more than that! We had a class of around 40 people, half of which were spouses of deployed soldiers. Our class teachers were Jerry and Wanda Lewis. They were ever so much more than teachers! They were our parents away from home.
Jerry and Wanda made it about more than listening to a lesson. We all sat in a gigantic circle. Then we all went around and said our names because there were always new faces amongst us. Usually we’d tell our names and answer a random question, like “Which is better, cake or pie?”
There was a prayer request time too. Many teachers hesitate to have one because people talk too long, with too many details, and it takes away from their amount of time to lecture, but it was part of what made this class great.
We were sharing our burdens with each other every Sunday morning.
The lessons were good too, full of sound teaching, but it was the LOVE I remember the most. Having a whole group of people who want to know your name and whether you think football is more interesting than baseball–a whole group of people who will listen when you say that your husband was in a convoy attack and you are praying for the safety of the troops with renewed gusto.
Jerry and Wanda, along with my friends Theresa and Ashley (who were also in this class) didn’t make it only a Sunday morning thing either. They designated Theresa and Ashley to put together gatherings once a month, you know, game nights, progressive dinners, and such. They’d open their homes to us, and we’d just gather.
Wanda also made a regular habit of calling those of us she felt needed it and checking in on us. Talk about making you feel special!
In this way, we weren’t just talking about how God cares for each one of us. We are actually being his ears and arms and heart to each other. This is true fellowship. It’s how the church should function.
Classes like this are how souls are saved.
Sarah was one of those souls. She had grown up Catholic, and she already believed in God. But there were so many questions she wasn’t sure about. When you go through classes and get baptized on the Church’s timeline, it can be easy for their schedule to not match your own heart and head. Maybe you heard all of the lessons, but it never translated to a salvation experience in your heart. That’s how it was for Sarah.
In Jerry and Wanda’s class and in examining the scriptures for herself, Sarah came to a saving knowledge of Jesus. She believed and prayed for Jesus to save her and be the Lord of her life.
I remember her telling us about getting saved. We were sitting in my living room when she told us, and I recall that she said she’d talked to Wanda about it. I was just so pleased and excited for her.
Is there anything more encouraging to your own faith than when you see someone else’s blossom? What a blessing!
Sometimes it takes a hard time to bring us to a place of faith. We were certainly in the trial of deployment, but Sarah had even more than hard times driving her to her knees. She had a group of encouraging friends walking down the paths of life beside her. It’s easier to find faith, hope, and love when you’re surrounded by that kind of positivity.
You may wonder how Sarah is doing now and if I ever hear from her. I’m sad to tell you that while I figure she’s doing well, we aren’t really in touch. I can’t find her on Facebook anymore, and I haven’t seen her since 2006, right after we’d both had babies just months apart.
I do know that there were many hard times ahead for Sarah, as Zack left her and the baby soon after he returned from the war. However, Sarah went on to have two more children and was always a grounded, mature person with a strong close-knit family there in Texas. I can guarantee you Sarah persevered and is raising a beautiful family.
Sarah, if you read this, email me– or call me. My number never changed!
I know that this topic of belief and faith in God and finding salvation in Jesus can leave many people with questions, so I want to end by saying that if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me: email@example.com. I’ll be happy to answer any questions.