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Church prays for troops more than a year (Texas National Guard Unit)
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN ^ | March 27, 2006 | M.B. Taboada

Posted on 03/27/2006 5:04:13 AM PST by Arrowhead1952

Unit stationed in Afghanistan returns home safely

By M.B. Taboada

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Monday, March 27, 2006

Every day at noon they would stop what they were doing wherever they were and pray.

For a year, the members of Grant African Methodist Episcopal Worship Center held prayer vigils for the safe return of the soldiers of the 111th Area Support Group who were stationed in Afghanistan. During Sunday's church service, they thanked God for answering their prayers — there were no fatalities and everyone in the Texas Army National Guard unit made it back earlier this month without injury — and got a thanks of their own.

"It makes all the difference in the world because you know you have support," said Col. Joyce Stevens, the group's commanding officer. "We knew they were praying."

On Sunday, Stevens presented the Austin church with a Minuteman statue, the highest National Guard award bestowed on a civilian or organization. The congregation sent the soldiers care packages, blankets, cookies and encouraging e-mails throughout the year the unit was deployed.

"When you're far away from home, and you don't know if you're going to be back, knowing that they're praying for you. . .it feels so good," said Sgt. Sylvester Kincheon, who served as a fueler in Afghanistan and attended the service. "You never really know how much it means to you to receive things from people who believe in you until the situation you're in."

The unit worked as a support group for soldiers on the battlefront and coordinated on security with Afghan governors and police and army members. The unit was spread out among seven bases, that were targets of multiple rocket attacks.

"It was enormous to know we have family here and believers here that thought well of us and the cause," said Chaplain Maj. George Johnson, the pastor of sister church St. Paul AME Church in Waco, who also was deployed.

Johnson, who totes around his Bible in a camouflage book cover, attributed the safe return "to all the grace and providence of God." His assignment to Afghanistan is what spurred the congregation to adopt the unit.

It was the second time the church adopted a unit. The congregation prayed for and sent care packages to the U.S. Army's 416th Facilities Engineer Group, which was stationed in Afghanistan for a year and returned, without injury or death, in 2004. A congregation member was in that unit.

As with the first group, the church specifically asked that each member of the 111th group return "whole, safe, unscathed and unscarred," said Linda Connor, an associate minister at Grant.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also made presentations to Stevens and church members for their support of the military.

"I'm proud that we have people who are supportive not just of the troops, but the families. . .who worry about them," Cornyn said. "I think it deserves recognition and hope people will see fit to follow their role."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: deployment; prayersfortroops; texas

The deployment of Chaplain Maj. George Johnson, right, pastor of Grant AME Worship Center's sister church in Waco, spurred the Austin congregation to adopt the 111th Area Support Group.

1 posted on 03/27/2006 5:04:15 AM PST by Arrowhead1952
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To: Arrowhead1952

She's right. Why is that guy not at Gitmo?


2 posted on 03/27/2006 5:09:13 AM PST by wolfpat (Dum vivimus, vivamus.)
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To: wolfpat
Whoa. What happened? This ain't the thread I meant to comment on.
3 posted on 03/27/2006 5:10:50 AM PST by wolfpat (Dum vivimus, vivamus.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Radix; MoJo2001; LaDivaLoca; Fawnn; bentfeather; darkwing104; dpa5923; ...

Ping to the Canteen.


4 posted on 03/27/2006 5:21:07 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Don't mess with Texas.)
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To: wolfpat

I was wondering what that comment was about the first time.


5 posted on 03/27/2006 5:22:01 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Don't mess with Texas.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

Prayers heard. Thank God those men all came home safe. Good article.


6 posted on 03/27/2006 5:25:29 AM PST by Visalia
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To: Visalia

I forgot to add a comment on the original post. Two members of that unit work in my shop and I personally know over half of the troops. I was in that unit back in the late 80s.


7 posted on 03/27/2006 5:38:45 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Don't mess with Texas.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

That is sooooooo cool!!!

How awesome!


8 posted on 03/27/2006 5:42:40 AM PST by StarCMC (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing...thank you Sarge.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

God bless them. Our troops and our President need daily prayers. I hope these people lifted both up to God.


9 posted on 03/27/2006 6:19:04 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: Arrowhead1952

Great article, Arrow! Thank God for these heroes!


10 posted on 03/27/2006 11:23:58 AM PST by LUV W (A free Iraq . ... will serve as an amazing example for people who are desparate for freedom! GWB)
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