Saving Private Snyder
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Saving Private Snyder
Stephen A. Peterson
United States Army Chaplain Don Wolf, a devoted Roman Catholic priest, was deeply concerned about the spiritual well-being of his Regiment. As Chaplain Wolf ministered to his military flock, he would occasionally discuss with service members regardless of their denomination the importance of God and their faith in their daily lives.
During Bible studies on a Wednesday evening, Private First Class Stephen Snyder stood up to express his thoughts about a Christian. Private Snyder became a Christian Catholic just three weeks earlier. “Well, being a Catholic Christian is being called out by God and accepting His call. You believe God is with you and in you even though you cannot see Him or feel His presence. The big things I’ve learned about being a Christian and a Catholic is faith and trust only in God.”
Just a few day later Private Snyder as well as everyone in the unit received orders to deploy to Afghanistan. Within a month the unit was on the ground with members performing their job according to their training. While on patrol, Private Snyder’s squad was attacked by Taliban fighters. A loud explosion rattled the building Private Snyder and three other unit members used to shield themselves. Following the explosion, two were dead and two wounded. Private Snyder, though not dead, suffered serious injuries. He was rushed by helicopter to a field hospital. Chaplain Wolf was summoned. Private Snyder slipped into critical condition moments after his surgery. The other soldier though injured began to show signs of recovery.
Chaplain Wolf and the rest of Private Snyder’s platoon gathered around his bed. Though severely injured, Private Snyder spoke briefly to all about the goodness of God and his belief that God was preparing him for a great life. When finished his statement, he immediately went into a coma. The medical team ordered everyone out of the room to rush Private Snyder back into surgery. After four more hours, the doctors had done all they could do to save Private Snyder. The medical team felt that his head injuries and injuries to his internal organs were so serious that he would be gone before the next day.
Chaplain Wolf and members of the platoon waited stubbornly for the news. Late that afternoon, Private Snyder’s lips began to move with just two words was all he could utter before he left this life. But the words he uttered increased every unit member’s faith that was a Christian and converted all who was not. In a clear voice so all could hear and understand, Private Snyder said: “HELLO, LORD!” And then he left them to be with his Lord exactly 144 days following his conversion to Christianity.
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