A Bud Of Faith
A Bud Of Faith
Stephen A. Peterson
For twenty-two days everything had been going wrong for Lieutenant Le Roi Brown. So much so that Lieutenant Brown’s faith was slipping away as though pulled by one of the Army’s heavy tracked vehicles. On a cold morning in Baghdad, Iraq as he and his platoon prepared to venture out to patrol the streets of the capital city, he prayed, “God, You seem so remote and aloof. Please give me a sign or something to build my weak and shattered faith this day. Lord, would you also protect me and my platoon from harm as well. Thanks, Lord. Amen.”
As he combat unit slowly made its way through the hostile area, the voice of a crying child pierced through the early morning light. Focused on the sound, Lieutenant Brown and his soldiers moved quickly to secure the building. As each soldier moved into the house, Lieutenant Brown came face to face with a young woman huddled in a corner carrying an infant in one arm and holding the hand of an equally small daughter next to her.
“Come forward!” he said in Arabic. “We will not harm you.’
“All clear!” shouted Specialist Garcia from the stairs from an upper floor of the house.
“Ma’am, please come forward. You and your children will not be hurt. We will take care of you and them.”
Without a word, the woman rose up with two crying children. She walked forward not knowing if she would live or die. She recalled stories that told of American soldiers brutally and cruelly stabbing Iraqi women then throwing their children against stone walls until they died of their abuse.
Shaking the woman said, “Do whatever you wish with me but please do not harm my children. My husband was killed at the police station looking for work three days ago so my children no longer have their father. My brother is in the next building with his family. He is hurt bad. He is not expected to live. He can’t be moved. If so, he will probably die. He can’t speak or communicate in any way. I’ve been praying that God would come to help save my brother, me and my children.”
As she had stated, Lieutenant Brown found the young woman’s brother and his family in a house to the south of the building he and his soldiers had occupied. Carefully searching the house, the man and his family, Lieutenant Brown and his unit quickly but carefully took the injured man and the two families back to their base camp where each member received food, clothing and the medical attention they needed.
After two days in the hospital, Lieutenant Brown visited the young woman and her brother. Very slowly and with difficulty, Lieutenant Brown spoke to the young woman who sat in a chair next to her injured brother. By this time, her brother though heavily bandaged about his torso could speak.
“Thank you, American.” The man said, “May God be with you.”
Lieutenant Brown’s faith soared. For he knew he had been healed in his faith in God through this man and his family. In a few months, he was dismissed, alive and healthy.
As a thank you gesture to Lieutenant Brown and his unit, the once dying man and frightened sister gave him a tiny flower bud. A kind of an Iraqi flower that when given good soil and timely, generous amounts of water will produce a garden full of yellow and white plants of its species.
“Does this mean anything to you, Lieutenant?” the woman inquired.
“Yes,” Lieutenant Brown replied. “This tiny bud you’ve given me represents a renewal of my faith in God and my friendship with you and your family. On the day I left to come into your area I asked God for a sign which I may build my weaken faith upon. God not only sent me His sign but he also send me you and your family. My miracle began with you, your frightened children and your dying brother to help build my faith in a hostile environment. God showed me that there are people who have more faith than I do even though they suffer beyond what I can even begin to understand or know. I can’t thank you and your family enough for restoring my faith.”
For this Caldean Christian, there was excitement in her voice to hear Lieutenant Brown’s discourse as well as knowing that she and her family had restored a man’s faith in the Almighty. She thanked God as well for the freedom brought to her country by a people she once feared.
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