Pulpit Reflections by Rev. Shelly Aakre Sandy (Major Sandy Aakre, chaplain in Iraq) was on a convoy. His destination was at a new FOB (Forward Operating Base). The convoys are the most dangerous time for Sandy, but this particular day he's not only worrying about enemy fire but also IED (Improvised Explosive Devices).
His convoy finally made it to the new FOB. This was a new base he had never been at, in a new part of the country. But his thoughts were not of what new things he would experience here, but were of his wife, Shelley, and what was happening with her. He had just talked to her in the hospital. He was concerned about her health and he was so far away.
Shelley's blood count was 8.4, and if she lost any more blood she would have to have a transfusion, plus she still had to have surgery for her cataract.
Later that day, when he was at the base, he had some "free" time and was asked if he would go on the mail run. He picked up the mail, and the soldier that was loading him up said, "We have this box that we don't know who to deliver to. It is simply addressed to 'any chaplain' and there is no chaplain at this base." Then he noticed Sandy's chaplain insignia and remarked, "Hey, are you a chaplain?" Sandy said yes, and took the box with him as he delivered the other mail. At the end of the mail route he proceeded to open this box that was addressed to "any chaplain."
In the box was a letter written by a woman. There were Bibles and heartfelt concerns. She said "My husband and I are doing okay and we just want to know what we can send you or the troops to let you know that we care and appreciate you."
The letter was written by Laura Hubbel of Sioux Falls. As you know, this is the daughter-in-law of Lila Hubbel, our very own retired missionary at First Baptist Church in Vermillion.
In this moment, Sandy felt the over-powering presence of God. Far from home and at a base he had never been to before, he pondered the awesome power of God in placing the package in his hands at this time. He knew then that Shelley was being taken care of just as God was caring for him. God's providence is still and always at work. The thoughts and concerns lifted him and gave him peace, that only God could orchestrate such a happening.