Blog

.
Faith Moment
February 28, 2011
Community

Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of citizens in North Platte, Nebraska, heard a rumor that soldiers from their town, part of the Nebraska National Guard Company D, would be coming through on a troop train on their way to the West Coast. Five hundred people showed up at the train depot with food, cigarettes, letters, and love to give the boys.

When the train showed up, it was not the Nebraska National Guard Company D boys on board; it was the soldiers from the Kansas National Guard Company D.

After a few awkward moments, a woman handed a young man she'd never seen the gifts intended for her own son. Everyone else followed that lead, and there were hugs and prayers and love shared all around. It was a spontaneous act of genuine devotion that touched both the soldiers and the people who came to the depot that day. That alone would have been a beautiful illustration of the willingness to "sacrifice for one another," but the story continues.

A few days later, a 26-year-old woman named Rae Wilson wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper recounting the profound experience they'd shared that night. She then suggested the town organize a canteen, so they could do something similar for every troop train that came through. She offered to lead the effort as a volunteer.

For the next four and a half years, the people of North Platte and the surrounding communities met every troop train that came through their town. Every day, they prepared sandwiches, cookies, cold drinks, and hot coffee. They had baskets of magazines and books to give away to the soldiers and snacks for the train. There were even birthday cakes for anyone having a special day. And they did this, some days, for as many as 8,000 soldiers and sailors.

By the time the last train arrived on April 1, 1946, six million soldiers had been blessed by the North Platte Canteen. Forty-five thousand volunteers had served faithfully until the war was over and most of the troops had been transported home.

Most of the time, the troops on the trains had only ten minutes to sprint from the train, grab some food, maybe dance with a pretty girl, hear the appreciation of those present, and sprint back before the train left without them. But in those ten minutes, they got more than a meal. They received a dose of unconditional love that they remembered later—during the heat of battle—and for decades after the war was over.
It would be difficult to find a better example of what the church was intended to be. By God’s grace, this is what we aspire to be. We aspire to be a place of healing and refuge for all people.

With Love
Mike

 

There are no comments.

Anonymous


Comments are closed on this article.



Click here to see past Faith Moments