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U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Seek Baptisms

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by dianetavegia, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia Guest

    Some U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Seek Baptisms

    The Associated Press
    Sunday, August 24, 2003; 5:16 PM

    TIKRIT, Iraq - With war and death on his mind, Spc. Barry Page was baptized Sunday in the Tigris River by an Army chaplain at the sprawling U.S. military headquarters on the fabled river's banks.

    A Southern Baptist working as a military policeman, Page said he decided to "reannounce his life to Christ" in the birthplace of civilization.

    "I realized death is walking in this place," said the 22-year-old from Houston, his uniform and boots soaking wet. "It can be any of us. Next time it could be me."

    The temperature was 120 as Page and three other soldiers waited outside one of Saddam Hussein's palatial complexes to take their turn in the water. The baptism took place behind the palace, where the river waters surround an artificial island overgrown with palm trees.

    "This ground has a historical, biblical meaning," Page said. "I can say I was in the same waters. I'm glad I found peace with God."

    Each of the soldiers took careful steps into the arms of Army chaplain Capt. Xuan Tran, of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 22nd Regiment. Waist deep in the river, Tran briefly submerged the soldiers, recited a verse from the Bible, and proclaimed "Amen" three times.

    Corp. Christian Gaspard, 24, from Baton Rouge, La., said he was baptized before but did it again Sunday because "he didn't live like a Christian."

    The father of a 3-year-old daughter said his pregnant wife was expecting another child in September, when he hopes to be home.

    Tran said he was always happy "to have soldiers dedicating themselves to God."

    "Some have done it before, others are doing for the first time," Tran said.

    He said the reasons vary from being in a war situation to rediscovering their faith.

    "For many of them, they are away from their wives and children, and they have time to think and rededicate themselves to God," he said.

    In the last few weeks, Tran said he baptized at least 16 soldiers.

    Since the troops of the 4th Infantry seized Saddam's hometown in May, they have come under increasing attacks by Iraqi guerrillas firing rocket-propelled grenades and laying homemade bombs. Soldiers detain Saddam loyalists virtually every night, seize caches of weapons and ammunition and conduct round-the-clock patrols of the tense streets of Tikrit, the former president's hometown.

    © 2003 The Associated Press
  2. Ben W

    Ben W Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 16, 2002
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    Praise the Lord [​IMG]
  3. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24 Active Member

    Jan 2, 2003
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    And a resounding [​IMG]
  4. RobertM

    RobertM New Member

    Aug 20, 2003
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    Wow !!!

  5. JGrayhound

    JGrayhound New Member

    Feb 15, 2003
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    I have read similar articles where the people being "baptized" were doing it because they hadn't had a bath. In fact some chaplains were advertising the water so that people would come hear the service. Then everyone was "baptized". I hope this isn't like that.

    Sadly, I think the chaplains in the military are, for the most part, so poorly trained that they may not even be able to relate what the saving gospel truly is. I truly pray that these men have truly given their lives to Christ.
  6. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia Guest

    There were pictures of the baptisms on some sites. The water is dirt brown... not exactly what I'd consider bath water.

    I like to believe these men are coming to Christ. If only ONE, then God bless 'em!

  7. blackbird

    blackbird Administrator

    Feb 21, 2002
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    There was man I got acquainted with some time ago--my church members would tell me--"Preacher, somebody needs to talk with him!"--implyin' they didn't want to--but it should fall on the preacher--anyhow--

    I got to knowin' and talkin' with this fella when I would see him in town! Chit-chat stuff--then one day I had him "cornered" at the grocery store.

    "Mister James! Have you ever been saved? Have you ever been born again!!??"

    "Yes, Sir, Preacher! I have! I know I'm saved! I repented of my sins and received Jesus into my life--over 60 years ago in a army foxhole on the Belguim front! I wanted to tell a Chaplan--but they wouldn't let none venture to the front as close as I was! I was the front--no chaplain around---nobody but me and the Lord!!

    When they let him be relieved to the rear--he didn't think about telling the chaplain--instead, he came home--and lived a saved life without baptism---

    He told me, "Preacher! I know I got saved there in the army--but I have never been baptised! I have never made a public profession of faith! Can I come to your church and be baptised??"

    "You sure can!" The next Sunday--I knew he was coming--he promised me--I told him to bring an extra change of clothes that day--I had the water waitin' good and warm!!---he walked down the isle during invitation time---made a profession of faith--we "voted" him in(whatever that means!!) and I took him straight from there to the baptistry---I kinda figured--after over 60 years---we didn't want to waste another week to baptize him!!! Amen??

    There's the sight of an 80 year old man walking down the isle--wanting to make a Profession of Faith 60 years late--that'll make one want to yell like a Sioux Indian at a war party!

    Bless God for the soldiers being saved and baptized there in Iraq--think though, there may be some soldier boys who may slip through without baptism--lets be as alert for them as we are for the others!

    Brother David