Senior Pastor Dr. Don Martin wrote this letter in June 2009, as Alpharetta Methodist was just beginning it’s Operation Oreo mission efforts.
I was on a Delta jet in February flying to Phoenix, Arizona. Some wonderful people in this congregation have kin out that way who love golf and I was invited. Thank you, Jesus and ain’t life grand!
It just so happened that I sat down next to a young man wearing his camo military fatigues. He was crisp as good bacon, handsome and young with real excitement in his eyes. He has a wife and children. His Mom and Dad worry about him. I broke out of my shy shell and engaged him in conversation. Turns out he had been in Iraq for the past eighteen months serving our country. “What was your assignment,” I asked. “I blow things up!” was his reply.
Long story short, when our soldiers find an unexploded IED (Improvised Explosive Device) they call him. He uses robotic equipment to go get it and they take it apart. They study it and gather forensic evidence that enables them to locate and arrest the enemy. He blows it up when they are done. Lives are saved because of his courage and skill. We are safe because he and others in uniform put their lives on the line to fight our enemies.
“What did you miss most while you were in Iraq?” I asked. “Oreos, Double Stuf!!!” was his quick reply. I told him that I was the Senior Pastor of the finest Methodist Church in all of Christendom and that I would see that “Oreos galore” would be sent to Iraq.
That project became our Annual Patriotic Sunday. We sing and celebrate and pray God’s blessings upon these United States of America. We thank God for the soldiers who carry weapons of war so we can carry on with life in Alpharetta. The Oreos you bring are shipped to our Troops with our heartfelt gratitude and collective salute! I wish we could do even more. But the simple gift of a good cookie and the promise of our prayerful support has great meaning.
Dr. Don Martin