Tulsa Ministers Create A New Military Devotional
Chaplains Author Book: The Rev. Emile Hawkins, left, and the Rev. Danny Lynchard co-authored a devotional journal for service personnel and their families to encourage and inspire them during the long separation while they are deployed away from home.
Courtesy of CAROL MERSCH, Blue Star Mothers (Tulsa World photo)
Two Tulsa ministers, the Rev. Danny Lynchard and the Rev. Emile Hawkins, wrote Coming Home: A Devotional Journal for Those Who Serve and Those Who Wait for service men and women, their families and loved ones. It is designed to give hope, inspiration and comfort to these military families and others who are sacrificing their lives and time in the pursuit of freedom for everyone.
“This is more than a devotional, it is a journal for the soldiers and their families to write down daily happenings and feelings,” says Lynchard, “something they can look back on over the years.”
Hawkins, a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, serves as a captain/chaplain for the Oklahoma Air National Guard and is chaplain of the Tulsa Police and Fire departments. He is senior pastor of Liberty World Outreach Church in Tulsa and founder of the non-profit organization, High Hopes Youth and Family Services. Lynchard has been a Baptist minister for over 30 years and is director of the Tulsa Police/Fire Chaplaincy Corps. He is a licensed pilot and a freelance writer for several Christian publications.
Lynchard has seen his share of suffering in his work with victims associated with crime and enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to the project. “My personal contact with parents of those who are waiting and praying for their children to return home safely fanned a flame that I believe scorches the soul of every American,” he says. “The project replaced a feeling of helplessness with one of being helpful, not only to our troops but to every American family who looks for a way to understand the plight of a soldier.”
In considering his motivation for contributing to the effort, Hawkins reflected, “I’ve trained with these soldiers for years. I remember thinking of the wives whose husbands were deployed to Iraq in March 2003, how their lives were changed suddenly. This was a way to offer support to the soldiers, their families, and our country.”
According to Lynchard, 16 Tulsa police officers are now serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. The last to leave was Clay Ballanger who left on Dec. 15. According to Lynchard, Ballanger will receive several of the books, one for himself and some to share with other soldiers. Some of the deployed police officers will have extended tours which means they will be serving from 18 months to two years instead of one year.
David Knudsen, another police officer called to active duty works with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard B. Myers. Knudsen recently received three of the books. One for himself, one for General Myers and one for the general to sign and send back to Tulsa.
Lynchard and Hawkins are donating the proceeds from the book to buy books for the Blue Star Mothers to send to servicemen overseas. Eight of the police officers already received copies.
The book includes 110 devotions, 19 actual letters from previous wars, seven military cadences and pages for readers to record personal thoughts and experiences.
The war letters are accompanied by 25 original World War II photos contributed by Tulsa photographer Jerry Cornelius. Most were taken by his father, Marine Master Sgt. Meyers Cornelius, a combat photographer in WWII. The previously unpublished photos include one of the Marine landing at Iwo Jima.
Former soldiers from major wars wrote the war letters beginning with the Civil War through the Vietnam War and the current operation in Iraq.
Coming Home retails for $6.99 and may be found at local bookstores, including Mardel’s and Steve’s Sundry, or online at Amazon.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Blue Star Mothers of Oklahoma are asking Tulsans to donate copies of the devotional for inclusion in overseas care packages to soldiers from Oklahoma and other states. Boxes will be located at Steve’s Sundry and Tulsa’s two Mardel bookstore locations where customers can purchase copies of the book for donation.