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To Our Boys in Service

Dear Friends:

Sometime ago I talked with the father of one of the boys in service.  He related to me an incident which his son had written in one of his letters.  While on the battle front in France, the son had found a copy of “The Banner” and “De Wachter” in one of the fields and was pleasantly surprised.

Anxious to know who the original owner had been of those American church papers, he went to search for that person for a couple of days, but did not succeed in finding him.

Now to me, who has served in the Netherlands Army for almost four years and know a little of the position of a Christian young man in the Army, it was a revelation that this young man of our congregation probably served in a unit where he had not found any confessing Christian soldier, and that he felt lonesome and forlorn in the midst of all the sin and corruption around him.  Finding these churches papers on foreign soil aroused within him the longing for fellowship with a brother of like faith; for evidently the soldier who lost them must have come from a Christian Reformed family.

What was it in him, that he put forth such an effort to find that other soldier?  But you have the answer ready, my dear friends, that are by the grace of God true to your confession and walk in the midst of all that wickedness that surrounds you day and night as Christian soldiers, for you must have experienced that same loneliness that he did many times.  It was the longing for Christian fellowship of which we do not think often nor appreciate enough as long as we are at home in our own church and society and amongst our own friends, but which you have been missing so much since you entered the armed services.

Oh, yes, some of you have been quite fortunate and have been stationed near a place with a Christian Reformed or Reformed Church; and the members of those churches have taken you into their homes on Sundays and on week day evenings when you were at liberty.  And those brethren and sisters have done a splendid work, for in so doing they gave you an oasis in the midst of the wilderness wherein you must walk.  I know from experience how you looked forward to those Sundays and evenings when you could flee from all that corruption and sin and would meet some of God’s people and have fellowship with them.  How good were those Sundays and how inspiring those evenings and  how thankful you were to your Heavenly Father who gave you all this out of His hand.  But most of you boys have not been that fortunate.  You’ve probably had to spend most of your Sundays and evenings within the camps and barracks where the very air is filled with vile cursing and blasphemy from the mouths of the children of this world—a place where I have seen many a young man from a Christian home go astray and take the way of least resistance by going along with the world.

No, not one of you, dear friends, we hope and pray, for in that way you will never find the peace of mind for which you are seeking.

Show your colors and walk as children of light in the midst of the darkness that surrounds you, and the God of all grace shall give you strength to go on to the glory of His Name.