Friday, October 26, 2007

Heartsongs Helping Our Troops

Our local Curves is collecting items to send overseas to our troops. There’s quite a pile growing in the center of the exercise circle, everything from toiletries to Christmas decorations. As my mom and I worked out last night we discussed what we could give. I showed my mom the books I had already brought in and told her about a call that Heartsong customer service received several months ago.

The lady’s name was Nancy, and she had been receiving her daughter’s monthly shipment of Heartsong books and then sending them on to Iraq where her daughter was serving in the military. But Nancy had called to let us know that her daughter had recently been killed while on duty. Nancy had wonderful things to say about the impact the Heartsong books had on her daughter and her fellow soldiers whom she shared them with. She said even some of the men enjoyed reading them, and most importantly, they opened doors for her daughter to share the gospel with many of her friends. Some even accepted Christ because of our Heartsong books.
I spoke with Nancy on the phone a couple times myself and originally she said she would send me a letter that would more specifically tell her daughter’s story so that I could post it on the blog. I didn’t want to mess up the details, and Nancy needed to make sure what information she was allowed to disclose to me.

I haven’t received that letter yet from Nancy. I know she was suffering from some health problems, and I imagine the busyness of life has gotten in the way. But I wanted to share at least a bit of this story as an example of the impact our books can have. Some might look at Heartsongs and think of them as nothing more than romantic “fluff”, but to others—even some our brave servicemen and women—they provide encouragement, hope, and an opportunity to know the Savior.

Remember to pray for our troops, and remember to use your writing to share the knowledge of Jesus Christ with others. You never know how or where God will use it!

Please also pray for the family and friends of Heartsong author, Judy Sagal. Her coauthor, Ann Bell, emailed yesterday to let us know Judy had passed away on August 20th. Ann said, “Judy was probably one of the oldest survivors with spina bifida. In spite of being wheelchair bound all her life, she married and had held a responsible job with the federal government before becoming bedridden in recent months. The book Mended Wheels (HP 494) presented similar challenges and victories that Judy faced within her personal life.”


The Write Life said...

Wow, JoAnne, you hit us with some heavy stuff today! Thank you for sharing and showing us that the books do reach people and are used to spread the Word as we want them to be.


Mary Connealy said...

I don't know what to say as a comment, JoAnne. Beautiful post, I've got chills, so much loss, so much that's beautiful, too, in the world.
Thanks for sharing that.
You may all know I'm a GED teacher. I bring lots of my Heartsongs into class as part of a library I've created here and let anyone who wants one take it and keep it.
Reading is often a struggle for my students, a big part of why they ended up in GED. So I really urge them to read for entertainment. A more fun way to study. And they go for the HPs I think, because they're short.
But these books are getting in to the hands of some unlikely people in this way.
The ministry keeps spreading.
I've got a neice heading for Iraq in January. I wonder if I should ship her my Heartsongs?

Darlene Franklin said...

Not only our troops--PTL--but maybe even into the hands of Muslims! What a non-threatening way to share our faith in a land that has been so closed.

I worked with several Muslims. They all read my book(s), and respond favorably to them.

Pray for the worldwide ministry of HS books!

Beth Loughner said...

Thanks for the post, JoAnne. What a great reminder. Writing inspirational romance has more of a purpose than entertainment. It is a ministry.

I pray over my writing and ask God to keep my work in line with what He wants to say, not me. He knows who is going to read the book and He knows what it is they need to see and understand. Letters I've received have proved this over and over again.

Mary, what a great way to encourage reading with your GED students. They are gaining educational, as well as, spiritual benefits.

I'm humbled to think that our troops are reading HS books while they are protecting our freedom to write about what our God can do in lives. Thanks to all those brave men and women. May God protect you all!


Pam Hillman said...

What a touching story. Even in the midst of Nancy's sorrow, she reached out to let you know how much the Heartsong books meant to her daughter and the other troops.

Praying for all our troops.

Lisa Harris said...

Thank you for sharing this, JoAnne. An important reminder to keep praying for our troops, but also a great encouragement for us to keep writing the stories God gives us! We can make a difference in this world.


Vickie said...

My heart aches for Nancy. My twenty-four-year-old son is getting ready to go to Iraq for his second tour of duty. I know how he valued having books sent to him. I even sent him some of my own Heartsongs to share with others. Soldiers often have down time, and there's not much to do, so they really appreciate a good book.