Thank you to so many of you, including all the members of my extended family, for the toys, clothing, and other items that you have sent to us here in Iraq. They are being put to good use. We have visited several villages over the last few days, and when the children see the humvees coming, they run toward us. "Mister, mister!" they say, "Football?!" Their favorite gift to receive is a soccer ball. We're actually running short of soccer balls, but we've handed out many other toys, clothing, games, and candy. It is fun to see the children so happy, and to try out some of my limited Arabic with them. I tell them we will return soon with more soccer balls.
Each year, my extended family gets together for a Christmas party, which I missed this year. My wife had an excellent idea this year; instead of keeping the gifts that they normally give to each other, they would wrap and open gifts which would then be boxed up and sent to the Iraqi children. We began passing out some of those gifts here yesterday.
I miss my family, but what a unique opportunity this has been to work together as a family (and friends) to reach out in sharing and caring to people who don't yet enjoy the blessings of freedom, opportunity, and plenty that we in Wulayaat Mutahida (United States) enjoy. I told some of the adults that brought their children to receive a gift from us that these gifts were from their friends in Wulayaat Mutahida.
We still need school supplies. We could definitely provide help by handing out shoes and socks and other clothing. If you can help out, please contact a local national guard family (or national guard armory) to find out how. If you would like to let them know who is sending the gifts, please sent us a photograph.
Don't forget...they always love more soccer balls.
P.S. Someday soon I hope to post a picture on this site of the Iraqi youth kicking the pants off the American Army guys in a soccer game.