Service members sing together Christmas Eve

Story and photos by U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Service members spent their Christmas Eve reading scripture, singing songs and listening to the band play at Morale, Welfare and Recreation center east at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Capt. Carlos A. Molina, battalion chaplain with the 49th Transportation Battalion out of Fort Hood, Texas, 90th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), said the event was held to celebrate the Advent season and the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve.

Molina, a Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, native, said the idea was to invite people to come and listen to a story. They read scriptures instead of preaching, weaving them around Christmas songs to tell the story of Christ, he said.

"I think overall the event went well," said Molina. "We wanted to have more people. However, we got more than usual. There was anywhere from 80 to 100 people here tonight."

First Lt. Candace C. Daunis, executive officer with the 910th Quartermaster Company out of Ardmore, Okla., 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), said the crowd was quiet but she hoped their spirits were lifted.

"I hope we brought some happiness to them and the songs were uplifting," said Daunis, who said she misses her family and the stories they share during Christmas dinner.

Daunis, a Grand Rapids, Mich., native and a singer with the band, said being deployed over the holidays can be rough.

"We're an extended family and we know we can't be home with our loved ones, but we still can praise the Lord and help each other get through the holidays," she said.

Molina echoed this sentiment.

"It's important, because we need to remind folks that the reason for this particular season, especially when they're deployed … is to bring a message of hope to the people," he said.

He said service members have a place to go any time, to find refuge and rest and simply forget life outside the walls of the center for a little while.

"As they left here today it is our hope that they walked away with a sense of the Holy Spirit … and Christ's presence in their lives," he said.


news photo
Soldiers sing Christmas songs Dec. 24 at Morale, Welfare and Recreation center east at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Service members came to the event to listen to Bible readings and spiritual music.
(U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Ryan Twist)