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Seadrift Intercessors: Fervent Prayer Avails Much

By David Kithcart
The 700 Club It was 1941, and America was at war. The whole country was riveted to the radio, eager for any news from overseas. And people were praying. For the young men in a little church in a little town in Texas, something miraculous was about to happen.

"All the people in the city here was praying for everybody," says one survivor of the war. "If somebody wouldn't have been praying for us, I don't think a lot of us would make it back."

"We knew God was going to take care of us," says another survivor. "Our mothers were praying for us, and everybody here at the church was praying."

"Well, we knew that we were in the hands of God," another replies.

"It had made all the difference in the world to us," declares survivor Joe Fred Holder, "to the ones that knew that Mama was praying."

photos of soldiers from Seadrift who served in WWIIThis memorial is in honor of the men of the small coastal community of Seadrift, Texas, who left to serve their country in World War II. Even after more than half a century, their memories of the war are still fresh. And this is their story. It's about the boys who went off to war, and the families who stayed behind to pray for their safe return.

The pastor of the First Assembly of God Church, Robert Kidell, came up with an idea. As members brought in photographs of their sons who were in the military, they would be added into a picture frame: a collage for prayer. Laura Weaver was one of the intercessors.

"We all began to get a burden for those boys," she remembers, "and began to meet, and pray, and seek God for their safety. We stood on the 91st Psalm. It seemed like we read that every time we would meet. We didn't only pray at the church, we prayed at home. It seemed like that we had that burden that just stayed with us. And I thank God for that burden."

"I signed up for the Navy in 1940 right down here at the bay," recalls one survivor. "Officers came from Corpus Christi up here and signed me up in 1941."

"It was like a wild nightmare. You were on the move all the time. You never knew what to expect from day in and day out. And I thank God for saving my life. We never lost a man off our ship, but we came close to it. A lot of the boys lost their lives. And we picked up some, the best we could to get to them -- the seas was so rough. I mean, it was wild. But we picked them up, and some of them we'd take up on the mountains there at Okinawa and buried them. One of the boys from Port Acres, Texas -- I saw his name on his belt -- that was our job, patrol and rescue."

"I was drafted November the 1st, 1943," remembers Joe Fred Holder. "I was in the Coast Guard. I was drafted, but they gave me my choice of service."

the Seadrift intercessors"When he was got his call to go into the service, our daughter was two months old," Joe's wife remembers. "And we had just moved into a little house here in Seadrift. And I stayed with his mother, and she had five boys in the service. Every morning she and some of the ladies that belonged to the church here, at 10:00 o'clock they would come faithfully and pray for their sons. And that is my first connection with proof of seeing how faith worked."

Joe Fred Holder's ship was on its shakedown cruise, getting ready to enter combat when the main engine conked out.

"We were scheduled to go to the Philippines," Joe remembers. "And I just feel like, myself, that it was divine intervention that kept that ship from going to the Philippines. Some of the other ships were sunk, some of them were blown up."

"Things were getting worse and worse on the battlefields," one Seadrift intercessor recalls, "and we'd hear all kinds of things. Well, we really had to stay in there and bombard heaven at that time. It was not a time to give up."

Gerald McCowan was in the 3rd Air Cargo Resupply. In just a few hours it would be D-Day. Gerald says he remembers one soldier in particular.

Eisenhower visits the soldiers"I said, `Well, you see General Eisenhower out there?' And I said, `He's bidding the troops goodbye and good luck. And I said, `so we'll be going in the morning.' So he told me, `Well, I've got a wife and a three-year-old daughter in Dallas,' and he says, `My life hasn't been too good of a life,' he said, `I don't believe my prayers would get any higher than our tents.' He said, `Would you pray for me tonight?' And I said, `I sure would.'"

The next morning, on D-Day, Gerald and his friend were flying in formation in two different planes.

"But when we started in over this island, or just shortly afterwards, his plane was hit. And it exploded. The concussion was so bad that it threw our plane up, and I was looking at the floor, and the dirt in the cracks of that plane, you could see it just jump up. And it was just a big flash."

Finally, the war was over.

"I had one of the greatest moms that ever lived," Joe Fred Holder says with a smile. "She let us know that she was praying for us. She let us know how much she believed that her prayers were going to be answered. And that gave us an inner feeling that everything was going to be all right."

a soldier who was prayed for by the intercessorsAnother soldier remembers his mother as well. "She sent me a little Testament. I carried that little Testament in my pocket no matter where I'd go. So God brought us through it, there was just too much that went on over there to believe any other way."

Gerald McCowan agrees. "I'd come home on a furlough before I went overseas and my mother's eyes would begin to get red the day before I'd have to leave. And I past this little old smokehouse in the back, and she'd be praying. And if it hadn't been for those prayers, I wouldn't be here today."

Out of the 52 soldiers in the picture frame in the little church in Seadrift, Texas, every one of them returned home from World War II alive.

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