Keith Matthew Maupin is a young man I have never met but for whom I've been praying for this past year. I was "introduced" to who he was about a year ago when stickers of him in a soldier's uniform and a smiling face were put out at our church for anyone to take along with the words "pray for Matt." I asked our church secretary what the story was with him. She told me that recently a couple ladies from church who went to the grand opening of the Creation Museum met Matt's mother on an airplane who told them the story.
Matt, born and raised in Ohio, was a private first-class in the Army, and a good one from what his mom said. He was 20 years old when his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Bagdad on April 9, 2004. If I remember correctly, three soldiers went missing that day; Matt was one of them. Nothing was immediately heard, but a video was released about five days later clearly showing Matt surrounded by five gunmen. A month after his capture, Matt was promoted to specialist. Several months later, a second video was released showing a US soldier being shot in the back of the head, but there was no way to identify who that soldier was, although it was believed to have been Sgt. Maupin.
However, his family held high hopes that he was still alive and would one day come home. In 2005, the Army again promoted his rank to sergeant. And his family continued to hope. They were in frequent contact with the Army, with the Pentagon, and also met personally with President Bush...they did not want their son to be forgotten; they wanted to make sure someone was always looking for him.
Sadly, this weekend closure was given to them. A soldier's remains had been positively identified through DNA testing; Matt wouldn't be coming home alive...but he will be returning home...one of the many heroes who gave his life for our country. There is so much controversy about the war in Iraq, but I am thankful there are men and women like Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, like my nephew Andrew, and like countless others who selflessly serve at a cost that is sometimes higher than we would like.
Please pray for the Maupin family...and pray for the thousands of other families who have a loved one serving his/her country, whether they are here in the States or somewhere overseas, for those who have had to permanently say good-bye to their loved ones and for those whose "good-bye" will only be temporary. And please pray for wisdom for President Bush and all the others who are making so many decisions on a constant basis regarding the Middle East.