Soldiers Produce Prayer Shawls for Families
By Army Spc. Tiffany Evans
Special to American Forces Press Service
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Oct. 2, 2008 When Army Staff Sgt. Lani Yearicks was little, she learned how to crochet. Four years ago, after neglecting her skills for years, her brother invited her to take part in the prayer shawl ministry at their church.
Army Staff Sgt. Lani Yearicks, a native of Gwinn, Minn., assigned to the 10th Mountain Division Band, crochets a prayer shawl Sept. 21, 2008, at Camp Victory, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tiffany Evans, Multinational Division Center
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Yearicks’ crocheting came back to her, and when she deployed, she began sending prayer shawls home - until she came up with a better idea.
“I was talking to my mom about the prayer shawl ministry at home, and decided to start one here,” said Yearicks, a member of the 10th Mountain Division Band.
Chaplain (Capt.) Mike Jones, Task Force Mountain chaplain, helped her to develop a PowerPoint presentation to advertise her crochet and knitting group and helped her find a location for the group to meet.
The shawls are being sent home to the families of fallen servicemembers and those heading home on emergency leave. The group and one or more military chaplains pray over each shawl before it’s sent, Jones said.
“As my brother says, ‘These shawls are like a hug made out of yarn,’” said Yearicks, a native of Gwinn, Minn. “Just the thought behind them can help to cheer up a heavy heart.”
Members of the group sit around a table talking about their week while working on the prayer shawls. Each meeting helps the individual blow off some steam and do something productive, said Army Lt. Col. Melinda Jackson, 547th Medical Company.
“Most of our group shows up around 2:30 p.m. when they get out of church,” said Jackson, a native of University Place, Wash. “So don’t be shy, whether you know how to knit or crochet (or not), you’re welcome to come. We are willing to help teach others how to knit or crochet during the meetings.”
(Army Spc. Tiffany Evans serves in the Multinational Division Center Public Affairs Office.)