Lt. Beau Baer of Bushland is currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He comes home late this summer.
With a wife and two teenaged children back here at home, he was expected to miss a lot in their lives.
But, thanks to technology, Lt. Baer has been getting a lot more than prayers from home.
Parishoners travel from all over the panhandle to worship at Central Church of Christ with their church family but, no one comes as far as Lt. Beau Baer.
He's currently serving a one year tour of duty in Afghanistan. But, thanks to techology, he manages to attend services at Central almost every week.
"In fact, Beau has had better attendance at Church while in Afghanistan than when he was here." Said Central Church of Christ preaching minister Allan Stanglin.
With an I-pad and Wifi, Lt. Baer and his wife Shirlene sit third row center almost every week. Shirlene thought of bringing her husband to church one day while talking with him via Facetime after a weekly bible class. "It was the first week he had his Wifi set up in Afghanistan and so he's been coming every week. They've had a couple of missions where he's had to miss some, but that was not our human thinking at all. The lord just put that together." Shirlene Baer said.
She adds, "at first I didn't have a stand, and I would just hold it and try to hide it so I wouldn't bother anybody. But, people started seeing it and telling me how blessed they were. They just thought that was amazing that he was there worshipping with us and I knew it would become a weekly thing."
"It was that first Sunday when she had him on, we actually had her hold up Beau and we waved and clapped and told him we loved him. But then, he was here the next week and the next and the next." said Stanglin.
A member of that church family knows all too well how far technology has come. Bruce Tidmore fought in Vietnam. "It was strictly letters. We had to rely on mail every two weeks. One time I stood in line for 12 hours to make a phone call and never got to make the call." Tidmore said.
Lt. Baer's reach goes beyond the church pews. He also attends many of his children's events. Whether it's a choir concert or track meet. "He's been to so many of my events. He was at my UIL contest which was really cool because he was right there in the front." said Chloe Baer, Lt. Baer's daughter.
Shirlene also makes sure her husband is included in all big family photos with someone filling in as the body while holding the Ipad over his face......
But, just like most families, it's not all fun and happiness.....
Creed Baer, Lt. Baer's son, wasn't happy with his father when he was deployed. "I was mad at him, Somtimes I still get mad at him
But, Creed know it's not his father's fault. Lt. Baer understands that and had mixed emotions about going to Afghanistan. Happy to serve his country but, upset about leaving his family.
Even though he's more than 9,000 miles away, he still manages to be there as a father.
Creed said, "a couple of nights ago, I was really excited about some new clothes I bought and so I called him in the middle of the night and he answered so I was talking to him then."
"Being gone has definitely shown some importance on that as well, I wish all fathers could see that." said Lt. Baer.
Because of the 10 hour time difference, it's often late Sunday night in Afghanistan when Lt. Baer gets out of church but, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Everyone else is downstairs at the smoke pit, or they're down at the boardwalk, eating, joking around so, it's been a blessing for me because this is a positive way for me to spend my time with my family and my church family and worshipping god." Lt. Baer said.
Stanglin adds, "they have really served more to inspire us. they look like what a marriage is supposed to look like."
"The thing that has gotten us through this thing on both sides of the world is the Lord. Beause H has guided me. I have no fear." Shirlene Baer said.
Lt. Baer will only have to attend church via Ipad for a few more months. He is set to come home in August.
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