Church members from Florida, Texas killed in roadside bomb attacks in Iraq
Marine Lance Cpl. Marcus Mahdee and Army Pvt. Aaron Hudson — both active church members known for their love of God and country — were killed in separate roadside bomb attacks in Iraq.
Both were 20 years old and baptized in their teens, and both believed in the cause of freedom, their families said.
“These kids, we’ll see in heaven,” said Don Yelton, director of the American Military Evangelizing Nations ministry, or AMEN, sponsored by the White’s Ferry Road church, West Monroe, La.
Their congregations -— one in Florida, the other in Texas — knew Mahdee and Hudson as faithful young men always willing to serve, whether passing a communion tray or donning camouflage in a war zone.
<>align=”left”>Mahdee grew up in the Sylvania Heights church, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He died May 9, 2005, when a roadside bomb went off in combat operations near Al Karmah.
As a teenager, the quiet football player overcame his shyness to lead singing and teach the kindergarten Sunday school class, said Mahdee’s mother, Shirley Mabson.
“The children loved Marcus,” Mabson said. “He was always quiet, so they’d always tell him to speak up.”
Mahdee called his grandfather, Linton Harris, “Daddy.” Harris said he never had to tell Mahdee to get ready for church.
“Every Sunday, he was ready to go,” Harris said. “Most of the time he was going to be asking to do what he could, be it read a Scripture or lead singing.”
Hudson was a member of the Denton, Texas, church, where his father, Mark, is a deacon.
He died April 16, 2005, a day after shrapnel from a roadside bomb struck him on patrol between Baghdad and Camp Taji.
Before losing consciousness, Hudson asked if his fellow soldiers were OK, said his minister, Terry Collins.
“He just always had someone else in mind. He was an unselfish servant,” said Collins, who baptized Hudson.
Hudson — energetic, friendly and happy — was always in Bible class and “just always glad to participate when you called on him,” Collins said.
The Denton congregation knew Hudson was in a dangerous situation and prayed fervently for his protection, Collins said.
But nobody really thought the worst would happen, the minister said.
“When a young man dies at 20 years of age, we think not only about the value of living in a free land … but the importance of knowing that we’re in Christ and that we have a heavenly place to go,” Collins said.
Yelton, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Hendersonville, N.C., said the deaths of Mahdee and Hudson should remind fellow Christians of the many church members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Write them and encourage them before it’s too late,” Yelton urged. “Send them an e-mail or a package and be involved in their lives a little bit.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION on AMEN, see www.wfrchurch.org/amen or write to: AMEN Ministry at 135 Larchmont Drive, Hendersonville, NC 28791.
June 1, 2005