Performing for the US Troops at Wartime

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I write this as I fly to Afghanistan.

I never thought I’d have the chance to actually say that, since I never thought I’d have the opportunity to serve my Country in any real capacity.   Instead of signing up to serve our Country as an Army or Air Force stud, I went on a service mission in my early adult years, and upon my return performing became my calling.

There’s a certain feeling associated with this trip unlike anything I’ve experienced since leaving my family as a 19-year old boy for a 2-year mission to Brazil for my Church. I recall that feeling to this day: I felt completely and utterly sick. Knots in my stomach would have been welcome. I was having a true pain of the sorrow of the unknown, the questions lingered whether I would make it back alive.

Same feeling today, only magnified by about 10,000.

You’d probably never hear this kind of concern from a real soldier going over there, at least I’m not even sure if they feel the same way, since they are incredibly brave and ready for the task ahead of them. But in my vulnerability I sit here in complete fear, coupled with faith, and can only hope for the best.

When I left for my church mission as a young man in 1997, I had graduated from high school 2 months earlier. I had no idea about the world. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was ready to spread joy and light to all in my path.   However, once the reality set in that I was going to a different country, with less amenities, teaching a gospel I barely knew but felt was right for my life, and to do all of this in a different language, that’s when it hit me.

I may not come back.   I may not survive this. Would I see my family again?

And so the preparations began.

I sat for days and wrote letters to my parents and four siblings, for every birthday and holiday, purchased and wrapped presents for every moment I would miss of my family during my two year absence. This was a monumental effort and set me up for my extra cautious methods before every trip from then on. When you see those Mormon boys with nametags and ties walking the streets you might want to understand they work their whole lives to pay for that service time out of pocket, and go unpaid in their efforts, while only having 2 calls home per year: Mother’s Day and Christmas. And then being rejected by 99% of the people they talk with.   Sets them up nicely for dating when they come home though….

It’s a lonely, scary, and yet incredible time.

But today the stakes are higher.

I am married now and a father of four young children.

Not only that, but I have a really great career. Things have never been better.

And then I get this call to go and perform for The Troops in the Middle East in the middle of wartime for the month of July. For free. I would have to cancel the couple of gigs I had lined up. Pay out of pocket for those artists replacing me at the canceled shows.

Not only that. I would also be missing out on the main month I had reserved to spend with my family, having booked only a few dates in order to have the month of July together, since most of my year is spent away from home.

And the call came to give something to my Country. A smile. Laughter.

That call had never come before.

It was a no brainer. I have never been so honored to be asked to serve my fellow service men and women in their time of service to us.

I was surprised to learn other entertainers had been invited and turned it down. I don’t know their reasons, and can respect why they would. It’s a very dangerous time out there. It’s a fairly unpleasant travel experience. It’s a long time away from family. It’s hotter than Arizona mid-summer. In fact, I’ve been told it’s between 120-140 degrees right now. For a pale boy like me that’s suicide in and of itself. I’m the guy hiding under a tree at the beach, or my own towel.

All of those things crossed my mind as to why the others wouldn’t go, but it didn’t cross my mind for one second NOT to go just because of the excuses. I even had agents laugh when they heard my enthusiasm for going, retorting, “Wow, you must not realize what you’ve gotten yourself into, every performer I’ve heard won’t go.”

Question I have is: How could I NOT go? To me, this is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life.

And yet, that HOLY Canolies we could die there, Batman, feeling lingers. A pain that is deep. A concern that is grave.

I have joked in my nervousness that “the insurance is up to date!”, or “Honey, you’ll be better off without me, the house will finally get paid off!”, and “usually I’m supposed to kill on stage, but I’m just hoping to not bomb….” Humor that works to get you through the pain. Darker humor than people are used to hearing from me, but legitimate humor in this case.

And as I wander into the abyss of the unknown, scared unlike anything I’ve ever felt, I wouldn’t turn back due to fear. For what have I to fear compared to those that risk their lives in harm’s way daily?   Who am I to feel I am above those who protect us? Soldiers marching into war and I’M concerned about me?   No. I pray for them every day. I cry every time I see a flag wave. Every morning I’m home and raise the stars and stripes from our front porch pillar I feel a pride unlike anything I can express for my gratitude to be an American. I know those hosting us will do all they can to keep us safe while we’re there, and I know the general suggestion is that it will be a wonderful experience. But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared out of my mind.

It’s the similar feeling I had before my first day of Scout Camp when I was 12.

Similar as my mission at 19.

That feeling asking my girlfriend to marry me when I was 22.

Closest to that feeling as we sat in the doctor’s office to find out whether my wife carried the genetic disorder of Huntington’s Disease that had ravaged her family, killing her father, sister, uncle, step-brother, grandparents, etc. (Thank our God she was blessed to not have it)

The feeling I had 3 Father’s Days in a row as my wife told me we were expecting a child, and another one, and another one….

That eery feeling I had as I lie awake in the saddle of the Grand Tetons, contemplating bidding for the summit or wimping out.

Sort of that concerned feeling I had last Monday before I took the stage to perform for my peers at the National Speakers Association.

But it’s a different kind of scared.   It’s the feeling that I very well am in harm’s way and have chosen to actually risk it all.   But it’s that reassurance that if I don’t return at least I went doing something significant. For my Country. And in that I couldn’t be more excited, more proud.

As you’d expect, all of my ducks are in order.   Nothing left undone. The will, trust, insurance, passwords, I’ve informed all of “my people” what to do if there’s a problem.   There’s a note under my wife’s pillow she’ll find tonight, just as there is every trip I leave for.   There are individual gifts for my children they will find through their lives left for them in strategic places. But I do this before every trip. I understand the risks of traveling on planes, yet the irony that it’s safer than driving my kids to school, and even safer than eating at McDonald’s…

As my wife and I returned from a day of shopping for everything we could imagine I may need, appropriate for the region of the middle east, southern Asia, the customs, and mostly the weather, having purchased over $1,000 in desert boots, packing gear, tan mountain man pants, long-sleeve light colored airy cotton/poly shirts, hats that cover a majority of the people in the vicinity, and more sunscreen than you’d find at a beach house for nuns and Irish immigrants, I sat my kids down in the living room.

“Kids, what does Daddy do?” I asked.

“Make people laugh for money!” they shouted with pride in their 8-years and under chorus of voices.

“Yes, sometimes we make some money, that’s pretty cool isn’t it?” I said.

“Yes, you are famous, and everyone at my school thinks you’re funny!” they offered.

“Thank you kids, I am kind of famous at your school, I did 3 assemblies this year, it’s got to count for something.” I stated. “But kids, WHAT does Daddy REALLY do?”

They thought for a moment, “Make people LAUGH!” And then they ran in circles giggling like little Raptors (I don’t know where they get that but it’s cute, it’s only sad when I need to pull out the tranquilizer).

“YES, Daddy makes people laugh, and when people laugh, what does that make them?” I lobbed.

“It makes people HAPPY!” And the screaming and running around began again. So cute. OK kids, sit just for one more second.

“VERY good guys, Daddy helps people feel happy, and joy, and better about their lives. That’s such a neat thing! And guess what? We live in the United States of America….” I began, to which they jumped to attention, hands over hearts, and recited,

“And to the Republic for which it stands….”

“Yes, kids, very good, sit down just for another second and we’ll be done. Daddy has a special job that can only be because we live in a free country. That means we can worship who we want, have the jobs we want, live the American Dream if we work hard enough. And there are countries where people aren’t allowed to have those things and our Country is free because of those people protecting our Country.”

This was the quickest lesson in history, government, and finances I could give my toddlers. But somehow, they understood it.

“So, you’re going halfway across the world to make people protecting us – HAPPY!”

“Yes, my children, isn’t Daddy lucky that Mommy would let me do this? And that you guys would support me leaving to perform for those protecting our freedoms?” I said.

As we ended the discussion I invited each child into my room to give them a special Father’s Blessing, usually reserved for the first day of school, or a birthday, or when they are sick. As an ordained Elder in the Priesthood I have the honor of blessing my children when the time is right. As each blessing began I lost it with each child. I sobbed my eyes out. I normally feel a touch of spirit that will bring a tear, but this was like turning on the faucet at Hoover Dam. After the children were blessed, I offered a blessing on my wife and our home. It was a sacred experience.

I only share this with you because it is my life and is reality. In our sorrow, fear, and concern there must be a belief in something greater, a faith that we will be protected, and we must do all we can to leave this world a better place.

And so we fly through the friendly skies to skies and locations that aren’t.

Whether you approve or disapprove of the military efforts overseas you, like me, support and pray for these Troops incessantly. Whether you believe in the God I do or have your own traditions, how grateful are we to have the ability to choose? Whether we have the chance to serve our Country or just sit back and enjoy the freedoms we have been bestowed, can we not agree that we must be grateful at every moment for the Country we live in?

My children don’t really know where I’m headed. I hope they only find out someday as they hear the stories and begin to realize this is a risky move. As we hugged at the airport and the tears flowed once again, each time I turned around they were running, waving, reaching for Daddy… My two year old asked, “Where are you going, Daddy?” I just embraced and kissed him and said, “I’ll be back soon. I’m leaving to keep you safe.”   And they kept running and waving, jumping to see me all the way through the security line….

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I’m not a soldier. I could never be so great. Never so brave. But for one moment, I felt EXACTLY what I know each and every one of them has felt as they left their families at the airport. This pit in my stomach of the unknown. And yet I’m only gone for 3 weeks.

I started this writing with the thought that those great people would never have felt like me, they’re just too brave, too courageous. But I know today, for a fact, they’ve ALL felt it, and that is the feeling of Bravery.

To you, the reader, I encourage you to do something BRAVE today in honor of those braving it out in the storm and fight for our freedom. Maybe it’s apologizing to the friend you offended, or working on that task that’s been essential but you’ve put off in order to surf Facebook, perhaps it’s writing a note to a loved one for no reason other than just because, or to finally quit that job and start the business you’ve been meaning to jump in with both feet for too long.

How can you show you are BRAVE?

Or as The Man of la Mancha would sing: “To be willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause….”

I am not alone on this trip. Figuratively or Spiritually.

The original call and invitation to go on this trip came from one of my true heroes and Speaking mentors. The man I would consider the greatest speaker I’ve ever heard in any setting, Dan Clark, CSP, CPAE, Hall of Fame. Dan will make you laugh, he’ll make you cry, he’ll make you think and reconsider what you’ve done with your life and reach for more than you ever realized you could. He is the ultimate example on and off the stage of Living The Art of Significance.

When Dan called me I was on the front row of a seminar. When Dan Clark’s number comes up on your cell you leave the seminar. I’m grateful I did, as he needed an answer immediately and I had no hesitation but to accept. Dan has been over there before, loves the experience, can hardly wait, and is bringing me along.

American Idol Finalist, and one of the world’s most beloved young singers, David Archuleta, is on this trip.   Actually, we may have been upgraded to First Class at the airport because David is with us! You would have thought the Pope was out for lunch in Rome walking through the Salt Lake Airport with David. I kept pushing people away, shouting, “Just let the boy sing, give him space to breathe and catch the next note!” I think I’ll be his bodyguard on this trip since he’s so shy, kind, and fits in my carry on. Playing keyboard and guitar for David will be the Vocal Coach of The Stars, Dean Kaelin, who’s pupils have gone on to fame and fortune for 2 decades. It is a power packed line-up. And then I’m here, too. The 3D’s and a J.

The flight path is SLC to Atlanta – Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Afghanistan. We will perform 18 times in 21 days. We travel to places like Bahrain, Kuwait, Djibuti (pronounced “Ja-Booty”, for which I requested the chance to do my Beyonce impression and sing, “My body’s too Djibuti-licious for ya babe!”, which was immediately knocked out of the running in favor of David singing “Be Still My Soul”), Kabul, Abu Dhabi, etc.

The show will flow as follows: Dan Clark will Emcee with his incredible humor and motivational stories, David Archuleta will then sing inspirational songs such as “Imagine”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and “Bring Him Home”.   The audience will be sobbing by the time I come out on stage, at which time I will attempt to bring them to laughing hysterically.

Rinse and repeat.

Our goal is to flood these wonderful Troops with joy, perspective, love, happiness, memories, gratitude for life and a willingness to hold on for one more day.

Our message is sobering and painful: Suicide Prevention. The leading cause of death of our servicemen and women is taking their own lives. And we will give them An Evening of Music, Comedy and Motivational Theater in hopes that we can remind them they have a reason to live now and later upon their safe return home.

May God be with you, with us, with our Troops, and that our message might give those in need a breath of life and fresh understanding of their significance in order to carry on, to return home safely, and know there is an entire Country cheering them on, to know they are loved, and most of all, appreciated for their sacrifice that none of us can even comprehend.

God Bless America.

 

Comments

  1. MUNK

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! God bless you all! You and your families are in our prayers! I am sure you will touch many lives for good! Take care!

  2. Jana Norton

    Jason,
    You may make people laugh for money, but this made me cry for free. Admittedly, I got here because I am a supporter of young Mr. Archuleta, I now am a huge supporter of you, Blessings for your family and loved ones. Godspeed to you, sir, and thank you for your service to our country and mankind. Respectfully, Jana Norton in Oregon..

    • Oh my goodness Jana, what a sweet comment. We are so honored to be here, just landed in Bahrain and excited to get in front of those incredible service people protecting our freedoms. Young Mr. Archuleta is as sweet of a young man as I’ve met, I’ll post pics of some of the funny exchanges between him and his fans from Atlanta to Amsterdam to our hotel lobby in Bahrain! He is loved the world over. Thank you again.

  3. sunny

    Jason, enjoyed your blog!! Have a wonderful and safe trip! What you guys are doing for the troops is AMAZING!

  4. Cheryl Nelson

    Thank you so much, Jason……….that was truly beautiful. Many of David’s fans will be praying for all of you and for our brave troops. May Heavenly Father bless all of you and your families while you are away and keep our troops safe. What a great country we live in…….so proud to be an American! Hoping we can get some videos of all of you performing……….thank you so much for being willing to go…………..and tell the troops we love them and appreciate all they are doing to bring peace in our world.

    • Cheryl, Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog post. David is a wonderful young man, I’m really honored to know him a little better now. For anyone wondering if he’s as nice as he seems, trust me, he’s as nice as he seems! Actually nicer. People in every airport in the world just recognized him and he’d stop to take photos with all of them. And I took photos of that :) We are excited to be here, and perform for the troops our first show later this evening! Thank you again!

  5. Mary Dee

    I wish I know how to thank you guys enough for your generosity and compassion. Thank you. May the Lord bless you and your families as you bless our troops with love, time, and talents. God bless our troops and their loved ones waiting for them to come home safe.

    • Mary Dee, Thank you for your kind words. We are the ones honored to be here for those serving, such a thrill! We just arrived and perform later this evening. Can’t wait! Bless check back as I’ll be updating regularly.

  6. Patty-Ann

    I’ve read this so many times now…it is that beautiful. Wishing you a safe trip, prayers on your journey. May the show bring hope, joy, and love to all of our troops and to everyone! God Bless you All.

    • Patty-Ann, you are so kind, your comment makes me well up. We just arrived in Bahrain, all safe and actually in a hotel (I wasn’t sure if we’d be in tents or what, but they are making this truly a one-of-a-kind experience for us!), and we begin performing our first of many shows later in the evening. Thank you for your kind words and support!

  7. Jason & company, thank you for bieng a blessing for our troops. They will love all of you!
    You and your family will be bless for your support of our troops.
    David is very loved & so well known all over the world. Just love him to death as a grandmotherly way! LOL!
    Gods blessing to all of you!

  8. Judie Miller

    Words cannot express the joy I feel to know that you and others are giving yourselves to our great men and women in the U.S. military. Honoring them by entertaining them is a wonderful gift. They sacrifice so much for us. Thank you all you do. Take care of David. We love him very much. Love to everyone and God Bless.

    • Thank you Judie, it is our honor to be here with these great people, not only David and those on stage, but those serving our country in times and challenges we can’t comprehend. Thank you and God Bless!

  9. Anne-Marie

    I loved reading your blog..just beautiful. Thank you for all you, David, Dan and crew are doing for our troops overseas! God bless you guys and stay safe!

  10. Beth

    Hello Jason! I must extend my gratitude as well. LOVED your blog & have become a fan of yours because of it. I think it is truly wonderful, that you guys are going to entertain the troops. PLEASE let them know that all of Davids fans are sending them BIG, BIG, BIG ((((((HUGS))))))), BIG, BIG, BIG LOVE & ENDLESS GRATITUDE for their service. Lots of people here keep them & their families in their prayers. I saw your comment about no food & water during day liight hours, David, without food that long, doesn’t compute???? , lol, he loves his food. It is interesting the different customs all over the world, one thing that is universal is Music, they’ll love David & Dean Humor is vital in a person’s life, they’ll love you & a kind, thoughtful & inspirational word, can bring great comfort, they will love Dan. Bless Your Hearts & Bless Our Service Men & Women, Take Care, Safe Travels & Thanks Again! BethFOD :)))

    • Beth, I’m honored you enjoyed the BLOG. I’m in awe that you would be a fan of mine. Thank you. David has so many fans it’s incredible, and easy to see why. He’s a great young man! We have our first show tonight, I’ll keep this updated!

  11. Pamela

    So inspired by your story and comments. Happy you all have arrived safely and looking forward to your hearing about your first concert. Our troops deserve the best and I am positive you all will provide them with a much needed taste of love from home. From my heart to all of you….blessings and prayers for a once in a lifetime of experience and love. Thank you!

  12. Jason. Love your story. I am just glad that the High priest and Elders quorum is well represented there. And who can not love Dean Kaelin. I think he is one of the most generous men when it comes to sharing with others. Glad you get to be a body guard. Couldn’t be for a better person. Well maybe just one. I could imagine being a body guard for President T. Monson would be a not to miss privileged. Take care of you and your peeps.

    • Dorothy, You are awesome. Thank you for the kind words. Dean is one of my inspirations in life, someone so talented, so gifted, worked so hard, accomplished so much….and yet you’d never know because he’s so humble. I look up to him so much. David is also someone I’m learning much from just in the few days we’ve been hanging out together. And you know what’s funny about being a body guard for Pres. Monson? I am on the Board at Hale Centre Theatre, which Pres. Monson frequents. One night they asked me and a few friends from my Ward to act as bodyguards for him so he could watch the play in peace without the distraction of every person in the theater wanting to reach out and touch him. It was a joy. At the end of the evening, I had the chance to walk him out as he held my arm, to his awaiting car in the snow, as he said farewell to the theater directors, the Dietlein Family, and proclaimed, “I have seen A Christmas Carol in theaters throughout the world, and this was the finest production I have yet to see. May God be with you, my friends.” It was like something out of a conference talk. Amazing. Really so cool to be able to help out when needed. So yes, that IS a cool experience, as is this :)

  13. Tawna Witney

    Jason,
    What an amazing experience this has to be for all of you! Mr. Clark has picked the cream of the crop in you and David! My best wishes and prayers for a safe trip, and enjoyable trip, and a trip that creates many beautiful memories for those being entertained and for you, the entertainers. Just wait, David will have you in tears as he delivers his heart thru song. That young man knows how to deliver the soul in a song. God be with you all. ♥

  14. Evan

    Two weeks ago I was in the San Antonio airport security line admiring a young veteran as he made his way through the security check. This man had lost his right arm and had a service dog to assist him. I was overcome with gratitude for his sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many of our brothers and sisters who have served. What Dan, David, Dean and you are doing there is a great and noble thing. May God bless your mission and our troops and their families. Love you brother.

    • It’s amazing the sacrifice of these young people for our Country. I’m not sure I’ll make it through the show without crying my eyes out. I’m so honored to be here. Thank you for the kind words, we bring the love of all from back home.

  15. Marylee

    Hi Jason! Sorry to be late with my comment. I read your incredible blog late last night and was touched beyond words. Just want to take the time to send my admiration to ALL traveling to the MidEast to brighten the lives of our troops. It has a rippling effect as we, back home, are overjoyed to get word of your travels and appreciate all that you have shared with us. I, like so many who have commented, have been a fan of David Archuleta since he appeared on American Idol ~truly a role model for people of all ages~ has been an inspiration to me in my life. I’m sure this amazing experience will be another growing experience for David. No doubt, he will have a blast being around you for the next few weeks, as I’ve watched some of your YT videos and laughed out loud myself! lol Thank you for your updates ~means so much to us back home cheering you all on!
    God Bless ALL that share your journey and keep you safe.
    Marylee_NCGirl

    • Marylee, This is so sweet of you, to take the time to read the whole blog, to comment, I’m grateful you were touched by it. We are honored to perform for these wonderful people. David is well and ready for a big show. I hope you enjoy the YT videos, thank you for checking them out. God bless you!

  16. Jane

    God Bless you all and PLEASE stay safe…You guys are doing something so wonderful. I’m a big fan of David’s and Love hearing about him and now a fan of yours Jason. Thanks so much for the report of all of you. Your doing an amazing thing for the Armed Services. Take care, all of you….

  17. rarchiefan

    You are right David is loved and respected all over the world and no matter where he is that love and respect flows. Y’all take good care of each other. :) Prayers!

  18. Violet

    It’s a wonderful thing you are all doing. Take care and I hope your show is a fulfilling experience for the troops and for all of your group.

  19. Janel Woodbury

    Jason,
    I wanted to thank you for the things you said in this blog. Since I found out you’d be travelling with David I’ve been watching your videos on YT and laughing so hard straight to tears. Reading this brought me to tears too. I just think you’re an amazing family man, with a strong love for your wife and children. It does any person good to see it. I’m hoping you kept each other entertained on such a long flight (I can almost hear David laughing at your jokes and impressions). Hope the jet lag isn’t so bad. Dean mentioned on FB about losing the luggage including the keyboard. Hope that gets all sorted out. So, were you able to fit David in your carry on? ;) I’m glad you’re getting to know David and learn what so many fans already know about him, what a wonderful, spiritual, caring young man he is, and an amazing set of pipes to go with it all. God bless. Looking forward to pictures and maybe videos. ~Janel Woodbury in Pleasant Grove, Utah

    • Janel, I’m honored you would take the time to read the blog and watch some videos. My goal is to spread joy, and happy you find laughter in them. I’m most grateful you can see I’m a family man first, that is true. David and Dean and I are mostly entertained by Dan Clark, he is the funniest man alive. Yes, Delta lost our luggage, but the boys went shopping today and some could find clothes that worked, but no keyboard yet :( Dean is working overtime to figure out all of the songs on guitar, luckily he’s a musical genius and David can sing the phone book…. Thank you again for your kind words and God Bless!

  20. Diane

    Jason, your blog was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read and certainly brought me to tears. I admire all of you so much for going on this journey and sharing your talents with all the brave men and women serving our country. I have been a long time loyal fan of David’s and feel a great sense of relief knowing that he is surrounded by such amazing and caring people such as you, Dan, and Dean. Have fun at the shows and I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures. God Bless all of you… Diane

    • Diane! Thank you for such kind words. I’m honored you’d read such a long blog :) David is well, we go on stage in a few hours, his voice has been heard in elevators and through the airports as he hums along working on a few new songs to perform tonight. Thank you for commenting and be sure to check back here!

    • Greg, Thank you for asking. We will only be performing for the troops, and as far as I know, the itinerary hasn’t been laid out yet due to security. If I find out anything I’ll let you know.

  21. Beth

    Hello Jason! I must extend my gratitude as well. LOVED your blog & have become a fan of yours because of it. I think it is truly wonderful, that you guys are going to entertain the troops. PLEASE let them know that all of Davids fans are sending them BIG, BIG, BIG ((((((HUGS))))))), BIG, BIG, BIG LOVE & ENDLESS GRATITUDE for their service. Lots of people here keep them & their families in their prayers. I saw your comment about no food & water during day liight hours, David, without food that long, doesn’t compute???? , lol, he loves his food. It is interesting the different customs all over the world, one thing that is universal is Music, they’ll love David & Dean Humor is vital in a person’s life, they’ll love you & a kind, thoughtful & inspirational word, can bring great comfort, they will love Dan. Bless Your Hearts & Bless Our Service Men & Women, Take Care, Safe Travels & Thanks Again! BethFOD :)))
    (my comment was in moderation for a while, so posting again, in case there was a problem :)

    • Thank you Beth, this means a lot that you would enjoy reading it. David has fans worldwide, even the front desk of the hotel in Bahrain had his song playing on their ipod as we checked in! They didn’t know if it was really him on the list but freaked out when we showed up. Really cute. We will hope to spread joy and love to all we meet. Thank you for your kind words!

  22. Mary Dee

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond and giving us glimpses on how your trip went. Maraming salamat po. Yes, I’ll be standing by for updates and maybe pics and vids of the performances or anything you are able to share. Sending prayers for your team and for our troops. :)

  23. @maxie2g0 Anne Hunt

    Thank you for sharing Jason. Your letter gives insight into David Archuleta’s mission of the past two years. All of you please remember 2Timothy 1:7 – God has sent you to be a blessing, He will cause His angels to stretch out their wings and cover you. Please Give David Archuleta a hug from all of his fan support. .. and you all be blessed Enjoy this faith based mission. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you! I appreciate that you can see the parallels with missions and so forth, I wanted that to be apparent. David is well and we are having a great time. I’ll keep posting updates!

  24. Jeff Rust

    Jason,

    This was one of the most awesome and inspiring things I have read in a long time. Thanks for sharing and even more importantly, thanks for being such an incredible person. You ROCK!! Give Dan a high five for me too…what a team!!

    • Jeff, This means so much to me my friend. You inspire me always. I’m hoping to bring a new KEYNOTE presentation home with this one :) Dan says hi back. Love you man. Give Corporate Alliance my best.

  25. TamiH

    You never cease to amaze! We miss you, we love you, and we are so excited for this amazing adventure. Thank you for your bravery and willingness to serve. I am the luckiest! God bless the 3 D’s and J and America!

    • I miss and love you and appreciate your support. It was so sad and hard to leave my sweet family, but know they are in good hands with their Mommy. You are the greatest.

  26. Lily

    Kudos to you and the three D’s, for taking the time to share some moments of joy and inspiration with all the men and women serving their country in the Armed Forces! Thanks for this wonderful, heart-felt blog post; I’ll be checking back for updates of this very *special* mission! Safe travels to all of you… and most of all, *have fun*! ♥

  27. Dear Jason,
    Thank you for the blog and for the service you have done! =)

    I know it may feel very different to travel to the Middle East. And yes, the news will never stop showing us the conflicts that are happening in that particular part of the globe which makes the travel experience becomes rather daunting. As a person who has been living there for quite sometime now and has traveled to places in the Middle East ( I am from Indonesia, lived in the States during high school and now in the Middle East for college), I can say I love this place!

    My parents of course were worried in the beginning but I have to tell you that I am sure you and the team will be safe and will have a pleasant experience in this part of the globe. People there are very hospitable. The locals will treat you like family and I encourage you to try their amazing Shawarma, Lebanese foods, khubus (bread), coffee, dates, ride camels, and see the other parts of the Middle East beyond the ordinary tour experience because those are the places that draw me into calling them home. Of course, safety goes first but regardless, I truly hope you and the team will have a joyful, smooth and memorable experience there! =)

    Welcome to my home-far-away-from-home,
    Keep us updated!

    P.S Stay hydrated because summer there is…. well you know =)

    • Thank you so much for this. You’re correct. I’m noticing some wonderful things about this beautiful place I never thought I’d get to visit. We mostly hear the negative these days about this part of the world, unfortunately, but as is usually the case, once in a place there is so much that is wonderful. We have enjoyed a marvelous stay in a grand hotel, a beautiful breakfast, hospitality and care from those taking us around, and just took a tour of the Grand Mosque. The history is amazing, the religious convictions are to be admired. I am really grateful to be here. Thank you and safe travels!

  28. WOW! And THANK YOU! Thank you Tami for sharing this on fb. Thank you Jason for writing such heartfelt and inspired words and sharing it with the world. I am balling as I type. Thank you to all who serve our country, home and abroad. Thank you to everyone moms and dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and mentors really everyone, everywhere. From our home here in little Utah haha and across the world. I thank you for all the small and big things we all do each and everyday to make a difference for the better. Jason has opened my eyes today to truly see that each one of us is so important to making this world a better place. We all have a calling in life. We all have gifts and talents. And I want to thank you Jason for developing yours. For not giving up. For achieving what most believe to be impossible. But reading your message just shows that we need to never give up on our dreams. How truly blessed you and the others are to be able to use your God given talents to bring happiness, hope, joy and love to our troops. ( still balling haha) Jason you’ve truly inspired me and many others as we can read their well wishes and prayers for you and the team. I thank you with all my heart for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us all. You have turned on a light inside that has helped me to see, to never give up on my dreams, and that hard work and faith in God will lead us down the path that He has laid for us to do His work here on earth! Thank you Jason for your example. I am truly grateful to know you and your family! My prayers are with you, Tami and the children and the amazing team with you. And our Brave Soldiers! God Bless and Thank you all! And JASON YOU ARE COMING HOME!!! ALIVE!!!

    • Leicha, You are so kind, this is amazing that you read the blog and could get out of it what I hoped a reader might. Thank you for sharing and I wish you well in your endeavors. We miss you and hope all is well!

  29. Susan Adams

    Jason,

    I am SO proud of you! I am equally proud of your family for having the strength and courage to allow you to provide this necessary service to our soldiers. Thank you for accepting the call to go. The service men and women will remember these performances, quote from them, speak fondly of them with their families and relive the moments in their service stories for a lifetime to come. Just like Bob Hope (et al) before you, you will go down in the annals of military history as one of the brave few who have truly been given the opportunity (and TOOK it) to give back in a most deliberate way to those who live and die to protect us and our freedoms. You ROCK! May God bless and protect you while you serve. We’ll see you home soon, Brother Hewlett! Susan :)

    • Susan, you are so awesome. Thank you for this kind comment and I hope you are well. Bob Hope? Hahahahaha I wish! He’s the greatest, maybe someday I can be like my hero. :) Be well and God Bless!

  30. Marylee

    Good Luck tonight Jason! I just know that the troops will have huge SMILES on their faces for a precious 90 minutes and their lives will be brightened by all that will be shared through generosity from yourself, along with David, Dan, and Dean! You guys rock! God Bless You All on your continued journey.

  31. Dorothy Johnson

    Jason
    I really appreciate you sharing that sorry about President Monson. Love that man. I can only imagine your felt the magnitude of the power of the hand resting on your arm. That story gave my goose bumps, goose bumps. It pickled me tink. BTW I think that Pres Monson is like everybody else who gets time with David. we all fangirl just a bit. (Even straight and not so straight men)
    but now I’m fangirling on you, I love LOVE humor ( cause I can easily make peeps laugh).
    I will for sure be coming to one of your shows. Keep on keeping on!

  32. Calli Saltmarsh

    I’m so proud of you. I really am. I’m married to a man like you. Who gives when asked without hesitation. He’s been on a USO tour before and talks fondly about it as one of the greatest experiences of his life.

    In fact he is gone this week sharing his testimony with his gift with Nashville Tribute Band. He’s been gone more weeks than he’s been home in the last month, tithing his talent. 9 projects for the world, one for the Lord. But with him it’s usually a 70/30 split! This week it’s been especially hard. Our daughter has been quite sick, my car had to go in the shop, and my father is dying with only a few days to live. I have felt cheated without him here but was comforted last night by a voice that told me this work was extremely important this week and that He would bear me up. Instead of self-pity I felt lifted and grateful I’m married to a man who follows the spirit in EVERYTHING he does.

    You’re little family will be just fine. You will be just fine. You’ll be safe and protected because you are tithing your talents and the Lord needs you. I love you friend.

    • Calli, Thank you. I look up to your hubby more than you both know, admire and love that man. I am so sorry to hear about your father, prayers are with you, and hope your daughter is feeling better. Love you and thank you for the kind words.

  33. Brad

    Here I sit in Afghanistan, near the end of my fourth month out of nine. Sometimes I wonder if anyone thinks about us. It’s nice to hear that people are willing to come and give us a moment to think about something besides war.
    Thanks

    • Brad, you’re in the country we are planning on visiting, although I’m not sure which camp we’re coming to, I hope we have the chance to meet you. Thank you for your service. I know in my home we think of our Troops multiple times daily, every morning as we pray as a family, each time I raise the flag and at night as I take it down, as well as in my evening prayers. We love and appreciate you and hope to have the chance to come and entertain you, hope you are where we are going!

  34. Scott Johnson

    Jason,
    Great blog post. In fact, AWESOME POST!!! Love it. Best wishes to you performing in harms way & best wishes to your family while you are away for three weeks. Rock it out of this world.

    • Scott, Thank you so much my friend! A lot has happened since this post, I hope you’ll take a few moments to read some of the recent posts as well, very exciting times!

  35. Bill Freeze

    Jason,

    Thank you for having the courage to use your talent to serve our country by entertaining our young men and women serving in the armed forces. I know it will be an incredible experience for you and the other performers and our troops will love your act. Be safe, have fun, thank God for this opportunity and remember the Price of Freedom is Never Paid!

  36. So inspiring to read of the preparation and plans that went into this trip. I love those babies and that mama that sent you off. Johnny boy asked me why I was crying and I said I was so happy because Jason was going to a dangerous part of the world to help people be happy. God bless us all as we fight the battles before us.

    • Thank you Christine. Wonderful to hear from you. If this blog post stirred emotions I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read some of the most recent ones since arriving here. It’s been eye-opening! Love and miss your family, hope all is well, and give Johnny Boy and Johnny Daddy, and everyone in your house of love, a big hug from “uncle jason” :)

  37. Annetta Gallagher

    Wow Jason, I feel so humbled reading your blog. Truly brought me to tears. You have touched mine and Kevin’s lives in so many ways. You are wonderful, brilliant, and I can’t even imagine the energy and spirit your “troupe” is bringing to our troupes who sacrifice so much! A million thanks to you all! Much love and prayers are with you!

    • Annetta, wonderful to hear from you friend! I think of you and Kevin often, especially when in Lindon, or driving in general and seeing that awesome license plate border on pretty much everyone’s car :) Love you guys, you’ve been great advocates of mine, I hope all is well. God bless.

  38. Julie

    Wow Jason, you’ve always made me laugh so hard, didn’t expect to cry so hard reading this. God bless you and all serving with you. I know you will all be a light in a very dark place in the world. Our troops NEED you!

  39. Sylvia Andersen

    Jason,
    Again I was totally enthralled in your blog. I love how your write and of course love how you perform. Take care, be safe, and come home soon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving this service to those who daily put their lives on the line for others.

    Sylvia

Trackbacks

  1. Belinda Broido

    Performing for the US Troops at Wartime | Jason Hewlett

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