Thursday, April 30, 2009


You never know what is going to happen as you rise from bed each day. Every day of our lives God provides junctions of obedience opportunities. I got up Thursday at beautiful FT Dix for an exciting day of Dr's appointments...woo hoo! My task was to get a ride off post to a civilian doctor to check my hearing....for the 3rd time, good grief. I was picked up here on post in 15 pack van by a big ol jolly guy named Dave. As we left post I found that Dave was the talkative type, just me and him in this van cruising the NJ countryside. The drive was about an hour. I didn't feel much like talking, I had the doctor's eval on my mind. But, I found out some info about Dave that would come in handy on our return trip. Dave is 62 years old and his job is to take soldiers to physician appointments. It seems that Dave loves to talk to other drivers while he know the type. I also found out that Dave's wife died just a year and a half ago after a 14 month battle with cancer. But, he seemed happy. I would also find out why later on.

I got done at the doctor, where I had promptly failed my audiogram. Now once a again my deployment lay in a state of limbo. I came back to Dave's van feeling sorry for myself. Dave and I headed back for FT Dix. I made some small talk with him about the weather, NJ cops, convenience stores and other insignificant dribble.

There was a lull in the conversation and I began to gaze out the window, noticing that spring is busting loose all over NJ now. Just then, God spoke in my spirit. "You need to talk to this man about me" I quickly replied, "No God, he is just fine, he's happy driving his van and he does not want me to talk about You." How stupid was that?! I continued to look out the window avoiding God. know can't avoid God can you? There is no hiding from Him is there? Just check out Psalm 139:7

It kept on, "Talk to this man about Me". I continued to disobey what I knew was the right thing to do. So... relented. I tried to think of a springboard to talk to him. Football? Van driving? The pleasant weather in NJ...not likely. Finally I blurted out, "You know a friend of mine lost his wife to cancer last weekend." My friend Steve's wife did pass away last weekend.

I said, "Even though it has been a year and half for you, it still must be very difficult." He replied,
"It will really test your faith."

Hmmm, I thought, "He said faith, I wonder where this is going?"

Dave said, "Its funny that I'm riding with a Chaplain today, do you mind if I tell you a story?"
I said, "Dave, I'd love to hear your story."

He went on to tell me of the pain that he had gone through at the death of his wife. How he had almost given up. And of how his cousin invited him to an FCA breakfast. He said, "My cousin is one of those born again guys, do you know what I am talking about?"

I slyly said, "Yes Dave, I do know about those guys."

He went on to say that he had gone to the breakfast and the speaker had him hanging on every word. And at the end of the guys message there was an invitation of some kind.

Dave said, "He asked us all to close our eyes and bow our heads. Then he asked us if we wanted to receive Christ as the savior of our lives that we should raise our hand! Brad, I can't explain it but my hand shot up in the air and then the guy asked us to come up front with him. And there were 700 people there. Guess what I did Brad?"

"I don't know Dave, what did you do?"

"Brad, I was the first guy down front, and I still can't explain it. All I know is that as weird as it sounds, with my wife dying , I am more at peace now than I ever have been in my life. Do you understand what I am saying?" He reminded me of the blind guy in John 9:25 who said, "All I know is that I was blind but now I see!'

I said quietly with tears hidden behind my sunglasses for effect, "Yes Dave, I know exactly what you mean."

For the rest of the ride Dave and I talked about the goodness of Jesus. We prayed together as he dropped me off at my place of duty. I left the vehicle stunned.

I was stunned and my stiff neck, stunned at God's continual work. I was grateful that in the moment I had to be obedient God persisted. Not because He wanted me to have an evangelistic scalp to hang on my spiritual lodge pole, but because God wanted to display His glory to me and to Dave. We were just two guys whose journeys crossed paths that day. And beleive me God's glory was on display!

I told Dave what I tell alot of people in those situations, maybe at an airport or in a big city. I'll probably never see Dave this side of heaven. With that in mind I closed with this.
"Dave, If don't see you here, I'll see you there!"

He answered back, "That is the truth!"

And that is the truth.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

5 weeks in!

Its been 5 weeks since I left home for the lovely confines of FT Dix New Jersey. Our time here is fast winding down. It won't be long before we board our plane for the middle east. In that time our unit has been trained up well by the cadre here and we have grown together as a unit and as friends.

Now we are in the medical screening process. It is a nerve racking time especially for us older guys. One thing in the medical screening can get you taken off a mission and health issues are more prevalent as one tips the calendar after 40.

I am not immune to this. I have failed a hearing exam. I am now classified on profile for moderate to sever hearing loss. Its frustrating, because there is little I can do about it. I have worked all my life around power tools and weapons. I should have worn ear protection but never did. I am praying that the docs will allow me to go with my troops in spite of this. Funny thing is, I can hear people when they talk to me and I can hear a deer in the woods when I'm hunting.

In my prayer time I've been asking alot of why to God. It was 4 years ago that I was removed from a mission to Afghanistan due to a paperwork issue. It feels alot like groundhog day for me.
But praying this morning I was reminded of Psalm 145 that says the following:
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love Him

The verse that jumped out at me this mornig was, He hears their cry and saves them. Even if I cannot hear, God hears. He hears my cry. He saves me. Last night I prayed with my friend Wes, who is also going through a physical issue that might jeopardize his mission. We prayed together and cried out to God, mainly because there is no where else we can go. I feel alot like Richard Gere in An Officer and A Gentleman. The Gunnery SGT was trying to get him to quit through some tortuous PT. But he wouldn't quit and he screamed out, "I got no where else to go!"

I really feel like that today. I know without a doubt I am where I am supposed to be today. I got no where else to go!

So pray for us old guys as we try to live out this mission. Pray that health issues will not get in the way.

I'll post another update in the near future and I'll let you all know how the medical stuff shakes out. Thanks again for your prayers!

My quarters....tight!

The Company Guidon

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...