(Image courtesy of TheSurrenderMovie)
Sometimes life deals you such an incredible surprise it truly feels like a gift. When we arrived at church last night we were not prepared for the speaker that Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills invited last night in what is called Sessions. It's an informal interview like setting where we talks to people about their faith. Sounds like nothing new right?
Only last nights guest was Major Damon Friedman, an active duty officer for the "Air Force Special Tactics who has been decorated with three Bronze Star medals, one with valor for acts of heroism in a combat zone - who was sent to "The Valley of Death" to extract soldiers who had been in constant battle for nearly a year. This was no ordinary mission. The threat was high, as over 40 Americans had been killed in action by the Taliban enemy. He was inserted with two Special Forces teams into an extremely hot landing zone encompassing over 200 Taliban fighters in the surrounding area. The enemy forces executed over half a dozen complex ambushes with rocket propelled grenades, heavy machine gun fire, and small arms fire from higher ground.
He immediately brought fire from the sky with bombs bursting and blasting the enemy. For over the next 72 hours straight, he fought for his life. Faced with reality that he and his men were outnumbered, he made a command decision - a deal with God. That if he was able to return home safely with his men, he would commit his life to following and serving God. But he never realized the battles that he would face when he returned home to U.S. soil would prove to be the most difficult in his life." (TheSurrenderMovie.com).
What he discovered is that returning service men and women have no real options for dealing with the horrors of what they have seen and faced in the war on foreign soil. The more time they spend away from their families, the more difficulty they have in trying to assimilate back to life as it was before they left. There are many programs out there for dealing with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but they lack was is really needed to help heal all the broken places in their lives they can't even speak about. They all lack God in them and that is the only thing that can replace their black hearts that return from the war and the things they carry with them in their minds.
What he has learned is that our returning service personnel are turning to things for self medication. Whether it is through drugs, alcohol, abuse, sex, or forms of violence. These in turn do nothing to help but merely make things worse for them and their family. This leads to self destruction, in which every 65 minutes, a veteran takes their own life. That means every day, 22 of our returning men and women are taking their own life. The enemy is taking advantage of this as well. They are sharing that they don't have to kill them on foreign soil, they are killing them off every single day on ours through their actions of suicide.
Is this what our service men and women are left to deal with alone?
This doesn't even apply to just our service men and women, but anyone who is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it applies to our First Responders, people dealing with the horrors of abuse and human trafficking, those involved in violent crime or natural disasters and the body count is continuing to rise. So what can we do to change things?
Major Damon Friedman is working on a ministry outreach program called Surrender that enables people dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to truly get the help they need by talking with people who know what they are going through and have gone through and provide an option that offers the only hope they are looking for in a right relationship with Jesus as their Commander in Chief of their lives, to serve Him with their lives and exchange those broken pieces for a transformation in their life they are looking for.
His first project is TheSurrenderMovie, which is a documentary of the lives of 7 men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces who have found that redemption in their broken lives only through Jesus. They are hoping it will change the lives not only of those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, but to impact those of us who are the friends and family of someone who has served or are serving and that means just about every single one of us. There are 2.1 million service men and women who are serving and returning home who need our help. So what can we do?
The first thing we can do is pray. Pray for those who are dealing with PTSD. Pray that God will change their lives and give them hope again. Pray for Damon Friedman to get this project and ministry off the ground.
The second thing is to consider donating to help get the movie off the ground. You can learn more about the project and the film by visiting their website at TheSurrenderMovie.com. You can also find them on Facebook and learn what is happening on the different phases of the project. Imagine the impact we could have if every single one of us helps in whatever way we can. It can truly be life changing and hopefully we will reduce the number of veterans who are dying simply through the lose of hope from 22 to 0 through the efforts of this project. Time for us to enlist today!
To learn more about Major Damon Friedman, The Surrender Movie or how you can get help for someone dealing with PTSD, please click on the links below:
You can find The Surrender Movie on Facebook.