January 2023: CRISIS OF STORMS
The burden of leadership must often lay completely on the one Christ has entrusted the mission to. The younger officers have not yet gained the experience that battle brings and are not ready to see a leader in doubt during critical times. They must have absolute belief that the commanding officer is in control of the situation and be tasked with only obeying orders. If they see doubt, they will hesitate when critical orders are given. I have never experienced a time in ministry when we have had so many difficult storms that the Lord has ordained for this ministry to go through. And many of them would cause such great harm if we did not intervene in these critical situations. We are drawing closer to 1,400 lives being saved in Afghanistan. Had we not kept our testimony pure, I have no doubt this would have affected our ability to get donors to give in such a way that so many could be saved. I believe as Christians, we need to be careful to lead a life above reproach. I see so many falling into compromise, and they are by example, leading the weak astray. I once had a brother in Christ tell me that he wanted to help people to know their liberty as believers to drink alcohol. I asked him if this was truly what he wanted his ministry to be remembered for, and he did not answer but instead had a stunned look.
Despite his busy schedule during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often visited hospitals to encourage the wounded. On one occasion, he saw a young soldier near death and asked if there was anything he could do. The young man responded and asked Mr. Lincoln if he could transcribe a letter to his mother. The soldier did not recognize the President, and the President sat down to write the letter. The letter began with my dearest mother; I was wounded very badly doing my duty and will not recover. Do not sorrow too much for me. Kiss father, Mary, and John for me. The young man was too weak to continue, and the President signed the letter written from your son by Abraham Lincoln. The soldier asked to see the letter, and when he read it, he said are you really the president, and Mr. Lincoln responded yes and asked if he could do anything else. The soldier responded, I think it would help if you held my hand and stayed with me through to the end. The President granted his request, offering warm words of encouragement until death took him with the dawn.
When I read a testimony such as this, it often makes me wonder why men in leadership try to test the boundaries of what is permissible. When by choosing to truly live for Christ, we can change the world. I have told many of you about one of the orphans that we had brought to us in Mexico named Clara. At the time, she was three years of age and had a sexually transmitted disease. Her father had been raping her from the time she was one year old. When I first met Clara, I had never seen a child so traumatized. When a man would walk into the room she was in, she would cover her eyes and begin to cry uncontrollably. She would then peek to see if the man was still there and would begin to cry again from terror. When I approached her, I touched her very gently and did my best to comfort this little one. She eventually calmed down, but then when I got up to leave, the crying started again. She did not know how to respond because she did not know if she would be hurt again. Through many prayers and love, Clara began to heal. For Christmas of 2019, I visited her and the children at the orphanage. When I arrived, it was evening and dark. When I walked in, the lights were off because the children were watching a Disney movie. I did not see Clara at first, so I asked the director where she was. The director of the orphanage pointed and said that she was right there. Clara sat up and smiled at me with the most beautiful smile and waved. When I saw the calm and happiness in her eyes, it brought me great joy. There is nothing I could have received for Christmas that was more precious to me than to know this little girl was safe and loved. In the orphanage, I had cameras installed in every room and in places where the children would be so they could be monitored 24 hours a day to ensure that no child would be abused. But we had one little girl that was severely handicapped and had a tongue seven times larger than the normal tongue. One night at about 1 o’clock in the morning, she stopped breathing and went home to be with the Lord. The authorities came in and were shown the video, but a wicked woman tried to accuse the director of murder. The authorities came and took the kids and shut the orphanage down. This went on for months with this wicked person trying to make a name for herself. But finally, a judge looked at the surveillance video and rebuked those who had taken this action. He asked why this had been brought to his court; as you could see, the child had died of natural causes, and the case was dismissed. But the damage had been done. After this time, the founders of the orphanage prayerfully decided to retire and wait on the Lord for their next steps in ministry. We could not find Clara. I had people going to the authorities trying to make sure she was safe, but they were resolute about not identifying her whereabouts. But I just refused to relent until I knew she was safe. I had been praying a King David prayer over her father from the time we had received Clara. The prayer was to have him completely repent or destroy him. I asked the Lord to not allow him to ever hurt her or another child. Finally, word came that Clara had been found and was with her grandmother. The word was that the grandmother was a good woman, but I knew if the daughter was allowed to see Clara the father would most likely be there. I told Luke I was going to Mexico to see Clara, and if I found the father in the home, I would make sure that he experienced wrath and a beating. And if he had touched her, I was prepared to do whatever was needed to protect Clara. I almost expected Luke to give me a rebuke, he being former law enforcement and a Marine officer, instead he just said, “Roger that. Let’s go.” Luke had been with me when I first met Clara and understood and saw the trauma this child had been through. He knew what must be done in circumstances such as this. He also knew that I could not live with myself if I allowed Clara to be hurt; I would rather experience prison. The Lord did answer my prayer; Clara’s father was dead. The Lord had brought down justice. I do not rejoice that someone has perished for all of eternity. And I do not take pleasure in knowing that a person is eternally separated from Christ, but I am so very thankful Clara is safe. I will see her again this Christmas season and want to make sure she has a princess bedroom set. I have informed the grandmother that Far Reaching Ministries will take care of all of Clara’s financial and medical needs, which will be many. I plan to care for her as though she is my own daughter.
I believe we are living in a time when men need to behave as men and not be tempted by things that will tarnish our witness. The Bible says that if you are faithful in small things, He will give you greater things. I believe one of the reasons that so many have lost faith and have begun to compromise is that they started letting little liberties into their life and have lost that first love. They quit spending time with the Lord and did not look to Him to do great things. While in Ukraine on this last trip, we purchased two homes for orphans. The children are all victims of war and have lost their parents. The homes were well-built, and we were able to get them for $15,000 each. But we will need another $15,000 each to get them in proper living condition and probably another $15,000 each to furnish them with stoves, refrigerators, beds, and everything else that is needed for the children’s care. While the issues facing our ministry are extreme and many, I consider it a privilege to be able to care for those who have lost so much, and I do not see this as a burden. While working with the Ukrainian chaplains, one of the issues we had to deal with was their great hate for the Russians. Many said that they will never forgive them. I explained to the men that forgiveness is not having warm feelings for those who have committed great harm to your people but that they should all be praying for the salvation of the Russian soldiers. I explained that probably the great majority did not even want to be at war; they were just young boys following orders. I went on to tell the chaplains that they needed to remember that they were still called to represent Christ the way He calls us to represent Him. They had a lot of questions about how to behave, and I explained that the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for war and a time to kill and that we must look at what the circumstances are.
I told the Ukrainian chaplains that in October of 2019, we were headed up to the capital, Juba. We had been summoned by the commanding general for a meeting. As we were traveling, we came upon a vehicle about a hundred yards ahead of us when automatic gunfire broke out and hit the vehicle, killing one man and one child. Then, rebels came out of hiding and swarmed over the vehicle. We hit the brakes and went to guns but did not have enough men to overtake the rebels, so we radioed for reinforcements. The rebels took five children and several women. We knew that the children would either be sold into slavery or made child soldiers, and the women would all be raped many times that night, and the raping would never end. When our men arrived, we set up a battle plan to overtake the rebels. We then outflanked them, and we gave them the opportunity to surrender. But they refused, so we fought it out killing all the rebels and bringing everyone back to safety. I explained to the Ukrainian chaplains that we did not set out that day to have a gun battle; it was completely out of our control, but the care of those who were abducted was completely dependent on our actions. By behaving as followers of Christ, they were all rescued. I believe the Lord allowed us to be there so those people would be saved. Just last week, I read about a man who killed his 11-month-old daughter, then dismembered her body. She was a beautiful little girl. I wished my men had been there to save her. While in Ukraine, I gave money to two young mothers with children whose husbands had been killed in the war, and one was severely tortured. Trust me, I have to contend every day with choosing to realize that God has sent me to save and bring healing to those who are lost and victimized. But the first sword I go for: is God’s Word.
Every difficulty we face must be dealt with according to scripture. I tell the men do not let the problem take hold of you, but through Christ, take hold of the problem. As for our chaplains, I do not allow the men to boast about how many kills they have. This is not something we boast about. Unfortunately, because of sin, it is sometimes required to take up arms. Our purpose is to take the love of Jesus to a lost world. It is only to protect the innocent that we are forced to take up the sword. When we have such a great cloud of witnesses in the Word, giving examples of both those who have succeeded and those who have failed, why would we want it written in eternity that we took the lower road. Rather, let it be said that our light so shined before men that they saw our heavenly Father. If this letter seems a little chaotic, it is because we are having to deal with so many storms. In the end, when our time on this earth is done, I pray that it will be said of the Chaplain Corp and this ministry that we gave no occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme. If you remember when King David sinned and slept with another man’s wife, God sent the prophet Nathan and he told Kind David by your actions, you have given great occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme. Tremendous trials can either define a man and his character, or break him, depending on how he trusts the Lord. When a man goes through tremendous adversity does he turn to the King of Kings and wait on the Lord, or does he turn to something that will numb his senses?
Far Reaching Ministries