I'm back from the Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway, where the Battle-Buddy Info website was received with great enthusiasm. On Monday, while I was driving all over Dallas unpacking the cargo van loaded with costumes and crafts, our Military Liaison was "reporting for duty" at his job as the Office Manager of the largest Vet Center in the USA. I was exhausted - he was excited!
His enthusiasm and encouragement have kept my "vision" of a Resource Directory for Soldiers and Caregivers alive over the long months of tedious data entry, website issues and declining financial support. When I would discover something that made me feel like I was wasting my time, I'd put a call in to him. His response never wavered. Perhaps it comes from being a soldier wounded in battle. "Don't look at them, what we are doing is what soldiers and their families need. Keep going!"
"The generous hand of my God was with me in this..." Nehemiah 2:8 The Message
The depth of the hurt soldiers and their families are experiencing was once again brought to light at the Getaway (soldiers never retreat). Stories of forced retirement, lack of proper medical treatment for injuries, friends who took their own lives, financial crisis due to the VA being 300 days behind (you read correctly) on benefit payments, are heartbreaking to hear, how much more to be experienced! All the soldiers and caregivers involved with the website were anxious to share the resource with others.
Share they did; in breakout sessions, over meals and when they returned to work on Monday.
An "improvised explosive device" is about to go off.
When the PURPLE HEART recipient Office Manager handed out business cards with our website printed on it (to a soldier in need of resources for help), he was called into his superior's office. They questioned him with suspicion over what this "website" was exactly and why was he giving it out to veterans. He responded quickly and assertively - it was a Resource Directory designed by Caregivers and Soldiers to help each other. The long and short of it - he was told to "cease and desist." He was then required to sign a document stating he understood.
"...they were very upset, angry that anyone would come to look after the interests of the People..." Nehemiah 2:10 The Message
The next day, he was called back in to take a conference call from the higher ups in Washington and Dallas. As he took the "dressing down" he point blank asked, "You're telling me I cannot offer ANY resources to soldiers who come here looking for help, even if I know an organization that will help them?" They responded with, "that is correct. We are not here to provide resources, we are here for transition back to civilian life. If we give out a resource and the soldier ends up committing suicide that's on us."
My friend replied, "if a soldier comes in here needing help and you don't tell him where to get it - it IS ALREADY on us."
As he related this chain of events to me I grew concerned. What if he loses his job? What if he is put in financial hardship because he was trying to share the Battle-Buddy resource? And then I remembered what he shared during one of our first conversations about his role in service to our country...
...he was a Medic.
You may not have heard this aspect of enemy operations during the current conflict, I certainly hadn't. When a convoy is traveling through enemy territory oftentimes the enemy will instigate a small "attack." This will result in the Medic being sent out to assess and dress the wounded soldier. Snipers will then take aim at the Medic to "take him down." For you see, if a Medic isn't present a convoy will not proceed. If the enemy can take the one stopping the bleeding, saving the dying, they have shut down the advance.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
It did to me! I encouraged our Military Liaison. "You're still a Medic! You're still on the front lines of the battle. You're still rescuing the dying and the enemy is still trying to take you out." He laughed in agreement, "Yeah, you're right."
"The God of Heaven will make sure we succeed. We're His servants and we're going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this..." Nehemiah 2:20 The Message
With the military suicide rate of over 25 A DAY, you can understand how critical it is for them to get resources quickly, efficiently, when they NEED them. As I was reading the Word for encouragement I was led to the story of Nehemiah, whose heart for his "people" living in an "unwalled city" brought him distress and the attention of the King. Friends, our soldiers and their families are living in an unwalled city of despair. WE have got to REBUILD the "wall" of hope everlasting, mercy overflowing, and love without end.
Like Nehemiah, there will be ridicule and opposition to this seemingly insurmountable task. But just like Nehemiah, we will hold a trowel in one hand, and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:17). It was not "soldiers" who were defending the building of the wall, it was FAMILIES, stationed, working, and ready to fight when the trumpet was sounded.
Six months ago I had a vision of an "Angie's List/Yelp-styled" website where soldiers and caregivers could not only FIND resources, but could also have a voice to REVIEW them. It has been a labor of love for the heroes of our nation who have inspired, encouraged, and least any one of us forgets, fought, sacrificed and bled for our freedom! Truly, how can they hear the love of God, if they don't see the love of God through His people?
"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." Philippians 1:6 The Message
Like Gideon, we are going against a far greater enemy. We are outnumbered (11,000 resources listed on the government website). But like Gideon, God has called us to the battle, and He will bring the victory!
Would you care to guess how many resources are listed on www.battle-buddy.info ? (see Judges 7:8)
We need your help TODAY!
Get the word out about the website: www.battle-buddy.info Share with military friends, family, and caregivers
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The trumpet is sounding, let's work together and get this wall built!
Fighting with a smile!