For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
Jesus, please bring us to the obedience that produces righteousness.
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, (Romans 5:20)
Jesus, thank you for multiplying your grace among us.
so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
Jesus, thank you for the gift and hope of eternal life with you.
A word received: Come to me.
Thursday:  or 42, 43 * 85, 86; Jeremiah 10:11-24; Romans 5:12-21; John 8:21-32
Friday: 95 & 88 * 91, 92; Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-20; Romans 6:1-11; John 8:33-47
Notes from the Front Line
***** Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011
From: Noel Dawes
Subject: Welcome Home Initiative, 10th Retreat, March 28-30, 2011 – Day 3 – Final Day, Wed, Mar 30th – Please Praise God!
10th Welcome Home Retreat (28-30 Mar 11)
Day 3 — Final Day — Wed, Mar 30th, 2011
To All Our Prayer Warriors Who Intercede for the Welcome Home Initiative:
The final day of most activities always bring joy, often tinged with a little sadness. It has been so good and refreshing to be in the presence of the Lord, but now we must go out into the world, which is so beautiful yet so dysfunctional in so many ways. We live in the world but must try not to adopt or live in the pattern of its dysfunction. Rather, we aspire to live lives of authenticity and dynamism with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And with our neighbor. So, we went out (home) with joy, praying for each other and particularly praying for those Veterans going home to places such as Brooklyn, NY.
The joy started at breakfast time with a quick visit from Chaplain (Colonel) Eric Olsen, the State Guard Chaplain for New York State. He is an old friend and a previous Closing Ceremony speaker. He had recently recognized the Spiritual Life Center as a founding member of the NY National Guard ‘Partners-in-Care’ program. PIC is designed to encourage local churches and organizations to reach out to their local armories and offer whatever help they can to the Soldiers. Many units will deploy for the second time later this year (many individuals have completed more than two deployments). This will be the biggest deployment of Guard Soldiers from NYS since the Vietnam War and we are privileged and proud to be a founder member of PIC, encouraging others to care for their local Soldiers too.
After breakfast we were able to spend about an hour or more praying individually for each Veteran, his wife and for other caregivers present. For the first time on a WHI Retreat we split into two groups to pray, one being led by Fr. Nigel and the other by +Dave Bena. This reminded us that this Retreat was the largest one to date. Many said it was the most blessed one to date! Having asked each person, “May we pray for you?” and “How?” we respectfully asked permission of each if they were happy to be anointed with oil and to have hands laid on them. Each person was then prayed for as they asked and as the Spirit led. The Lord was there, ministering His love and grace. It was visible on many people’s faces. Several prophetic words were given. Words of knowledge were shared. For at least one person, the Spirit-filled words came in the language of the Spirit and were received in the same manner. It was a most precious and holy time.
Then came a sudden change of pace. We needed to be at the Great Hall, up the hill, for the Closing Ceremony. Having several aged and infirm Veterans, this took a little time but we made it for a group photo of the Veterans to take place.
At around 11 AM, the Veterans ‘marched’ in to the beautifully decorated Christ the King Chapel for the Closing. The Chapel was about half full but their applause more than made up for a somewhat disappointingly small turnout (even though it was very pleasing that many had traveled 40 or 50 miles or more to be there.) After the Greenwich Honor Guard had marched in the Colors, a group of about twenty five 5th and 6th graders from a Christian school in Troy presented each Veteran with a thank you card and a beautiful hand painted picture. To see the respectful seriousness with which the boys and girls presented their gifts touched everyone’s heart. Later the group sang the National Anthem very beautifully. A lady from the Willard Mountain group of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a pin to each Veteran along with the thanks of the whole DAR group for their service. We received greetings and best wishes from a representative of our local Congressman. Then, Major General Bob Dees was introduced and spoke very inspiringly for about 20-25 minutes. Some highlights from his message of encouragement were:
His Christian candor and honesty was deeply appreciated by all the Veterans, many of who commented most favorably on the inspirational quality of his talk. Each person felt as though Bob was talking individually to them.
He thanked each Veteran and wife by first name. He thanked each caregiver (including Chaplains present) and each family member for the love and care they give to ‘their’ Veteran. “Where would we be without you?”, Bob asked each group. He also challenged each caregiver to consider how they might get themselves replenished when their ‘wells of courage’ become depleted.
That for some, today might be the first time anyone had had ‘welcome home’ said to them.
Our Veterans are like the outer skin of the body of the nation. When the ‘skin’ gets broken, bruised and hurt it is a serious matter. The nation bleeds. Some wounds heal from the outside in. But often the Veterans’ wound can only be healed from the inside out, since war assaults the soul and mind before it hurts the body.
An orchestra tunes up for a concert often using middle C as the common note to tune in on. We need to tune our lives in on the central C of creation — Christ. As the orchestra has a way of ‘finding’ middle C, so, if we look for Him, Christ shows Himself to us. Christ knows us and everything about us. He loves us. He wants to make us whole. Bob illustrated his points with some lovely stories about Veterans who had committed themselves to the Lord and had been wonderfully set free in their souls, and then gone on to help others, including a sniper in Afghanistan.
We were challenged to be better and not bitter. God-reliant and not self-reliant. Bob told two stories of folk from years ago who had experienced terrible and consistent trauma in their lives for many years. They had been able to grow spiritually and, therefore, as human beings, by having good attitudes in spite of all their trials and sufferings. One, Fanny Crosby, blind from a young age, was still able to write the inspiring words of a well known hymn, ‘Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight.’ (Hymn Blessed Assurance; underling by the author of this update). And, ‘Now Thank We All, Our God’ (German Hymn from 1636), whose author was the only surviving pastor in his city during the Thirty Years War. In one year, he buried over 4,000 people who had died because of famine and plague, including his wife. He frequently had 50 funerals a day). The example of these two saints should inspire us today. As should the example of a Soldier, terribly burned in war, who was so grateful that God had shown him mercy. In spite of the horrible pain and disfigurement he suffers, he has grown in faith and as a person, way beyond the trauma he has suffered. He has (not always easily) learned great patience, been blessed with hope and filled with joy. This is a mystery of God’s healing work in us but it enables us to go and be a comfort to others who suffer in similar ways.
Finally, Bob commended 2 Cor 4 to us as the ‘resiliency’ chapter of the Bible. Read it. Pray for and do what it says and we will manifest the life and ministry of Jesus in our mortal flesh.
After Bob, came two power-filled testimonies. The first was from a female Veteran who had no idea what the Retreat was about when she arrived on Monday (now that’s faith, to drive 4 hours to come to a Retreat about which she had no knowledge!) and left today so excited and grateful that she came. She saw God’s beauty in the place and in the hearts of those attending. She had received the Father’s blessing from one of our hosts. She said we are healed to be an extension to other’s healing. She offered to work with the SLC and another female Veteran to help us run a Female Veteran’s Retreat at the SLC. We are excited about this and have been praying for it for over 2 years and now it seems the Lord might be putting a suitable team together to organize and run it. Dates will be announced in due course.
The other testimony was from an Army Vietnam War Warrior in the Big Red One Division. Part of his war job had been to prepare bodies (in all sorts of conditions) to be evacuated by air from the war zone. He had been haunted by staring eyes and broken skulls ever since and had not had a good night’s sleep. Sometimes he suffered terrible nightmares. Fr. Nigel prayed for him on the first afternoon but the prayer seemed not to have been answered on Monday night. He was prayed for again on Tuesday. Today, Wednesday, his countenance was entirely different. He had slept restfully for 8 hours and awoke with a sense of God saying to him, ‘go, lay hands on people and pray for them to be healed.’ Today, during the prayer time, he started his new ministry! Hallelujah (even though it’s Lent ).
Then one of the wives, a member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir, sang a beautiful prophetic song. The service came to an end and ‘Welcome Home’ was said to each Veteran. Then it was time for lunch, final ‘goodbyes’ and, for most, a journey to the airport or by car, home.
John 21:25 — And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.’ (Author’s note: Other deeds included deliverance for at least one Veteran. And, in this day and age I suppose written books must include emails, Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter ‘tweets’ etc ).
The whole Welcome Home Initiative team thanks you so much for all your prayers!