It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. – Proverbs 25:2
I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. – Isaiah 45: 2,3
Dear Military Ministry Leader,
As a member of the National Coalition of Ministries to Men (NCMM), I shared with NCMM Executive Director, Darrel Billups my passion to reach suffering soldiers. Darrel encouraged me to reach out to ministries associated with NCMM’s Military Initiative to partner with GRACE EXPLORATIONS – A Spiritual Guide Service Helping Wandering And Wounded Warriors Find Home And Healing In Christ.
Although I’ve never had the honor of serving in the military, I worked closely with special ops vets and soldiers over five summers (2009-2013) as a Lead Mountaineer assisting scientists in search of Noah’s Ark in a demilitarized zone on Mt. Ararat, Turkey. Due to geo-political tensions in the region, we detained a security detail during our search, which became an award-winning documentary: FINDING NOAH released in theaters nationwide in 2015 and now available wherever DVD’s are rented or sold.
With the passing of each summer on Ararat, I began to sense two narratives were happening at once. The first was obvious – I was searching for Noah’s Ark. The second was oblique – I was searching for my heart, frozen in trauma like an Ark buried under several millennia of glacial ice. Every layer of ice we excavated on Ararat, my heart began to feel and heal. I discovered until our hearts are healed, we are all exiled, nameless nobles buried under a mountain of pain. God concealed an Ark in awe so under its frozen frame we find our new and numinous names. The search for the Ark was not about finding an Ark so much as it was about recovering awe. Every man is an exiled king in a foreign country who must climb Mt. Ararat – ‘The Painful Mountain’ to discover their powerful purpose encrypted in their pain.
The brave warriors, who joined our group of intrepid explorers, were the first to help me understand you don’t have to be a soldier to experience PTSD. They saw in my eyes the same emotionally vacant 2000-yard stare that exists in the empty void of every war-torn soul whose conscience has been seared and shell-shocked with pain and shame. The longest journey in the world is the18 inches from the head to the heart. If we cannot do 18 inches, we are forced to climb 18,000 feet and travel 18,000 miles. I externalized what I could not internalize. I was unable to come home to my healed heart until I experienced an involuntary Proustian memory relapse and subsequent redemptive re-rendering of my worst day: The Day The Devil Came To Church.
As a man who has been freed from his past to live fully in the present, I have a very strong desire to return and rescue other POW’s still held captive in an invisible war. I am neither a soldier nor a psychologist. I am just a man with a powerful story. Anthony DeMello said, “The shortest distance between a human being and the truth is a story.”
Please Help Me Share My Story With Soldiers Who Suffer In Silence.
I am not afraid to touch the leprous, unfeeling, hidden parts of the human heart because God has healed me of the same disease: Shame. My pain and misery has become a powerful message for the military. God often chooses His candidates from the pit as a passage to the palace. My confidence, therefore, is not in circumstances but in Christ – the Lion of Judah Who is on the loose. He’s not safe but He is dangerously good. When He roars as Aslan the Lion in C.S. Lewis’ – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the long winter of lingering wounds surrenders to spring. The wicked White Witch of trauma is slain and her wand is wrecked with wonder…the wonder of being able to feel in order to heal in a world that remains numb.
If you hear the Lion’s roar in this letter, and you yearn for spring in the hearts of those entrusted to your care, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I recently completed a national speaking tour with Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Ministry Conferences across the US and would love to share my story with your Band of Brothers. I look forward to your reply.
Strength and Honor,