One of the driving convictions came in 2005, while on a trip across the USA with a group made up mostly of Vietnam War Veterans. A soldier came asked, "I see you are a Christian, I fought in three wars. Didn’t I fight for the 'Freedom of Religion,' why are they not out here thanking us?" Being stunned and convicted two days before, I vowed to him that we would make an all out effort to rectify this injustice.
The Church and Christians in the USA can easily take our Freedoms for granted, especially the Freedom of Religion. The silence and absence from outside the church circle confirms our lack of appreciation to those who will never make it into the church, for whatever reason.
The best statistics found on Missing in Action or Prisons of War not returned:
Cold War 126
Gulf War 5
Eldorado Canyon 1
Please know, M25 and all veterans that attend church, deeply appreciate the Veteran’s Day services and the recognition but multitudes of these great heroes will never attend one of our services. Some are greatly wounded by the church and have trouble believing in God, due to the ugliness of war.
However, we must find ways to show our concern and appreciation to those who have felt the inner and physical wounds of war.
M25 has found a place with Combat Hero Bike Build by Pastor Mark Richardson, M25 Leader, building a trike for an amputee every year. The trike is given to the warrior in front of a crowd, mostly his peers. One of the most exciting things we have witnessed.
M25 has found Run For The Wall (RFTW), a ride to call our nation into accountability for POW/MIAs of ALL wars. They must continue to find our heroes on foreign soil and bring them home. Once a pastor asked, "Why is it such a big deal?" Crazy that he would ask, but it is probably a question many ask. If you have ever sat with a family that has not had the ‘closure’ of knowing about the whereabouts of a loved one or never sat with a family who found their loved one, you man not understand. It is vitally important for them to find this closure.
In 2006 to M25 began serving Run For The Wall. First a hydration team was developed that stops at every fuel stop and offers free water and Gatorade, not only saving them money but time to relax a few minutes before mounting their iron-horse and heading out.
Simultaneously a Chaplain Corps was developed which is a team of Chaplains, six to be exact, that rides at the back and picks up broken motorcycles and if it was due to a wreck, go to the hospital to visit the rider.
Later there were Chaplains for Platoons, Missing Man Chaplains and Advance Chaplains, all with the Military Chaplains directions. You are not to proselytize men and women but to serve them. If they ask, you are quick to share the hope that is within you. We call it BALNAM -- Be A Light Not A Mouth.
We have not missed a year, plus now we are responsible for the Chase Trucks and trailers, three per route (we serve two of the three routes). Last year M25 had 52 men and women on the road for up to three weeks serving these great heroes of ours. There were nine pickups pulling trailers, one eighteen wheeler and thirty-one motorcycles.
There has been so many positive things happen from our years of service to these great heroes. We have written about them in other places but for this article, we are focusing on the ‘injustice’ and what we can do.
How can you help resolve this injustice?
- You can pray for our team to be fruitful and safe.
- You can check out our routes, Southern and Mid Routes at WWW.RFTW.US
- You can support our efforts by placing your name on the banner that flies on two trailers where the riders come for hydration.
Standing for Justice for our veterans,
gary burd aka Shepherd
* For a minimum of $250 we will place your church, business, personal name or “IN HONOR OF” on
the banner on the back of our trailers.
* You can text POWMIA to 71777 and give by credit card
* You can mail a check to M25, POB 30309, Amarillo, TX 79120
* Or you can send a check to the IPHC, POB 12609, OKC, OK 73157 - please put Account #03101P
* If you have any questions feel free to contact me at (806) 670-9669 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I was there. My commander, a neurosurgeon and a Christian, asked me to be there to stand with him to welcome these heroes home. We gave them the best of medical exams, care, treatment, and spiritual encouragement. I was there. I welcomed them home. I represented the church and the body of Christ. I saw their injured and skinny bodies. I was there to interview all 31 of the men, to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with them.
All but one of the POW's found faith and hope in prison cells. One told me he was an atheist. How tragic to be without God, without hope, without eternal life. Billy Graham said it concisely: "Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil: it has no point."
I have often reflected on the ministry God gave me to these POW's and their families. God strategically placed me as the director of pastoral care and counseling at the second largest medical center and hospital in the Air Force. My life has been and continues to be a spiritually guided journey ordered by the Will of God under the anointing and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
I wrote two chapters of a book I had hoped to finish and had them published in The Advocate, the official publication of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. I recall that those articles appeared in two different issues of The Advocate in 1974.