Mission: Mongolia — Prayers

God continues to bless the work of our mission team here in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We are becoming accustomed to seeing the improbable take place, and hearing stories of God’s miraculous providence opening doors for the sharing of His love and grace.

A 12-year-old boy living in an orphanage heard about the free health care being provided by the It Is Witten Mission: Mongolia team. He was so intent on getting treatment that he rode a bus to one of our clinics. When examined, the doctors discovered that he had a perforated right ear drum, something he had been living with for four years. 

When he was asked why it hadn’t been fixed, his answer was telling—and sad.

“The doctors told me my immune system is not strong enough,” he answered. Doctor Marty Kelly, an emergency room physician from San Antonio, saw this young man. “Of course, that was just an excuse to not have to deal with this poor child because of his standing in society. Often, children in orphanages are considered to be just above the city dump as far as their status in society goes.”

“My heart went out to him,” Dr. Kelly told me. “He’s never going to have hearing in that ear again because it wasn’t fixed when it could have been. I literally prayed to the Lord and asked Him to perform a miracle.”  Tears came to Dr. Kelly’s eyes as he related this experience. 

“As I was treating him I sat there wracking my brain, asking myself, ‘Is there anything else I can do for this child?’ He reminded me of my grandson. Sweetest, nicest boy you could ever meet. He said thank you for everything, always smiling, not an angry bone in his body… Please pray for this kid.” 

Our mission team received an unexpected blessing yesterday. Some of our much-needed supplies were being held in customs at the airport. Although the necessary permissions had been obtained ahead of time, it seemed impossible that these supplies would be released for our team members to use. We had been told that the only way we could get the supplies was by picking them up on our way back out of Mongolia.

But the God of heaven had different ideas! He arranged for members of our team to treat the family members of a high-ranking judge in this city. The judge was extremely grateful for what our team had done, and in the course of conversation learned of the challenges we were having in getting ahold of our supplies. “Let me take care of this for you,” he said. “I’ll get in touch with the people involved and see to it that you have your supplies.”

Before long our supplies had been collected from the airport and were being put to use in treating people who need vital medical help. We’re thanking God for his goodness. Another miracle was worked!

Mission: Mongolia — Healing

Our 120-strong team of medical missionaries has so far touched the lives of hundreds of people. Offering dental, vision, surgical, OBGYN, and numerous other services entirely free of charge, Ulaanbaatar has become a place of healing for many.

The highest aim for our medical missionaries is to share the love of Jesus—and that often happens in difficult circumstances.

Last night, several of our team were asked to make a house call. A 29-year-old mother was terminally ill with neck cancer. Arriving at the lady’s home, it quickly became obvious there was nothing our team could offer in the way of physical healing. Yet they were able to offer something even better.

Dr. Gordon Guild tells the story.

“The woman’s Christian family members wanted us to pray for her and show her Jesus. So I spoke to her of a loving Creator God who made the world so we could come to know Him and live with Him forever.  I shared with her how the disobedience of Adam and Eve plunged the world into sin, but that God sent His son to forgive us of our sins and provide for us an eternal home.  I told her that just as He forgave the thief on the cross, He would also forgive her of her sins. I read John 3:16 and gave her a new testament we had all signed.  I reassured her of Jesus’ love for her and asked her if she would like to accept Jesus into her heart. She replied in English, ‘I would like to accept Jesus into my heart.’ I assured her Jesus was with her.”

“The family gathered around and we all prayed,” Dr. Guild continued. “The woman’s three-year-old daughter thanked me for praying for her mom!  That was special.  I never expected to make a hospice call on this trip, but to have a woman accept Jesus on her death bed and know she will soon sleep awaiting Jesus’ return was more than payment in full for making this trip. God’s blessings on these It Is Written mission trips just keep pouring in!”

Our hope and prayer is that everyone we reach would experience healing. But while physical healing, in this lady’s case, can only come as a result of a mighty miracle of God, the greatest healing has already occurred.

On the front lines in mission situations, the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan becomes obvious.

At one of our sites, a 19-year-old Mongolian man is assisting our team of medical missionaries as a translator. Our translators do an incredible work! His experience demonstrates how difficult it can be to be a Christian in Mongolia.

His father, a shaman (witch doctor) was training him to follow in his footsteps. As a boy, this young man did not want to emulate his father. At only 40 years of age, the father was white haired and old-looking, because—as the young man explained—shamans give their youth to to the evil spirits in exchange for power. Being a shaman was stressful for his dad because the neighbors would frequently come to him, asking him to curse and even cause the death of other people. Because his father was continually dealing with trouble, the boy wanted nothing to do with the shaman lifestyle. His father would often beat his mother and siblings, and was an alcoholic. When the father left the family, the young man’s life became much happier. 

As the only Christian in his family, he lives apart from his brothers and doesn’t want them to know where he is. “They don’t know I’m doing this work for the church,” he told a member of our team. “If they did, I don’t know what would happen to me.”

He was baptized four years ago. When asked how he came to faith in Christ, he answered, “Guitar!” The church offered guitar lessons to neighborhood children and he and several others came into contact with the church through these lessons. “I was attracted to the church because Christians were happy, and they didn’t drink. I had seen the damage done by alcohol and didn’t want anything to do with it. Then I learned about God’s love for me.” Now he serves his church, and his life is heading in a positive direction.

Our team was interested to know how he learned English so well that he could act as a translator. “Cartoons!” he replied. “I watched a lot of cartoons!”

There’s much more to share with you from this city of bad traffic, terrible (terrible!) drivers, and miracles of God’s grace. Check back soon for another update from Mission: Mongolia.

Mission: Mongolia Update

Mission: Mongolia is now in full swing.

Our team of more than 120—including around 80 medical professionals from at least five countries—are conducting clinics at numerous sites around Ulaanbaatar. At hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and churches, teams offering dental, vision, surgical, and multiple other services are touching lives. They are providing medical services that in many cases people here would not otherwise be able to receive.

Hundreds of people were seen at the clinics on our first day. The reports from the teams have been incredibly positive. Several of our team members are back in Mongolia for the second time, having come here in 2016 with our last Mission: Mongolia trip. It’s not always that a medical missionary gets to see the results of his or her labors in a short period of time. However, one story that has emerged over the last few days is especially encouraging.

Last year, a non-Christian woman came to one of our clinics for some desperately-needed medical help.  Not only did she get the medical help she was looking for, she also heard for the first time about someone named Jesus. She was prayed for and expressed a desire to know more about the kind of God who would motivate a medical professional to travel all the way to Mongolia from the United States—at their own expense—to minister to people they had never met.

She began to study the Bible and then started to attend church. Before long she was baptized, and this week in Ulaanbaatar she is a part of our missionary team, working as a volunteer alongside the very physician who ministered to her and led her to faith in Christ!

One of our team members here in Ulaanbaatar is a nurse who lives and works in Central London, in the United Kingdom. I asked Millie how she came to be a part of Mission: Mongolia.

“I’ve watched and enjoyed It Is Written for several years. I saw the program you filmed in Mongolia and thought at the time it would be a blessing to do something to help with God’s work there. When I read an It Is Written update saying that a mission trip was going to Mongolia, I felt like I had to be part of it. I’ve taken my holidays to be on this mission trip. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!”

While people here in Ulaanbaatar are benefiting from the medical services being offered, it’s interesting to know that it’s not always the patients who are most blessed.

A physician on our team shared the following story with me.

“My family and I agreed to be part of a mission trip to Cuba. Just before we left the United States we found out that our family was going to make up an entire team! We weren’t expecting that. So I would be preaching 11 sermons, and we would be holding a vacation Bible school and doing other mission projects. We had never done anything quite like that before.”

So how did it go?

“During the meetings, I found out that the wife of my translator was in the hospital several hours away, seriously ill. Yet my translator—rather than being home—was at the meetings with me each night. I urged him to go and be with his wife. His response really got to me. ‘I need to be here,’ he said. ‘The gospel must be preached. People need to hear about Jesus.’ I thought to myself, ‘How many times have I missed meetings because I didn’t want to miss a game on tv or for some other similarly weak reason.

After much urging, the translator did go to visit his wife. Leaving early in the morning, he traveled several hours to visit his wife and then return in time to translate the evening meeting. “I rethought a whole lot of things,” my physician friend told me. “That mission trip changed me, and it changed my family.”

The patients here in Ulaanbaatar are definitely being blessed and helped and encouraged— and our missionary team members are being blessed also.

“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Patients receiving treatment at a dental clinic.

Mission: Mongolia Continues!

After years of planning and ministry, the culmination of Mission: Mongolia, a major outreach in the nation of Mongolia, is upon us.  Most of the 120 members of our medical missionary team have arrived in Mongolia and are now preparing to begin a major health emphasis in  Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolia is a fascinating country.  Almost the size of Alaska and with the population of Mississippi, Mongolia was once the seat of the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world.  The legendary Genghis Khan is still revered in Mongolia, a land which has recently begun to stake its claim as a significant player on the global stage.

For almost seventy years, Mongolia was a communist country.  In the early 1990s, a transition to democracy took place.  Today, about half – perhaps more than half – of Mongolia’s inhabitants live in Ulaanbataar.

Less than 3% of Mongolia’s population is Christian.  With the exception of Buddhism, the majority of Mongolians identify as having no religious faith.  While the challenges of sharing the gospel in a secular country like this are significant, the enormous need in Mongolia has driven our team to travel to this remote country to lift up the cross and proclaim the name of Jesus.

Starting Sunday, June 4, It Is Written begins a major health project in Ulaanbataar.  At several locations around the city, our team of medical missionaries will be providing a wide range of free health services.  In cooperation with city government, physicians, ophthalmologists, dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and many others will be ministering to thousands of people.  At the same time, evangelistic meetings will be held in the center of Ulaanbataar each night, giving people the opportunity to know Jesus as not only Healer, but as Lord and Savior.

Please pray for Mission: Mongolia, as our team settles in and prepares for a major initiative that will touch and change lives for the honor and glory of God.

To watch Mission: Mongolia, an It Is Written program on the situation in Mongolia, click here.

Every Man Has a Story


I read a news story about a newly-married couple who shared a piece of their wedding cake with a homeless man outside the church where they were married. It was a touching story—the man had lived on the streets for years and spoke of the unkind treatment he so often received. He thought the couple were going to chase him away, but instead received a piece of cake, kind words, hugs, and friendship.

The ensuing media attention on the homeless man’s plight saw more of the man’s life story emerge. He had a good upbringing in a religious home, he left his home country, joined the military, served with distinction, had some difficult experiences, returned home, developed a drinking problem, and wound up living on the streets. A place where more often than not he encountered derision and rejection and even outright hostility.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about people. A criminal is easy to dismiss as worthless, or, as worth less, as a bad person. A problem child or a cranky old man are easy to judge without taking certain things into consideration.

The homeless man said something that struck me. 

“Don’t judge me,” he said, “because every man has a story.” Every man has a story.

Jesus said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” It’s important to keep that in mind. It takes no skill at all to rush to judgment. It’s always better to learn the facts of a person’s situation. Better yet to do something to be help the person in question. It’s always right to be compassionate, no matter what.

“Every man has a story.”

What would the world be like if we remembered to remember that?

Positive Thinking

slider-positivethinking-noclickStudies of the brain have revealed that every experience you have, every thought or feeling, triggers thousands of neurons which then form a neural network. Repeated behaviors form—as it were—bridges in the brain. Which is why certain things “come naturally” to you after a while. A Canadian neuropsychologist said years ago, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” 

But this means that negative behaviors can also become deeply embedded in a person’s psyche. For example, scientists say that complaining rewires your brain. Studies reveal the average person complains once a minute during a typical conversation. If you continue to complain, you become a complainer. Stanford University research has said complaining shrinks your hippocampus, the brain’s center of emotion and memory.[1. Shrinkage of the hippocampus is implicated in Alzheimers disease. If you’re an habitual complainer, you might want to change that!] 

However, research out of UC Davis has found that people who cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood and energy and much less anxiety. James wrote in James 1:2,3, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” The old phrase, “look on the bright side of things” might contain more wisdom than we’ve realized. 

While adjusting your attitude can take time and persistence, it’s worth being proactive as the negative habits you develop can lead you into full-blown negativity. People actually become changed by their behavior, including negative or destructive behaviors. The very good news is that the Holy Spirit is able to remake you, to remake your mind, to adjust your attitude, to give you a positive outlook, and to make you the kind of person that speaks of what God can do in a life. And negativity takes the edge off a person’s witness for God. Who wants to be a follower of God, if being a follower of God has made you into a grump? 

Remember what God can do. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Be positive today! Let God make you into a positive person.

Making America Great


The inauguration has come and gone. President Trump has officially set out to “Make America Great Again!”

However, like every president before him, President Trump faces challenges that legislation alone won’t be able to solve.

A president is in a tough position. It’s the president’s job to set high goals for the country.  No president would ever stand before the world and say, “Realistically, we’re never going to be able to stop terrorism but we’re going to give it our best shot.” Or, “We’re always going to have people on welfare but at the very least we might be able to get some folks back into work, and there’s a good chance we might be able to see crime rates inch down some.”

Instead, a president makes promises to stop crime, get people back to work and eradicate terrorism.  But how does something like that actually happen?

While political initiatives certainly make a major impact on society—and while it is right for politicians to do their job and plot what they see as the best course for a country—the actual solution to the problems faced by America is identified in God’s Word.

The wise man wrote long ago, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).  Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

Experience has taught us that you simply can’t legislate a country out of sin and into righteousness, out of crime and into order, out of chaos and into peace.  The reasons crime exists at all go all the way to the human heart.  The United States is one of only four industrialized countries that imposes the death penalty.  In 2015, the only countries to execute more people than the United States were Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.  Yet few people would claim the death penalty is a deterrent against murder.  The murder rate in states which do not have the death penalty is lower than in states which do.

Politicians absolutely must do all they can to steer a country in the best path.  But God’s Word is clear.  “Righteousness exalts a nation.”  Meaning people who really care about their country will live in connection with God, enabling the blessing of God to flow into and through their lives for the benefit of the country as a whole.  While the congress and senate will do all they can to better the country, God alone is able to make a country all it can be.  “Righteousness exalts a nation.”
Presidents, senators, and members of congress have been elected to lead.  But the only way to prosperity and peace for the United States is the conversion of the heart, which comes from a reliance on God and His Word and a total surrender to God’s will.


Tragedy and Deliverance


We were supposed to be in Gatlinburg. But then the fires came, and 14,000 people in the area were evacuated.

Which is odd, really. Gatlinburg doesn’t get a lot of wildfires. It sits in the middle of a temperate rain forest. The humidity in the area makes it difficult for even controlled burns to take place.

But this was different. After months of drought, years of accumulated forest fire fuel—trees, leaves and leaf matter, sticks, weeds—was simply waiting to go up in flames. And it did. Property after property has been destroyed, but what matters most is “eleven.” So far, 11 people have been confirmed dead.

It Is Written was scheduled to be in Gatlinburg from Friday, December 2 to Sunday morning, December 4, hosting 350 ministry Partners at a spiritual retreat. We hold these retreats in six locations around the United States and report on the work of the ministry and discuss ministry plans. The weekends are mountaintop experiences. In Gatlinburg, that is literally so. We meet in Gatlinburg at the Park Vista Hotel, a property with a spectacular view owing to it’s location on the side of a mountain.

But the hillsides surrounding the Park Vista went up in flames.  A spectacular—and chilling—video taken from inside the Park Vista on the night of the fires shows flames roaring immediately outside the hotel. People inside the hotel—and there were plenty—were terrified.

For It Is Written, if the fires had to come at all then they came right on time. Three days later and our team would have been in Gatlinburg. Four, and we’d have been there with hundreds of guests. God enabled us to not only avoid the fire, but to relocate our event to Chattanooga, just miles from our ministry headquarters.

Except, at the same time we are praising God for His deliverance, there are people in Gatlinburg burying their dead. Others are trying to figure out how they’re going to rebuild their devastated lives. We remained cognizant throughout the weekend of the reality of the desperate situation being faced by the people in Gatlinburg, many of whom we have come to know well.

So how do we reconcile this? It seems that one person’s blessing is another person’s curse.

Firstly, it pays to recognize that even when disaster strikes, we human beings have an amazing amount to be thankful for. We were brought into this world and given life. We have been offered the gift of eternal life. We can say through faith that we actually have eternal life—and that’s a lot!

Yet we can add to that. We have family and health and homes and friends and warm days and successes and vehicles (and almost always “vehicles,” plural), nature to enjoy and clean air to breathe. God has simply been good to us. All of us. And He doesn’t have to be. God owes us nothing. It was the human family that chose to collapse into sin, and in so doing cause the death of God’s Son. Still God is good to us.

So what of the tragedy in the world? How good is God when your mother dies in a forest fire? Truthfully? Plenty good. Incredibly good. Amazingly good. Especially because God has promised Mom eternal life. Mom can wake up in the resurrection and look into the face of Jesus and look forward to a life of absolute contentment and fulfillment that will never end. There’s no way around that. That’s just good!.

Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). It might be difficult, especially in the moment. But it’s important to keep the trials of your life in perspective.  The best is yet to come. And no, that’s not Paul saying, “Just pull yourself together, man, and remember how blessed you are!” That’s Paul stating a reality. Even though some days on this earth can be brutally dark, that glory we will soon enjoy is unfathomably good.

James described life as “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Life is really short. Eternity is reeeeally long. If you measure the goodness of God by your trials on this earth, there’s a really good chance you’re going to end up with a negative picture of God. However, f you remember the big picture, there’s a better chance you’ll find strength to endure even the toughest challenges life offers. 

In times of tragedy, Romans 8:28 can almost sound flippant. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Forest fires? Loss? Death? Yes, all things.

Tragedy challenges us to trust God no matter what. In “all things.” God is still sovereign, even when things go bitterly awry.

So, what of us at It Is Written, enjoying our deliverance while others lost so much? A plane crashes, some survive, some do not. A tornado tears through a town? Some live, some die.  Lightning flashes, and 50,000 people in town are unharmed, while one man loses his life.

Is that fair? Tragedy can never be described as “fair.” Tragedy is tragic. But yes, God is fair.  He doesn’t protect all of us from all of the damage sin has brought into the world. But He protects us from more than we care to realize. And He offers us eternal life, where there will be no more “death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

By God’s grace, We’ll trust Him in all things. There’ll be times we rejoice, and times we weep.

And we’ll lean on Him either way.

Giving Thanks

give-thanks-bHave you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind? Or deaf?

My friend Ernie Jones became blind more than 20 years ago owing to retina degeneration. He writes a weekly column for a newspaper in Walla Walla, Washington. I wanted to share one of his recent columns with you:

While you go about your daily life—working, driving, caring for the house and children, watching TV, or any other activity—have you ever thought how life would be if one day you lost your hearing or eyesight? If told you had to either lose your sight or hearing, which would you choose? Are there any advantages or disadvantages of one disability over the other?

I have not had a lot of experience with people who can’t hear, but here is some of what I have learned. The deaf people I have been in touch with say they would rather not hear than not be able to see. They use their eyes to help them cover for not being able to hear.

On the other hand, the blind say it is better to hear than to be able to see, for they “see” much with their ears.

Sighted people can usually tell if a person is blind, as the blind person is being guided by another person, a guide dog, or with a cane. Those who are deaf may not even give a clue to their deafness, unless they are seen using sign language or don’t acknowledge you speaking to them until you are right in front of them.

When out walking, those who are deaf may appear to be like everyone else—they stroll along as one who has no disability. They need no help at street crossings, don’t hold a white cane, or need to be guided by a guide dog or another person. They see the street crossing signals and read the signs along the street. They enter stores with no hesitation, able to locate the items they are shopping for. They drive their car, can travel alone, and are quite independent. They don’t need a guide and only use a cane if they also have some balance problem.

Guide dog is helping bilnd peopleBut the deaf don’t hear the wind chimes in the breeze, don’t hear the birds singing in the trees overhead, don’t hear their dog bark a welcome, or the neighbor’s cow bawling, or the flock of geese flying overhead. They don’t hear the gurgling stream as it bounces over the rocks on its way to the valley below. They don’t hear beautiful music ringing forth from the choir or from happy children singing Christmas carols. Their eyes have to do double duty, working for their ears too.

People who are legally blind, but who still have enough eyesight to get around without aid in public, may be considered haughty when they don’t wave to someone nearby. I found this out from a fellow church member. When it was known that my eyesight was failing and that I had to retire early, he came to me and said, “Now I understand. I was beginning to think you were a little stuck up, for the other day you walked right past me and completely ignored me.”

I wonder how many other times I may have passed a person I knew and never greeted him or her.

I am very thankful I was not given the choice to either be blind or deaf, for I have no idea what I’d say—no one wants either disability. But speaking from blindness, I am thankful for my hearing. I am excited when in mid to late winter I hear the red-wing blackbirds back in our area, for I know spring is coming. I enjoy being part of a choir or hearing others sing, and hearing an orchestra play. Yes, I am thankful I never had to make the choice, I am thankful I can hear.

Either disability may cause frustration and confusion when out in public, both for the individual and for others.

A friend of mine, Dick, who is blind, went out to eat with one of his friends, Larry, who is deaf. Noticing Dick’s white cane, the server turned her attention to Larry, not knowing he was unable to hear.

Looking at Larry she asked, “Hello, what would you like today?” Then she added, “And what would your friend like?”

From his years of friendship with Larry, Dick had picked up some sign language, and also understood his attempts at speech. So as the waitress spoke to Larry, Dick repeated with sign language to Larry what she had asked. Larry answered Dick—in his not-so-clear voice—what he wanted, after which Dick explained Larry’s order to the server.

It became a game for the two men until at last the waitress got the message. She learned that being blind didn’t make Dick so he couldn’t talk or that his brain wasn’t working well. Nor does being deaf make the person of less worth.

Remember, both the deaf and the blind can have important roles in the community. Have a great day—and please take time to see and hear.

What a day it will be when Jesus returns and every one of the redeemed is made perfectly whole.  In the meantime, look to be kind towards and understanding of those who may be dealing with personal challenges.  And be thankful for the blessings of God you experience.

Read more articles by Ernie here.

Veteran’s Day—You Can’t Judge a Book By its Cover


I learned long ago that behind many people is an extraordinary story.

I spoke with an employee in a furniture store years ago in North Carolina, an unremarkable-looking guy with a “Why howdy, Sir,” demeanor and a hayseed accent. As we spoke he referred to his time in the service.

“Thank you for your service,” I said to him. “What branch were you in?”

“Navy,” he said, managing to turn two syllables into three.

I have a brother who served in the navy. I could imagine old Hayseed swabbing the decks. He sure didn’t strike me as a ship’s captain kind of guy. “And what did you do in the navy?” I enquired. 

I definitely wasn’t expecting his answer.

“I was a fighter pilot.”

I thanked him again and made a mental note to not judge books by their cover. Hayseed had actually been a US Navy Commander and had served his country with distinction.

You just never know.

Last night I bumped into a man who told me he was looking forward to seeing Hacksaw Ridge, the movie about Desmond Doss, the “conscientious cooperator” who received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman after World War II.

He said something that grabbed me: “But I wonder if it might bring back some unpleasant memories…”

He told me he had been a medic in the service. “During Vietnam.” He worked in factories after leaving the military.

He said, “I’m not thinking the violence in the movie would really bother me because we saw so much of that stuff in Vietnam.” I didn’t have to ask him to go on. He seemed to almost need to.

“You know, we’d have body parts brought to us. Men had lost them out on the field. All kinds. We’d send them on to the morgue.” He went on. “I spent so much time with my hands inside men’s bodies as we tried to save their lives or put them back together… I don’t think the movie could be any worse that what I saw.”

I could only imagine. And unfortunately, he may well be right. Hacksaw Ridge likely is no worse than what he saw in the military. And what he saw and experienced was real—not Hollywood special effects.

This humble man—past retirement age but working at a big box store—was a Vietnam veteran who carried with him vivid memories of body parts and dead or dying men, and of having limbs in his hands and his hands inside chest cavities and torsos… This everyday man had experienced the extraordinary in the service of his country.

You’d never know. How can you know where people have been, what they’ve seen, what they’ve endured, what has left indelible impressions on their minds and in their hearts?

Veteran’s Day is approaching. Those of us who have never served? We just don’t really have a clue. 

Many vets have been though extremely difficult experiences in the line of duty. You’d barely know, looking at them. But they served, they lost friends. Many were injured, scarred. They saw what they saw and did what they did and came home and got on with their lives and lived with their “unpleasant memories.” 

Be sure to thank a veteran for what he or she has done for this country. For what he or she has done for you and me.

If they cared to tell it, theirs would be an extraordinary story.