Jared was one of those Journey guys who was very quiet.  He rarely said a word, so much so that a Guide might think he was disengaged.  Little did his Guide know, God was doing a great, deep work in Jared’s heart, preparing him for a mission.  God put it on his heart to join the military.  Soon after, he was assigned to Afghanistan.  Before he left, he knew he was supposed to somehow use The Journey, so he brought four Participant Packs with him.  Allow Jared tell the rest of the story:

When I got there, we were in a remote location, and our chaplain was in a separate location, leaving religious activity to the nonexistent “lay-leaders”.  I had made pre-deployment commitment with a very good friend of mine to bring some type of bible study with us, and I did.  The two of us were the only participants in the Journey for weeks, committing our time out of our 10 hours of rest after a 20 hour workday to God.  This was not an easy commitment, but I knew that I would not be able to make it through the deployment without the strength and rejuvenation that is received from time in the Word.

A few months into our deployment, I began to feel a deep spirit of depression, being without adequate sleep and good food, being separated from my friends, family, and church.  It was really taking a mental, spiritual, and physical toll on my life. This began to reflect on my attitude; not realizing this, one of my Marines asked what was wrong with me, and I simply stated nothing; he then told me that I was the positive attitude that kept our squad going.  He said that as long as I was positive, they all knew everything was going to be okay.  These comments hit me hard, and I began to ask, “Who am I to feel sorry for myself?” I then read the entire book of Job, and realized that I have my family, I have my friends, I have my job and money, I have health, and most importantly, I have God, My Lord and Savior.  My spirit was restored! And this, at an important time,  for we were set for a multiple day operation.  As I prepared for this, I made sure that I had my Bible in my cargo pocket, where I always carried it, ready to go.

At this point, we had really grown close as a unit.  We knew everything about each other, and it was known that I was a Christian.  I held Bible studies and worship sessions, people came to me with problems, and I saw our Journey group grow from two to four.   As we were set into our op, we had a lookout on a set of ruins that gave us an overlook position, also giving us the opportunity to witness some of God’s most amazing sunrises and sunsets, which set the mode for an amazing sunrise worship.  There in a combat zone, in Hazara, Afghanistan, there were four men, worshiping our Creator, our Savior.  At the conclusion of this, one of my Marines, who hadn’t participated, came to me and asked to talk to me.  He stated that he wanted me to lead him in prayer.  He said that he was a sinner and wanted forgiveness.  He wanted to be saved, so I led him in prayer.  Throughout the prayer, I had noticed my interpreter, an Afghan local national, closely watching.

Throughout the deployment my interpreter and I had numerous discussions about politics, religion and life.  He was a Practicing Muslim with a degree in government.  He had my trust, and I had his.  As we protected one other, we didn’t allow our different beliefs to hinder our relationship, but it didn’t keep me from sewing seed into his life.  Our deployment was coming to an end, for I had less than two weeks left. I was completely happy, but yet somewhat sad for leaving.  I began to have one of my normal conversations with Kareem, my interpreter.  He and I were both sad, as we knew our relationship was coming to an end.  With tear-filled eyes, he asked me to pray with him.  He said, “Pray with me like you did that day with Mills; I want to be a Christian.”  At first, I tried to talk him out of it (not quite sure why).  I told him that its not just words, but its a way of life, to commit your life to God.  “The Christian God is not the same as the Muslim god, I know,” he said.  “We have had these arguments before.  You, and your God are different, and I want what you have, your joy, your love, your God.”  I broke down with tears and led him in prayer and left him with one of my Bibles.

I am so thankful for The Journey.  During that time, God was working a great deal in my life.  I never shared much with the group, but it was during that time, God laid it on my heart to join the military.  I was working in the ministry, and I was comfortable in my position, but I was called to what is now my mission field.  God has put me in positions and given me favor in the military that people my rank don’t have.  I have worked at Headquarters Marine Corps all the way down to the small unit size in infantry.  I since have moved to a new location in Hawaii- better hours, less stress, in an office, but at a very important time in my career.  Throughout my Journey, God has shown me that if I follow him, He will provide and do wonders.

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