From POW to Ambassador

11755266_873460132744096_7210495943791147530_nFor several years now, veterans have gathered at El Dorado Lake to renew friendships and to reminisce.  The event began 30 years ago as the Kansas Vietnam Veterans and Family Reunion, but the name was changed to the Kansas Veterans and Family Reunion in 2007.

As I thought about this annual event, I remembered a man I’ve never met.  His name is Pete Peterson.

During Viet Nam, Captain Peterson’s plane was shot down during a bombing raid and he spent the next 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton as a POW. He returned to Hanoi on May 9, 1997 on a different mission; he returned as the first post war Ambassador to Viet Nam.

Peterson believed God had saved him for a purpose.  He resolved to use the remainder of his life to be an agent of healing and the power of his office to accomplish his mission.

Among the many citizens of the USA, very few will ever be appointed as an Ambassador; however, there is a higher calling and an office open to all; and, that is to be an Ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20):

We are now Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us. As his personal representatives we say, “Make your peace with God.” ~Phillips

Peterson’s mission was to bring peace and healing to the people of Viet Nam.  Our mission is a message to the world and it is one of hope and reconciliation between man and God.

Chief Joseph Medicine Crow

Grandpa_JoeChief Joseph Medicine Crow died yesterday at the age of 102, and an era of history died with him.  He was the last living War Chief of the Crow Tribe of Montana.

To be considered a War Chief by the Crow Tribe, an Indian must complete four tasks:

  • Lead a successful war party
  • Disarm an enemy
  • Touch an enemy without killing him
  • Steal a horse that belonged to the enemy

Chief Joseph Medicine Crow did all four of these and more during World War II; however, instead of stealing 1 horse, he was able to sneak behind enemy lines and steal 50 horses that belonged to the Nazi SS.

Over 44,000 Native Americans, Indians like Chief Medicine Crow, served during the second world war.  The story of their service is one of bravery, and I give thanks for their sacrifice.  Several of these men were awarded the Medal of Honor. NavMar

Herman Viola, curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, said it was hard to overstate Mr. Medicine Crow’s value as a link to history: “Joe personally knew four scouts that had been with Custer . . . it was unbelievable to meet someone who could really give you insights into that time period.”

As I read Viola’s statement, it reminded me of another eyewitness to historical events—the Apostle John:

[I am writing about] what existed from the beginning, what [a]we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life [the One who existed even before the beginning of the world, Christ]— and the Life [an aspect of His being] was manifested, and we have seen [it as eyewitnesses] and testify and declare to you [the Life], the eternal Life who was [already existing] with the Father and was [actually] made visible to us [His followers]— what we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship [as partners] with us. And indeed our fellowship [which is a distinguishing mark of born-again believers] is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  We are writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be made complete [by having you share in the joy of salvation] ~I John 1:1-4 Amplified

Historians like Viola get excited about Chief Medicine Crow’s “eyewitness” account, and rightly so, but shouldn’t they also give credence to other “eyewitness” of history like the Apostle John?

Your Piece of the World

03world-puzzleWhether you live in the USA, England, Europe, Africa, or Asia, there is one thing you hold in common.  You and the rest of humanity want peace in your piece of the world–certainly, this is the case in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio this morning.

I know I’ve grown weary of all the protests, murders, shootings, and rapes that I see on the screen of my TV.  The headlines of the newspaper are depressing with stories of theft, scandals, and abused children.

Here is what I am going to do in my piece of the world today. Instead of being, “overcome by evil, I’m going to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).”  I am going to try my best to, “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Romans 14:19).”  J.B. Philipps translated this same verse in these words:  “Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of one another’s character.”

Will you join me and make this your goal for today:

  • I will pursue and concentrate on bringing peace to my piece of the world.
  • When confronted with the off-key and unkind remarks of others, I will try to bring harmony to the situation.
  • I will do my best to be a positive presence in the life of those I encounter.

So what in the world are you going to do today?  I encourage you to bring peace to your piece of the world.

Brian Williams: Truth or Consequences

While at a funeral this past week, I met a lady who is a psychiatrist at the VA in Oklahoma City.  When I learned where she is employed, I said:  I receive most of my healthcare at the VA in Wichita.  She asked me:  “Did you serve during Viet Nam?”

I never give just a “yes” or “no” answer when I am asked this question.  My standard reply is:  “I served during Viet Nam, but not in Viet Nam.”

I am careful to make this distinction because of something called “stolen valor.”  This is unethical behavior that makes false claims about a person’s military service or the wearing of unauthorized and unearned medals.

Stolen valor has been in the news because of false claims made by Brian Williams who claimed fan RPG hit the helicopter he was in while in Iraq in 2003. Not only did Williams tell this lie, he has stayed true to it.  His fraudulent claim has raised the dandruff of Tom Brokaw who has called on NBC to fire Williams.

Mr. Williams’ quest for fame has left him labeled as a mythomane. This lie has tarnished all the truths he has told and questioned the essence of his integrity. The problem with lies, even the white ones, is that they eventually leave you blind to the brilliant colors of truth.

People who perpetuate a lie remind me of what Solomon said in the Proverbs:  “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

The tall tales told by Brian Williams may dock the tail of his career.