By Roy Jaquez
Sunday, the staff arrived as a major storm was already moving through, yet not at its height. But then Monday came, and with it the myriad of unexpected events, at least from our perspective. Severe winds and driving rain caused flooding and structural damage all throughout the county creating logistical challenges for the staff. On the way to pick up the first scheduled flights there was intense flooding and wind, mudslides blocking parts of roads, spelling tragedy for some in the community. The planes were diverted and delayed as it was unsafe to land because of the amount of water on the runways. Most flights attempted to land again hours later while one flight with seven of our Warriors was cancelled at the airport they were diverted to and had to be loaded on a bus for a five hour trip through the storm back to San Luis Obispo.
This wasn’t unlike their lives. Many of them were in the midst of the storm at home, just come out of a storm, or one was bearing down on them as they were about to enter it. This isn’t uncommon of the men who come up for programs. The first night we usually see many long faces, filled with woes and worry, anxiety piqued, and just an overall sense of longing. We’ve all been there too. The staff at Mighty Oaks knows this all too well, as we too were once those same men: burdened by trauma, choices that have hurt the ones we love the most, and in many cases a life lived without direction or true purpose.
Tuesday began the first day of the Program, and as the testimonies and stories of the staff were told, and the hope we have that is found in Christ Jesus was shared with them, you could see a sense of calm coming over the men. Wednesday came and as the clouds began have breaks of light shining in, we too saw the same of them as they received a new perspective on what it means to leave a Legacy worth leaving. Then Thursday. Thursday the men got the opportunity to unburden themselves of that which kept them heavy laden with woe, and as the storm broke Thursday, so too these men saw the light that exposes, the Light in which our hopes can be placed.
Many men this past week put a stake in the sand, dedicated or rededicated themselves to fight according to how God teaches us to fight, and one even was baptized in testament to the new man he is now in Christ. But as Friday started and going into Saturday, the storm clouds began rolling in again. As much as California needs the rain, so too God brought that life giving rain to the Warriors’ weary souls, ready to go back into whatever storm the left, resolved to fight anew. Ready, with God’s strength, to fight the right way against the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. Armed with new tools, these men now know that so long as their foundations are found on the Rock, as
Matthew 7:24-25 says, “even when the storms of life come their way, winds blowing with rain and flooding, their house will continue to stand.”
If you’re in that storm now, see it brewing on the horizon, or know someone who is, tell them about Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs, and let men who have weathered the storms of life, have been shown how to walk, and who to trust through the storm, come alongside them to show them The Way. To show them that we serve a God who controls even the wind and sea (Mark 4:41), a sovereign and merciful Father who loves His people (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:16), and one who says come so that they don’t have to fight alone ever again, because He will give them true and lasting rest (Matthew 11:28).