By Ian Hunter,
During our week-long mission trip with Mighty Oaks International in Peru, we were approached by local law enforcement and military leaders to assist them with Resiliency and Recovery efforts. Our journey began in Lima, where we visited five different districts. Our meetings ranged from new law enforcement recruits to seasoned officers of the Peruvian special police forces, including those involved in hostage rescue, riot control, and the battle against warlords and drug cartels.
As we arrived at our first location, I wasn’t sure how open they would be to hearing about our faith. However, it became evident that the Lord was with us, opening doors for us to share the significance of our faith as a vital source of life and hope. I found myself speaking to young recruits about why it’s crucial to not only pray for physical protection but also to understand that in Psalms 91, God is not only sovereign over our physical bodies but primarily concerned about our hearts. He serves as our refuge and protection, whether we’re facing battles against human trafficking or spiritual warfare.
Psalms 91:4-5 resonates deeply in these situations:
“He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.”
This passage encapsulates the idea of seeking refuge and protection in God’s presence, not just in physical struggles but in all facets of life. Our faith provides strength and solace in times of trouble, and it was a privilege to share this message with those we met during our mission. I believe that our testimonies and messages may have touched their hearts, offering them a new perspective on their personal and professional challenges. These missions serve as a reminder of the positive impact that faith and support can have on the lives of those facing difficult circumstances.
No matter what nation I have found myself in front of, there are two things we have in common. First, God quickly revealed brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though I don’t speak Spanish, our shared knowledge of the Word allowed us to build a strong bond. It was a powerful testament to the unifying force of faith. Second, the reality of sin’s presence and its impact on everyone, believer and nonbeliever alike, transcends borders. This universal struggle highlights the need for spiritual support and resilience, regardless of our cultural or linguistic differences.
James 1:22-25 serves as a guiding principle for our mission:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
As the days passed, we witnessed God’s hand at work, opening doors to various law enforcement departments. We had the incredible opportunity to visit these departments, praying over the officials in their offices. It was an honor to stand before 500 Peruvian Army soldiers, positioned alongside the Peruvian National Psychologist for an in-depth discussion. The atmosphere was charged with a palpable sense of purpose.
During this session, we were privileged to take part in a seminar that meticulously unraveled the layers of resiliency. Drawing from my personal journey of two decades in the US military, I shared my testimony, which was punctuated with numerous spiritual and trauma-laden experiences. It was a moment of vulnerability and connection, as I sought to convey the profound impact faith had on my resilience.
In our discussions, we delved into the foundational principles that underpin resiliency within military contexts. We explored the four pillars that have been instrumental in bolstering the resilience of our own armed forces. These pillars serve as cornerstones, offering a framework for individuals to not only withstand the rigors of their duties but also to find strength in their faith amidst the most challenging circumstances.
This experience was a testament to the universal language of resilience and the transformative power of shared experiences. The exchange of knowledge and insights between our team and the Peruvian Army soldiers, facilitated by the Peruvian National Psychologist, was a profound moment of mutual growth and understanding. It reinforced the notion that, regardless of our backgrounds or borders, the pursuit of resiliency is a journey that unites us all.
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