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When the chips are down, we find ourselves standing at the mouth of a seemingly endless tunnel with the darkness crowding in upon us and the light at the other end retreats to the point of almost disappearing. The trials and tribulations of this life can feel overwhelming and hope fades to a distant memory – an apparition of better days. We begin with the first few steps into the abyss and before we know it, we’ve put so much distance from the beginning of the tunnel to see the starting point is as challenging as peering towards the end. How can I go on any further? Will we ever see the light of day once again?

Although these feelings are not unique to anyone, they certainly are common to those who serve our nation in the military or as a first responder. Last week at SkyRose Ranch in San Miguel, California, we gathered twenty-five such men. Men that have felt the heartache of loss, the pain of injury, the destruction of tragedy. These Warriors once were joined in the Brotherhood of mission, but upon arrival to Legacy Program, circumstances had tethered them in bondage of trauma. Warriors arrive feeling overwhelmed.

But the Legacy Program is focused on healing over feeling. Participants are guided through a curriculum that breaks down defensive walls and strips the various traumas of their power to keep them on the “X”. You see, when someone establishes a relationship with Jesus, his or her life will be forever transformed. Victory and freedom are not only available, they become the new norm. When this happens, our Warriors become excited and hopeful for the future, often for the first time in years. Nine of the men choose to get baptized as an outward, public expression of their relationship with Jesus. One Warrior, who arrived with long hair and beard (he had been growing both for 2 years) left with a bald head and no facial hair as a physical reminder of the commitment he made. And all the men left looking lighter, brighter, and joyful. The transformation was evident.

God is using Mighty Oaks Foundation, its partners and volunteers, and the Legacy Program to establish relationships with His creation and restore purpose and hope in the lives of many. The Creator is joining men and women in the dark tunnel of trauma and leading them out into the light.