June 29, 2011
We are pleased to announce that DNA has launched an all-new website! Downer.org (which forwards to DNAministries.org) features many new aspects of the ministry, the ability to download free audio messages and browse updated descriptions of the conferences we offer. Please pay us a visit and see the fruit of Paul's months of creative work. We are also making a special offer of $500 worth of free books to the first three people to book a conference for next year.
Thank you so much for the gift of your prayers and encouragement. God is using your partnership with us to impact the lives of people across our country. We have now completed the second and third Chaplain Resiliency Conferences (CRC's), each of which has been a rich time of relational reconciliation, physical rest and spiritual enrichment. One chaplain had this to say about the weekend experience:
"We are so proud to be in the Chaplains Corps, and we don't want to complain, so for the most part we never do. But stuffing your issues isn't healthy. This weekend, you offered a safe place where we felt free to drop our guard and be honest about some of the stresses and strains we experience. The sense of relief has been incredible-like jumping into a cool stream on a boiling hot day."
These CRC weekends are hosted by dear friends of our ministry, without whom these events would not be possible. A chaplain's wife had this to say: "We really needed this time to get through the deployments and the rigors of military life. We are stretched to our limits. What an unexpected joy this weekend has been."
Another chaplain said, "This conference was life-changing for our whole family. We are forever thankful for your ministry in our family's lives. Words can't express what it meant to us."
Some of these chaplains have served on two, three and four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Several have experienced military service in the infantry before becoming chaplains. They are men and women of great courage who, after fighting for their country, are now fighting for their marriages and families as they live lives of service to God and the hundreds and thousands of military personnel under their care. We are hosting another Chaplain Resiliency Conference at the end of July. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for this time.
We are also excited to announce that the The War Within, Finding Hope for Post-Traumatic Stress which was produced about Phil and his return to Viet Nam is airing again for four consecutive Sundays on your Ion cable channel nationwide on June 26, July 3, 10, and 17. Since I didn't get this newsletter out in time to watch the first episode, you can view it for free (along with the other episodes) at this link:
This film has greatly impacted many people. We've heard from people around the country touched by the words of Phil and Mike returning to Viet Nam and the story of the challenges that their return brought to their lives and families as a result of their war trauma. This 89 minute video production won a competition in 2010 in the video industry's premier contest, THE AEGIS AWARD, for peer recognition of outstanding video productions. The Day of Discovery also received the 2010 AVA GOLD AWARD for The War Within.
Thank you so much for the joy of your partnership with us in what God is doing through DNA. It is truly an exciting time. We look forward to learning in what ways we can serve you better. Please call Phil (423 667-1869) if you are interested in finding out how we might bring a dynamic weekend of training and encouragement to your church or regional conference.
In His gracious care,
What a spring of ministry it has been in DNA! I cannot express how exciting it is to see how God is exponentially multiplying the opportunities we have to serve, encourage and minister to men and women in all branches of the military on bases across the country. Dad and I have had so much fun team-speaking together over the past few months, teaching on rebuilding relationships and experiencing lasting reconciliation and renewal in the family. So few families today experience a real and lasting resolution of past hurts and conflicts. Watching parents and teens make connections and begin to sees their homes and relationships in a new light has been amazing.
This past week while speaking together with Dad and Anna in Dallas at the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries conference, one man shared this in response to our session on Rebuilding Family Relationships in Truth & Love:
"When I asked my question about how to handle a child who walks away from God and the Faith, your answer felt like a message straight from God for my situation. You said, 'As long as children live merely to fulfill the expectations of parents, they will wrestle on some level with the nagging doubt that their conformity and compliance is the real cause of your love and acceptance. Only when a child's failures or differences come to the surface can the unconditional nature of your love truly come to light and begin to sink in. As heartbreaking as it can be to watch a child struggle and even wander, these may be the most profound opportunities you EVER have to offer your child the gift of unconditional love.'"
It was such a privilege to spend time with parents like this precious man who are living their lives in the faithful and prayerful pursuit of the hearts of their children. I can sincerely say that these parents are my heros. I can't think of a greater cause for which any of us could live than to reach the hearts of the next generation growing up right in front of us in our homes and neigborhoods.
Meanwhile, in the DNA High School Ministry, we leave tomorrow for a week of Young Life Camp! We will be at Lake Champion, NY for eight days. (June 30 to July 8.) I would greatly covet your prayers during this time. I am thrilled to report that it looks like we will be taking a group of around 25 from Red Bank this year, which is nearly double what we brought last year! So there is much reason to be grateful and excited about what is happening.
However, these 8 days are incredibly intense. The deepest and most complex and challenging issues come up routinely, as barriers fall and God begins to work in the lives of these kids He loves so much. Please pray that the Spirit of God would be at work both in their lives and in ours, and that we would be pure, surrendered, and faithful servants of God and of our precious high school friends. Pray that during these 8 days, God would change their lives forever! I know He has incredible things in store. I can't wait to tell you what He does!!
Thank you once again for your prayers. They mean more to me and to this life-changing work than you know.
Four hours to LA, fourteen to Sydney, another hour to Melbourne, a quick shower, and Phil spoke twice to the packed out crowd of homeschool families and then throughout the week on discipleship, marriage, and raising godly children. "Yes," I said to myself, "Phil must be recovered from his gallbladder surgery in December!"
Phil actually got to feed some kangaroos! His greatest delight, though, was the incredibly warm welcome of the Australians who, from the depth of his heart, he thanked for their previous warm welcome to him as he was snatched from the combat of South Viet Nam for five days of R & R (rest and recreation) almost 44 years ago. Truly, the Aussies loved the Yanks and that is still the case, but what really struck Phil was the hunger of the moms and dads to gain God's insight into raising children who will change the world. Before and after sessions, in the hallways, and before, during, and after meals, they asked questions. Phil loved it!
One young father summarized the wonderful work God does in our families when he said, "God really knows what I need. I had never done well with young kids and then He gave me precious triplet girls who are teaching me much about Him!"
Another couple was glad to hear about the struggles our family had when our kids were young with lying, fighting, jealousy, laziness, etc, and said "Boy you guys were a mess! That really gives me hope!" :)
One of the most interesting things about these families is that so many were using home businesses to teach and build, not only work ethic and business principles, but godly character in their children.
The titles of Phil talks were: The Keys to Godly Discipline, Part 1 and Part 2, Dad's Irreplaceable Role, Teaching Your Children to Work with Godly Diligence, and Giving Teens a Vision to Change the World. Email me, and for any donation, we will send you one of these DVDs.
Mama fell last week and fractured two vertebrae quite badly. Amazingly, a doctor was able to surgically glue the pieces together! I would greatly appreciate your prayers for her recovery.
We are so grateful for your partnership in the exciting challenge of making disciples!
In His gracious care,
What a joy it was for me (Phil) to speak this weekend to a church-wide conference in California on the subject of "Christ and A Marriage That Works", "Meeting The Challenge of Discipling Your Children", and "Reaching Others in the Community With The Grace of our Lord". The pastor for this weekend has gone on out on a big limb advertising the free conference to the community at large. Would you join us in praying for changed lives? As Christ's people, we pray, we come closer to Him and share Him with others. As the pastor said, "I've never done this before, but that's where God has me most of the time - pretty stretched into His provision and palm."
Monday, Susy and I leave to speak 10 times on Christ and marriage to Air Force personnel and their families serving with the United States Air Force in Germany. We are doing short messages on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night on the subject of marriage, do a five-hour conference on Saturday speaking four times, and then speak three times at base chapels on Sunday. Last fall, when Susy mentioned the possibility of our responding to this need, some of you sent gifts that exactly matched the cost of our airline tickets! Thank you!
We're taking a suitcase full of books, including our new book, From Hell to Eternity - Life After Trauma, dealing with the damage of anger and the other vestiges of my trauma from the Marines and combat in Viet Nam. I share how that wrecked my relationship with Susy and nearly did the same with Paul and Anna before God began the work of restoration in our lives. Susy wrote a chapter, "When Someone You Love is Wounded". I have to confess I cried through much of it, remembering the pain I brought my precious wife. You see, wounded people wound people. I left the war physically, but brought it home inside and continued the war with Susy.
Anna's chapter is, "Daughter of Soldier: A Relationship Restored." Her illustration of being surprised as a young girl on her way through the kitchen, by a storming, angry father stomping out in the middle of an argument, and then hiding out in the dish closet, also brought tears as I read the final edit. I'm thankful for the Lord's grace, the grace of my daughter, and for the Lord so gracious restoring our relationship.
Paul's chapter is entitled "Collateral Damage: Rebuilding a Father-Son Relationship". When Paul was 12, we had little use for each other, but with God's grace and the spiritual principles discussed in the book, God not only restored that relationship, but now, of course, all of us are together in ministry, that is Paul, Anna, Susy and me. In the near future, Paul, Anna and I are speaking a number of times on the subject of "Healing The Fractured Family". If this is a subject your church would benefit from, please give me a call at 423 667-1869. I have a few weekends open in the first half of the year.
Thank you for your prayer, support, interest, and concern and we especially ask you to pray for changed lives this weekend and for those pilots and their families as we speak this next week.
Because He lives,