It has been a really cool and exhausting week for me. Here are the highlights:
1. My son arrived home from Afghanistan Wednesday at 10:30 am...there were fourteen of us up at Fort Bragg. It was really cool and amazing. We all are so thankful for God's protection and his and this troops return home.
2. I got to see my daughter Amanda. I love her so much. In some ways I feel like the father with the two sons in the Gospels...in this case a son and daughter. The daughter has always been with me. That is sort of my and Amanda's relationship. We have always understood each other and related. Dave has been a way...I have longed for his return and now we have killed the fatted cow....meanwhile all that I have belongs to Amanda and always have. It is wonderful to have two great kids. I am proud of both of them.
Amanda's boyfriend is leaving for the Marines on May 12th...I big step for a young man. It looks like we are destined to be a family that is impacted by the military and War on Terror. I think we all are!
3. When I got home I had 51 copies of Breaking the Discipleship Code. It was pretty neat since I had dedicated it to my son for his service to our country and for our freedom.
I'll post pictures of the big day tomorrow.....for now I'm going to bed!
Sometimes leaving is difficult...other times it is really easy. Well I got one of those calls where leaving is really easy. It is official, as I write this blog, my son is going through customs and about to board a military plane that will take him out of Afghanistan...That's right, Afghanistan is in our rear view mirror. We are looking ahead...kill the fatted calf, we are about to party!
After fifteen long months he is out of there...We are beaming with excitement, pride, joy, thanksgiving, hope, encouragement, gratefulness, and any other word you can use describe an emotional state of sheer beside yourself positive energy.
I will blog more on this later, but I've got to go...I've got a meeting at Starbucks!
I am absolutely overwhelmed in the most positive of ways. My son is coming home! While he is still in Afghanistan he has gone out on his last mission...he has been extracted from his FOB...he is being debrief and in a few short days he and some 1000 troops will board their military planes and start the long trip home. He will arrive at the Green Ramp at Fort Bragg the home of the All American. I will be among the many proud parents, spouses, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends, military personnel, diplomats, news reporters, veterans, and patriots, etc. welcoming home some of the bravest men and women in all of history. For the first time in months we will be together as a family.
For a few days I will be first and foremost a dad. I will take a break from following the war and focus on welcome home my son...my hero. We will ride our motorcycles...play video games...go to movies...eat a lot of good food...talk about old times...dream about the future...and experience moments of overwhelming pride, appreciate, gratefulness, and worship.
Over the past 15 months I have constantly been reminded of God's amazing grace. Almost every day I have received phone calls, e-mails, and comments asking about my son's well being and assured of so many of your prayers. I have read Psalm 91 hundreds of times and been reminded of God's protection and provision each time I received a phone call that he had been in a firefight, ambush, rocket attack, or IED explosion and walked away unharmed. I'm sure in time this reality will become even more apparent when long intimate conversations with my son become a source of healing for all.
I can't wait to meet his fellow troops and families members that we have grown close to over the past months through myspace...one of the key ways we have kept in touch and built a network of support. We have prayed for and with and cried for and with people we didn't know. Over time we have become a family.
I am so grateful to my family, my family at MLC, my church planting family, and my new military family for being a source of strength and comfort for Tami, Amanda, and me.
Finally, Welcome home my son!
We finally got a definitive word from the military when our son will return from Afghanistan. In order to understand their answer you have to know something about conditional probability Conditional probability states that the probability of event A (Dave arriving at the Green Ramp at Fort Bragg at a specific time) is conditioned on a sequence of other events happening. The challenge is that these other events share the same dynamic nature and therefore are impacted by similar variables, like joint or marginal probability.
In order to determine the probability of a certain event happening, based on a conditional relationship, mathmatically looks like this P(A|B) = P(AnB)/P(B. However, in this case the complexities are multiplied by the introduction of multiple conditional probabilities.
Here are the variables:
1) He will be extracted from his FOB (forward operational base) within 48 hours.
2) He will be transported to a the major staging area for the military in Afghanistan where his stay there will not exceed seven days, but may be less.
3) From there he will fly to another major staging area outside the US where he will spend 48 hours.
4) Leaving there he will fly directly or indirectly to Fort Bragg where we are going to have one of the most amazing celebrations imagined. The celebration is not a variable.
Given that we received this word on March 25th here is what we understood the definitive word from the military to mean. Our son will be home no later than April 6, unless there is some conditional variable that upsets this sequence of related variables. However, given the probability that he may not stay the full seven days at variable 2, he could arrive home prior to the 6th.
It's great to finally get a definite answer!
Let's go boys...we are out of here. Fifteen long months are behind you. You can hear the whoooomp, whooomp, whooomp, whoooomp of the huge rotors of the CH 47 Chinook Chopper. The last time you heard that sound you were being inserted into the middle of a TOP SECRET Operation. This time all you can think about is that you are going home. You made it, you are really going home. You long for what is normal, but normal isn't normal anymore. Your family awaits. Troops that have been scattered by the war will unite once again under the flag of the 82nd. Some did not make it...rumors have echoed off the distant mountains of the battlefield...some were not rumors. The wounded will be united with the less wounded...none have escaped unharmed.
Those of us back home will embrace our loved ones. I'll complete a tattoo I started fifteen months ago. A book I dedicated to my son released under the caption "Welcome Home" stays. My tears will meet my pride...I've never stood so close to a real live hero...my son, and the brave men of the 82nd Airborne 4-73 Cav Recon.
For now I wait...each day seems like an eternity. When will my phone ring...when will I hear his voice? I am not alone...there are 1000 families that wait with me. They are now my family...we are now America's family. We have paid a price...tears and pride once again mingle. Soon...very soon our wait will be over. The phone will ring and we will gather at the Green Ramp. It will be heaven. It was hell when he left...when we didn't hear from him...when we got word that their was an ambush...an IED had exploded. It was hell when we read of another brother who had fallen...it was hell last night when we heard that 4000 had fallen in Iraq. It will be hell as long as the war continues...It will be hell when the call comes once again, another deployment scheduled for '09. For now it will soon be heaven when reunions will not want...
Whoooomp, whoooooomp, whoooooooomp...another chopper...this time it's a Harley. The sun is beaming brightly on our faces as we head to the coast. Healing is in the air...for now the war is behind us. I'm cruising down the road with my son....
Soon....but for now I wait...I wait on that call...I wait on that reunion...I wait on that touch...I wait on that assurance...I wait on that joy...I wait on that peace...I wait.
Waiting is tough...the more at stake the tougher it is. I'm waiting for a call from my son saying he is headed home from Afghanistan. The first call came early in March. Good news he was headed home in 10 days. The next call...change of plans...headed home on the 24th. Today's the 24th...I'm waiting on my next call...it could be today or it could be next week...all I can do is wait.
I will keep you posted...get ready to party.
Just two weeks ago I received a phone call from my son in Afghanistan letting me know that they had move up his time to redeploy to the 10th of March. That's tomorrow. That was good news. I have to cancel a trip to Egypt and start making a number of adjustments to my life, but none of them seemed to matter since my son from returning from the front lines of the War on Terror. I felt a lot like the father in the story of the prodigal....standing there watching and waiting. It has almost been like time had stood still over the past fifteen months.
Well tomorrow is the 10th and I received another call at 2:00 am last night confirming that they were adjusting the time again. He will be leaving in 13 days, for now I will stay at home and wait for that call, "I'm headed home". I have learned that that is how the military mostly works...sort of a hurry up and wait kind of operation.
For the next 13 days he will be mostly outside the wire, which is one of the reasons I'm writing this post. It seems as we get closer and closer to him coming home the stakes keep going up. I would really appreciate your prayers for him and the troops. There are 5 flights that will be headed back to Fort Bragg filled with some of the bravest and most outstanding men in the world. They are our hero's. Many of them or most of them have endured things that are unimaginable. I know my son has. Pray for their safety and their re-entry into the US. It will be tough for all, tougher for some.
The last time I checked there are some 20 something young men who are not returning home others have pay a great price. Please pray for my son over the next 13 days...once again he couldn't tell me a lot about what he would be doing, only that he would be out everyday. If you want to know how to pray for him and others read Psalm 91 and pray it as a prayer over our troops.
We can't wait....thanks for your faithful prayers....so many of you have taken time to remind me that you are praying. Love to all....david
It was 4:00 am and when I was awaken to my cell phone. It was my son! He said something like, "I just wanted to give you heads up. It looks like I will be in the air and on my way home on the 10th. That's right the 10th. My son who has been away for 15 months (minus his leave) will be redeployed to the Fort Brag, North Carolina from Afghanistan. That's right he will begin his trip back MONDAY Week!!!! We were expecting him to return at the very end or March at best and more then likely in April...for us this was great news. I can't believe it!!!!
I wanted to share this with you because so many of you constantly remind me of how you are praying for him. I am overwhelmed and amazed by your love and kindness toward my family. Now my son is coming home. In another week we will hop in the car and head up to Fort Bragg the home of the 82nd Airborne where we will be the moment his plane touches down. I have dreamed of this moment for the past 15 months. Now he is coming home!!!!
Thank you to each one of you who have prayed for him and others who are serving all over the world. Please continue to pray for them as they re-enter a more normal life. Don't forget to continue to pray for the many troops that are still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me know the names and locations of the troops you are praying for I want to join you in praying for them.
LAST NIGHT'S' LUNAR ECLIPSE
This weeks EVOLVE Conference was awesome! One of the things that amazed me was how many people came up and told me that THEY were praying for my son. I often say we are a tribe, but I'm wrong...we are family. When people ask me about my son who is serving with the Army in Afghanistan you are speaking my love language. Nothing let's me know you love me more than to care about my family. Thanks to the dozens of people who asked that simply question, "How's your son?" I love you, too!
Last night I was in an amazing small group where we got NAKED. If you track with MLC we are doing a series on the Naked Church so don't get to alarmed. We went deeper into our lives then ever before. Real pain was unearthed and tears were shared...healing began. It was incredible. We prayed boldly and asked God to show up big in our lives and we believed Him.
One of the prayers I prayed was for my son. It's been a few days since I've heard from him. Yesterday I woke up with him very much on my mind. I told my group last night I was praying that I would hear from him and usually when I asked God for that gift he responded very quickly. This morning I woke up to a new message in my wives myspace account. It was from my son. I was reminded once again that God is in the details of our lives and even our hardships.
His response was simply....he was working nonstop getting ready to come home. Not sure exactly when, but he is due to return at the end of March or first of April. He told me to get ready for a wild summer. It was so good to hear from him. He is getting ready to come home....look out US...Putman's gone wild!!!!
As I write this I am expecting God to respond in a big way to the other prayers we have been praying for our friends...relationships are going to be reconciled...business deals are going to come through...healing is going to take place.
Once following a terrible accident my wife endure she asked me a question in a time I was struggling with the her circumstance, "Can't you see...Can't you see God is at work...Can't you see what he is doing all around me?"
My heart is pregnant with hopes and possibilities. I sense God is at work in so many areas so big. I am overwhelmed by His goodness. I believe God is renewing and reviving our souls. I'm expecting incredible things in the lives of our team and our church. We are being pressed down and poured out. Our lives are being conformed to His image. We are becoming more life Jesus. I really believe this.
Not only are we, but God is doing something in our tribe...oops family. He really is. This week at EVOLVE I was reminded of that. Sure we worked hard...got good speakers...the band was on...the Harley entrance was a holy moment. More importantly God was there. No fancy methods...just power...His power. God is doing something in all of us. Peace....His Peace!