Allen Jackson - Afghanistan and Ukraine (Front Line Perspective) - Part 1
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I'm very excited about the program we get to share with you today. It's really a perspective, the truth about Afghanistan and Ukraine, we're going to get a front line perspective from some friends. I sat down and interviewed them. They have been in Afghanistan and Ukraine and have not, they're not giving us a news report or something that they learned from somebody else. They're going to help us to see it through their eyes. You'll be shocked at this, spoiler alert, everything you've heard in the media isn't the most accurate. My goal is to help us understand how to pray for the church and what God is doing in the earth. It's an important lesson, an important day. I'm glad you get to be a part of the program.
Allen Jackson: Before they start sharing some of their story with you, I want to answer a question 'cause it's been put to me more than once. Why would we invite a group of military people who spent their lives serving in our military and serving those who serve in the military to speak to us at a church? Well, there's a better answer than that, I'm gonna be, I'm snarky enough that why not works, but there really is... I don't think we understand the degree to which messaging impacts how we think and respond to the world. I would just remind you of some basic biblical facts, all right? Abraham, I mean, he's the one of the first heroes we meet, Genesis 12, was a warrior. When Abraham comes back from a military victory in the northern part of Israel, Melchizedek, a pre-incarnate Jesus, greets him to encourage him on his military victory. If that disrupts your theology, go read it more carefully. I've stood at the gates, the the mud brick gates in Dan where Abraham went in the middle of the night to defeat a city, to take back his nephew and the people that they had carried away.
If that's not adequate for you, Moses was a warrior, Joshua was a warrior, David the one to whom God said, "One of your descendants will rule over my people forever," was a warrior. Long before he was a politician, he was a warrior. Some of you prefer the New Testament. Some of the greatest opportunities of the New Testament, and commendations, were given to people in the military. Jesus said the greatest faith he found in Israel, he said of a Roman centurion in Capernaum. And he got hate mail for it, he said, "I haven't found anybody in all of Israel that understands faith and the authority of God, like this Roman soldier does. It's impossible for us to imagine how offensive that would have been to his audience. And if that's not sufficient, when the church began and God decided to pour out his Spirit on the Gentiles, the non Jewish community, he chose to do it in the home of a Roman centurion, Cornelius. He didn't choose somebody that led a Bible study amongst the Jewish community, he chose a Roman soldier".
So I would humbly submit to you that perhaps we could learn something about honor and duty and respect and courage from people who have served in the military. Our Bibles are full of those people. Amen? So welcome, gentlemen. We are honored to have you. I'm gonna give you a brief introduction and then we'll start to get to a bit of their stories. Kevin Weaver is the president of Warrior's Journey dedicated to caring for our military and encouraging those veterans and helping them flourish in their lives after the military. And we thank you for what you do, Kevin. Aziz was an Afghanistan interpreter and worked with our military in Afghanistan for many years. And then you'll hear how he made his way to America, but only through the hand of God and the courage of a group of people. And then, and before he leaves this morning, he's going to give all of us a lesson on complaining, okay?
So if you have complained already today, I'm gonna help you, go ahead and repent before he talks. You'll be happy about that. And then Chad Robichaux is a retired force recon marine and he's really just here to try to learn about courage and boldness from those of us in Tennessee. He did eight tours in Afghanistan and then went back after that to do some things that he'll share with you, so we are delighted to have you here today, gentlemen. Kevin, why don't you kick us off and tell us a little bit about what the Warrior's Journey and what that means and what's your role in that and how we can pray for you more effectively?
Kevin Weaver: Yeah, Pastor, thank you so much. We we really have the opportunity to what we feel is, be e a counter enemy attack against the diabolical plan to destroy what's happening in the hearts of our warriors that have raised the right hand, signed a blank check, being willing to pay the ultimate price if that request is made, you know. And so many of you know Chad's story, you'll hear Chad's story today. So Chad would be a representative of literally tens of thousands of individuals who have served, like Chad, many of which you'll never know their name. You'll never understand their story or hear their story, or have the opportunity. Most of them don't really want you to know, they don't feel like that's their place. They serve, they serve quietly, quiet professionals, and they're willing to sacrifice not just their life, but really their family and all of that.
So when they come home and they transition, or while they're on duty, we do that as well, we work with American military members, active duty veterans and their families. You know what we try to do is integrate the understanding of the special unique challenges that they face, so that we can help them integrate. And the church is so key in this and I'm thank you for the opportunity because I think there's a need for an awareness that, even though if you haven't served, we talk to many pastors or people who are in church and say, "Well, I never really served". That's okay, you don't have to serve to understand or have a passion for those folks that are there, because the church is the answer before, during and after someone's military service. And so it's so important, right? And so we integrate a practical, holistic approach, a mind, body, soul, and spirit.
So what we do is we create an environment, a wide funnel if you will, and we have people who have volunteered for us that we've trained, warriors that have been through situations and have a faith story. And we've raised them up and they have now become an army of people, no pun intended, marines too, we'll count the marines. But an army of people who have integrated now into a one-on-one relationship. So when someone comes to us, whether it's a preventative measure, a question, or it could be a man in crisis, or a women in crisis, we're able to meet that need immediately, literally within moments of them contacting us, we have them connected one-to-one, connected with a Warrior connector, who begins to triage their situation, begins a relationship with that person because it's someone of like experience that they can trust immediately. It's a battle buddy that they can be vulnerable with, and so that vulnerability begets opportunity for us to find out exactly what they need, to customize a program for them, or a journey if you will, hence the Warrior's Journey, to move them forward.
One little small example. So we read at an event just a few months ago, down in Florida, we were working with catastrophically wounded soldiers and I had the opportunity the last day of the week that we were there with them, double amputee, left arm as well so really triple amputee, on a golf course, on the 18th hole with this amazing warrior. just spending time with him. And we had given him a warrior's Bible, one of our resources is a Warrior study Bible for warriors, it's an amazing Bible. And he was giving it back, he said, "Hey, Kevin, I really appreciate the opportunity to have this, but you need to take this back and give it to someone who can use it, because it's just not something that I can connect with". And I'm like, "Hey, man, permission to, you know, to ask a question"? He said, "Absolutely". I said, "Well, can you just tell me why"?
And what he said was a reflective kind of representation, I think, of so many guys who work with. He said, "Well, because of the things I've done and things I've seen and things I've been involved with as a military member, there's no way that a loving God would forgive me for what I've done". And I said, "Wait a minute," I said, "Let me just share something. Are you talking about like war crimes here? You know, did you commit a crime"? He said, "Well, no, I did my my duty as a marine". And I said, "So time out," and I won't share the whole story, but just briefly, I just basically said to him over the course of a 15, 20 minute conversation, engaging with him and telling him, "Look what you've done? I'm looking at you, and you need to understand, it really doesn't work this way. God called you, you were obedient to that call. You were willing to give your life. You to me, are the greatest representative of Jesus Christ in the flesh, giving yourself," right?
"Being willing to sacrifice yourself to protect us at home against evil, and look what you've done. Look what you've sacrificed? Well, listen God needs to forgive you, we all need forgiveness. But he doesn't need to forgive you for that. I can tell you right now that God not only loves you, but is proud of your service". And as he's looking at me, he said, "Well, how do"? I said, "Let me show you some scripture". We basically shared the the Warriors of the Bible. And he began to have these pretty big crocodile tears. For a marine, that's not too often, you see that kind of thing but you know, the Lord was really working on him. And what's so amazing is, he came out of that, that golf cart that day got on his prosthetic knees, and I led him to Jesus that afternoon. It was really powerful to watch that.
So, that is what's needed, that's what our guys need, and that's what Mighty Oaks is about. That's what we do at the Warrior's Journey, and we try to implement an environment where we can engage with individuals where they are. Does that makes sense? Where they are, meet them where they are and they're all different, whether it's a military member, veteran or a family member. And the suicide issue is a pretty big deal, you know, so we've had a little over 7,000 folks killed in action, weren't here, but we've had 34,000 thousand of those same individuals come home and take their own lives. There's a sense of hopelessness. I mean, four times our combat deaths, you know?
And so Chad's committed to this, and we're grateful to be able to work with him. We work with 72 other organizations, Chad's one of our premier organizations. We refer more people to Mighty Oaks than any other organization, and it's a powerful thing. He'll tell more about that, but... So please be in prayer with us and continually to help us because there is a need out there in scale. We had ten suicide interventions just this week. And I'm happy to tell you, over the 1700 engagements that we've had with individuals, we've not lost one individual yet to a suicide. And I'll tell you why, there's one reason why, is because the implementation and the engagement and the trust that we earn to share the gospel with those individuals in a way that makes sense to them, in their language, and in their experience.
And so we're committed to that moving forward, I have two boys that are currently active duty. One's been in 11 years, one's been in 7 years, about 8 combat deployments between the 2 of them and we get it. I mean we're still living that, and Chad, of course you are too and many of you understand that too, as military parents. So it's a real thing and the church is the answer. And Pastor, I'm so grateful that there's a church like World Outreach that's willing, thank you that you're willing to think of this, be engaged with this. Yes, please and know that you're part of that process. Thank you. We can't do this without the church. It's the Church of Jesus Christ that Jesus raised up. It's not our organization. It's not that, it's the church and so thank you.
Allen Jackson: After eight tours in Afghanistan, Chad had retired and was home, and we withdrew in a shameful way from Afghanistan, I heard the White House press briefing when they said there maybe was a hundred of our citizens or supporters that we left behind. So can you give us an overview, tell us how you saved Aziz, what caused you to do that and how that happened?
Chad Robichaux: Yeah, well. As a marine, I was a part of a joint JSOC task force, a joint Special Operations Command task force and I did eight deployments to Afghanistan and those deployments were, you know, hard. I lost 15 friends over those deployments. You know Aziz and I were in a AFO element which meant we were advanced force operators for our special operations unit. So I worked by myself, more like an undercover capacity, to go ahead of my unit, to build all the infrastructure to get all our soldiers on target, to capture, kill, the worst bad guys on the battlefield. And so Aziz was my interpreter, he was my culture advisor. He's my teammate, he's my friend. And we did, in those eight deployments, we went through so much together. And both of us came home with our own journeys. I came home and was diagnosed with PTSD, that with debilitating panic attacks, anxiety, depression. I went a three-year downward spiral that almost ended in me losing my family and ended up with a suicide attempt in 2010 where I attempted to take my life.
And you know, I came to this conclusion that, you know, maybe my family would be sad without me, but they would be better off. And that same hopeless thought finds a home in the hearts of over twenty of our veterans every single day, as Kevin was saying, those numbers, you know, four times, three or four times the amount of those die in combat, died at their own hand at home. And I was committed to make the decision. Some amazing people came around me, pastor, one being my wife Kathy, a mentor from a local church and they helped lead me to a relationship with Christ, discipled me, which I found through that process restoration, hope and a new purpose which manifests in the founding of Mighty Oaks Foundation and over the last 12 years, we've worked together with Warrior's Journey quite a bit and one of our main partners.
And we've been able to serve, you know, hundreds of thousands of warriors through our Resanzy program, a recovery program, a policy, fighting for policy for faith-based care in Washington, DC. Internationally, our allies around the world. God has really given me this big platform to help and make an impact in the lives of the Veteran community. And so when I'm watching what's happening in Afghanistan fall apart, and watching this withdrawal, which I knew was a complete disaster, and a huge mistake, by the way, we should never have left there. And I could talk more about why, the one thing that I knew I had control of was my friend Aziz. I mean, Aziz and I did all eight of those deployments together. He saved my life, literally saved my life on three occasions. I saved, shared one of them on Friday night. He probably saved my life every day though, "Don't walk there, don't eat that, don't talk to that person. Like if you talk right now, they're gonna kill us".
And if we were not in the mountains of Afghanistan, I didn't go back to base and he went home, I went to his house and his wife Hotra cooked me my first warm meal when I came out of those ice cold mountains. And I was there when his son, Mashud, and Mashuda his oldest son and daughter were born, I held them as babies, so they were like family, literally family to me. And there was no way in the world, it would even possible to be a thought of mine to let him stay there. And so I put this team together of 12 special operations veterans to go get Aziz, his wife and six kids. And as we put this team together, four marines, Green Berets, some Navy SEALSs, a couple of guys from CIA's ground branch, which is our paramilitary unit in our Central Intelligence Agency.
We're putting this team together and we heard about these 3500 orphans that were being left and that really just, I think God just used that to burden our hearts to say, this is bigger than just Aziz, his wife and kids. And we made a commitment to be obedient, taking that burden that we had, God was putting in our hearts and we called it Task force 6:8 from Isaiah 6:8, "Here am I, send me". And we leaned forward to save as many Americans, interpreters, their families, women and children, and we just leaned forward and we watched God perform an absolute miracle, which, by the way, I've gotten a lot of credit for this, but I am not in any way capable of pulling off. This was an impossible thing that's just clearly a divine miracle of God. And we not only rescued... Yep. That led to us not only rescuing Aziz, his wife and six kids, but ultimately 17,000 people from the hands of the Taliban, and so.
Allen Jackson: Amen. So that 100 people morphed into 17,000? You said it was a mistake to leave, that you could tell us more about it. Tell us more about it.
Chad Robichaux: Well, do I have like about eight hours? Do I have eight hours?
Allen Jackson: We've got time. Yeah, I know the keeper of the clock, it's okay.
Chad Robichaux: So, you know, America has been lied to for a long time. Anybody surprised by that? We shouldn't be. By not only the White House, multiple administrations, whether you know, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, the mainstream media has really kept us in a dark and we were told this lie that Afghanistan was a 20 year war, it was an endless war and we have to leave, because America's sons and daughters are lying. And most of us probably believed that at some point, because it's a pretty convincing lie. But the truth is, we had 2500 troops in Afghanistan. That, I can name 12 places right now that we have 2500 troops around the world, but all this emphasis was put on getting out of Afghanistan because it benefited the enemies of the United States for us to leave.
We have 80,000 people, by the way, 80,000 troops still in Japan since World War II. We have 40,000 troops in Germany since World War II. We have 35,000 troops in South Korea on that 38th parallel keeping the North Koreans from coming across that border. Why? Because Americans, America, being strong and having a strong military presence around the world, doesn't put us in wars or keep us in wars, it prevents wars. These contingents make the world a safer place because America is strong. And we have a responsibility, as being a strong kid in the playground, to protect those who can't protect themselves. And it's not about going and getting ourselves in other people's business and policing the world, that's not what it's about. It's about making the world a safe place, and a place where freedom could thrive and has the opportunity to thrive. And so this lie that political people from around the world, by the way, not just the United States, sold to the American people, allowed our White House to talk to only the Taliban to withdraw the US military from Afghanistan.
Our White House, it's very important that this question has never been asked in the media, and it has never been answered and I don't think it will be asked out in public, why did we not talk to our allies, NATO, the Afghan government that we spent 20 years putting in place, why did we not talk to them about the withdrawal? NATO learned about the withdrawal on the news. We controlled Bagram Air Force Base, which is the most strategic place in the globe between Iraq, Iran, Russia, and China and we gave that up to our enemies without even consulting our international allies that are all participating with a contingent force of the United States Military of 2500 people, to keep the Taliban at bay in the mountains of Afghanistan. It was working. We took that away from not just America, international security, but from the world, and we only talked to our enemy of 20 years, the Taliban.
And when we made the decision to do that, the White House took the NEO operation, which is noncombatant evacuation away from the Department of Defense and gave it to the State Department. And they moved out our diplomats and our military before they moved out our civilians and our $80 billion in equipment technology. And the only people that had anything to gain from that, is our enemies. Pakistan ISI, which is their Central Intelligence Agency, Iran, and China. And we left Americans behind, we left our allies behind, and we costed lives of of many Americans. We don't even know how many, not just our 13 service members, which our hearts, you know, hurt for that, but American citizens who depend on our government for help, we left them behind. And you know, it's not a debacle or a blunder, or it was a good, it was a withdrawal had to happen, but we just could have did it better, no, this was a deliberate decision that jeopardized the national security of the United States and freedom around the world.
Allen Jackson: Thank you. And for the record, we're currently withdrawing from Sudan.
Chad Robichaux: That's right. Yeah.
Allen Jackson: And we put the State Department in charge of that one and not the...?
Chad Robichaux: We did, this is the second time in my history of my 30 years around the military, to see the NEO operation be given from the Department of Defense, where it belongs, to the State Department. Secretary Blinken's in charge of that right now, and we have 16,000 people, Americans, in Sudan right now that are registered with the State Department. Now most of you, if anybody's ever traveled overseas, I never register with the State Department, I don't want to, I don't want them to know where I'm at. But only, they say one in three Americans, at best, in different countries, one in three Americans at best register with the State Department. So 16,000 is what's registered with the State Department, we don't know how many are there. But again, last Saturday, eight days from today, last Saturday, the US special forces removed 100 diplomats from Sudan, but we, we put out an announcement that if you Americans still there, you have to self evacuate or shelter in place. And once again for the second time in this administration, we left Americans behind in a war zone.
Allen Jackson: That we have to pray about, amen? We tried shelter in place and we did when we had Amazon and DoorDash, and that didn't work very well for us. I can't imagine doing it in a war zone. They need our prayers.