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Chapter 1 -6- He knew

Chapter 1 -6- He knew there was something he had to do with his life, but what? The Vietnam War convulsed the country then, and he enlisted. He knew his parents loved him by the worry hidden in their eyes. “Won’t be the same without you,” his dad said. “Maybe we’ll sell the farm and move to Florida.” He reached Vietnam on January 13, 1968 and was sent to Cu Chi, the base camp of the 25th Infantry Division. There Tom drove an armored recovery tank in a convoy to another base camp called Tay-Ninh along the Cambodian border. When they reached base camp, Tom entered a hooch, looking for a place to shave and clean off the filth from his days of travel. Inside he found a young soldier cleaning his weapon and asked if he could borrow a basin to clean up. “Been here long?” Tom inquired. “Too long,” was all the soldier said, as he handed Tom a basin. Tom went outside to wash up for chow with his buddies. Although they were vulnerable to mortar attack, they were glad to be in a place that was relatively secure. Suddenly, a rifle shot scattered the tired men. “Sniper! Run for cover!” Tom and several others ran inside the hooch where a gruesome sight stunned them. “Ain’t no sniper. That guy killed himself!” Republished by Witnessing Made Easy 2018

Chapter 1 -7- Tom was deeply troubled by that suicide, something he himself had once considered. He tried to tell himself that everyone was discouraged at times in Vietnam, seeing death all around; so how could anyone know for sure that someone was contemplating suicide? Between the mortar attacks and booby traps, everyone was fearful for their lives and under stress. Still, he had been the last one to talk with that despondent soldier, and that bothered him. He prayed for another opportunity to share the way of peace that he had found. Some time later, another opportunity came. One of the men on patrol stepped around an armored tank right onto a land mine, which set off another land mine. His buddy was bleeding badly but was conscious as they rushed him back to base camp for emergency surgery. “I’m expecting some religious books in the mail soon,” he murmured. “Guess I need ‘em now, huh?” The other men were gathered around him, trying to disguise the fear in their hearts. “You’re gonna make it, buddy. You got your ticket home now.” “Yeah, don’t worry,” said another GI. “Doc’ll fix you up.” Tom longed to tell the injured man about Jesus but didn’t have the courage with all the others standing there. He decided to wait and come back later to share the gospel when the others were gone. But when Tom returned later, it was too late. The soldier had died. Republished by Witnessing Made Easy 2018