Transformed: Iraq Veteran’s Story from Atheism to Christ
Engage Your Destiny
Camp Cropper, Iraq, 2009.
Andy was a far way from home. When joining the National Guard, most recruits don’t expect on being deployed at all, much less to a military detention facility in Baghdad, where Andy now was. Inside the locked compound at Camp Cropper, Andy would be face to face with up to 1000 radical Islamics at a time. When speaking on his own experience there, “my time there turned me away from religion and Christianity so much that I became an atheist. For nine years I walked around with hate in my heart and despair for religion”.
Things didn’t get better when Andy returned home to the states in 2010. Upon completing his deployment, Andy’s mental health fell apart. PTSD, anxiety, and depression were all troubling him immensely. Thankfully, after a ten-year experience with mental health that he can only describe as a “roller coaster ride”, his mind is in a much better place now. Andy gives credit to his wife and three daughters for being his light whenever he felt he needed to dig out of the darkness. About six months ago, Andy was introduced to another light he could look to, Jesus. In the fall of 2019, Andy started to feel a pull, just enough of a tug toward Christ. Andy began surrounding himself with everything he could to learn more about him. Whether it was music, movies, or sermons, if it was about Jesus, Andy was listening to it. The more Andy surrounded himself with God, the more he grew to love him, “there is positivity and hope and acceptance that I am finding in this and the more I experience the more I want to learn about Christ and emulate Christ in my own life.”
As part of his job for the VA, Andy began researching ministries for military veterans and came across Engage Your Destiny’s website. He clicked to watch one of Ben’s sermons and just over three weeks ago now, Andy decided to give his life to Jesus.
After a decade of ups and downs and heartache, Andy is now enamored with our savior. In the recent weeks since Andy has made his decision for Jesus, he hasn’t stopped charging full steam ahead. Andy quickly received his Warrior Bible which he has been studying voraciously. He has been partnered up with a mentor who is beginning to disciple him through Engage Your Destiny weekly messages. “What a blessing this has been for me and I wanted to thank the Warriors Journey and Ben Peterson. Listening to Ben’s worship service for the first time for me was incredible. Here is a guy about the same age as me, talking about Army experiences I can totally relate to and spreading the word about Christ”.
People like Andy aren’t a rarity or exception. All around us are veterans that need our help and we are so grateful to be able to do this work for people just like Andy, all for the promotion of the gospel and Jesus. We are so thankful to be able to help Andy and that he felt compelled to share his story with us.