Are you for us or our enemies? Neither!

firefightDuring my second deployment (Iraq 2005-2006), I was asked by a soldier if I thought God was on our side or on the side of the Muslim terrorists that kept blowing us up every day. I shared with the young soldier in front of his platoon mates for a few moments before they rolled out on yet another mission that would see injuries. I told him of the leader Joshua who followed Moses as the leader of the Israelites and how the night before a major battle Joshua went for a walk in the dark desert away from the camp. When he did, Joshua was confronted by a warrior he did not recognize and reasoned within himself that if this guy was the enemy that they were going to lose the next day due to the warrior’s impressive armor. Joshua felt compelled to ask the strange warrior, “Are you for us or our enemies?” The warrior said, “NEITHER! But as the leader of the armies of the Lord, I have now come.” Joshua responded by falling to the ground in reverence and in worship.

I went to share with the soldier about to leave the gate that the question he asked is incorrect but that the better question was which side are you on as an individual human being? He stuck out his chest and walked toward his buddies and said, “I am on God’s side.”

SPC West had no sooner left the gate of the FOB before his vehicle took a direct hit from an Improvised Explosive Device. All in the vehicle were injured but SPC West received the greatest impact of the blast. The gunner in the vehicle lost the lower part of one of his legs about mid calf down and SPC West lost both legs above the knee. The other two in the vehicle received walking wounds and were eventually returned to duty.

2526600154Now, when a soldier is MEDEVAC from a war zone, few people in the unit ever see that soldier again. Many of us thought we would never see SPC West again. Once the deployment was over, I was tasked with traveling up to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit our wounded. During that deployment we saw 38 wounded. Five of them were still being treated at Walter Reed and many others were taken care of by local VA hospitals or other Army hospitals that met their specific needs.

When I walked into SPC West’s room, he practically jumped out of bed to give me a hug. He was thrilled to see me and was glad I had come by when I did. I spent about two hours with his mom and him. We talked about the day he was hit, relived moments leading up to the IED and everything that followed afterwards that happened to the unit. His Fiancé was there. She shared details of their upcoming wedding and showed me the gifts that people had given SPC West. I too had brought a gift. It was religious in nature because SPC West attended literally all of my Bible studies and services while down range missing them only when he was on patrol. It was an album called “Live like you were dying.” SPC West teared up when I handed it to him. Someone share the album with him not long after he got back and he was wanting to buy it.

As I prepared to leave, he shared with me all his goals and dreams. He is one motivated soldier. His mother was thankful because no one had ever told her or SPC West what actually happened. According to the report filed after the blast, fellow soldiers testified that they saw the IED in the road and that the convoy could not avoid it no matter what they did, so SPC West chose to take the blast himself instead of risking someone else getting hit. It is highly likely that SPC West saved the lives of his fellow soldiers that day and decided that he was on God’s side. Praise God for the SPC West’s of the world and their family members. Who’s side are you on?

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.