March 16th, 2007
This year started well; this weekend marks the end of ERT (Phase Two), so the men from Unit 36 will begin their Advanced Training on Monday. We have had a number of deployments over the first couple of months with a few highlighted below. I’ll try to have a report on the Mexico deployment next month.
Unit 36 Deployments- Saturday, January 20th, we received a request for assistance from Oklahoma State Representative George Faught. The area that he represents, around Muskogee, OK, had received severe damage from a major ice storm. He met with other local officials to confirm the need and their ability to house and feed the men, then, we notified the men of Unit 36 ERT. The men went to church Sunday morning, then departed at 1:00, arriving in the disaster area in time for supper. The men worked Monday through Saturday, cleaning up trees and limbs for the elderly and those with other special circumstances who were unable to take care of things on their own. 49 men put in a total of over 2900 man-hours in Muskogee and Ft. Gibson.
Besides the actual clean-up work, the men were able to minister to countless lives through singing at each home and at meals. They were invited to sing and give testimony at several Wednesday evening church services, and sang the national anthem at a regional high school basketball tournament on Friday evening. On Sunday, the men split into groups that attended several area churches they had interacted with over the preceding six days of work. Following lunch, they returned to Big Sandy for a night’s rest before starting back into classes the next morning. Local media in the Muscogee area was very impressed with the men: news reports can be viewed here and here. The men of Unit 36 also split in half later and each did week-long service projects in two different locations:
Fort Rock Family Camp in St. Paul, AR- We arrived late on Sunday evening, so we got a late start in the morning. The men were assigned their jobs for the day, ate breakfast, had prayer, and were sent to the job locations. The first couple of days, we had four areas to concentrate on. The first and largest was the stockade fence, this required that we set 10 ft cedar posts into a trench, pull them tightly together, and backfill and tamp gravel all around them, by the end of three days we had completed 300 feet of this fence. The second job was insulating a large dining hall/recreation building. The men had a good response, and did their work cheerfully, and after five days of hard labor, the building was completed.
Each day, two men were assigned to be carpenters, to assist in building the second story deck in front of the hotel. All of the wood used in the construction was milled on property, and has a rough sawn appearance. The hotel, general store, bank, and sheriff’s office, have an old west appeal, and provide a face for the dining hall/recreation building. We cut and hauled firewood for the winter, at one point assisting a widow in the area by filling up her firewood needs, and cleared about two acres of woodland for use as a rifle range/archery range. An excellent deployment, from which we returned with honor, grateful thanks to all who tended the home fires, and stayed behind so that we could take the gospel into all the world.
Trenton, FL- From February 11-17 part of the ALERT ERT unit had the privilege of serving the community of Trenton, Florida by providing assistance to the needy in that part of the county. Our hosts, Carl and Geneva Cornwell, graciously and enthusiastically organized the week, lined up work projects, and arranged a campground to lodge in, and wonderful meals throughout our time. Work assignments ranged from basic lawn care and mowing to trimming bushes, power-washing houses, demolition work, painting and some minor household repairs. In addition to the service work the men were able to enjoy several public events that included a luncheon with the Rotary, an evening dinner with the American Legion, Wednesday night church services and finally a Friday night community event in downtown Trenton. A number of the guys had the privilege of sharing about their life at ALERT as well as giving a personal testimony to those present at the Character Council gathering on Saturday evening. The community was extremely grateful and appreciative of our service and we were blessed to be able to serve in this capacity. Special thanks go to Lt. Huggins, Sgt. Wall and Corporal Cahill for their great organizational and supervisory skills, which made the week run most efficiently. You can see news reports here and here
Bruce West (Unit 26) just completed Warrant Officer Candidate School in the U.S. Army, and will be starting a year of flight training to become a helicopter pilot.
ALERT Men in the military- During the past couple of months, I’ve been tracking down all the guys who are in the armed forces. I’ve been able to contact over 80 already, with several more I haven’t gotten in touch with yet. If any of you know how to contact Jacob Davis (U22), Jason Douglas (U24), James Harry (U13), Owen Manor (U3), Marc Moore (U11), Aaron Morsberger (U5), or Charles Stewart (U3), please let me know!
If you have a need you’d like to share with the rest of us, please pass it on and I’ll include it in the next update.
We are planning an International Service Deployment for each unit a few weeks before they graduate. This May, Unit 35 men will be going on a project to work with a missionary in Brazil. One of the men is short the necessary funds to be involved in this trip. Our desire from the outset has been that all of these men be able to participate. The time is drawing short on committing him to this vital deployment. This is an opportunity for you to impact not only the life of an ALERT man, but also those whom he will be able to serve in Brazil. If you or someone you know would be able to help with this need, please go directly to our website at www.alertacademy.com, click on the Donate to Our Disaster Relief Fund button, designate as “General ALERT Donation”, then specify “Brazil Trip Sponsor” in the comments field. This is a secure site for protection of personal information. Time is critical for this man’s funds to materialize. In any case, please pray for our men’s ministry in Brazil and their final time together as a unit.
Chris Sullivan (Unit 13) and his wife Lindsey’s babies that I mentioned last Update were delivered; Ryan Patrick and Conner Luke both are over two pounds now and are continuing to grow. Their lungs are still underdeveloped, so that is a matter of ongoing prayer need. Ryan is being flown to Oklahoma City for surgery on a vessel near his heart on Monday, so that is an immediate prayer request. Thank you for your prayers!
Aaron Robertson (Unit 18) was released from the hospital in North Carolina, but is still undergoing some other challenges. If any of you would like to give him a call of encouragement, just reply to this email and I’ll get you his phone number.
Chris Scott (Unit 25) is in the Navy, stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He and his wife, Sheyenne, are separated. This trial has really shown him his need to be brought back into right relationship and fellowship with the Lord. Please pray for restoration of his marriage, and also that the Lord would bring a Christian friend to come along side him for encouragement and accountability.