Providing Healing for Our Warriors’ Invisible Wounds

Isaiah 61:1: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound …

Soldiers are suffering across the country. Right now it is estimated that somewhere around twenty percent of soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from PTS(D) (currently there is a move to remove the disorder and simply refer to it as PTS or dysfunction instead of disorder) ranging from minor and unnoticeable symptoms all the way to the major and obvious symptoms with less than fifty percent seeking help for their symptoms.

If we take that based on the number of soldiers that have served in these two conflicts there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 to 400,000 men and women suffering from PTS(D).

Contrary to belief , PTS(D) is not the sign of weakness, but instead is the sign of a warrior. One Marine who wished to remain anonymous said, “PTSD is a disorder of warriors, not men and women who were weak or cowardly but …who followed orders and who, at a young age, put their feelings aside and performed unimaginable tasks … PTSD is a disorder of a good warrior.”

In Isaiah, speaking of the mission of Jesus, the prophet says that Jesus comes to bind up the brokenhearted and, by extension, His mission is our mission. Regardless of why a soldier has PTS(D), we believe that the Church should be an asset to soldiers on their journey to emotional, physical, and spiritual health and freedom, and be an agent in the process of binding up their broken hearts.

Pastor Steve Estep of Grace Nazarene and Pastor John Renken of Freedom Church in Clarksville, TN sat in a meeting with local chaplains listening to the difficulties this nation’s soldiers are facing. They decided it was something the local, as well as the universal, church must help with. Shortly after that they recruited Pastor Carlo Serrano of Xtreme Christian Fellowship,  a local pastor and war veteran, to round out the team.

After two months of searching the Warrior Retreat Leadership team found a suitable model that could be adapted to fit the needs of current active duty soldiers in the Welcome Home Initiative.

At the Warrior Retreat we are hoping to help returning soldiers connect with God, their fellow warriors, and with their spouses at the moment of their trauma or trial and in deep and meaningful ways. We will do this by using journaling, intervention based ministry, practical demonstrations of the tools given, and lots of fun activities like having our guest Brad Stine, a nationally known Comedian, open up the Retreat with some humor to give them a break from the world. We also will have a husband and wife shooting range, zip lines, hiking, and other outdoor-based activities.

We want to serve our soldiers, not make a profit off them, so the Warrior Retreat will be free to any soldier; however, as we all know, money has to come from somewhere. We are hoping that is where you will partner with us. Currently we are hosting twenty soldiers and their spouses and we have the budget cut down to just $15,000 . This includes all meals, lodging, resources, child care and materials. Additionally, we have recruited other local agencies that exist for the purpose of helping our soldiers to be available for needs beyond our expertise.

Would you consider helping a small portion of soldiers who are suffering from PTS(D)? For more information please contact Pastor John Renken, or Pastor Steve Estep,  or Pastor Carlo Serrano at Please make all checks payable to Freedom Church with Warrior Retreat in the Memo. Freedom Church is a 501C3 and all donations are tax deductible. If mailing a check please send it to 1235 Northfield Dr. Clarksville, TN 37040

Thank you for helping us to help the men and women of this nation who served to keep us free from oppression.

Image: A U.S. Army soldier with Charlie Company, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and an Afghan counterpart check weapons before searching homes for explosives in Khwazha Bana village, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on May 9, 2011. courtesy of Alicia Brand, U.S. Army; public domain

About the author: John Renken

A self proclaimed “scrapper” since childhood, John Renken grew up with a burning interest in physical challenges and a strong competitive spirit which has led him to develop quite an impressive reputation in the professional fighting community. Reaching the pinnacle of his career, Renken now has over 68 professional mixed martial arts and boxing matches under his belt and many first place titles spanning three different continents. A former Satanist, Renken’s life has taken many interesting twists and turns along the way to redemption. He now pastors a church called Freedom Church and writes about topics of interest in our country.

View all articles by John Renken

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