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A Word to a Dying Soldier

10/07/2004

In Vietnam, Dave Roever miraculously survived a hand grenade explosion, though it burned over 50% of his body and left him noticeably disfigured. During the past year, he has been answering the call of the U.S. military all over the Middle East and ministering to our fighting men and women. He has greeted soldiers in hospitals, counseled those seriously injured, and held the hands of a few as they died from combat wounds.

Dave has also inspired the troops, as well as the leadership. He has traveled to dozens of Saddam's palaces, offering encouragement and support to those in the middle of the war zone. He has slept where generals now sleep and sat where a tyrant king once sat.

"I'm sitting on the man's throne, wearing his crown and holding his sword!" Roever said (photo, top right). "This is the throne Saddam had built to send to Jerusalem when he conquered Israel and ruled the world." In reality, our soldiers dug this so-called king out of a hole in the ground. Now he sits in a prison cell awaiting what will surely be harsh judgment.

After 9/11 and the commencement of military operations in the Middle East, Dave received dozens of invitations to speak to men and women preparing to leave their homes and go to war. But he was not content to just send them off. He knew he had to go right to the front lines.

"The soldiers ask me, 'Howcome you're here in Tikrit? Why would you come to these places?' I tell them, 'It's because I was in a jungle for eight months, and not a pastor, chaplain, preacher or evangelist...not even Bob Hope or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders came to see me. I was blown up, burned up, shot up, and no one gave a rip. I'm here because we learned a lesson in America during Vietnam. They protested against us, but this time the churches are praying for you and prayer is going to bring you back home!'"

Dave has traveled to bases all around the Middle East and ventured right into the hottest spots in the war zone. He has seen what's going on over there and knows the truth about the progress being made. He knows that when we watch the television and read the newspapers here in the United States and Canada, we get only a small glimpse of the truth. Usually, it's a tragedy or a setback in the ongoing conflict.

"Think about what they show you on TV -- 20 people and a burning car," Roever says. "But you've got millions of people who have not heard a shot fired that day. You've got millions of children across the nation of Iraq who are going to school every day...you do not see that on the evening news."

Certainly the battle is not over. Freedom, democracy and peace have not yet come to every single person in these newly liberated nations. But for the majority of the people, life has improved beyond their wildest dreams and the future holds limitless possibilities.

"This image is something CNN will never show you," Roever says (photo, center right). "Look at the eyes of the woman looking into the face of the man driving the Humvee...you see adoration, appreciation, joy. For her to raise a hand and wave could bring persecution from those 'chicken boys' who would not fight our troops, but now fight the women who wave at our troops. That's what we're up against. These are your Saddam loyalists and foreign fighters doing these things."

"But the next picture is what it's all about. This is why the troops are there," he continues (photo, bottom right). "This is why our brave men and women are laying down their lives, because this generation is going to know about God and Jesus Christ. They are going to know hope and have a future in a world full of pain. That's what our kids are dying for and make no mistake, it's worth every drop of blood to give them freedom and hope for the future."

Dave has laid his life down for his country, though he somehow lived. He knows about sacrifice. He knows what our brave young men and women, as well as their friends and families, are giving up for the cause of freedom.

"I've been with [a dying soldier] when he died in Iraq, whispering in his ear...and the last words he heard me say was, 'This is not a hospital, it's a sanctuary. This is not a gurney, it's an altar. And you are more than a soldier, you're a sacrifice. And I've come from America to tell you thank you.'

"He heard it before he died. And if I have lived for no other cause than for one man to hear someone say 'thank you,' then I have lived a good cause."

We salute our soldiers around the world. They are living a good cause. To those in uniform, as well as their loved ones, we say, "Thank you."


To order Dave Roever's life story on CD and sponsor his ministry to our soldiers, go to www.daveroever.com.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 865

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes. For more information, log on to www.lifetoday.org.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, randy.robison at loi.org

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.