This time last year, our church family was actively collecting toiletries, batteries, books, socks, ziplock bags, candy, snacks, and basically anything else soldiers could use when everything had been lost.
On April 15, 2012, during a six-month deployment to Afghanistan, Sgt. 1st Class Alex Worth was 90 feet away from the VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) that attacked his unit’s base, injuring many and destroying everything.
Alex joined the army in 1997 to fulfill a sense of honor and duty, which is partly what keeps him serving today.
“I’ve been doing it for almost 17 years now. To not do it anymore would probably feel like there’s something missing,” said Alex. “You train really hard with a bunch of guys … and you get a sense of being part of something bigger.”
What is that something bigger? Close to home it’s aiding in disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, but it’s bigger than that. Alex has trained prison guards in El Salvador and trained the Iraqi Police, but it’s even bigger than that.
“The U.S. military exists to protect our rights in the United States and to empower other countries to have the same rights in their countries,” said Alex.
While Alex knows the work he has done and continues to do is important, he doesn’t seek credit.
“I feel as though the generations before me deserve a lot more credit than I do. Although I’ve been deployed quite a bit, I could’ve gotten out a long time ago,” said Alex. “Most of the prior generations had it a lot rougher than I have it, and the support back home wasn’t there – the Vietnam era in particular. I’ve seen vets who haven’t been welcomed home, which is pretty rough.”
Alex is grateful for all of the support he has back home, specifically from the government.
“My threat level where I go serving in the United States military is a lot less because of the amount of support we have back home. We have better helmets and better armor and better weapons,” said Alex.
Alex also receives a large amount of support from the Church body, through donations, prayers, and teaching.
“In Iraq, I had the best chaplain I’ve ever been deployed with,” said Alex. “He could put the Bible into infantry terms so everyone could understand what he was talking about. He would basically tell Bible stories in Army jargon.”
In his early Army days, understanding Bible stories wasn’t of huge importance to Alex. He didn’t receive Christ until he was 30, meaning that more than half his time spent in the military was not spent walking in faith.
“But every major deployment I’ve had I’ve been walking with God, which is one of the main reasons why I feel that nothing major has happened to me or anyone I’ve been deployed with,” said Alex.
Sure friends have been wounded and his base was attacked, but God has protected in times even when it seemed impossible. That’s why Alex trusts God. He keeps Matthew 19:26 close and replays it in his mind: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Alex serves to protect our country’s freedom and openly walks in the freedom of Christ, but he has seen many who are not afforded the luxury of such freedoms.
“I feel that freedom is not something I’ve had to go without,” said Alex. “I’ve seen a lot of people without it, so it’s easier to see what we have when we compare it to other people who don’t have it.”
This year, as we celebrate our country’s freedom and our own freedom in Christ, don’t forget the many people without such freedoms. Let us join together in praying for those countries without freedom, the individuals who do not have freedom in Christ, and the men and women who serve daily to work for both.