Sermon, the Armor of God.

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Sermon on Putting on the Armor of God

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The Welcome Iniative

The Welcome Home Initiative
Helping heal the haunting memories of war zone veterans.
by Rev. Nigel Mumford
Jul/Aug 2009

I wonder if that Easter resurrection witness is the first biblical reference to post traumatic stress disorder – the onset of the “thousand-yard stare.” Crack troops sent to guard the body of Jesus experienced something that was totally out of their realm.

We know that our crack troops today are experiencing the physical and emotional wounds of war. What can be done to help returning combat veterans? (I understand that the U.S. Fire Department is doing a better job than the church to help these broken souls.) How can we help as individuals or as a church? Be creative, such as by reaching out to say “thank you”; activate your prayer team; put on a recognition dinner; offer a day of healing of memories; adopt a military family. Reach forth your hand to help; the list is never-ending.

Two years ago my bishops and I were having lunch. We discussed how combat veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq will need spiritual help and healing if they are to be reintegrated into “normal” life. History has shown that after Vietnam very little was done to help the emotional breakage of minds and souls after the extreme horrors of war. The DSM4 gave a new name to a very old condition: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is nothing new. Even the ancient Greeks noticed a psychological change in their soldiers coming back from carnage. This syndrome has had many names over the years: shell shock, compassion fatigue, battle fatigue, war neurosis, the thousand-yard stare, and post-Vietnam syndrome. In the American Civil War, it was called nostalgia!

I spent a year of my life in combat and have seen first hand the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man. In my own personal healing journey I wrote a quote that summarizes the issues of this particular need for the healing of memories:

The mind is witness to a catastrophic event. The intellect simply cannot cope with what it has seen. The body reacts physically under duress. The heart receives emotional scars; the soul weeps…. This mental trauma is a total body reaction to witnessing violent actions in combat. The desperate primordial need to save one’s own life and the lives of others. (NM 1975)

The basic problem is that, without healing, the war continues on in one’s mind, even after many years. An exaggerated startle response and many other symptoms of this experience plague many compassionate souls who have seen lives cut short before their very eyes.

After much prayer, we designed a three-day retreat. People started coming out of the woodwork to help: a bishop (a retired colonel who served in the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Air Force). Both of them were former combat veterans. And many others showed up who wanted to help. So far, we now have run three programs and have three more set for March, August, and October 2009. (Please go to for the dates). The retreat participants and their families have come from the following theaters of war: World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. The program is free for all combat veterans due to the astonishing generosity of individuals who want to help.

I was honored to present the “Welcome Home Initiative” (WHI) to the chief of the Army chaplains, Maj. General Douglas Carver, and seventeen Army chaplains at the Pentagon last December. I had an hour and a half to present the program and answer questions. They showed a lot of interest, and I had the chance to pray for these chaplains and to anoint their hands. We would so like to get the School of Healing Prayer® into the Pentagon.

If you know a combat veteran, please invite him or her to the WHI program. You can find a downloadable brochure on our web site at Once there, the food, room and board are free.

Please contact us if your spirit is quickened and you want to do something to help. Thank you for your prayer coverage for this national need for healing of memories.

God bless you, much love in Jesus,
Fr. Nigel Mumford +

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Please join me in praying for those who are suffering from,
“Learned helplessness.”
Those who have given up on others kindness and the gifts of humanity. May they receive a new Grace from you Lord. Let them know how loved they are and let them know that even though they have been wounded by the past, with actions of mans inhumanity to man, that with you, Lord, all things are possible. I pray that they will not allow the past to ruin their present or their future. Allow the Lord to raise you up and set you free from those past wounds. Lord you came to set the captives free. Help them to be free from the past. Help them not to allow the perpetrator to have power over them any more. Amen.
~Fr. Nigel+

~Learned helplessness~
A condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.

Learned helplessness, in psychology, a mental state in which an organism forced to bear aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are “escapable,” presumably because it has learned that it cannot control the situation. ~Martin Seligman

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I prayed for a bunch of Aussies today.
I said,
Let us prayer…”
(Good ice breaker….)
Aussies often say, “No worries”
I told them about Jeremiah 17:8
“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Dear Souls,
Please don’t worry…
if you worry you die and if you don’t worry you die…
So why worry.
Be at peace.
No worries…
~Fr. Nigel+

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Healing of Dementia


David H (named used with permission) gave a very powerful testimony today about being healed of Front otemporal dementia (FTD) today. Nine years ago the keys to his car were taken away and he was told to give everything he has to his wife and you have 2-3 years at the most.
David came to us for prayer four times.
We anointed the crown of his head, all around.
His doctor at Johns Hopkins says he has received a miracle.
He drove an hour by-himself to be at church today!
He has been cured of dementia.

I’m really hoping his testimony was recorded today.
It was very moving indeed.

~Fr. Nigel W.D. Mumford+

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A poem by
~Nigel W.D. Mumford

My very life, plugged into the wall!
inflate, deflate, inflate, deflate days at a time.

Lungs must be nurtured, protected,
smokers avoided like plague.
Bleach, chemicals, even worse, a severe irritant.

Panic! Can’t breathe…keep calm, avoid source, seek clean air.

Weight on the chest, lungs pushing up, grasping,
grasping for pure air and prayer.

Hum of nebulizer, smoke of the peace pipe.
Instant side effects:
twenty-five cups of coffee jitters
and fitful gasping coughs
with nail-piercing headache.

The next 24 hours waiting for lungs to calm down
from the unexpected assault or is it insult?
Such effort to command the weight to lift up,
to even have to think about breathing.

Press on. Remember
Christ fighting for air,
His bloody back scraping wood
as He rose and fell, rose and fell
to breathe for me,
for love, He fell and rose.

I wrote this poem 9 years after I was hospitalized for three months
With the H1N1 swine flu virus. I was intubated and in a coma for three weeks.
I lost 63 lbs and was not expected to live! My pulmonoligest said I used to
Have the lungs of an eighteen wheeler, now they are the size of a Volkswagen!
To read the full story see, “Dying to Live, how near death experiences increase
Our faith.”

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~Suzanne Underwood Rhodes

We were all of us drowsed with potions
in the dying room, the shrill signals
waning as we slipped deeper into our plush
recliners, glad to be sleeping
with disease at bay, to have thoughts
teased from us drip by drip, the faces
of most precious boy or sister dimming
despite the huge, over-bright room
that out of nowhere welcomed
a priest riding on a mobility scooter,
a black-clad Jesus, but one laboring
to breathe as he landed at someone’s chair
and blessed her medication bags hung from hooks,
three bags of poison, blessed
a head bent and scared against his hand,
but oh, you knew he knew what it’s like
to be pitted against those stakes
with all of us, weighted with hope.

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I want to share with you the shortest homily I’ve ever given in my life. It was only 34 words. I gave it in an elevator in Washington DC at a New Cannan Socity conference with 800 men.

I had my collar on as I got into the elevator. There was of course no eye contact, no conversation, don’t talk to me, don’t touch me, don’t look at me. Everyone was looking at the numbers above the door, which were not even moving yet.

As I got in the door started to close I said, “I have a question for you. When it comes to the end of your life do you know if you are going up or going down?” I really don’t know what came over me! Everyone laughed, the doors closed and guess what, the elevator went up… we all got our answer, it was a miracle we had a standing O for Jesus.

Of course, there was not where to sit down but it was just one of those moments.

I have to say it was not only the shortest church service I’ve ever been too, it was the shortest homily I’ve ever given, it was the least attended service I’ve ever been to, it was the smallest church I’ve ever been in, and sadly there was no time for an offertory collection.

But it was fun and it was uplifting… It was actually brilliant.

I got out on the second floor… turned and watched the door close…

They were all staring above the door again… there was yet again no eye contact…

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Ok, so I’m I at the airfield gate awaiting my flight to Ct. To lead a WHI retreat for war zone veterans. I get taking to the Sgt. Maj. Next to me after I thanked him for his service.
He starts telling me many stories. That’s a very good thing. He lives in a single wide in NH and his wife has been in a home with Alzheimer’s for 2 years. Please pray for Pat his wife.

So Joe tells me he is on a foot patrol in Vietnam and was taking a nap at the base of a very large tree with two body guards protecting him.

He woke up hearing a voice “get up and move” he asked his guards why they woke him up. They said they didn’t. He went back to sleep. AGAIN he was awoken with the same voice, the same tone. He told his guards to stop messing with him. He went back to sleep. He AGAIN was awoken with a much louder and urgent voice, with the same message. He got up and went to the other side of the tree. No sooner as he had taken cover an incoming mortar shell landed on the other side of the tree. He came around the tree to see a crater and the tree very badly cut up from the shrapnel.

He is, of course, an absolute believer in Jesus. He knew that three times the Lord woke him up and saved his life.

Listen my friends, to the still small voice of the Lord that sometimes is a bit louder on occasion.

Joe was a shot in my arm this morning. You never know who you are sitting next too. Entertaining angels unaware. ”

Be well, do good works and for the sake of Jesus Christ, love one another.
Fr. Nigel+

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