Luke's mom called me after seeing the Heroes to Heroes story on Fox News. She was in tears and told me that her son, Luke, was in Las Vegas working in a gun store and refused to come home. He was a special forces veteran who had recently attempted suicide. She was afraid that, if he did not come home, she would lose him. She asked me to call him but to please not let him know she had given me his number.
Luke answered after a few rings. He definitely did not want to be bothered by 'another veterans organization'. Somehow, I got through and was able to explain that our program involves a journey to Israel, the Holy Land, for spiritual healing and peer support. There is no obligation, just to give his time and take the journey. The call was right after Thanksgiving weekend and he needed time to think about it. He was not sure but he promised to take a look. He agreed to accept a call from me right after Christmas and would text me with any questions.
Christmas morning I awoke to the greatest gift, a text from Luke. The text was short..."Guess where I am". The next thing I knew, I was on the phone with Luke and his parents, he had come home. The work had just begun.
Luke participated in our journey the following March. His guilt was so great that he was unable to speak about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. He wasn't able to sleep or connect with others. After his baptism in the River Jordan, he changed. Luke described the baptism as "watching his past wash away". On that day, Luke chose life.
Luke now lives with his wife and three children very close to his family. Life still has its ups and downs but, due to his journey with Heroes to Heroes, he doesn't go through those ups and downs alone.