As a young idealist, I longed to serve others and make a positive impact in the world around me. I was still 17 when I signed up to be an Air Force linguist. Being young in my faith, I made the dangerous prayer to give up everything to do God’s will. And just like that, my life changed. I found myself in a career very different from the one I had chosen. That path took me on a 24-year journey filled with specialized training, seven deployments and risks I couldn’t have anticipated when I was a child. I lost brothers and sisters to conflicts as my dedication to duty took me further and further away from home, and further and further away from my faith. My relationships crumbled as I fought with the darkness.
When I left the military almost a decade ago, I could feel the empty space within me where the Spirit was meant to dwell. A disconnection from the world for which I had sacrificed remained. The progressive, secularized society around me was not one I recognized or one that accepted me with open arms. In pain I cried out, and the Lord answered. Into that void were placed family and friends to steer my path. The love of the Father, a strong woman and those closest to me brought me back to the body of the Church. There I found my heart renewed, my faith armored and the greater purpose of God’s Commission granted to me. I am now the ‘point man’ for Veterans Connect and Celebrate Recovery/Welcome Home at Wooddale Church, helping veterans like me find their way to the healing embrace of our Lord and Savior. -MSgt Todd Rajek, USAF (Ret.)