Refined by Fire: Fifth Annual Veteran's Day Luncheon Commemorates APU's Finest

by Rachel Pledger '07

Family, friends, current, and veteran servicemen and women celebrated Veteran's Day on Friday, November 10, with fellowship and food during APU's fifth annual Veteran's Day Luncheon. Forty-two people participated in this year's celebration.

After lunch, U.S. Air Force Reserve Chaplain and Associate Director of Alumni Relations Rick Givens '83 introduced the afternoon's guest speaker, U.S. Air Force Chaplain Major Warren "Chappy" Watties.

Watties premised his speech with a slide show of photographs he had taken while serving in Iraq. The images documented the indigenous and the foreign, the grim and the hopeful, the grave and the comic, and through them witnessed to the guests a candid glance into the realities of contemporary warfare.

Using an illustration from the recent blockbuster Mission Impossible III, Watties was excited to share that "no mission is impossible if you have Christ." Reading from 1 Peter 1:6-9, Watties argued that God always sees his children through their suffering though it seems at times quite unbearable. Trials refine, engender empathy, and instigate ministry. "I had to fail to understand that I can't make it all by myself," Watties said. "In the midst of my darkest hour, God says, 'I got your back, Chappy.'"

A person's faith, Watties argues, won't save him from suffering, but through faith in Christ he may overcome even the most harrowing circumstance. "We've got a long battle in front of us, but if we pray everything will be all right," Watties said.

Givens then delivered a message addressed to all servicemen and women, urging each of them to remain tenacious during times of trial and to remain faithful in God's purpose and power though times may seem impossible to overcome. In order to complement the luncheon's theme, Givens concluded with an appropriate commentary: "This is your mission, should you choose to accept it."