16. Happy Feet!

 “In those holy fields 
 Over whose acres walked those blessed feet.
 Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail’d
 For our advantage, on the bitter cross.”
— William Shakespeare, Henry IV

 

I met Jim Brunotte on a Sunday morning in the early 1990s. It was hard to miss the Vietnam veteran traversing the church parking lot in his motorized wheelchair with his lovely wife by his side. Then in 1995, when I heard that he’d made a return journey to that war-ravaged country, I had to hear more about the experience.

Jim and I met to chat, and he told me about his pilgrimage to An Xuan — the village where a land mine explosion had taken both legs below his knees, his left arm below the elbow, and his right eye. But even more devastating, he had lost a treasured friend.

As a team member of Point Man International Ministries (aided by the Red Cross), Jim’s primary reason for the return visit was to take medical supplies and Bibles into the country. However, he quickly discovered that God had personal blessings planned for him as well.

Accompanied by his team members, Jim visited a leper colony where there were only 210 beds for 540 patients. Ten men without feet shared one wheelchair. In the psychiatric ward, each of sixteen poorly ventilated rooms was furnished with one cot.

The first mysterious blessing manifested in the form of a brand new money belt, which Jim purchased in San Francisco at the start of the mission. When he had unzipped the hidden pocket for the first time, he discovered fourteen brand new $100 bills! He had no idea how the money had gotten there, but the windfall helped provide the leper colony with 30 Vietnamese Bibles, 500 gospel tracts, and fans for all sixteen rooms in the hospital’s psychiatric ward. 

That wasn’t the only miracle that Jim experienced. Because he was unable to recall the last 48 hours preceding the bomb blast, he had been forced to rely on the officially documented account for details of the incident. For years he had pleaded with God to restore that missing window of memory so he could find peace.

Then, about six months before the return trip, a sudden flashback helped Jim realize that the military documentation was incorrect.  But he had no way to prove it. So when a man approached him in An Xuan Village and said, “My brother Muon served with you,” Jim knew that his suspicions could be confirmed.

Muon had been on site at the moment when the bomb blast had completely changed Jim’s life, and Muon’s brother was able to arrange for the two men to meet. Jim learned that for eleven years Muon had run for his life, managing to escape the communist regime, which had taken over after U.S. troops were removed. Then he’d spent two years in a re-education camp. At the time of his reunion with Jim, Muon was married and worked in a rice field for $15.00 a month.

For 27 years, Muon had carried with him five war photos and about 80 negatives. He gave them all to Jim. And as he recognized people and buildings, memories of the lost 48 hours were restored. Jim realized that after the explosion, Muon was instrumental in getting him airlifted to a medical facility! 

Through Point Man International Ministries, God has used American war veterans to touch the lives of suffering Vietnamese men, women and children. And through that process, He touched Jim Brunotte’s mind and servant heart with divine healing.

 

“Stand firm then,
with … your feet fitted with the readiness
that comes from the gospel of peace.”

(Ephesians 6:15, NIV)

 

A RUST REMOVER …

We often say “God bless America!” But sometimes we fail to realize that God has blessed America. And as the most blessed nation, alongside Israel, we are duty bound to recognize those blessings and seek the face – not just the hand – of the One from whom they come. Have you blessed God recently?