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Healed from the Scars of War

Mike Fairfax didn’t give much thought to what he would do after high school. He thought even less about God.

“He was probably the furthest thing from my mind,” says Mike. “The only thing I was worried about was having fun and, you know, going out to bars and drinking alcohol. God was the furtherest thing from my mind.”

After graduation, Mike enlisted in the Army, and eventually joined the Army’s Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets. On July 31, 2005, Mike and his team were driving along a river bed in a ground mobility vehicle. They were on a mission to inspect a polling site for Afghanistan’s national election. Mike was driving.
“All of a sudden, it was a loud—very loud sound. It was totally deafening. And I knew exactly what was happening.”

Major Sam Robins was in the passenger seat.
 
“I think it might actually have knocked me out for a few seconds,” says Sam. “And then just kind of coming to, so to speak, and looking up and seeing oil and gunk all over the windshield.”

They had run over an IED.

“I could feel myself being thrown about inside the vehicle, like a rag doll,” says Mike. “I could see this smoke just billowing out – this real thick gray smoke, and I could taste it in my mouth. This great fear struck me. And the first thoughts in my mind was, I was like, ‘please God, don’t let me die.’The next thought in my mind was, ‘I got to get out of this vehicle before it burns to the ground.’ My right leg is – felt very numb. I knew something was wrong with it. I just didn’t know what.”

“Unfortunately for Mike, he took the path of least resistance and the metal broke through on the right side and ended up breaking his leg and severing his femoral artery,” says Sam.

Mike was bleeding out. He also had a partially collapsed lung, and his right eye was hanging out of its socket.  

“It’s that fear of dying,” says Mike, “and I was like, ‘God, please don’t let me die.’”

Medics slowed the bleeding until a med-evac chopper arrived. They flew him to a trauma center in Germany. By then he had gone through 20 units of blood. The Army also flew in his wife Paula to be with him.

“I sat down beside him. And I sort of started to talk—trying to talk to him to, you know, let him know that I was there.”

Paula was by his side when Mike woke up. Mike remembers it well. “The first words I hear is ‘Hey, baby, I’m ready to take you home.’ She said, ‘You promised me you were going to come home.’”

Mike was still in critical condition. He and Paula were put on a plane, headed back to the states. Lying on a stretcher, he cried out to God again.

“I was just so scared of dying. I was still there. My heart was racing, you know, blood pressure was through the roof. My heart rate was through the roof. And I didn’t want to die without accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior.”

“I said ‘Lord, please forgive me for every bad thing I’ve ever done in my life.’ I said ‘Please forgive me for every time I’ve turned my back on you.’ I said, ‘Jesus, just please wash me in Your blood, please wash every sin that I’ve ever done, wash it away. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for not living my life for You. I’m sorry for all the bad things I’ve done, for turning my back on You.’
 
“In an instant after that I had just overwhelming sense of calm.”

Somewhere over the Atlantic, halfway between a war and his home, and right beside his wife, Mike Fairfax surrendered his heart to Jesus Christ.

“And I felt like I was being carried, as you would like a child or something. And I was trying to look up and see Who it was. It was this bright, shining light just glowing behind this person’s head that was basically overshadowing the facial features and everything. But I knew Who it was. And it was Jesus. I knew Who it was.”

Mike endured 4½ months of rehab and skin grafts. By 2008, he was jumping out of planes as the first amputee to graduate from the Army’s Jumpmaster School. But he struggled with post traumatic stress disorder for nearly 10 years.

“I was broken. That’s the only way I can explain it. I was totally broken. I couldn’t function. I’ve got a wife and four kids, and I wasn’t being there for them. I couldn’t even be at work. I was leaving work by 11:00 and climbing inside the bed because I couldn’t function.”

In 2014, with the help of Task Force Dagger, a Christian group run by a former Green Beret, Mike learned how to face PTSD head-on.

“Task Force Dagger was just part of God’s plan. The whole time he was breaking me and molding me, breaking me and molding me. There’s so many programs out there that want to help soldiers with PTSD and depression. But there’s one thing that’s missing from every single program - and that’s God.”

Today, Mike, Paula, and their children live in North Carolina. Mike is still an active duty Master Sergeant, and is set to retire in 2016. He’s finishing up his Bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science, and plans to start his own ministry. He especially wants to help those who struggle with post traumatic stress disorder.

“Jesus Christ is the only Person that can take all that junk out of your heart - because God’s the only Person that can give you joy. Not happiness, joy. If you look in Webster’s Dictionary and you look at the definition of joy, it says a source of extreme happiness. And God is that source. Do you want to live happy or do you want to live with joy in your heart?”

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