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The Mighty Oaks Show Episode 061

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Welcome to the MAIOCCO. Glad to have you with us today. My name is Jeremy Stomach. The Executive Director of the Mighty Oaks Foundation. And my guest. Today is Luis Rivera. Who if you've watched this show before you've probably seen him on the show or you watched some of his videos on our Youtube Channel but Louise is among other things. He's a wonderful human being a great American but among other things he is the operations manager for Mighty Oaks Foundation and really on the program side. He overseas a lot of what we do. Our programs and our programming and he is my guest today. We're going to talk about a few different things but before we get into that yet subscribed to the channel. Please do that. You know you have nothing but time on your hands right now. So don't use the excuse. You don't have enough time. The whole world has enough time. Go ahead subscribe to the channel. Hit the notification bell that lets you know when new information comes online and we would love to share this with you a lot of content still going out and I know a lot of things have changed our interviews over the last couple of weeks have been all virtual we kind of do a mix generally but these have all been virtual interviews. Zoom is an application that we've been using for a while but now the whole world knows about so we're doing a lot of zoom meetings and a lot of zoom interviews but Thankful for the opportunity to do that. And the technology that allows us to but if you're not following us yet you need to do that if you're listening somewhere else go over to youtube you can find this and other content there and we'd love to share that with you so Louis. Thank you for taking some time to join us today and appreciate talking to you. All the time we talk a lot actually but In this format it's great to talk While we get started as we get started you have discovered the green screen feature of Zoom. That's right which means you always have a picture behind you now which is fine. That's wonderful but as we jump into this talk about the picture that's behind you right now. Yeah so this picture behind me is the picture of the lost platoon. I did back in two thousand ten. And there's a couple of guys that are circled on their Lieutenant Brennan looney annual. Dj Finding Brennan Looney died In on September twenty first of two thousand ten that was our last mission in Afghanistan. That's why he struggled Jj Fine and he was our guy it. A lot of workforce in Afghanistan in two thousand and ten but he passed away on October the twenty s to two thousand sixteen in Iraq. Yeah that's that's what the pictures about Awesome tomorrow as we record. This tomorrow is the day that for me is The seventeenth anniversary of one of the major battles that we had in Baghdad. And it's funny. How these things roll around and they're very and you stop and remember and and reflect on those things WanNa talk to you about our programs a little bit today and you know what we do why we do it. How we do it. And a lot of the The methodology behind it but more of the goals and those kind of things. We'll talk about that but The world right now is in a very very strange place. I don't think that's a secret to anyone. We organizationally talk about trauma and trauma is a singular event but a lot of cases. It's not a single event. It's it's a series of events that culminate to a point where a person begins to struggle to cope either daily life and relationships and you know we could spend a lot of time talking about what exactly trauma is but I think a lot of people in the world right now are experiencing some degree of trauma and it's interesting people are are dealing with this thing. On a couple of different levels one level would be the economic impact of that and so many people around the world are dealing with the economic impact of this and and even in a lot of ways I would say experiencing trauma because of that fear for the first time about their future. Their job their business. Whatever the case a lot of people are struggling with the economic impact of this and really uncertain about the economic future. There are then those who are dealing with the health implications of this whether you know personally or they know someone who is either sick folks who passed away and here in the United States We have pockets of people who are dealing with the health issue. It's just it's not as widespread as it is in some other countries but people are dealing with that. And then just the relational part of it people at home who? They love their family. They've been forced into a vacation or the fund has been removed. So you're with your family but you can't do anything and a lot of folks are struggling with that right now. So you kind of fall into one of these three categories and there's some crossover there for the Rivera households. Can you talk about? Maybe some of the things you and your wife are talking about right now and how. This is Maybe impacted you. You're a little more resilient. I think just personally as a human being than a lot of people you prepare. But what are some things learned through this and conversations? You're having and maybe some things you think you'll do different in the future looking back on us. Yeah some of the things that I will. My wife and I are dealing with now is one. We do. Have family members that are really affected by this So her mom lives in Mexico and She is Quarantined in our own home. And Jesus take trips up here to visit us. And that's that's one thing My mom lives in New Orleans and her husband just lost two of his cousins to Corona virus and She's in the middle of it. She's in central New Orleans and So we have family members who are dealing with this and we're thinking about that too here in our home We understand that being in California. It's not You know we do have a yard to go out to. We do have the the sun to enjoy but also we. We understand that we can't venture too far off like we used to do And for my wife. That means okay. What do we have home? What do we have at home to to to look at the deal with to fix to work on and just keep looking to the future instead of focusing on just bad news and the darkness? That's out there the the turmoil that people are going through I think you know at least personally. I have looked at this from the standpoint of what do I need to do in my life to be more prepared for an event like this? These are those things that I think in economic terms color Black Swan event is something that no one could predict. You didn't see this coming And how would you predict? It doesn't doesn't fit a chart or graph or a formula but we need to be prepared for events like this and I think that's one of the things I've learned through this is is. I need to make decisions going forward. That will allow me to be more equipped to To handle something like this You have family living in Puerto Rico and you were there during the last major hurricane And you've talked a little bit about how that impacted your your view of preparation What are some things? Perhaps that you learned there that have helped you be more prepared now or or some maybe correlation between the two. Yeah it's pretty interesting because It all revolves around my mom too that she She was in Katrina. Survived Katrina living out of the back of a truck for a few days She And then when she moved to Puerto Rico Puerto Rico you know. Maria happened and Do you remember when you and I we were in Ohio and I got the call in two thousand seventeen when when you know I just lost contact with our made a decision and go there. I had an idea of what to expect when I went there. But it didn't even come close to the way things were were actually when I got there because of how people reacted and when you see that really close up the the anxiety the stress the going without and the this the people's true colors come out gaslines ever people being wrong And my mom too when she's lived the hard life and she's been boo really resilient in Hera life in Shawnee well when I finally got that she didn't know I was coming and she saw me. She just collapsed in my arms and That to me showed me that she was she was in a bad way. Plus everything around us through just destroyed so the infrastructure there. It was no good. I'm so people have to really fend for themselves. A little bit and you could see who was prepared. And who wasn't But I have to say I do have to say that you can tell the difference of who was kind of. I don't know what it is. But who was spiritually grounded and who was it. That made a huge difference. To What? Do you mean by that spiritually grounded. They had a good relationship with God. That's all that's the best I can define it And the head of a healthy understanding of how things really are with a more optimistic future in that in a sense that this was temporary with Roy. What do you say right now to people who are Fearful it's it's crazy because it's uncertain T- that creates fear. It's not. It's not the known that creates fear. If we know something bad is coming we might be afraid but we'll probably turn our attention to preparing for it to figuring out a way around it. Whatever the case is the uncertainty creates fear. What do you say to people right now and probably people are watching listening who are filled with fear part of that is because the fear and the anxiety shoved on. Us Twenty four hours a day right now. You can't turn on the news without hearing about this. It's it's everywhere. People genuinely legitimately afraid. What do you say to someone who's afraid in a situation that is uncertain as uncertain as this one is? Yeah I would say. Pay attention to what you're feeding your mind. What are you paying attention to mostly throughout the day? What are you starting off your day with. What you ending your day with. I say I would say pay attention to mostly what you're feeding your mind so your background. I didn't start with that for those. That haven't followed you You were in the navy for Twenty Three Years Twenty Four Years. Twenty four years The majority of that time you spent some time as sub mariner which is a really interesting it. Very few people have experienced that Within transition from that to the seal community and served as a as a navy seal for a number of years so when it comes to a life of understanding the mission understanding the environment that you're operating in knowing that there is uncertainty but being prepared for that uncertainty. That's that's been basically your entire adult life so you've been preparing for that But there is a difference between understanding the environment preparing for what may come or may not come all he goes into that. There's a difference between seeking good intelligence. So you know what's going on and allowing the uncertainty to overwhelm you. So how do you balance read? Good things feed your mind. Good things consume good things with be informed about what's happening so you can make good decisions. I I I think. That's where a lot of people struggle is. I don't WanNa put my head Bury my head in the sand. I don't want to pretend that nothing bad is happening. I want to know what's happening. I want to make good decisions but I also want to keep a positive outlook and not allow this overwhelming. How do you balance the two parts of that? Yeah that's actually a really good question and to start off with the beginning in preparation I think I have a healthy understanding of Preparing and Not only that Planning for contingencies. you can only plan so much and I. I also have a healthy understanding that I am most vulnerable during a transition so they're five phases of operation and In between each of those phases we have a transition in. Most von will do that point. I think going from a transition of being steady in this In this economy steady in the way I'm living my life and all of a sudden corona virus hits. There's a transition period that I have to go through. I think people are most vulnerable during that transition period. But if I if I stick to mine I the way that I live my life in the way what I mean by. That is to answer your second question if five view. God through this corona virus so if I view my faith through this corona virus. That's going to be. And if I view this corona virus through the Lens that God has given can you? Can you expand on that a little bit? Yeah I would say that in order for me to understand the world around the I understand who got is in and who. He's made me to be if I if I reverse that things can get twisted really fast right. You begin to fit God into the boxer holding instead of instead of the other way around. That's right One of the challenges are given to my family. But I had to adopt a personally I can give it to my family Is We must even though. Things have become very very uncertain very quickly. We must maintain routines. We have to get up and work. We have to get up and do things. I read a an article the other day from a guy who the article was titled. The power of putting on pants his whole his whole premise was now everybody's at home. People are working at home. Everyone staying in their pajamas and getting knocked out of our routines has really you messed up and we need to get up and do things now is the time to to grind. And I think you know coming from a military background. We we in the infantry community were always cautioned in those transition moments more than that When you're getting close to coming back into friendly lines win you are you know they. They use the term. When you when you smell the barn. You're close That's a very dangerous place because you can begin to let your guard down and I think you have to fight against that because a natural tendency is to say well. I'm at home. It doesn't matter and you find yourself depressed and and you just don't WanNa function anymore and I think that's why a lot of the relationship issues that we're seeing right now. are coming because people have gotten out of their normal routines. They've given up and not even nice to each other. How do you maintain a level of normalcy when there seems to be chaos around you? Yeah I think that man. That's that's actually so knowing what's going on. We can't turn up that we can't put our the whole. We can't ignore what's going on around us. We have a healthy understanding. What's going on around us? So okay? A abide by the six foot rule. You know the social distancing But I had to have to keep the imperative that this is not outside of God's plan I have to live my life which has been given to me a and there are certain things that I'm going to give up. I'M NOT GONNA. Reading God's Word I'm not going to give up meeting with believers I'm not gonNA give up being a part of a community. That that holds me accountable. I'm not gonNA give up those things. I think that some people run the risk and I put myself in that category of some people. I think we all run the risk of missing the moment for which God created us. We have this path laid out. And we're we're moving along the path and this event happens and we kind of push pause and say okay. I can get back to what God wants me to do when this is over when I wonder if in God's mind if he hasn't prepared US and equipped US and placed us for a moment just like this one so that if we get to the other side of this and we have not invested our time and grown through it and helped others and communicated the best that we can In the process that we've actually missed the moment that God placed us on this earth to you. Know to be a part of It's not a fear but it is definitely a moment or a place of anxiety that I have in my life. I don't WanNa miss what God wants to use me in or you know where he wants to use me right now. All the more reason to focus on God and his word instead of what's going on right now because then I can pay attention to his guidance. How important is the is the local church right now? This is something that You and I have not talked about so I assume we have the same opinion. I don't know that I guess because we haven't talked about it. But in all of the social distancing stuff and shutting things down one of the areas that has been strongly. Impacted is the in-person congregation In Person Meeting of congregations really across the country This is one of those areas. I think we'll look back on six or seven months from now and kind of do an after action figure out if we handled it right or not How important is the local church in a crisis like this one And how do you think the church is doing handling what we're going through right now and we'll we'll narrow that down to the church in America? I realized that there other things going on other places. Yeah I think it is very important. I think A help church that used to operating in a sense that they know what's going on each other's lives they expect to see each other I think to not have that physical contact. That's one thing but to have a healthy understanding of who they are priced who they are as a as a body of believers there is. There's nothing that can take that away corona virus distancing. You can't take that away and I also think that as the church we do have to adhere to the guidelines given to us by the government and the only reason I say that is because if the fire chief comes in your building and say listen you've got too many people you got Scott Dangerous. What are you GonNa do ignore that guy no So the powers be Are saying listen. We have to take precautions in these These are guidelines garage of that. Charlie Mike. Yeah it's an interesting discussion. And I think the legality of it and the constitutionality of it and the authority of God versus the Authority of Man. This is something again. We'll be debating for a long time. I feel like some people who are very involved in church. Even pastors and people who oversee local congregations have struggled. Perhaps in the past in a way that didn't matter to really understand what the churches with the local churches so they haven't had a clear understanding of that in their own mind. It really hasn't mattered because they can continue to function the way they've always functioned in meet the way they've always met and so a clear definition of the church has not been the most important thing we've hit. Is this this moment like this wall? Where if you don't have a clear definition of what the local church is and what it does. Then you begin to you know. Go crazy about. Should we meet? Should we not make? Should we do this? Should we not do? And I am all for the local church standing up if the government says you need to do something. That violates scripture. I get that but I think that a lot of people for the first time a really diving deep on what is the church. What should the church be doing? And how can it best be handled? And frankly I think a lot of churches are doing a tremendous job right now Reaching out making phone calls following up helping the elderly and others in their church. You can't get out. My church is an example. We pivoted quickly through the leadership of pastor pastoral staff and I've been a part of this church for about twenty years and we've got a lot of good things I think. More more encouragement more help has been given in the last couple of weeks Probably than I've ever seen in in a lot of it is without physical contact which is insane. Yeah it's crazy to see how the church can mobilize and Pity so that was twenty minutes of us not talking about what I asked you to come and talk about so good job. Pulled me off topic. Tally me but this is this is about how every one of our conversation goes. We'll talk for forty five minutes about something and then get to what we actually wanted to talk about. let's talk about programs. I want my yolks and man. There's so many places we could jump in and start. Most folks are watching. This listening to this are familiar with What we do as an organization but talk about just kind of the The Postcard version of what mighty oaks does and how we achieve. What did we attempt to Attempt to achieve or accomplish? Yeah I think I think the best way to explain it as As an organization we identify that there is. There's a problem out there And and we also. I can't understand that. We do have a proper solution to problem. And that involves Someone coming alongside someone else that can identify with that person. That has the problem Functionally how how does that happen now? I know we're in a weird time right now but for the most part when we're running the way that we're organized Iran How do we do that? We take someone a man or woman someone who's struggling with trauma with something in their past. You know whatever And we try to help them. Get to a place of wholeness or at least moving toward that. What does that process look like? Yeah that process looks like Really getting individual to commit to trust us with their time And we get together over a period of time with the understanding. There is a foundation to this time. We have together which truly does two things. It provides the truth about ourselves and provides the truth about the truth about ourselves. What do you mean by that about how? Maybe how we've been dealing when life and how skewed our view of life how how that has been and And maybe are skewed view of who got it. Do you think that You never never want someone to go through a hard time or experienced trauma we would never ask for that or want that in our kids lives. We don't want that Do you think someone can have a clear view of themselves and of God if they have not been been through some kind of trauma or difficulty in their life. I'll tell you what it'd be really really difficult for me to say that. Without any kind of trauma in their life they would have a good view or correct Because the trauma pushes us to a position where we have to take an actual look at. What's actually happening instead of what we feel is happening or yeah. I think I think you and I or anyone else who's raised and To Do to volunteer in and just really lay it on the line. Whenever bat things happened other things come into view really fast. And I I I make that point Because even right now again we can look at this as an extremely negative thing something. That's horrible something. We just need to survive and get to the other side of or we can look at it as something that does refine our view. Not only of ourselves but of God for those watch or listen to not believe in God or not believing inactive relationship with God I think at the very least a moment like this makes you step back and go okay. What is real? What is true one of the very interesting things about this time to me has been what we're not talking about right now. All of the kind of social justice stuff and all the things people scream about all the time for the most part has gone away. It will come back because that's how we are but it really has clarified our our view on some things and I think even in the context of our program. That's what we find with a lot of people. They struggle with trauma but they're able to look at themselves perhaps a little more honestly than people You had an struggle who don't know the the difficulty that How important is a personal testimony in helping someone else move forward? Yeah I I like this question because I think that not enough emphasis is put on or important put on on a personal testimony. I always say does two things number one it gets. What's in your head or in your heart out in front of you just heard it. You just said it and In a sense it has no power over you because when you sit in your heard someone else heard it now. It's out there and one number two. It encourages someone else. I either identify with you. Give them the courage to get something out that they need to get out. Yeah can you help someone without a personal testimony on a I guess it depends on the definition of help And sorry to throw that curve ball in there but I I would say that It's really hard to help someone without one because I think would have helped. Personal testimony does is Con- establish or take down these This wall so once built up you just stout established a relationship. That's just better. I think that's one of the things we've seen again and again and again Is We work with a group of people who by and large are very sheltered kind of stiff arm. They're not interested in people getting close enough to actually help them. And it's funny. How that looks in the veteran community. Sometimes I want people leave me. Alone is where the veteran shirt and the veteran hat and do the veteran thing in hopefully that will keep people away Sometimes it saying well you haven't served you don't know what it's like to be me. You can't possibly understand this. It comes in a lot of forms but the the way that we get through that really quickly is is by that personal testimony. Absolutely and I would. I would also say that. Not only do guys or gals provide the stiff arm. But they go some people go a step further and show anger and hostility. Just so that you won't come any closer and I've seen that as well But the backside of that once they see that you're you're not there for the reasons that they think you're there Man There's growth there is. There's healing there's hope yeah that's Entrust you're talking about Yup. Yeah it opens that door In this is I think an important point for anyone trying to help someone else's is you can't you can't really you. Can you can express concern. You can say I'm sorry for how you feel or what you've been through You know Dr could offer medicine without actually carrying about the person but if you actually want to care and and carry someone forward or help someone move forward. They have to trust you enough to Believe that you have their best interests in mind and not your own best interest in mind and that's really important but transparency is a big Part of that. Can you walk through? What living a transparent life looks like but adding to that trying to figure out how to ask the question. We need to be transparent but we don't need to be overly transparent to where we become reckless. There does need to be. You know some security in our own life in our own relationships. Can You contrast the two? I think this is something I've seen again and again and more and more is being transparent and some throwing all my stuff for everyone to see. We see this as social media and a lot of places in our world right now but it's pretty reckless. If we're not careful it needs to be both. Yeah you know. I think that transparency has a lot to do with character. I think that As as a person views their own character a real simple way to kind of Or good h to kind of look at that is. Hey if I'm one way at work and I'm somebody different at home man. My your take a hit there And so am I being being with my stuff with the way that I am at work versus the way that I am at home values the same. Am I using the same standards and I think once you can answer that question? The level of transparency that you have with people becomes whether at home at work that that becomes more even keeled I think people will see that. I think people will will be drawn to that because I think people are drawn to the truth. Were there They like to admit it or not. People are drawn to the truth and we need to be transparent. Hell folks and we do our best in in the context of our program to do that. One of the things that you said is important as well on this is I think this is what we try to establish for. The men and women who come through our program is is to have a foundation that you can actually build a life on Most folks are doing their best to build and as long as there is not a traumatic event or series of events that comes together to push them off of whatever they built on. They're going to be okay but when the trauma comes into their life the The truth of their foundation or The the strength of their foundation. I guess the right way to say the strength of their foundation is really tested. And so a lot of men and women who come to us They've done their best. They're really trying but they don't have a foundation that they're building on When you go through a difficult time and you have to step back and we try to drag people through this process of looking at their life and figuring out how to build a foundation But for a lot of people who wouldn't come to a program how do you look at Your Life? Look at the chaos of life. Look at the trauma you've been through the difficulty and get down to the foundation and understand. What a real foundation looks like. I'm thinking of your story. And a lot of folks have her testimony but you were a Christian for a period of time and yet. I don't know that your life you'd say that your life was built on the right foundation even after putting your faith in Christ. What's the process that a person needs to go through to look at where they are where they really should be understand who god is and then begin to build on the right foundation? What does that process look like? Yeah that process is number one. I think once you start once you go through trauma or some hardship. I think that trauma or hardship reveals the foundation that you're on because going forward from that you're either it's either. GonNa take you out or you understand this foundation. You're on will carry you forward whether it's people around you or or or just God himself I think that that trauma and or the hardship will reveal that foundation and from that There's a sense of humility that comes with that with the that we have to wrap our minds around and realized that I can't do this alone. I need help. I need others. That have been there and done that to help me along with the understanding what. I'm going through his temporary. I will grow from this so that in the future somebody else that comes along. I can help out in. Pay It forward I think that is constantly going on. And if someone's not honest enough though about where they are they're really gonNA struggle to to have that to begin building on that foundation. We talk sometimes about those who they haven't hit their bottom yet. And this is a phrase that is you know for drug addicts alcoholics and People. Who are behaving badly. You say well. They can't begin to go up because they haven't hit their bottom yet. I think what we really mean by that is they have not come yet to the point in their life where they'll take an honest look at where they are. They just haven't fallen far enough to say wow. I don't have the right foundation underneath me. Yeah and that's a that's a tough one for people that are really trying to help them make because you love that person you want to see that person grow you WanNa do things without enabling And and I think at that point for both parties. The one who's helping one who needs help guidance from God is key guidance like both foundations are key. How do you help someone who is in your family? That's it made bad decisions or they're just really really struggling with something that's happened in their life and they don't necessarily want help. I get this question At least once a week I had this conversation a few days ago. What do we do We Love Them. We can't bear to see what they're going through but we don't know exactly how to help them What advice do you give you a family member or a friend a loved one? Who is watching someone? You know spiraled down and they really want to help them. They just don't know what to do. What advice do you give to? That person I would I see if there is Professional advice you can get from someone who can deal with this. This kind of situation Jeremy I gotTa tell you man. The only the only thing I have to fall back on is my own personal story with my daughter and my oldest daughter When I found out that she had she was an addict and she was in really bad way. I tried to be the hero in that. I try to be the hero in that because somehow some way I pinned. What's what was happening on me. It was my fault I needed to fix it and that really drove me into much like a dark place. It put me in a dark place because of this is what I've done so when I tried to help I realized after a few days. Nine days there's no way and I and I needed help myself Then I realized that after after going through a program of Mighty Oaks and understanding. What a good foundation looks like understanding that can petition a Holy. God to give me guidance Going forward. I understood that I could pray for her. I understood that I could access professional help. That can actually offer her help. In a way that I couldn't So that means I had to depend on people had to an on the end on On God there's a there's a fine line between Pushing too hard and not pushing hard enough. I think particularly parents struggle with that a little bit. You want so badly for your kids even your adult children to do well and so you're just doing this all the time In that tends to drive them away probably more than it helps them. How do you balance balance that? I want them to get help so bad. I can't bear taking my hands off and just watching. How do you balance between the two of those? Yeah I think I know for myself I it to rewire in my mind. What what does it mean to truly love someone and not enabled them? I I had to rewire that in my own. Mind and the only thing I can say is the guidance that I've got from people in my life who truly love me and the guidance that I got from through God's word through just growing in God's words how to Rewire your understanding what love is. Yeah the moment that I started to think that the definition of love comes from other myself. Oh the culture versus what the Bible says about it? I was way off the via with box to your family situation to your kids to the struggling spouse. Yeah I wish I wish I could answer. That was just like pushing a button hat. You can't I I have to number one Surround myself who know more about God's word than I do I need to take advice from them and I need to spend time in the word and I also need to pray so that means to be a part of it. A local church be transparent with these people so they can come into my life and and really speak truth in And sometimes truth is hard to here. Yeah we would start program when we have a group of men or women in front of us and we would say you know what we're GonNa do this week is really provide a blueprint that you can use to live your life. A blueprint given to us by the Creator blueprint that comes from Scriptures the Bible and you then can contrast your life to that and really what we're asking people to do is instead of making a thousand decisions every day about whether they should do this or that we're asking to make one decision to simply align their life to the person God created them to be and I think that's what you're talking about. How does doing that Saying you know I just need to do it. The Bible tells me to do with the Bible even not always explicitly but models for me in the lives of the people that are Are in the Bible and the stories from scripture and the admonitions from scripture. I'm just going to decide to do that. How does that remove so much pressure anxiety and tension From you if you just make that one decision yeah. It's a difference between night and day. I remember clearly on the day in June in two thousand sixteen when I heard what I heard during that week in mighty oaks so I understood two things I understood how messed up my wiring in my head was about who I want my future look like and after I heard I realized that going forward from here I can just let the stake in the ground. Demoss story page fresh Without this guilt shame looming over my head. Yeah what do you hope will happen with someone that comes through a program what you know when you go up there and you're leading a team you're teaching you're doing whatever you're doing In your mind what is the hoped for outcome for an individual who shows up my hopeful Arkham personally? I say that I would hope that they would Manley. Gain an honest truth about themselves but accept it and realize that. They can't do what they're doing by themselves. Yeah when someone is struggling with the question of hope and this is such an applicable topic. And that's why I like to talk about hope. Something that a lot of us are struggling with and I think more people right now but when people go through programs like ours. They're struggling with hope they just don't see anything outside of that How do you talk to someone who is hopeless? He doesn't have hope. How do you help them understand that there is open? This is what it is. Yeah The Best Answer. I can provide is Has To do with what we talked about earlier. You know I have a story. Just like they have a story and so if I can begin with my story and understand to get them to understand that where I was and I can relate to where they are Man In somehow some way we can bridge that gap I think that is in my opinion. One of the best ways to To just bring some of our long into To help them to understand that there is hope going forward. Yeah it's not. It's not a theory because I've lived this. I've experienced this. I'm telling you there is is something out there. Yeah One of the questions. I've been over the last couple of weeks and you might have been as well as How do we continue to do what we do? When the entire country is locked down so so. Are we continuing to do our best to help? Folks are struggling and have struggled and all these things that we talk about And there are a lot of things that we're doing it. I feel I feel like even though we're not meeting in the same way peop- everyone's working remotely just about right now You know we've got people all over the country doing things I feel like. We're almost busier right now than we are when we have the structure of programs coming up and finishing those because we're trying to chase people down And and help folks Talking about some of the things. We're doing right now to you know having adjusted and and do our best to continue to help folks. Yeah you know I. I want a first off saying that. The hope that We do we do want to point. People to is sustainable. Hope Not Something. Temporary sustainable over a long time and So we have to do what we can with what we have. Okay social distancing. This is what we have here okay. virtual platforms. Hope is still hope. Sustainable hope is still sustainable. Hope and if I can somehow get in front of a computer talked to a guy or Gal and share testimony a story that can get them to relate to mind As a group if we can do that okay. We're doing what we can with what we have and we as a team. We had a meeting yesterday about several things but one of the things we talked about was reaching out to those who apply that we had to push off a little bit and were rescheduling Every single person that we possibly can to come to a program later on. But we didn't just say hey we'll talk to you in three. Months is stretching out to them calling texting e-mailing and trying to stay in touch with them Engaging our our folks who are team leaders run our programs and letting them Know that they need to call and do their best to help creating videos doing this. Having conversations Zoom meetings which again everybody in the world knows about zoom now. So we've been doing this for a while but utilizing that To the best of our ability just doing our very best to be an encouragement and I think one of the things this has caused us to do is to be much more thoughtful about how we intentionally connect with people. Outside of the week long you know intensive where everyone's together and organizational and truly helped us in that regard. Yeah it's definitely helped us identify things that we could shore up. I mean every organization could improve every organization And like we said earlier. This really puts things into perspective in a situation like this and after we're done with this going forward what else we can do to shore things up. Yeah last thing what. What would you want to tell someone or what what will you? What do you tell someone who's going through this thing? What advice do you give to not only get through it become out on the other side I would say better for for having experienced something like this. Yeah I would say number one that there. There's always somebody that can relate to. I think there's always Some will stand what they're going through and our organization is really made up of a lot of people that have come from different walks of life that of stories that can relate really to anybody and so reached out. Go to our white We have been talking. Yeah Yeah it's funny. One of our our basic tenants is don't isolate yourself. I mean that's one of our basic principles right like don't isolate yourself. Most dangerous thing you can do is isolate yourself. And we're now under government mandated isolation so. There are a lot of people who weren't doing well before this. You would probably do a lot worse right now. yet don't just sit there and feel bad you'll sorry for yourself Find people talk to people? you're on social media anyhow so go to the mighty oaks facebook page and finds their communicate with? Us MESSAGE WITH US there. We love to connect on our website folks programs dot. Org Tons of information videos other stuff on her youtube page. Lots of stuff. You can spend hours just watching videos and be encouraged by those. But don't just sit and hope you survive. That's a terrible way to live. And that's not time all about Man Louis thank you really appreciate it. Thank you for your time and I look forward to doing this again to see what picture you put up behind you next time because everytime indifference anytime so having this Great Jerry. I appreciate it yeah. We'll we'll do it again soon but I really appreciate it for watching and listening again. I just said it but make sure that you go to our youtube channel mighty programs you can find on Youtube and go. There subscribed like share this content out. Take some time to put a comment in the comment section. If you like and we would love to hear from you thank you and we'll talk to you next time talking to Louise and one of the reasons I I really enjoy speaking with Louise's because our conversations tend to go just about everywhere and that was kind of one of those conversations got to listen to it on but it's great if you have not gone to our our youtube channel and found the video. I believe it's called Louise's story Go check it out. It's great it's his testimony of his time in the military and some of the things even kind of alluded to or touched on during this interview and I just love the kind of the depth of his story and the many different facets of it extremely encouraging to me and I always feel encouraged and strengthened and helped when I talked to Louise One of the things from this conversation that I think is very very important takeaway is that humans are humans are humans. We do different things. We have different jobs. We have different opinions and perspectives on life. All of that would be different from one human to another but at our core. We're all people who do our best through our life. We make the best decisions that we can and we have struggles and we have difficulties and we have trials and we are often insecure. That's just how we are as human beings. I say this all the time mighty oaks works with folks who are either in the military has been in the military are in the first responder community. That's who we focus on that so we work with but the way we help those folks move forward is not dependent on what they did in their professional life for what they're doing in their professional life what we do is we take our own backgrounds. Our own experiences are testimony. And for those of you that are church people. That's kind of a church word For your story we take. Our stories are testimonies and we do our best to help people who have a similar story to move forward so when we talk about applying some of the principles of our programs as mighty oaks to even what's happening in the world right now and those were struggling with corona virus thing and and people who are unsure uncertain those who are struggling in one area or another because of all it's happening and they've been pushed beyond their ability to reasonably deal with what they're going through right now and there's so much fear anxiety we have to understand. This is so important and I believe could be so helpful. If you'll get a hold of this the principles that are helpful over here are the same principles that are helpful over here often. I have people tell me. I don't know how to help veterans. I don't know how to help people who've been in the military or those in the first responder community. You help them the same way that you would help anyone else. You help them by expressing concern. Genuine sincere concern not to get something out of them. But because you want to help them you express an empathy. That says I know where you've been because I've been somewhere similar. I know what you're feeling like because I've had these same feelings. I experienced this myself. Not the kind of empathy. That says I want to take on your burden. I can't take it on but I can help you through it. I can walk with you through it. Let's walk down this path together. You help over here the same way you help over there and so as we look at what's happening in our world around us the lessons that we can learn right now are lessons that can help us over the course of the rest of our lives. That's why I keep saying I said this even talking to we to go learn the lessons. Now learn what you can learn now. Don't waste this time. Why because something else will happen at some point in the future and you can take lessons from here and apply those there. You can take the lessons that you've learned mentor young people and teach them so they're better equipped for whatever the future holds. What helps here will also help there. Why because humans are humans are humans and we're all wired basically the same and that can be if you'll allow it to be extremely encouraging thought because your life experiences your struggles to hope that you found personally. It doesn't have to be wasted. You need to take that whatever that is and use it for the benefit of others and one of the reasons I love talking to. Louise is because of of that because I always feel better because he gives me some perspective on how to take this thing over there and that thing over there and apply it here and. I hope that you'll do that as well. Learn these lessons. Don't waste them the struggles that you've had use them as an opportunity to grow to understand what foundation your life is built on and if it's not the right one be honest about that and and build on the right foundation make good decisions and use this time in a way that would be beneficial to you and to your family certainly can be again. I I've said this a few times already in the conversations that we've had today but if you need help or you know someone needs help you know someone that has served or is serving a first responder in your community. First Responder Community Right now is dealing with quite a bit You know someone that needs help. Push them our direction. We are here. We stand ready to help The world has shut down and a lot of areas. Hasn't shut down. We're still working. We're still doing our best to be a blessing to folks go to our website. Mighty OAKS PROGRAMS DOT Org. Send those folks. You need help to that website as well there. They can find help encouragement. Find a way to get into one of our upcoming programs and we would love to help them. They're also maybe you're not someone who would say. I need help but I would love to be a help. There's an opportunity there as well for you to continue to support the work of my folks and we're thankful for what God allows us to do and we know even right now It requires Resources to do what we do. And we're so thankful for the folks who come alongside and help us accomplish this mission and with Ford later on this year to To coming together and talking about some of the good things that have happened even during this season because a very exciting time mandated. They say that the light is the brightest when the world is the darkest and the world is is dark and a lot of places right now but we can be a very bright light and I hope that you will commit to being that as well again if you have not yet go to our youtube page subscribe that lets you know when new content comes online. Hit THE NOTIFICATION. Bill that keeps you informed. Drop a comment. We get comments just about every show But we love Communist. It encourages us. Sometimes it challenges us also direct some of the things that we'll talk about in the future cigarettes and they're like to share this content out and we look forward to next time we are together. These safe we'll talk to you said.

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