There’s nothing like the thrill of jumping off the side of a cliff to rappel down a mountainside, or feeling the freedom of the open ocean on your own private sailboat.
For many veterans who are used to an adrenaline-fueled life on the front lines, these kinds of extreme sports can be a powerful outlet when coming home to the daily grind of a 9-5 job.
Soul Survivor Outdoor knows this and has begun to offer extreme sports programs to active duty military, veterans, and their families.
And they’re doing so in a way that is winning souls for Christ.
The hardships soldiers endure day to day are vast — intense physical training, exposure to atrocities, fighting in combat, and isolation from family, just to name a few.
These types of situations have an effect, not only on one’s physical and psychological state, but their spiritual health as well.
How does an active duty soldier get the support they need to strengthen their relationship with Jesus?
Soul Survivor Outdoor is a non-profit that has found a way; the perfect synergistic approach to mending mind, body, and soul.
The non-profit organization wants to offer healing from the woes that many members of our military suffer from, like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. The wounds from combat are more than skin deep, and require specialized care.
Rick Wolf, a retired Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel, founded Soul Survivor Outdoor and can attest first-hand to the restorative power in the program.
CBN News reports on Wolf’s comments explaining why this approach is so effective for military personnel:
“You get people on the side of a rock or a mountain and it challenges them in ways that they aren’t getting challenged in an office environment when they are … doing a normal day-to-day routine.”
Adjusting after the military to civilian life is very difficult for many people.
While there is a lot of joy returning to your family, the new experiences you have shape you in ways that can be unexpected.
Sadly, veterans and active duty military personnel have higher rates of mental health conditions, according to a 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
The National Alliance on Mental Health reported that “Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition.” The biggest gap between military and the civilian population is PTSD, with it being “15 times higher than civilians”, followed by depression which was “five times higher than civilians.”
In a shocking revelation, The Veterans Administration reports that “approximately 20 veterans die by suicide every day.” This shows that the military community needs more spiritual support, and strength that only comes from God.
“Whether we’re talking about the veteran population or the active duty population we know that statistically, the suicide rates are not coming down. Depression, anxiety… these things are pretty significant in the society in general and the military is a cut of the cloth.”
In a profound insight, Wolf recognizes that although there are plenty of programs to aid veteran and active duty soldiers, none of them get to the root cause of the issue.
“As Christians, we know the real answer is Jesus Christ,” Wolf reports on CBN News.
In an unprecedented approach, Wolf preaches the Good Word while on the breach of an adrenaline rush, like when they are about to jump off the side of a mountain.
What the soldiers hear is the simple and passionate truth that life in Christ has purpose and meaning. Wolf wants the men and women to know that their identity is found in Jesus.
Wolf explains it this way:
“Your value as a human being whether you are in the military or someplace else is intrinsic because it comes from your Creator and not from your career, your status, or your phone or something else, but that you really have value.”
To date, thousands have attended Soul Survivor Outdoor events, and just last year more than 400 soldiers committed their lives to Christ Jesus. What a miraculous testimony!
These individuals who give of themselves for this country, and suffer even when they are sent home so that we have a safe place to lay our head at night, need the redemptive power that is in submitting to God (1 Peter 5:6).
With about 165,000 active duty soldiers being deployed in more than 150 countries, according to CBN News, there is a great need for Godly support in the military. Wolf couldn’t agree with this more, saying:
“Who more deserving to have the opportunity to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ than this person that has the idea, and they may not even know where it comes from, that no greater love has someone than this to lay down their life for a friend.”
It is sincerely touching to see Wolf work in the lives of these soldiers, showing the love of Christ to those on the front lines of defense for this great country. Please pray for Wolf’s ministry, and for the hearts and minds of all those that attend; that they will be open where the Holy Spirit is leading.
Also, please pray for our veterans and active duty soldiers and their families that God will be with them, and that they have strength, comfort and peace in the Lord.
Let us know in the comments section what you think of the Soul Survivor Outdoor events, and where you see the ministry going in the future.