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The Surrender Project: Ministry Combats PTSD

Shield of Faith Missions founder, Damon Friedman, discusses a holistic approach to combating PTSD, which he calls the Surrender Project. Read Transcript


During the heat of battle in 2010,

lieutenant colonel Damon Friedman made a deal with God.

And today, thousands of combat veterans

are reaping the benefits.

Take a look.

NARRATOR: Lieutenant Colonel Damon Friedman

is a former Marine, and a decorated combat veteran

in the United States Air Force.

Damon understands firsthand the brutal effects

of war and post-traumatic stress.

He served four combat deployments

to Iraq and Afghanistan in support

of the global war on terror, earning three

Bronze Stars, one with valor, as well as the Combat Action

Medal.

In all of our guys and gals who have seen combat,

they're looking for a solution and they're looking for hope

and they're looking for a purpose.

NARRATOR: Now he's the executive producer

for the film "Surrender," which follows the lives of combat

warriors, their silent struggles, and the answers

they found on the way to personal healing.

Please welcome to "The 700 Club" Damon Friedman.

It's wonderful to have you here.

Wow.

Yeah, I'm really excited.

Thank you very much for having me.

What a background.

Way to use it for something even better for others.

That's awesome.

Let's start with April of 2010.

You made a deal with God.

What happened on that day?

Well I ended up having the mission of a lifetime.

And that's going into the Korangel Valley, also known

as the Valley of Death.

It was a pretty big strategic mission

where General McChrystal was coming in.

And I was honored to be a part of that team.

I was the lead JTAC.

And we just came into one of the hottest landing zones

in Afghanistan.

And this is one of the deadliest places in all of the world.

And just through that battle-- and I'll tell you,

it was a bit overwhelming, making sure that all

of my guys--

TERRY MEEUWSEN: I'm sure.

--were safe and that we were able to maneuver around

and execute the mission.

We were just fighting hundreds of Taliban.

And we just got to this point where

no matter how many bullets we were shooting

or how many bombs we were dropping,

it just got to this point where, are we

all going to make it out of here?

Are my guys going to be safe?

And so it was just that point in time

that it seemed like time stood still.

And God spoke to me.

And he said, "I made you for a purpose."

And it was during that time frame,

I said, "Hey, Lord Heavenly Father,

if you save me, if you save all my men,

you bring us all home, from this point on,

I'll serve you to the ends of the days, of my days."

And so that was the very beginning of a journey, yeah.

Wow.

So that was the beginning of a whole faith walk with you

that really hadn't existed before.

Yeah.

Will you share a little bit about surrender

in your life and the difference that it's made?

You've surrendered to Christ and now you're

talking to others about that?

Yeah.

So what basically happened was that was

the moment where there was kind of like a paradigm

shift in my life.

At that time when I completely surrendered to God,

it was a time when the Lord started revealing all the sin

in my life, all the things that I was doing

that wasn't pleasing to Him.

And I realized what a terrible mess

I was in-- almost self-destructed, almost

lost my marriage.

And a lot of our warriors are going

through the same thing and a lot of issues

with post-traumatic stress.

And at that point in time, God started

piecing me back together.

And so I'm so adamant and fervent

about sharing the message of hope

to people because of what God has done in my life.

It's my own personal testimony.

People know the guy I used to be.

And now the guy afterwards, they're like, who are you?

And I had a moment with the commander

of the universe, Jesus.

Yeah.

You know, it is hope filled when you start that journey.

But it begins with surrender and letting

go, which for a military person is

kind of the antithesis of what you're trained in,

taught about, embraced.

Absolutely.

That's what's so thought provoking

about the title of the film.

You see we warriors, we don't surrender

to anything or to anyone.

We'd rather die fighting, die on the battlefield

than to be a coward and to give up coming home.

But here's the deal.

At the end of the day, everyone must surrender, only to one.

And that's to the greatest warrior that ever lived,

the one that exudes all boldness and courage, like the greatest.

And that's Jesus.

You know, we hear so many stories Damon

about men and women who suffer from PTSD after coming out

of military action.

How does the film "Surrender" impact their lives?

What are you doing with it?

Well it's an opportunity.

It's an opportunity to kind of share our stories, saying hey,

we've been in the same foxhole as you've been.

We're not just--

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Wow.

Yeah.

And we understand.

We empathize.

We understand what's going on in your life.

But we also understand how to get through that kill zone

and find life on the other end.

And so the film is really to share our stories,

say look, we've been there.

We understand.

And at the very end, all these warriors

that everyone would look up to-- these

are the greatest warriors that you're

going to find out from every single branch.

We even have one female who's known as the Angel of Death.

You know, so at the end of the day,

warriors are men, women, different colors, all ages.

And at the end of day we all have something in common,

that we've done the nation's bidding,

and we all have to come to a point,

and there is hope on the other end when

we're suffering through post-traumatic stress,

or any of these challenges.

What response have you gotten to the movie so far?

Overwhelming.

We've been really blessed.

We wanted to create a Hollywood quality

like film that would be able to be shown in churches

and chaplains and in theaters and in schools

and those kinds of things.

And we just love the fact that it is just so realistic

and the quality is just so high end,

and also that the message is extremely powerful.

A lot of people have seen this film, thousands of people.

We were able to show it in front of 25,000 people live on 9/11.

And we're just really excited about how

we can share this message, share this film across America.

With all the action you've been in,

did you yourself suffer from PTSD?

Actually that was one of the reasons why I made the film.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: [INAUDIBLE] motivators, wow.

I'm kind of going through some challenges

and almost losing my marriage and almost losing my life.

I made some really poor decisions.

And I was in a really bad state, psychologically.

And so people that know me very well,

that's why I said the guy before and the guy after.

And they said, man, I don't know what you're drinking,

but I want some of that.

[LAUGHS] And you can get it.

I want you to know Damon's DVD is called "Surrender." if you'd

like to find out how you can get a copy for yourself

or someone you love that you know

is going through and struggling with some of this,

go to cbn.com.

You can also hear more of Damon's story

in our web exclusive interview on Facebook.

To watch that, just go to facebook.com/700club.

And Damon, what a great work.

We just wish you the best with all of this.

Thank you very much.

Wonderful, word of hope.

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