Category Archives: Warfare

Pain in Prime Time

Prime Time for Next Generation

Spring planting is done and Indiana corn is knee-high. Kids out of school are splashing in the pool and hanging out in the park. The 4th of July fireworks went off. Here in the Midwest it definitely feels like it’s time to go camping, tour Gettysburg or see the Rockies.

Many Europeans are also preparing to leave their hot cities for several weeks in July or August. Russians like to send their kids to live with grandma and grandpa in rustic cabins where the main activity is reading or raising vegetables in a small garden plot.

But for our Polish friends near Wroclaw, July is prime time for the ministry of the gospel. Summer camps use Christian volunteers to teach English, play sports and hike in the forest. Dozens hear the gospel from counselors who love the Lord. Then 5000 young people attend the annual SLOT art festival on the grounds of a beautiful old monastery: 8 days for music, art, and current events to ferment with the gospel.

Then last week the sound of a stumble, a crack and a scream interrupted counselor training for 15 guests in the leader’s home. Julie tripped over a mattress and shattered her elbow against the wall. Hours later she awoke in a hospital bed with her arm suspended over her head in traction. Her X-rays are mostly promising – the broken bones and chips seem to be growing back together. But I doubt surgery and a cast were in her family’s plans for the summer.

We rarely get to know whether the personal pain we endure is part of the suffering we share with Christ for the sake of His final glory or is an echo of the groaning our entire planet is subject to until the Lord returns and restores creation. Until His return we pray for every effort to move the gospel out to the nations will find listening hearts. And we pray that these special servants can find special moments of rest that will restore their souls for the harvest that is ripening right now in Eurasia!


How fierce is the fighting?

Just 2 days after a home front terrorist killed 13 soldiers and civilians in Texas I heard Eric deliver a sermon Sunday that highlighted how the last island battles in the Pacific were fierce and costly to an extreme we can hardly imagine today. Paying a national price or the soldier’s unit level price to accomplish defeat of that enemy was huge.
The readiness of my grandparent’s generation to stop evil was incredible. I sure empathize with the generals gathering our army on Luzon for the invasion of the Japanese mainland when they heard the casualty reports from Iwo Jima and Okinawa. No wonder they were ready to accept the A-bomb solution! After 3000 died in the towers we were ready to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq.
1/3 of the marines who landed on Iwo Jima were casualties! Look to the left and look to the right. They’ll survive, but I won’t! The main reason this happened was the Japanese changed their strategy from Kamikaze wave attacks of previous campaigns to fighting defensively from well fortified underground positions. That surprised our generals. They also seriously underestimated enemy troop strength. On Iwo Jima US casualties were about the same as Japanese. The next island of Okinawa US casualties even though higher overall than on Iwo Jima were “only” 1/3 of Japanese since they took a lot more time (84 days) and used artillery before attacking positions.
Surprise from the Japanese cost us 1000’s at Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima. But think of the millions of soldiers lost because the USSR leadership was surprised and unprepared for the Germans to invade.
Country | Soldier death | Civilian death |  Total Population | % population casualty
USA | 408,200 | 1000 | 131 Million | 0.3%
UK | 298,950 | 64,000 | 46 Mill | 0.79%
Germany | 3.35 Mill | 3.04 Mill | 73 Mill | 8.8%
Japan | 1.93 Mill | 393,000 | 73 Mill | 3.2%
India | 38,707 | 1.5 Mill | 384 Mill | 0.4%
China |  2 Mill | 11.5 Mill | 450 Mill | 3.0 %
USSR |  13.7 Mill | 6.5 Mill | 190 Mill | 10.6%
Jews (Eur) 909,162
Jews (Ussr) 1 Mill
Since percentages are the fairest way to compare numbers, the above leades to some striking proportions:
• The No. of Americans who would consider themselves of German background was 32.5 Million or 45% of Germany’s prewar population.
• Sacrifice in the war as a proportion of population was 2.5x greater in UK than US, 10x in Japan and China, 30x in Germany, 35x in USSR.
• Same No. of Soviet soldiers died fighting for the Axis as US soldiers who died fighting against Germany and Japan
• The famous Asian death camps and blitzes that caused UK civilian deaths pale by comparison to what happened to the Soviets or Chinese when the Axis invaded their countries. Even Germany suffered 50x the level of civilian casualties from invasion and bombings compared to UK.
• The worst stat to me were the numbers of Soviet soldiers killed-13.7 million or 7% of the total population, 14% of living men ?25-50% of that generation’s able bodied youth!
What a nation pays when their leaders are incompetent and unprepared. Ideology can never excuse such a loss. But once invaded even when knocked on their back side Soviet soldiers had the ferocity or the fear of their own leadership to win victory at that price. I’m guessing at least 1 of 4 young men alive in USSR in 1939 were dead 5 years later!!!!