Ian turned 18 in July. He is a senior this year! During the summer he had the opportunity to serve at Camp Wow in OK. He worked with the cowboy churches in our area. When he came home after those two weeks he was on fire! We knew God had done something amazing in his life.
Not long after camp Ian received a message from a National Guard recruiter. He wanted to visit with him. I believe Ian was searching for an answer for that all so familiar question for seniors..."what are you going to do after you graduate?" Maybe this was the answer. He and James met with the recruiter. When they came home, they both were excited about what they heard. If Ian signed before his senior year, he would attend training once a month until graduation. If he chose to not continue, he could get out. But it would not be easy. The plan was for him to be able to go on his last youth trip and to go back to Cowboy camp, then enter Basic Training at the end of summer. He would not go to college in the fall. He would start the spring semester. There were many different options he could choose to further his military career. They would pay the tuition for college. Somewhere in the deal there was $20,000! I know when you dangle that much money in front of a teenager, you have their attention!!! Ian was ready to sign. James dug into trying to find out all the loop holes he could, but there seem to be very few. Most people he spoke with thought NG was a great way to go. I had a different take on this! I did not trust the recruiter one bit. I had a lot of questions and needed to know exactly why Ian was choosing this way when he had experienced God in a awesome way. I'm not saying the military is bad. I actually have great respect for it. I know my son. He has never had a desire to go the military way. If this was the way to go, then why sign the beginning of senior year, just wait till you graduate. Senior year is suppose to be the time to explore options. Not many teens know what they want to do when they enter college. I did not have peace and I worried that he was moving way too fast.
He got all the papers ready. The day came for him to go to MEPS. Ian told me several times if this was not what God wanted him to do, He would stop him at MEPS. James was at church camp so Robin, Ava and I went to Dallas to be with him. Once he passed the medical part, he would sign the contract and be sworn in. I still did not feel good about this but was going to try to support him. I saw him come out of the medical part. A few minutes later, he came and got me and said the recruiter needed to talk to me. The medical staff questioned what Ian used on his face for acne. He told them it was a wash. They asked if it was from the doctor and he said yes. So they kicked him out and said he would have to get a letter from the doctor releasing him from their care. It was not a prescription, we just bought it from them.
My first thought...GOD STOPPED IT! Ian did not see it that way. He just saw a little bump in the road. As I pondered the timeline of the next few weeks, I had a feeling all this would go away. You see, the following week was band camp, the next week was football, and then school started! Surely by that time Ian would change his mind and wait till after graduation.
About two weeks later, James and Ian told me they had talked to the recruiter and had made plans to go back to MEPS that next Monday! I could see this was not going like I had planned so I just decided I was ready to get it over with!. My heart hurt because I thought he was not thinking this though. Ian left on Sunday afternoon and James, Ava and I left Monday morning. They told us to be at the Federal Building in Dallas around 9:30. About 8:00 Ian called and asked if we could be there at 8:30 because they were going fast. I told him no. We arrived at 9:15. Ian met us and told us he had already been through the medical part and had been cleared. They had him sign some papers and were pulling up his contract when the computers went down. The recruiter said they would be back up and running in a few minutes. So we stood and waited. James was going to go in with him to go over the contract. We waited longer and Ava and I finally found a seat. At 12:00 they call all the recruits to go eat, so Ian went and got a sandwich. We just waited. Computers are still down. About 2:00, James came in and told me that the computers are down across the NATION!!! Ian told him that if he did not get processed today he was done!. I was shocked! I never thought he would actually not go through with this. I began to watch the clock. The office would close at 4:00. They said they would know for sure if he was going to get processed by 3:45. So we waited and I watched the clock. Ian had a pep rally at school that night and did not want to miss it. In the beginning the recruiter said we would be done by lunch and he would be back at school in time for practiced and pep rally. I assured him we had plenty of time to get there. We could have left right then but I felt we needed to follow this all the way to the end. Around 3:00 I hear them call a National Guard recruit back. So I believe they were up and running. Then around 3:30 they called Ian!. Nothing like the last minute. A few minutes James comes back and said lets go. I just looked at him as I grabbed all of our stuff. He said Ian is done and we are going home!!!
When they called Ian in, they told him the computers would not be back up today. They would put him up in a hotel and he would be the first in line tomorrow. He said no that he had a pep rally. His recruiter said he would pick him up at his house at 5:00 am and then return him to school. One Sargent asked him why he was joining and he said to help with college. James assured him that we would pay for college and he did not have to go through with this just for that reason. Ian said, Dad you preached yesterday about temptation. You said when in doubt, don't do it. I prayed this morning for this to go smooth and it has not, so I am done. The Sargent stood up and shook his hand. He said you are just the type of man we want but we respect your decision. The recruiter said he would not contact him again. If Ian chose to contact him, then he would love to have him.
Wow! I am still amazed. Yes Ian was discouraged and a little upset. He thought this was his planned and God just shut it down. Actually He shut the National Army down. On August 20,2018 no one was sworn into the National Army....not just the National Guard! God showed up...Actually, He showed Out!!!! That's the way He is!