About three thousand years ago, there lived a mighty warrior. Warfare and death were a part of his life since childhood, and he learned to fight with great excellence and victory. He was more than a warrior, he was a conqueror. As a result, his fame spread far across the lands of ancient time. He was feared. He was hated. He was hunted by the enemies of his past.
This conquering warrior’s name was David. After he became king of Israel, his first foe, Philistine, remembered the boy who had brought down their greatest soldier. They gathered their armies and searched for this one man in full, vengeful force with one goal in mind: to kill him.
The struggles of David are the same today. The battle follows the warrior home and haunts him long after the fight. For most, the physical wounds of war are all we imagine. However, the wounds of warfare go much deeper than appearance. They invade the hidden and secret places of these warriors’ souls with one goal in mind: to kill them from within.
These warriors once went to battle for us; it is the purpose of Battleground Perazim to go to battle for them. Battleground Perazim is a 501c3 providing assistance to active duty soldiers, veterans, dependents, widows and survivor dependents in the Fort Campbell, Clarksville, and Hopkinsville areas. The founders, Donnie and Michelle Bowen, personally meet with the lead chaplain on Fort Campbell to learn, help, and nurture this specific community’s needs.
Battleground Perazim’s strategy is very different than many. While other organizations function nationally, the Bowens are locally-driven. For this reason, the warriors and their dependents are more than names on an application. They are neighbors whose tear-filled eyes have been seen, whose broken voices have been heard, and whose pain have been felt.
Because Battleground Perazim exists to walk beside these warriors, each family’s needs are specifically uncovered and pinpointed to determine how to move forward with the greatest results. After this discovery, Battleground Perizam provides personalized support as needed. Some examples are as follows, but not limited to:
- PTSD and combat stress resiliency training through combative arts and peer mentorship. Being a warrior is more than just an occupation, it is a state-of-mind. It is not the desire to take the fight out of the warrior; rather, it is to teach them what battle should be fought and equipping them to take that fight with victory.
- Financial aid for survivor dependents during medical hardships. There are many organizations that offer limited financial aid, but Battleground Perizam goes beyond the money. One such example was the birth of baby Ryan. He was born at 21 weeks and stayed in the NICU. His mother was young, and whose father was killed in war. Not only had this young lady lost her father, but her mother was also killed, leaving her to face such a worrisome event alone. Donnie and Michelle Bowen became what her parents would have been for her.
- Connecting trauma victims with necessary resources. There are many organizations and resources available to military veterans and their families. However, it’s hard to see past the struggle to find these resources. Battleground Perizam serves as a conduit to place these families with the needed outside help.
- Scholarships for national and local organizations. If outside help is needed, Battleground Perazim funds the travel expenses for the soldier. Also, scholarships are awarded to local organizations that help house families in need.
- Marriage mentorship for veterans and their families. Marriage is a battle in itself. Adding trauma to this union makes it an even greater one. Through marriage retreats and personal mentorship, the warriors and their spouses receive healing and restoration as they learn to walk with each other through seemingly insurmountable odds.
- Biblical studies and conferences for men and women. In the military world, a soldier and his family become more of a number than a person. Once that uniform and rank are removed, many struggle to find who they truly are. Donnie and Michelle travel across the nation teaching men and women how to discover their identity. It is not found in a uniform; it is found in a name--Jesus Christ.
Although these soldiers and their families served and sacrificed for our nation, it is within our nation’s individual communities that will bring about lasting healing as they are loved as Christ intended; that is personally, closely, and tangibly. It is through this Christ-like love that the formidable battles within are conquered.
When King David’s first war came back for him years later, he withdrew to a hidden, dark, and fortified place. His enemies were many and mighty, as they left no warrior or weapon behind in search for him. Hidden away, David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.” David came out of the dark, and stepped into the victory already promised to him. After his enemies fell in defeat, he declared, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” Therefore, that place was called Baal Perazim; meaning, the Lord who breaks out.
Battleground Perazim is the voice that speaks to the surrounded warrior and their families, reminding them of the Lord and His faithfulness. Although the enemies are many, and they come with full force to destroy from within, greater is the might of the Lord.
Donnie and Michelle Bowen pour themselves into these precious souls, so that they may know their value and that they have not been forgotten. As they are loved, they grow in confidence in their Lord. They boldy begin to step out from the dark shadows of their wounded hearts and minds, and take the fight to the hidden enemy.
One day, they will look around them and see their enemies defeated. Rage, bitterness, hatred, sorrow, visions of their bloodied friend, grief, pride, oppression, depression, anxiety, guilt, and fear all slain before them. On that day, they will surely say, “My Lord is a God of breakthrough, a Lord of Perazim.”