Christian, Bible-Based Teaching by Pastor John E. Dubler

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My Experience in Vietnam
How I Became a Believer
by Pastor John E. Dubler

F4-E with Aim 9Js SJAFB

Pictured: An F-4 E with TISEO and Slats, armed with Aim-9J heat-seeking missiles, a step up from
what we had in Vietnam.  Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, 1975. Photo by the author.

I had my dream assignment--flying with the famed 555TFS “Triple Nickel” MiG Killers in the Vietnam War.  For a back-seater WSO it doesn’t get any better than this.  But while I was flying daily combat missions in my Air Force F-4D Phantom II aircraft it first struck me as reality - I could be killed or captured on any of our missions over North Vietnam.  Life did not seem so casual any longer.  Outwardly I was composed and confident - we were MiG killers, known as the “Largest Distributor of MiG Parts in Southeast Asia” - but inwardly I began to realize that death would impose a finality that I did not like thinking about.  Even worse than that realization was another: like others who fought in Vietnam I dreaded the thought of being captured by the incredibly brutal North Vietnamese.  Some of my friends had already been killed or captured. In point of fact, when I first arrived overseas, my Squadron, the famed 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was losing a high number aircrew members during their tours of duty. Often I would wake up with the thought:

If I were to die today, I would be separated from God forever.

God's help arrived in the person of Billy Graham, in September of 1972, at Udorn Royal Thai AFB in Northeast Thailand. He was not the famous evangelist, but, true to his namesake, he was a committed Christian and a fellow air crewman. He insisted that I go with him to an officer's Bible study. As the military men introduced themselves, we realized that in this small group of five men, there was a Matthew, a Mark, a Luke, myself - John, and Billy Graham. It was in this setting that I first believed the good news of the scriptures that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is alive today. I was able to see that the Bible accurately portrays the facts concerning Jesus: His sinless life, the atonement of His Blood for my sins, His death on the cross, and His bodily resurrection from the grave.

As I prayed to ask forgiveness for my sins and invited Jesus to be Lord and Master of my life, I knew that if I died I would be in the immediate presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was He who said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). His promise of eternal life for me when I believed has never faded, and to this day I do not fear death.

Photo: My friend, Capt. Billy Graham with a 555TFS “Triple Nickel” F-4D loaded with MK-82 500lb bombs.  Billy invited me to an officer’s Bible study at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand in September, 1972.  There were five of us: Matthew, Mark, Luke, myself (John) and Billy Graham. I became a believer that night as they explained the reality and certainty of Jesus’ resurrection.

Billy Graham F-4D w MK-82s Udorn

“I am the resurrection and the life:" said Jesus, "he who believes in me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). There is no more important question for you to answer: "Do you believe this?" If you do, you too shall live eternally and need not fear death.

I would like to invite you to ask Jesus for forgiveness from  your sins.  The Lord Jesus who is someday returning to judge all the deeds done by everyone who has ever lived.  On that day He will be the defender and advocate for all who have invited Him into their lives as Savior and Lord. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to be the Lord of your life. He will not reject anyone who approaches him with a repentant heart and believes that he is the Son of God, risen and alive from the dead. When you sincerely pray, acknowledging Him as Lord, and asking him to forgive you, you will be accepted as one of His own. You will be saved from eternal death. Then the Holy Spirit will come to dwell inside you, guiding you as you grow in the new life which you will have in Christ.

If you would like more information or have a question, please contact me. If you have become a believer by just now asking Jesus to be Lord of your life, I would very much like to hear from you.

May God bless you as you make the single most important decision of your life. -- Pastor John Dubler

For more photos of my assignment with the 555TFS, “Triple Nickel” at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand, 1972, click here.

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