A Lottery and a Call to Missions
In the fall of 1971, the United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War, so as a freshman in college I decided to join the Air Force R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officers’ Training Corp) due to an upcoming military draft scheduled for Feb. 2, 1972. If my lottery number was low on that day I would have been drafted, but allowed to finish college due to my R.O.T.C. commitment. However, afterward, the prospect was strong that I would have been directed to the Vietnam conflict since I already had my pilot’s license and was in the Air Force. My number turned out to be #309, high enough to escape the draft. Soon afterward I met Christ in Campus Crusade and the direction of my life headed to seminary and on to Thailand with OMF (I arrived in 1980). Recently I had a chance to reflect on the impact of the #309 on my life after visiting northern Laos. The war officially ended in 1975, but 44 years later there were still massive craters covering the countryside due to 580,000 bombing raids and the 2 million tons of ordnance that fell on that country. I learned that 50,000 Laotians had been killed or maimed due to UXOs (Unexploded Ordnances) from 1964 to 2008. Such casualties still happen at a rate of around 100 per year. Such statistics caused me to pause and think about how different my life would have been if I had received a different lottery number and how grateful I am that God directed me to Thailand.