BIMI

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Someone Out There Needs Me! by James God I arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, Vietnam, on Christmas Eve 1966. It was late afternoon as the plane banked sharply to avoid enemy ground fire in preparation for our landing. As I glanced out the window, there was a torrential rain beating against the window and all I could see below was muddy rice paddies. James God is pastor of Bible Baptist Church, New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania. He serves as an executive board member of Baptist International Missions, Inc. A s we disembarked from the plane, we were greeted by an MP in a Jeep with a .50 caliber ma- chine gun mounted on the back. He was parked next to the portable stair- case. Dusk was setting in as we were ushered under a pavilion for protection from the rain. We had no time to eat. It was essential that we would start to process in-country immediately. We were given lodging overnight in a hut. The sights and sounds in the midst of the darkness of the night were enough to let me know that this was really a war and not just a “conflict” as the United States news broadcaster Walter Cronkite was prone to call it. Throughout the night, even though it was Christmas Eve, I could hear the B-52s doing carpet bombing. F-4 Phantoms, helicopter gunships, and C-47s were bombing and strafing in the midst of a darkened sky that was lit up with flares. Throughout the night, I could hear the sounds of 155 MM Howitzers being fired. In the late afternoon on Christmas Day, we boarded a military bus for the sixteen-mile journey northeast to Bien Hoa. The bus windows had heavy NATIONS • 13