- By Permission
Michael Robert Fay served his country
through military service in Vietnam and subsequently served his Lord
as a soldier of the Cross, writing and recording praise songs that glorify our Lord.
Michael wrote the following letter to his family, shortly before his death, in
November, 1999. He died from Agent Orange related cancer, which stemmed from service
to his country in Vietnam. He gave his life for his country, and after he served, he
gave his heart to God. Permission to publish this material has been granted to
Friday Study Ministries, by his Aunt Michelle.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"
(1 John 1:9)
In reflection, my several years spent in the Boy Scouts, and the influence of its
simple motto "Be Prepared," has compelled me to formulate these thoughts, before
my pain is too great and my medications too strong. Yes, 50 years is considered
below average for a life span on planet earth, but Im thankful that I have warning
to get my ducks in a row.
I take pleasure in recalling good memories and bad. The first is obvious, but the
second, oh to learn from our mistakes and even others shortcomings, I must say has
been lifes greatest challenge for me and I thank each and every one of you for
touching my life. And where do we go from here?
Are we focused enough to be confident our next step will be positive and beneficial or
should we redefine our short and long term goals to gain satisfaction that our choice in
direction consumes time well spent? Only on an individual, personal, and separate
basis do we have the God-given privilege and responsibility to do so.
Frank Sinatra sang that his regrets were too few to mention. I consider my
regrets too numerous to chronologically list but with a range of immense effect and
proportion, from frown to years of pain. Ashamed I am, but graced enough by God to
continue to ask and receive forgiveness. "If we confess
our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Ever since my earliest days of childhood,
until age 21, seldom did I experience a connection of who I really was and my true purpose
With moderate success in athletics, average family home experiences, occasional
artistic talents, junior high school student body status, to Quasi Hippie / Illegal drug
involvement in the late 60s, I became convinced the word "focus" was
foreign to me. However, I was soon to learn in 12-months and from an 18,000 + mile
journey: Vietnam would be the ground of a more serious study.
So I find myself on bunker guard duty at night, looking for movement within a tree line
background, approximately 1000 yards from my location. Why am I here? What is
the reason this boy is part of a plan, halfway around the world, to take or trade a life?
Why cant we all get along, peacefully? These questions and similar
others, went from thoughts to audible words, first to the sandbags, to my weapon, to the
night scope, to the barbed wire stretched in horizontal rows, to the fireflies, to the
tree lines, and then to God. To God? Is there a God? I wanted some
answers. But I found myself going through this procedure night after night for at
least several weeks.
It was a great feeling when my feet touched USA soil. I was one of the lucky ones
who made it home. But I couldnt forget the bunker guard conversations, or the
warrant officer / helicopter pilot death, three months earlier. I met him at the
helipad every morning at 9 AM sharp, and we boarded his 2-man Loche, where we spent two
hours circling the perimeter of the base camp, several hundred feet up.
He was to visually recon and verify no enemy activity traces occurred from the previous
night, and I was to distribute pro-US / South Vietnam propaganda leaflets and assist recon
efforts. He was always punctual as we went up, 7-days a week, for one month, two
months, then three months. Then, for some unexplainable reason, I overslept.
He went up without me and upon reaching his cruise altitude, mechanical problems
developed, sending him to his immediate death, and giving me a life extension of 30-years.
At Ford Ord, Califoria, I served the remainder of my US Army tour and conclude my
thoughts with a significant decision recap. Having located a friend that I had grown
up with since kindergarten, we found comfort in spending off duty time together. I
used him and his food privileges (he was a cook); he used me and my 64 Volkswagen
Bus for transportation. He was invited by two of his new recruits in his company to
an evening meeting, and I was invited to transport them.
I didnt have a good grasp of the type of meeting, but I do remember their
"Chorus Singing Joy" in the back of the bus, while were listening to our
standard Rock and Roll, laughing at them. There were numerous young ladies at the
building we were in, so our interest was high. But what made the evening so dramatic
was what this young preacher said. Eventually, we both went to the front of the
auditorium after an invitation to get connected to the Author of life, was made.
I knew I was making a commitment to someone or something to change, but what I
didnt realize was that my bunker guard conversations, which were sincere, 9000 miles
away and in the past, needed an act of faith on my part. I accepted Jesus into my
heart that night and He has allowed me thirty years of joy and sorrow that I have spent
with you. But I can personally testify "He is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1
For that and the fact that you have all been a very significant part of my life, I
again thank you for your love, support, challenge, attention, and prayers; but the
greatest is to allow me a chance to give you a piece of my heart that God has graciously
given to me.
Michael Robert Fay
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