In 480 BC, King Leonidas of Sparta led a small contingent of Greek troops against the invading Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae. When he saw the size of the Greek army, Persian King Xerxes was filled with confidence by his numerical superiority. In his mind, he would quickly vanquish his hopelessly outnumbered foe before going on to “swallow tiny Greece.” He ordered his troops forward and expected to be celebrating his victory in short order. However, his hopes began to crumble as wave after wave of his best troops were scattered against the Greek shield wall. Persian casualties climbed into the thousands while the Greek formations remained largely intact. As night set in and the troops prepared for another day of fighting, Xerxes realized his conquest of Greece would cost far more than he planned.
According to Herodotus, the Persians boasted a force of 2.6 million, while the Greeks mustered a mere 5,200 to oppose them. How then were the Greeks able to stand against such overwhelming odds? The answer lies in the workings of the Greek phalanx – their formation of mutual defense. In the phalanx, each soldier’s shield helps to guard the man next to him, allowing disciplined soldiers to create a nearly impenetrable shield wall. In the right terrain, such as a narrow mountain pass, this formation can make defenders nearly invincible. However, it only works as long as each soldier does his duty, holds his ground, and Faces the Enemy.
Like the Ancient Greeks, we too are engaged in a very real war. God called Paul Anderson Youth Home into being in order to transform the lives of troubled young men and to give them a second chance through Christ, and that is extremely displeasing to the enemy. We are under constant assault intended to suppress our efforts and, if possible, destroy us. This is the nature of spiritual warfare, and PAYH is what in my Army days we called a “High Payoff Target.” Satan knows the ending of the story as well as we do; in the end, he is doomed. But just as we sometimes do in a hopeless fight or contest, he is determined, knowing he is ultimately going down to defeat, to take as many with him as possible.
To weather his relentless assault, we must stand together in formation as Christian soldiers, interlocking our “Shields of Faith” while wearing the “Full Armor of God” (Ephesians 6). Only then can we stand victorious. We must each do our part, and Face the Enemy with confidence. We must stare down the armies of Hell, repel their assault, and pay it back in kind. To do otherwise would be costly not only to us but also to those who stand with us on the battlefield. Like the Greeks, we face a dangerous and powerful foe that we could never defeat in open battle. Unlike the Greeks (who were eventually surrounded and overcome), our victory is assured, because we do not fight through our own power. God tells us in 1 John 4:4 that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” It is through this power, the power of Christ, that we fight, and WE WILL WIN!
God bless you.
Col. Ken Vaughn
Chief Operating Officer
Every year we celebrate Paul Anderson’s birthday with a special event known as “Founders’ Day.” Designed to honor Paul and Glenda’s acceptance of God’s call to begin the PAYH ministry, this year’s program featured a special guest, strongman Tim Fox. Yards away from where Paul is laid to rest, Tim recreated some of his feats of strength, including bending steel bars, rolling frying pans, and driving a nail through wood by hand. Additionally, Tim taught some of the staff and young men how to bend their own bars. Afterward, we held a family softball game and enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Papa Buck’s.
Tour de Tugaloo
Three of our PAYH young men (Caden, Kyle, and Tres) had a chance to ride in the 2019 Tour de Tugaloo. Beginning at the Yona Dam, the ride took them through a scenic tour of the Toccoa area. Although the weather was cold and wet, they had a great time of fellowship with the local riders and a delicious meal afterward. Special thanks to Duane Mahon for making this event possible, and for allowing the PAYH team to kick off the event.
Paul Anderson Memorial Park
In 1999, a group of Stephens County 4th graders had been studying the history of a famous Toccoa native and developed a vision for a park in his memory. With the help of numerous friends and supporters, the Paul Anderson Memorial Park Foundation was established and their vision became reality in the early 2000’s. Today, it has become somewhat of a tradition for the PAYH young men to visit the park while they are at nearby Athens Y Camp, and this year was no exception. After walking the grounds, the young men gathered in the center of the park and posed for a picture with the 800 pound statue of the man who gave them a second chance through Christ.
Brewton-Parker Southern Classic
Brewton-Parker College, South Georgia’s only Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, held its 3rd annual Southern Classic at Willow Lake Golf Club in Metter early last month. Advancement Officer Tim Ritchie sponsored the PAYH team and was joined by Chief Operating Officer Col. Ken Vaughn, Director of Communications Stephen Nichols, and Board Vice-Chair Fritz Olnhausen. Against all odds, they avoided coming in last place, and had a great time helping BPC reach its goal. This year’s tournament raised over $46,000 – more than double the previous year’s total. To learn more about BPC and the educational opportunities they provide to, visit bpc.edu.
2008 alumnus Jonathan Carter and his wife Julie recently celebrated the birth of their 4th child, Glenda Rose Carter (“Rosie”). Stating that he owed so much to Glenda and PAYH for giving him a second chance, he noted “What better way to honor Glenda and her investment in me than to name my child after her? I am so very thankful for Glenda and Paul’s answer to God‘s call on their hearts. Their walk and sacrifice afforded me an opportunity to meet the Lord. My sincerest thanks to all those at PAYH, their prayers, and you donors for your part in the Lord’s work at the Home. The Lord has restored the years the locusts have eaten! Thanks be to God!”
Throughout his time at PAYH, Trevor was absolutely insistent that he didn’t know Christ. In early 2017, he finished the program and went his way, still an unbeliever. While it is our fervent desire that no young man leave our campus without knowing Christ, that decision is ultimately not in our hands. However, as Trevor now says, “the Holy Spirit is very persistent.” Several months after leaving the program, the seeds of the Gospel that had been planted in Trevor began to grow, and God changed his heart and saved his soul. Today, Trevor serves in the US Navy, has a wife and young daughter, and recently visited PAYH to share his testimonty about how he became a new creature in Christ with the current young men.
|As we look forward to the Christmas Season, one of our favorite ways to celebrate God’s marvelous gift of His Son is through our annual Christmas Dinner Theater, to be held December 5th & 6th at First Baptist Church Vidalia. During this time, guests will be treated to dinner and a special production of “It’s Never Too Late” showcasing our PAYH young men. Through them, we will get to know 3 soldiers from the Vietnam era: their hopes and dreams, Christ’s impact on their lives, and how through Him it’s never too late to make things right.|
Limited seating available. For tickets, please visit payh.org/Christmas or call us at 912-537-7237.