Point Man Outpost 101
Coos Bay, Oregon
Mike Harris fought on the frontlines in Vietnam with the Navy Mobile Riverine Force. He struggled for many years following his traumatic combat experiences. Nothing seemed to work. Evolution was but a "Theory" and he didn't buy it. He resigned to the fact that he was going to die and rot in the grave.
For years Mike turned everyway but towards God. He resisted the Creator and fought against those who tried to convey the "Good News". "Religion" was not for him.
One day in January 1981 Mike was so estranged from people and lonely that he decided to confront God. He yelled, "If you are real then make yourself real to me." Nothing happened so he continued on down the dead end road.
Four days later Mike was sitting at his dining room table when God, his Maker, spoke to him in what he now realizes as his "spirit". God said, "Flush your drugs down the toilet!". Mike responded with, "What about Randy? He uses them too." God then said, "He doesn't need them either. Flush them down the toilet!" Out of simple obedience Mike began gathering up his street drugs. It took over an hour for him to flush them all as instructed. This was his new beginning.
After years of searching the Holy Scriptures and finding solace in the Godhead, Mike came to a juncture in his life where he wanted to reach out to his fellow veterans with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He searched everywhere, but could not find an avenue. Starting up a ministry seemed too complicated to him.
One day Mike tuned in to Dr. James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" radio program. Much to his surprise Mr. Dobson was talking to four Vietnam veteran pastors about their experiences in Vietnam. At the end of the program Mike jotted down a phone number for "Point Man International Ministries" (PMIM).
As soon as the program was over Mike called the main PMIM office. Chuck Dean, the Executive Director, answered the phone. Mike asked about getting an affiliate application to start an "Outpost" in the Coos Bay/North Bend area. Chuck not only sent the package, but he also send the "NamVet; Making Peace With Your Past" book that he had authored.
Mike could not put the book down. He read it from front to back in one sitting. It was as if the book was written about him. He could see clearly for the first time since Vietnam that he had been, and was, suffering from "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD). Chuck lined out ways to begin seeking God's help in dealing with the disorder.
Soon Mike's application to begin an Outpost was approved. He was given "Outpost 101". All that was required was to be available to veterans and lend an ear. Mike set out to do some public relations work to try to not only draw in hurting veterans, but to also woo Christian veterans to assist him in the new ministry.
Finally it was time for the first official meeting. Someone granted him the favor to use a room at Blossom Gulch Grade School. Not long after 7 PM Hank Elsworth, U.S. Army Signal Corps in Vietnam, showed up. Then another gentleman named John Schwenzfeier, a USAF Vietnam Veteran, joined them. God had been gracious to provide the beginning of the "core" that Mike had been praying for.
Later Hank would share that his pastor had asked him to go check "Mike" and "Point Man" out to see if it was a legitimate ministry. Needless to say, it all turned out favorable.
A sprinkling of Vietnam veterans began attending sporadically. Some real healing was witnessed by the leadership.
Soon Mike's wife, Connie, started a "Homefront" ministry for the wives and children of the veterans. It gave them the opportunity to learn how to cope with what their husband's were dealing with. Potlucks were held about once a month for everyone to get together for fellowship.
Two years later Mike felt a "calling" for he and Connie to move to the Seattle area to work fulltime at the PMIM Headquarters office. It was a difficult time because Mike had just built them a new home in Coos Bay. God's guidance prevailed and they moved to Clearview, Washington in June 1990. Mike and Connie would later serve five years on the foreign mission field in S.E. Asia from January 1992 to March 1997. Their target country was communist Laos.
Hank volunteered to take over as Outpost Leader in Mike's absence. The meetings continued on into the 1990's. Hank told Mike later that it was "me and God" at many meetings. John would attend when he could. Hank's faithfulness eventually paid divine dividends. Hurting men would come for ministry and the group began to build.
When Mike returned from the foreign mission field Hank attempted to turn the ministry back over to him. Mike reassured Hank that the "mantle" was his to carry and that he would support him in any what he could.
In 2012 Hank and his wife, Georgie, moved to Milwaukee, Oregon so they could be closer to their family.
At that time Mark Winders, USMC Amtracs in Vietnam, took over as our local Point Man 101 Outpost Leader. Brother Mark helped grown the outreach through his faith and perseverance from 2012-2015 following several years of participation. In 2015 he and his wife, Libbie, chose to move to Arizona due to Libbie's ongoing health problems. We will miss them dearly, but we also know that they are near in spirit and just a phone call away.
PMIM has moved on from just ministering to Vietnam veterans. Now the ministry is open to ALL veterans. A good rapport has been forged with the communities of the Southern Oregon coast through the past 18 years. Outpost 101 also has developed good relationships with other veteran organizations in the area.
We involved with Point Man Outpost 101 have been blessed and are more than willing to bless others by God's divine grace. Our meetings are held at 7 PM every Tuesday evening in the basement of the Foursquare Church, 5th and Donnelly, in Coos Bay. Feel free to stop by and enjoy the fellowship of other veterans who have been in like situation that you have been. The coffee is always hot.
We also have weekly Bible Studies if you might be interested:
Coquille: Monday at 7 PM -
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Table of Contents
David Dewett Veterans Memorial Wayside
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