TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Army Staff Sgt. Jay Fondren is a husband and father of four boys. But, he says more importantly, he is a Christian.
"We should all be out there on the front lines for Christ," he said. "That's what we've been called to do."
The Tyler Area Christian Home Educators invited Fondren to speak to a group of homeschool students inside Calvary Baptist Church in Tyler, Saturday.
"Soldiers can go and fight, but that's temporary [peace]," Fondren said. "The only eternal peace, true peace, is going to come from knowing Christ."
Fondren deployed to Iraq in 2004. He said he used to pray for God to use him as a "tool for his wrath" against his enemies on the battlefield. One day, he said he was flipping through a prayer book, and had a revelation.
"It just hit me: as a Christian, that's not the way we should be thinking." Fondren was said the day before Thanksgiving, 2004, his unit hit two IEDs.
The explosion took both his legs. He'd eventually have to lose his right thumb.
But he said he never lost his faith.
"Life's not over at that," he said. "The Lord will strengthen us. He gets us through it."
"His walk in God didn't weaken," said Haylee Bazil, a New Harmony 17-year-old. "[Fondren] still said, 'God is faithful,' and he is."