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Wounded warrior and LU board member Tim Lee shares his powerful testimony

The grace of God had an impact on the life of evangelist and Liberty University Board of Trustees member Tim Lee that was more powerful than the land mine that cost him his legs in Vietnam. The Purple Heart recipient shared his story with the crowd at Convocation on Friday, ending with a call for any who have not done so to surrender their lives to Christ.

Lee is the president of Tim Lee Ministries based out of Garland, Texas. He speaks in a variety of venues — from patriotic rallies to radio and television — across the country. Lee has served Liberty for a number of years and is a regular guest speaker on campus. In 2012, Liberty awarded Lee the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award, given annually to a veteran who displayed extraordinary heroism while serving. In May, Lee delivered Liberty’s 43rd Baccalaureate Service address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity in recognition of his service to this nation and his work as an author, speaker, pastor, evangelist, and his proven leadership in the church.

On Friday, President Jerry Falwell recognized Liberty’s Board of Trustees members, who were attending Convocation ahead of their biannual meeting. He thanked them for their service to the university, then welcomed Lee to the stage, noting that as a regular Convocation guest, the war hero “is always one of our favorite speakers, and we are honored to have him here.”

Liberty University’s Board of Trustees members (second and third rows) attended Convocation on Friday.

Lee began with a plea for students to take their right to vote seriously. He said that he enjoys the freedoms we have in this country and does not wish to see them taken away.

“I didn’t move 10,000 miles away from home and give two legs for my country to come back and be politically correct … I fought for America in Vietnam, and I will fight for America here,” he said to a cheering crowd.

Lee described his early years, growing up in the home of a Southern Baptist preacher, being instilled with traditional values, and accepting Christ at the age of 10. But as he got older, Lee drifted from his faith.

“I made up my mind as a teenager that I could live my own life,” Lee said. “(As a high school athlete) I was winning ribbons and trophies but all the time getting further and further from God.”

In 1969, after losing a job and getting kicked out of college, Lee joined the Marine Corps.

“I was tired of living at home,” he said. “I wanted a change. … I was tired of being told what time to go to bed, what time to get out of bed, how to get my hair cut, what I could do and what I could not do, and so, I joined the United States Marines.”

Military life taught Lee that it wasn’t his circumstances that was the problem; it was his rebellion.

“I would soon discover that no matter where I would ever go in this life, there would always be authority, with God being the supreme,” he said.

Lee said that, much like in war, there are two sides to life and no room for compromise.

“If you are not for God,” Lee warned, “you are against Him. There is no middle ground.”

Lee said that to stop him from running, God had to take away his legs. During a routine mine sweep on March 8, 1971, Lee stepped on a 60-pound mine, triggering an explosive with enough power to destroy a Jeep. But he survived.

“God had a plan for my life,” he said. “There are no accidents with God.”

After months in a hospital and surgery-after-surgery, Lee began a life of service to the Lord, pastoring a church before going on to become a full-time evangelist. And he said he could not be happier with his life, even with his present circumstance.

“Today I am in a wheelchair. But today I am in the will of God and that makes all the difference in the world,” Lee said.

Before delivering the Gospel message, Lee challenged the students to make sure that wherever they are in life, they are submitting to God’s authority.

“I plead with you,” he said, “don’t leave this building today until you make things right with God.”

Lee received a standing ovation from the crowd. He stayed afterward to interact with students and greet those who came to the Lord that morning.

The university will honor more veterans like Lee, as well as service members and military spouses, during Military Emphasis Week, which kicks off Saturday and runs through Nov. 12. Events include a memorial trail run, a veterans’ appreciation reception, a special military Convocation, and a patriotic football halftime show. Visit Liberty.edu/MEW for the full schedule.

During Friday’s Convocation, President Falwell also took time to preview the World War II film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson and opening in theaters this weekend. (Gibson spoke to Liberty’s graduates during Commencement in May.) Falwell showed a trailer for the film and a personal message to Liberty students from Gibson. “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the true story of Lynchburg native Desmond T. Doss, who served in World War II without ever carrying or using a weapon due to his religious convictions. Doss saved 75 men in Okinawa during one of the bloodiest battles of the war and was wounded in the process. Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.

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