Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Brian Oliveira

Raynham, Massachusetts

October 25, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Marine Cpl

3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Pendleton, California

Died from injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. 

Brian Oliveira (on the left) with an ING

Abe's Essay
In October, 2005, Abe's mom, Maria, found this essay that Abe had written three years ago. She says, "I was so blessed by this essay of Abe's back in the beginning of his senior year. It was such an answer to so many years of long, hard prayers, but finally, this turning point came for Abe, and it changed his life for ever, even in eternity where he is now. I hope you find it as valuable as I did."

Ring…Ring…Ring…I rush into the kitchen from my room upstairs and breathlessly answer, “Hello…No, sorry, wrong number.” Why couldn’t the call have been from the church? I’ve been waiting, watching the seconds go by like days, and the days are like lifetimes. Jeff said that he’d have the team picked in two weeks at the most, and it’s been a week and five days. This anticipation is killing me.

Jeff Kerns has been a missionary in countries around the world and is in charge of a two-week trip in November to San Jose Del Cabo. I hope that I will be part of the team of about twenty youth and adults from my church that will be going with him. I was a member of the previous team that took part in the missionary work down there in August. That trip was and still is working out to be a major stepping-stone in my life, but my journey down this path did not begin there.

It was two days before the trip and I had still not given the permission slip to my mom. I felt confident that I had worked my way out of going. However, that motherly instinct always kept her two steps ahead of me. Somehow, she had heard of the trip to L.A. and had signed me up for it without my knowledge. I argued and protested with all I had but still she stood unwavering in her decision. My attempts at faking sickness and my arguments of reason continued even as our car pulled up to the school with my packed bags. I loaded those bags onto the bus with reluctance and quietly found a seat in the back of the bus while trying to hide the fact that I was simply doing what my mom was forcing on me. The others in the bus were happy about where they were. Why would they sacrifice three days of freedom from school in order to go down to L.A. with your teachers and talk to strangers? At least I wasn’t like that. I was here only because I had to be and nothing good would come of it. Or would it?

I do not know when it happened, but there was a definite change in me from when I left on that bus to L.A. to when I came back home on that bus. Maybe it was helping prepare sandwiches in a rescue mission or maybe it was encouraging a man to continue to stay away from alcohol and drugs so that his wife would let him talk to his kids again and they could be a family. Maybe it was giving hope and peace to those that had none. But, maybe it was that God touched my life through all of those things. I saw the kids that started out wanting to go to L.A. to do awesome things and I came home wanting to be more like them. So when my mom asked me if I wanted to go on a similar trip to Mexico, I did not argue and I did not pretend to be sick. I just said, “Sure.”

The trip to Mexico was very different from the trip to L.A., but still it had the same goals and purpose. I am a person that fits into many different circles, but I never fit into those circles quickly. In Mexico however, I was involved in friendly conversations by dinnertime and singing songs on the beach the first night. In ten days, my new friends on the team were closer friends than those that I have known throughout high school. Even a language barrier did not hinder friendly relationships. Many people that we met and talked with in Mexico stayed with us all the way. There was laughing and hugging and holding back tears all the way up to security at the airport. Two girls that changed their lives and became Christians on their second day in Mexico were with us from studying the Bible in the early morning until we sang songs on the beach at late night every day of our trip.

Now I know what John means in the Bible when he says that there is not enough space in all the earth for a written record of the things that Jesus has done. He is still doing things even now. I was able to see his work in Mexico. I could see skills develop in me in front of my eyes. Even I was doing things that I could not have done by my own ability. People were stepping up to jobs that they were not prepared for and doing a good job of it. In L.A. I saw the work of the Lord through others and in San Jose Del Cabo, I saw the Lord through me.

God created a heart for missionary work in me and I do not have to wait for the ringing of a telephone to tell me when God is going to use me again. God can use me in day-to-day life and he can use you, too. 

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