[Dang Yang] The First Eight Weeks

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It has officially been eight weeks since Matthew left for military training. Longest eight weeks of my life. But praise the Lord, who uses all things to his glory and our benefit. While it has not been easy God has been growing us both in our dependence on Him as well as really testing Matthew in his faith!

Many of you have been asking about how Matthew is doing, what he’s been doing, and how you can pray for him. So here I am, the trusty girlfriend with an update probably more detailed than you’re expecting. But I can’t help it – I’m just get real excited about all the stuff he’s being doing! So I hope this give y’all a bit of insight into the life of Second Lieutenant Matthew Yang.

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The training Matthew is currently at is called iBOLC – Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course. It’s about a 17 week course where future officers learn all the ins and outs of how to be a quality leader! There are about 150 people in his company (or his class), which is broken up into 3 platoons, which is broken up into 4 squads. He spends most of the time with his squad consisting of about 10 other officers. The structure is pretty similar to a typical school schedule – day starting around 5:30AM for physical training (PT) and ending around 4 or 5PM. Depending on the week, the day either consists of classroom time learning or on the field training. Sometimes the on-field training can be up to 4 days where he is continuously out there with no contact. Evenings and weekends he has to himself so he can spend it freely! Usually since the day is pretty packed and intense, he rests earlier in the night or studies for tests/evaluations that he has coming up.

Physical training in the morning is more intense than my hardest workout days. It switches up every day but every other week, they have to do a ruck which increases by 2 miles each time. A ruck is a run-walk at a 15 minute/mile pace while carrying anywhere from 50-80 pounds on your back. So far he’s done 4 miles and 6 miles (doing very well at both) and will eventually work up to 16 miles by the end of the course.

This is all the stuff that each soldier gets assigned and he carries the majority of it on his back the days he’s out on the field. Intense huh?

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Field training has been pretty stinkin’ awesome though. I mean it’s definitely intense and difficult physically, but Matthew has gotten to do some crazy cool stuff that I’ve only ever seen in the movies!

He’s always shooting different kinds of cool guns.

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Everyone gets to blow stuff up together.

 

And Matthew even got to use a ROCKET LAUNCHER.

So sweet.

Anywhoooo!

One huge answered prayer is that Matthew got plugged into a church super quickly. And get this. His church out in Georgia is called Berean Covenant Church, aka BCC. God sure is funny sometimes….Berean is very focused on importance of the Word and sharing that Word with those who have not yet heard it. Unlike the Berean here in California though, it is a smaller church (around 50-70 people) and is predominantly an older, Caucasian crowd. So Matthew brings a whole lot of diversity to the mix!  They have welcomed Matthew with open arms and in great Matthew-like fashion, he has also immediately integrated himself with Berean. It’s been a huge source of encouragement and avenue of growth for him during this very trying season.

Overall, it has been quite the journey the past several weeks and it is only going to get more intense and grueling as the weeks continue – both physically and spiritually. As God puts us through challenging circumstances, he refines and purifies us, which is exactly what God is doing with Matthew as well as our relationship. Praise the Lord for his good and sovereign plans to make us into his image and to use us for his kingdom work!!

 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) How often do you and Matthew get to talk?

 It’s not as terrible as most people think it is. We get to talk pretty much every day, unless he’s out on the field for multiple days at a time. Usually just on the phone but a lot of the times when we webcam, we’ll watch our fav TV shows together and stuff. Nothing beats being together in the same place though so we’re still adjusting to making long distance work! 

2) How much longer is Matthew’s training?

 IBOLC will go until the later half of August and then afterwards, he’ll have a short break until he’s off again for Ranger School. That’ll be about 2-3 months of no contact training until he finishes and then goes off to additional specialty training! Then he finally makes his way over to Fort Drum, New York. 

3) Can he communicate with other people? When is a good time for me to talk to him?

 YES! Like I said, he has his evenings and weekends free so he can talk to people anytime then. Even though he’s all the way across the country, I know it always means a lot to him to hear from people back home. So definitely give him a call, shoot him and email, send him a text! It’s a 3 hour time difference so when he finishes training over there, it’s about 1 or 2PM in California and he usually sleeps by about 6 or 7PM in California (which is about 9 or 10PM over there). 

4) When are you planning to get married and how is he going to propose if he’s all the way over there?!

Beats me. 

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PRAYER REQUESTS

  • For Matthew’s continued spiritual growth and strength. It’s been hard, especially as the weeks get harder and more tiring for him to be on top of spiritual disciplines and maintaining a cross-centered focus. Pray that he would continue to put Christ first in all things and rely on the strength of the Lord to get through each day.
  • For Matthew’s physical strength. Needless to say, military training is no walk in the park. It’s not even a sprint through the park. And this section training is only the beginning of a long road ahead of him. Please pray that God would sustain him physically – especially as some minor concerns are surfacing that we don’t want to turn into bigger concerns – so that he can perform excellently. Not for his own sake, but so that he can show his officers all the more who his God is.
  • For more opportunities to Matthew’s main purpose in joining the military in the first place is to share the Gospel with his fellow soldiers and he really sees the army as his mission’s field. He’s already taken a lot of opportunities to share, be intentional, and bring fellow officers out to church with him. There’s a lot of people he’s already praying for but pray that God would continue to give him boldness in his faith and an even greater desire to proclaim the good news!
  • For him to fit in better with the other guys in his squad/platoon/company. It’s not always easy, especially since a lot of the things the other guys talk about are not exactly uh…appropriate conversation. As a Christian, he sticks out a bit in a way that makes it harder to build relationships with them in order to share the Gospel. “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23
  • For long distance not to be so gosh darn awful. Just kidding! But also kinda serious haha please pray that Christ would continue to reign supreme in our relationship. Any one who has been through it knows that everything is more difficult with long distance so pray that we would be all the more patient, all the more considerate, and all the more reliant on the Lord in order that He would shine clearly through us.

 

Matthew and I thank you for tuning in and for your prayers 🙂

Over and Out,

Juang

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