Announcer: Today, on Family Talk:
Dr. Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to the James Dobson Family Institute. If you have been following our work since my first book for families 49 years ago, you know that it's been a pleasure of mine to introduce our audiences to people who are committed to the cause of Christ in one way or the other, and today is going to be no exception. I want you to meet, and you probably already know or have heard from him because he's been here on this program before, but he's here with his wife. I'm speaking of Victor and Eileen Marx, who are two of the most courageous, dedicated, compassionate people I know.
They're humanitarians and they go into dangerous places, including North Africa and Southeast Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, all the places that are troubled around the world and they put their lives in danger in hundreds of settings year after year for the purpose of reaching out, primarily to troubled children. Those who have been abused, those who have gone through terrible war time circumstances. They're the founders of a nonprofit organization called All Things Possible and it is such a pleasure to have them here with us today. Victor and Eileen, welcome back ...
Victor Marx: Thank you Doc.
Dr. Dobson: ... to Family Talk.
Victor Marx: It's so great to be here again.
Dr. Dobson: You've been on the road, haven't you?
Victor Marx: We have. It's almost like an itinerant evangelist capacity of the different opportunities, and probably the biggest events we've done this year, trips, was back to Iraq and Syria. My wife and I led our team into Syria proper, all the way to an ISIS confinement camp that has ...
Dr. Dobson: ISIS?
Victor Marx: Yes. So, when ISIS lost ...
Dr. Dobson: Why don't you face death in situations like that? They don't like Americans.
Victor Marx: No, they don't. Maybe it's because I don't feel like I'm some super saint or some bright light because we go to places so dark, all you have to be as a spark. Maybe that's all I am, just a little bitty spark, but it draws so much attention. It's almost like, Chesty Puller, Marine, said, somebody goes, "We're surrounded by our enemy." He goes, "Well, they've just made it easier." Right? We're so grateful God gave us an opportunity to go into an ISIS camp. It's a confinement camp. So, when ISIS lost their territory, the men either were imprisoned, killed or fled, but the women and the children had to go somewhere because they can't hide.
So, 70,000 of them were put in a prison camp out in the open in Syria and we were able to make it there. It's not only the number, but what's more staggering is they represented 50 different countries from around the world.
Dr. Dobson: And your purpose in going in there is what?
Victor Marx: We were able to present hope and healing for the trauma many have faced, but we brought our Lion and Lambs for the kids. Our simple ...
Dr. Dobson: We want to talk about that.
Victor Marx: Our simple little tools that have prayers, it presents the truth and really it's a way to connect people to the gospel who might not ever have a chance.
Dr. Dobson: Eileen, this is not just to help children who are hurting and in great trouble. You want to introduce them to Christ.
Eileen Marx: Absolutely.
Dr. Dobson: This is really a missionary venture, isn't it?
Eileen Marx: Yes, it is. This is an opportunity for us to be God's hands and feet towards people who are really in such darkness.
Dr. Dobson: You're the mother of five children?
Eileen Marx: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: Most women who have children have one major desire, which is security.
Eileen Marx: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: You know that?
Eileen Marx: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: Why do you, as a mother of five, go into situations where there's death and destruction everywhere?
Eileen Marx: I think it's because God gives me a heart for these people. I don't count my life more valuable than their life, and because we do go reach the children, that's the heart of God. He is having me trust him.
Dr. Dobson: What condition do you find these children in? Will it break your heart?
Eileen Marx: Oh my goodness. The first time I went in, I was not prepared to see what I saw. The thousands of children. The first time we went in was the ISIS camps. So these people were fleeing from their homes, ended up in camps. They have nothing. They have dirt to play with, the children. As a mother, of course, my heart broke for them and I think that's God's heart. He loves them.
Dr. Dobson: Are they orphans, most of them?
Eileen Marx: Most of them are, and in the middle Eastern countries, if the father's killed, they're automatically considered orphans, even if the mother's still living. So yes, most of them aren't ...
Dr. Dobson: I don't understand that. They take the children away from their mothers?
Eileen Marx: No, because the father is the one who provides for the family. If the fathers are killed, they're considered orphans, even though their mother's still living.
Victor Marx: So the widow oftentimes can't provide. They want kids to stay with the moms, but sometimes they can't. So they just consider them widows and orphans in the middle East.
Dr. Dobson: All right. You arrive on the scene at one of these camps. What do you do? You can't feed them all. You can't rescue them all, what do you do?
Victor Marx: Well, the first thing we really try to do is to provide relief for the anxiety and panic they often feel from being traumatized from war, either as the victim of ISIS, or in this latest a trip into the actual children of ISIS. Some of them have been injured, shot. We'll provide surgeries, we take cases on. We also reach with our Lion and Lamb, with dignity kits for young women. We provide resources that they don't have. Even my story, my testimony in comic book form in Arabic for children to read, which leads them to our website or social media. We have an Arabic social media platforms where we reach, I think on average, a little over a million people a week just in the Muslim countries.
Dr. Dobson: You're kidding me.
Victor Marx: No sir.
Dr. Dobson: And the resources come from contributions?
Victor Marx: Only contributions. We haven't taken anything from the US government. It's just individual resources. We're a small group with a big impact globally and we like it that way. We're almost like a special forces operation.
Dr. Dobson: Now, let me take you back to your childhood, Victor, because you've been through a lot of trauma yourself. What was your childhood like?
Victor Marx: My father ...
Dr. Dobson: What sets the stage for what you're doing now?
Victor Marx: Well, thanks for asking that because many people don't ask why we do it. They understand we do it out of heart of Christ and wanting to do, but what really was of an impotence for me is I was one of those kids that suffered. My father didn't claim me as his own. My mother would end up marrying six times. I went to 14 schools, lived in 17 houses, but I suffered as a kid, sexual, physical abuse, of course, emotional. But I was tortured as a kid and I was left for dead.
Dr. Dobson: How?
Victor Marx: Well ...
Dr. Dobson: That's still very tender for you after all these years. Isn't it?
Victor Marx: It is. I think the reason is because I feel what children feel. I know kids who've suffered tremendously. My stepfather, he tied me down on some pallets when I was a kid, in a barn, he poured water into my chest. I had a concave chest as a kid, and he pulled out a cattle prod. He stuck the tip of it in the water and he shocked me. As a kid, when you get shocked, your body will arch and tense up. When they release it, what actually happens is you don't take a breath in first. Air that's been trapped in your lungs comes out and then you take a breath in. My stepfather was so driven by evil. He would electrocute me, release it when air would come out, and then I'd take a breath. He'd leaned down and say, "Boy, you know what that sound is? It's the sound of hope leaving your body."
Dr. Dobson: Was he an alcoholic?
Victor Marx: He was an alcoholic. He had a horrific background that led him to do very perverted things, but he had been trained in certain torture techniques. He served in the military at the end of the Korean war and he brought that stuff into our home and specifically on me and some of my siblings.
Dr. Dobson: How'd you should survive that, Victor?
Victor Marx: Well, I would say through breaking. I dissociated as a kid, which is a coping mechanism where your brain will separate in order to survive, but it came back to really cause great struggles for me as a young adult, and even into my adulthood, where I had to find, what I call a soul surgeon, a trained psychologist who took time to help reintegrate my mind. I had 123 visits in a nine month period and that's after I'd been on multiple drugs. As a kid, I got in trouble, but this really started coming out as an adult. But the one thing I learned is I would never give up. I learned that as a kid. I would not give up. I think God is the master architect at redeeming what the evil one has meant for bad.
Dr. Dobson: How did you find Him?
Victor Marx: Yeah. Literally I was in the Marine Corps, and six months before I got out of the Marines, my biological dad wrote me a letter, and this is a guy who didn't claim me. We knew for certain, he had been in a mental hospital, in the same mental hospital my grandfather died in. As a biological dad not staying in contact with me, I hated him because my stepfather beat on me. Where was my dad? And, he writes me and he apologizes for not being a dad. I'm in the Marines now, and he ends up saying, "I'm sorry and would you come visit me?" I took a leave of absence, went to visit him, he brought me to a church and I heard the gospel in a way that affected me for the first time.
That was June 22nd, 1986. My biological dad had become born again and then he stepped into my life as a young man.
Dr. Dobson: How old were you?
Victor Marx: 20 years old when we reconnected. I got born again.
Dr. Dobson: Were you married by then?
Victor Marx: Not yet. And thank God I wasn't because I was able to get saved. The Lord starts to sanctify, rework me just in time to bring my bride to me, and my dad was my best man in our wedding.
Dr. Dobson: You're kidding.
Victor Marx: No.
Dr. Dobson: Eileen, how'd you meet this man?
Eileen Marx: I met Victor through a girlfriend who invited me to church, so I was not a believer and she introduced me to this young man fresh out of the Marines.
Dr. Dobson: Didn't something deep inside you say that's trouble?
Victor Marx: Yes.
Eileen Marx: Yes. Did I know how much trouble?
Victor Marx: It took over a year for her to realize I was her knight in shining armor.
Eileen Marx: Yeah. It's been a ride of my life.
Dr. Dobson: How many years?
Eileen Marx: 31 years.
Dr. Dobson: How did you find the Lord?
Eileen Marx: Well, I was invited to the church that Victor was attending and I was raised Catholic. With eight kids in my family, it was something we did just as a religious thing. Every so often, we'd go to church. So I was not raised with-
Dr. Dobson: You'd never really had an encounter with Christ.
Eileen Marx: I never did. So, going to this church where the word of God was spoken, it took me four months of sitting in and listening to Bible studies to hear that Jesus loved me and then he died for me. It was four months after-
Dr. Dobson: Did you have a sense of low self-worth also? Did you go through some of the same things?
Eileen Marx: No. I think I had just a void. I did not have peace. I was driven to achieve and conquer and that's how I thought that's where my value was, but it was really when Jesus became so personal to me that I could not reject him anymore, and I didn't even know I was rejecting him.
Dr. Dobson: People who are listening to us now who are perhaps driving down a road in the freeway and have no peace in their lives, have no idea who this person, Jesus Christ is. What a shame that they don't know the peace that He gives.
Eileen Marx: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: It's unspeakable. It's indescribable.
Eileen Marx: It is.
Victor Marx: When she heard that Christ would be her Prince of Peace, that's really one of the things that hooked her. Even though I was born again six months ahead of her, her faith and her growth has inspired me. Just what you said, well, why would this woman want to go to Iraq or Syria? Get a safe house there, live there for a time. And she said, "You know, honey, girls that you're going to help you can't hug, but I can, and they'll need hugging." And I'm like, "Gosh honey, but ..." She goes, "Well, what's the worst that can happen? We die?" I'm like, "Yes." Then she goes, "Well, then we win." And that's really her faith.
I remember before we went, the first time, you actually prayed for us. We were here visiting and we told you what we were going to do. We've been friends for a while and you took the time to pray for us. The most incredible, I actually recorded it, because I want to listen to it. I'll never forget you said, "What a privilege to be persecuted or to die for our faith for Christ, if it comes to that." That actually strengthened and comforted us. I don't know if I ever said thank you for that-
Dr. Dobson: How many years ago was that?
Victor Marx: That had to be ...
Eileen Marx: Five.
Victor Marx: Five, yeah. Because that was before the first time we ever went in and we held onto that prayer because it meant that much to us.
Dr. Dobson: That really touches me because I know what you are heading into. I know what it has meant to you. You've had PTSD, haven't you?
Victor Marx: I have. Yep. I had it from childhood events and then worked through that, and then subsequent traumas of ISIS shooting at you or trying to kill us or my family and I in Iraq having to hide for three days because they were targeting us because of our work.
Dr. Dobson: Have you seen a lot of death?
Victor Marx: I have, and suffering.
Dr. Dobson: Combat situations?
Victor Marx: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: How long were you in the Marines?
Victor Marx: I served the Marines for a three year stint under president Reagan, but actually didn't see combat during that time. It was during our time as high risk humanitarians missionary work that I saw really intense fighting and battles that put me and our team and colleagues there trying to help women and children, escape from ISIS or be set free. We've lost people close to us in fighting and that's hard.
Dr. Dobson: I said in my introduction that I don't know anybody like you. I really mean that. I've never seen anybody who has done what you've done and have done it with such passion and disregard for your own lives and commitment to others in the cause of Christ. I want to read just a little bit of your bio, Victor. "Former US Marines as a weapons' instructor and an expert in competitive shooting, trained many groups of individuals including law enforcement, CIA, Navy Seals, Marine Recon Rangers and special military personnel from the Army, Delta Force. Worked with NFL players as a seventh degree black belt, was awarded the Black Belt instructor of the Year twice. Awarded for his act of bravery from the Honolulu Police Department and the city council. (There are stories behind mind every one of these,) which is the highest honor given to civilians." Victor, what drives you? You're an unusual person. Where does that come from?
Victor Marx: I'd say low IQ and I'm too afraid to stop.
Dr. Dobson: It's not low IQ, I'll tell you that.
Victor Marx: What I survived as a kid, turned me into a warrior that wanted to do right, that wanted to help those in great need. God's been faithful to bring incredible men and women into my life all through my journey to help me. I've just finished speaking at three military bases here in the US. I speak multiple days helping them learn resiliency and leadership and ...
Dr. Dobson: As a civilian.
Victor Marx: As a civilian. They bring me in and it's quite the honor. But one of the things I tell them is, it's like C. S. Lewis talks about, the hardest things in life God will change and use to help an ordinary person do extraordinary things. I'm just an ordinary person. I wasn't great in athletics, I wasn't an academic person, but I did learn never to give up and felt like God gave me a privilege to know him and then participate with him in fighting forces of darkness. Sometimes those forces of darkness are manifested through people like ISIS, or I think of one case in Cambodia, a young woman named Nora, a young girl who's an orphan, got attacked by a guy.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah, I read about her. Tell that story.
Victor Marx: This sweet little orphan girl was attacked brutally by a wealthy businessman in Cambodia and he tried to kill her. He did horrible things to her, including pouring battery acid in her face and on her eyes, stabbing her, raping her, and then tried to cut her head off. Her hands protected her head. He cut off one of her hands, and then halfway through the other, left of her dead. So, our team, because we have a safe house in Cambodia, found out about it, went and literally had to rescue her out of a clinic in the village where she would've died, brought her to Phnom Penh, put her in a hospital and we provided three lifesaving surgeries.
I wired $40,000 down there. I said, "Get her surgeries, save her life." This guy found out she was still alive, sent three guys to kill her. The way they gave themselves - we realized it was, when they tried to get in the hospital, we had moved her to a higher floor and put armed security on her, right? Because our team lead there, Harley said, "Victor, my Spidey senses are going off, something's wrong." So we moved her to high level, put security on her.
Those three guys came and said, "Her dad has sent us to check on her." She's an orphan. We knew instantly they were there to kill her. So we protected her from that. Then, by the goodness of God, brought her to our safe house, tended to her emotional health. She's a Buddhist. Never tried to force our perspective or faith on her. But she lived there for a couple of months, we did surgeries, and after a few months, guess what? She accepted Christ.
She saw the love of God and then we flew her here, and a good friend of ours, Mark Geist, who was actually one of the key people in the movie, 13 Hours, the Benghazi situation, Mark found out about her and he said, "Hey man, I've got some friends in Massachusetts that run a clinic and they want to provide prosthetics for her hand."
Dr. Dobson: Really?
Victor Marx: And we were able to get two hands for her. She's got a regular hand and a little clipper and a little hook hand. I said, "Can y'all put a flame thrower in there in case this bad guy comes up again so she can toast him?" But this sweet Nora came to the US, stayed here a month, actually spoke at universities talking about her trauma with this horrible brutal attack and then also God's faithfulness. She's back in Cambodia. People can see her story on our website. We've put a little film on there and then tracked with how God is using her in our ministry now, and this is all within the last six months, but her passion and her faith, you see it in her eyes, you hear it in her tone, and the joy.
She says that when she was being attacked, this light, she spoke of ... she was blinded because of the battery acid. She said she saw a light and followed the light, and she felt a hand pick her up off the ground. She said, "God, if you're real, just please help me." And she speaks about this. Nobody can take this story away from her. It led her to a place where she was able to get help. This protection we speak of is that God kept her alive. What the enemy meant for the worst, to kill her, God kept her alive and now He has redeemed it. You know what? She says this Doc, she goes, "My life was horrible before all this. And then when it happened, my life got better because now I know the Lord."
Dr. Dobson: No kidding. Eileen, these stories that you all have lived out have been deeply meaningful for you personally, haven't they?
Eileen Marx: Yes. Yes, they have.
Dr. Dobson: Describe how.
Eileen Marx: These people, these children, all of them are innocent. They're innocent victims of either war or abuse, and they don't have a voice. They don't have a means to protect themselves. I look at them like my own children. It's very moving and if the Lord were here, he would go after these children too. He would protect them. He's just called us to do this. We're just two people here that will say, "We'll go Lord." And we know that when our time is up, our time is up, so we don't have to worry what happens.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Eileen and Victor Marx, it's such a pleasure to have you here and we've just started. You're doing so much in many parts of the world. You have three major projects you're working on, I want to hear about those. Let's just keep going and we'll let people hear tomorrow what we're about to say. Is that okay?
Victor Marx: Sounds great.
Eileen Marx: That sounds great.
Dr. Dobson: God bless you all, and I ask our listeners to be in prayer for this very valuable work.
Roger Marsh: I'm Roger Marsh and this has been an incredibly heart-wrenching topic discussed today on Family Talk. So many families around the world are broken and hurting because of war, famine or natural disasters. Thank God for the bravery and faithfulness of people like Victor and Eileen Marx. Their testimony and ministry was so inspiring to listen to today. You can learn more about their missionary and humanitarian work when you visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. There you'll also see what you can do to support their cause, specifically their Lion and Lamb campaign.
That's drjamesdobson.org and then go to the broadcast page. Thanks for listening to the first part of Dr. Dobson's meaningful discussion with Victor and Eileen Marx. Be sure to join us again next time to hear the remainder of this interview on tomorrow's edition of Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
Dr. Dobson: This is James Dobson again. As we close today's program, I just want to thank so many of you out there who make this broadcast possible with your contributions, and I want to tell you how much your generosity is appreciated.
Dr. Dobson: Parents want to offer their children every advantage, but a few disadvantages may not hurt either.
Roger Marsh: Here's Dr. James Dobson for Family Talk:
Dr. Dobson: Personal defeat, feelings of inferiority or handicaps of one kind or another can either paralyze a person or drive them towards success and achievement. In fact, one famous study reviewed the home backgrounds of 400 highly successful people, people whose names you would recognize. Surprisingly, three quarters of them came from troubled, dysfunctional families and fully 25% had physical handicaps. Not everyone who goes through difficulty will react this positively, of course, but what set these individuals apart was their ability to compensate. Refusing to drown in a sea of inferiority, they said to themselves, "I can achieve adequacy through success if I work at it."
Apparently, the stresses they experienced gave them the motivation to rise above the limitations and hardships that they had experienced. Since we can't insulate our kids from adversity, the least we can do as parents is help them make the most of it. We can motivate and equip them to compensate by creating opportunities for them to seek out and develop their strengths. And the time to do that is during those middle years of childhood before the storms of adolescence set in.
Roger Marsh: To hear more, visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org.