Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. (Psalm 144:1-2)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)
We recognize the call to service that our military answers and want you to know that we are thankful for you and your service. We sincerely want you to know that our family can be a safe haven for you and yours while you are home or away. We know you have a job to do and we know you are doing it because you love your country and you love us. We love you too and would like to help. There are a number of things we can do, but here is a short list.
First and foremost, you will be VERY high on our prayer list, both thanking God for your service and sacrifice, as well as begging God for divine protection of your person and your family. We will pray regularly for God to strengthen your marriage, your parent-child relationships, and more. We view prayer as one of the most powerful things we can do for our members, especially those in military service.
Look, we know that military service typically involves being away from your extended family for years at a time. Spouses and children typically don't get to see grandparents, in-laws, cousins, and others as often as they would like. These relationships are important for the family to feel that they are part of a bigger whole. While you are here among us, you should know that there are a lot of us that miss our families too. We have among us many grandparents, great-grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, cousins, in-laws, and more, who just LOVE to love on family, but can't for a variety of reasons. While we certainly can't replace your own biological family, we think we can offer some of the same benefits of being a surrogate extended family, even if only while you are here with us. That's okay because we know that the relationships you form with us while you are here will last a lifetime.
Military families face challenges that non-military families usually don't face, and typically can't understand. Most don't know what it is like to have a family member in harm's way on a regular basis, to not know where someone is, or to not know when he or she will be home again. Most don't understand the feelings of terror and panic that spouses feel every time someone in a military dress uniform comes to visit unannounced. Most are unaccustomed to the hurt that spouses feel when torn away, yet again, from friends and coworkers, just because your military husband or wife has a skill set that is needed elsewhere. Most don't understand why a military spouse has trouble getting a career off the ground because of these frequent relocations. We get it, because many of us have been there. We have veterans and families of veterans among us and we really do understand. We might not be able to "fix" anything, but you certainly don't have to go through it alone. We're here with you.
When the service member must head out on very short notice, there are often loose ends that must be dealt with. Schedules get tossed into chaos, plans to do things around the house get interrupted, and the list goes on and on. We'll help where we can. Remember, we are a family here. When one of us hurts or struggles, we all hurt and struggle. When one of us comes home, we all rejoice. That's what family does. While you are gone, we know you can't really be everything a parent needs to be to their kids. That's okay. Some of us don't get to be near our children as much as we would like either, and we miss them terribly. We would just LOVE to be able to play the "cool uncle" or "sweet aunt" to your kids. Know this... When it comes to making sure your family does not feel totally alone while you are gone, we've got your back. That's our job and we rejoice in it.
For the service member who is deployed, or has to miss church to answer the calls of duty, we can do much to keep you "in the loop." The sermons are posted each week here in this website, as are the church announcements, weekly bulletins, Pastor's blog, and more. There are quite a few resources for you to draw from in the form of downloads and links, online study guides, and more, which you can use and share while you are gone. Most of our members are active in social networks, email, and more (links at bottom of all pages on our website), so you should be able to keep up with the goings on here at home while you are away. Oh, and for the record, most of us did learn to address an envelope and write a letter when we were in school, so we can do that (and help kids to do so also) if you are in a place without Internet access.
For the service members who cannot attend regular discipleship activities (study groups and such) due to military obligations, we have had quite a bit of success using technology to augment these efforts. For the service members (especially the deployed ones) that had access to Skype, Google Talk, Google Hangouts, or other such technology-mediated communication environments, we have been able to conduct online discipleship activities geared toward helping them prioritize their commitments to their families in spite of the constant conflicts that their military obligations bring to family life.
May God bless you and keep you! If there is any other way we can be of service to you, we encourage you to contact someone in the church office. We'll get the right person to contact you back and see what we can do to help.