Stand with us in our new ministry towards the families whose fathers are serving overseas.
Today I slipped quietly into the darkened office and began reading through the letters we have received from the wives of the soldiers now serving in harm’s way around the world. In our last NGJ magazine, I asked the wives who have husbands now serving overseas to write to me, because we wanted to find ways to minister to them. It was just a project I felt would be helpful—until this morning. Now, it is a heart-rending mission. As I began to read the letters, tears filled my eyes and stained the letters until I could no longer see to read. Young mamas struggling to raise up sons without a daddy—many young wives becoming mamas for the first time—alone—because their men were shipped out to serve their country—a young mama with 11-month-old twins, a 22-month-old, and a baby due, with NO family to help her.
Now, as I glance down, my eye catches this note:“My name is Rosemary, and my husband is an Apache helicopter pilot. Please pray for him that the Lord would ease his heart. He misses his children terribly.”
The next letter says, “My husband is not a Christian, but he is going through different Bible studies and things I have sent him, and he says he is enjoying them. He has more time to reflect there.”
Another mother writes, “I am currently reading Created to Be His Help Meet. As a military wife, it has not been easy to be submissive. After all, I have to be strong while he is away. I have taken advantage of his being a Mr. Steady. I cannot tell you how many times I have nagged and whined about his job. I know now that it is God who will direct him—not me! Anyway, thank you for the book. It probably didn’t save our marriage, because my Mr. Steady would never have left. But now, thanks to you and the Word of God, we can have a heavenly marriage and my children will see a good example of marriage and want it for themselves.”
This letter was next in my pile of letters. As I read it, I was excited at the thought of how many men we could be reaching with the gospel by sending to this man CD materials to share with others. “My husband was sent to Afghanistan February, 2004 with his entire battalion. My brother is also there. We hope they are home by July, 2005. My husband has been able to have Bible studies with the men he serves with. Since there is one chaplain for the entire battalion, the chaplain recruited some men to serve as assistants. My husband is honored to be one of those men. We have been very blessed by our church family, Maranatha Baptist, here in Iowa.”
A grateful wife tells how servicemen in harm’s way are open to the gospel. “My husband is in Iraq, where he recently gave his heart to the Lord. He had been a Mormon. I wanted to thank you for remembering us, especially for remembering the wives and families who are here waiting for our men to come home. Pray for Douglas.”
This one is sad, <i>“I’m 22, another young mother who has a lot to learn. Thank you for Created to Be His Help Meet. I am in a mess. Just 3 months after my husband left for Iraq, he wrote me and said he wanted a divorce. I have been like “Jezebel,” whom you wrote about, totally controlling. Now I know my role as a help meet, and I want to do right and have a heavenly marriage, but I fear it is too late. I don’t want the Devil to win. I hate myself for what I have done. By the grace of God I want to win my husband back. Please pray for us.”</i>
So may letters read like this one: “My husband came home from Iraq, and it has been a nightmare. I read your section in the NGJ about different kinds of men and have read everything about marriage I could find on your web site. I wanted to order your Help Meet book, but with military pay and 5 kids, we barely scrape by. I know if our marriage is going to survive, something new has to be added to the mix. Would you send me a free damaged copy of your book? I have nowhere else to turn.”
The next letter reveals the value of being prepared. <i>“My husband came home from Iraq just one week after I had read your Created book. He was so different, full of anger, explosive, mean, demanding, and even got drunk several times. The bedroom thing was bad. I had heard it might be, so I was ready. I submitted, loved, forgave, served, and maintained joy. After about 10 days, he just broke down and cried, asking me to forgive him. He tells everyone I am his “priceless princess” for loving and supporting him when he was at his lowest point and his meanest. I believe that today we would be going through divorce and my children would be fatherless if I had not read the Help Meet book, because everything I previously believed a woman should be was wrong. When I lie down at night, in my mind I can see the words at the bottom of your book that say, Discover how God can make your marriage glorious, and I know I have made that discovery. How I wish other military wives in the same situations could have the same opportunity I had. Thank you for being the older woman teaching this young woman how to be the help meet I was created to be.”</i>
As I sat here at the computer, reading these letters and writing this article, I couldn’t help remembering and sharing what happened 40 years ago when another group of young men were heading off to the battlefront. My parents opened their hearts and their home to the young men from the local military base. For years, they cooked Sunday dinner for 30-40 military men. At the time, it never occurred to me the cost of the huge Sunday roast or the labor that went into making the giant bowls of banana pudding. I took for granted the extra work they did and laughed about my dad washing dishes on Sunday, only because he wanted the service men to eat on real plates. My daddy was not much of a speaker, but he was great at setting up a Sunday afternoon meeting for someone else to share the gospel. My Mike was a young preacher back then, and he loved to preach Christ to the guys. Many of your fathers and some of your grandfathers heard the gospel for the first time while eating Sunday dinner at the Smiths’ house in Millington, Tennessee back in the ’60s and ’70s. There is a whole generation who knows the Lord because of the work done in that small town by two ordinary people who were willing to give what they had so young servicemen might know Christ. When my dad was in World War II, someone did the same for him, and because of that I am here knowing and loving Jesus Christ.
Now it can be your time to help. A year ago, we asked you to send Bibles for the prisoners. The response was more than we could ever have believed. We received cases of brand-new, fine leather Bibles, as well as old, well-marked ones from fathers now passed on. Then, there were pink, blue, white, brown, and green Bibles, tiny ones and huge ones, Bibles with covers or zippers, and Bibles are still coming in the mail. It has been a chore just getting all the Bibles to prisoners. Some of the Bibles you sent are now in a huge cargo box en route to prisoners in Bangkok, Thailand, and many boxes of the colorful Bibles are in a cargo box on their way to Papua New Guinea. Both sets of missionaries send their heartfelt thanks. Prisoners all over the U.S. still write to say, <i>“. . .thank you, for the Bible I have received.”</i>
Now again, our military families need your help. It doesn’t matter what you think about military action or what you think about the war—what does matter is that you care about people knowing the Lord and about families honoring God.
We would like to send to the husbands overseas a Bible, some Bible-study CDs, and other Bible-based books. We will send to the wives some child-training books and tapes and our new book, Created to Be His Help Meet.
If it were humanly possible, we would like to be like my mom and dad and pay for the Sunday pot roast ourselves, but that undertaking would be far too big for this ministry to carry alone. So, if you will open your hearts again—this time to the men serving in harm’s way and to their families—many more people will hear and know that Jesus is Lord. If you send us a note and a check saying “Military Gift Ministry,” we will ship out to the men and to their families literature and tapes (at our cost) for the amount you send. If you know of a wife left behind who would appreciate receiving books and tapes, send us her name and address and the address of her husband overseas.
Who knows what God will do? Perhaps some of the Bibles, books, and Bible-teaching CDs that are shipped to Iraq or Afghanistan might be left behind in the hands of the people. God, by his Word alone, could raise up a whole generation to himself both in our military men and women and among the people of Iraq. Pray to that end.
<i>Sir, I believe that I must give you a note of thanks. I’m heading off to Iraq for 18 months. I have 3 children and a wonderful wife. We are born-again believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that I do have a ministry there in Iraq to our soldiers… Sir, I thank you for the training ideas and especially the Bible teaching which has greatly prepared us for such a time as this. No response necessary, but if you ever think about it, could you say a prayer for the left-behind military children like mine. </i>
This is what we have been sending to the soldiers and their families:
By Divine Design – book
Holy Sex – book
Pornography – Road to Hell – booklet
Defense of Biblical Chastisement – booklet
To Train Up A Child – book
Righteousness CD set
God made Jesus to be Sin – tracts
<i>Average cost and shipping $34.50</i>
Created to be His Help Meet
NGJ Vol. 2 – book
My Favorite H.S. Ideas – tape
ABC Bible Verse Songs – tape
Alabama Seminar – 2 tapes
Small goodies for children
<i>Average cost and shipping $39.50</i>