U.S. soldiers battle to keep their families
By Janella Griggs
Walk through any major airport, and you're likely to see uniformed soldiers
on their way to or from war. Often, spontaneous applause breaks out as they
pass. Every now and then one will smile or appear embarrassed. Because they
represent the cause of freedom, they almost seem larger than life. But
sometimes, if you look closely enough, you sense a heart as heavy as the steel
boots they wear.
That's why strong family relationships are so critical to the success of
military personnel both in combat and at home. Chaplain Major Charlie Reynolds,
3rd Brigade Combat Team at Ft. Drum in New York, says that family cohesion is a
crucial element of brigade combat readiness. "When soldiers have solid
relationships with their families before they deploy, they'll be more
Chaplain Reynolds devised a plan that would help the bond between
parent/soldier and child plus make memories for a lifetime.
Soldier parent and child went together through an
obstacle course. "They looked like little champions," one volunteer
photo by SPC Amber Robinson, 3rd BCT PAO
Like most chaplains, he's resourceful. He tracked down a buddy from his
seminary days, Dr. John LaNoue, retired director of Texas High School Baptist
Men, now serving as pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas.
They planned a weekend for deployable soldiers to spend quality time with their
Enter Sons of Virtue from the North American Mission Board, a study on the
biblical character virtues of loyalty, friendship, courage, responsibility,
honesty, faith, compassion, perseverance, teamwork and self-discipline.
Designed to help shape the next generation of men and to draw together the
hearts of fathers and sons, it was an ideal resource for what soon became an
annual weekend event for Chaplain Reynolds and Dr. LaNoue, even as the chaplain
was transferred to two other bases.
The program was so successful and demand so high, in 2005 they held two
retreats. At each, they gave copies of Sons of Virtue to the soldiers who
attended and based their teaching and weekend activities on it.
In one weekend, soldiers and their sons can make memories that will last a
lifetime. In fact, when Chaplain Reynolds and Dr. LaNoue look out at the
attendees, they see women and men bringing daughters as well as sons. Again,
being resourceful, they're adapting the weekend activities to the realities of
Dr. LaNoue is no stranger to war zones. "I've been where these soldiers are
going." He took a group of Baptist men to Iran to feed 14,500 Kurdish refugees
plus excursions to North Korea and Sri Lanka. "Soldiers who come through combat
and are best able to integrate back into their families are the ones with a
strong base of faith."
One fun event is when soldiers lead their kids through an obstacle course.
The two leaders capitalize on showing the second generation that their soldier
parents are heroes in the eyes of a grateful nation.
The most moving part of the Father/Son Weekend is called the "Blessing."
Parents give each child a verbal account of how much they love and value them,
citing characteristics they're proud of and appreciate. It's a memory these
kids will keep forever.
The time together is even more poignant as soldiers prepare to deploy in
2006 for the war against global terrorism. The unspoken reality is that "some
of these parents may not come home," Chaplain Reynolds says. But for this
weekend, there's no war-terrorism takes a back seat to family relations. And at
this moment, the children are the center of the universe. They're making
lasting memories that will carry them through when dad or mom is away.
Janella Griggs is a writer living in Montogomery, Alabama.
volunteering in missions
The need to help Katrina
victims was apparent in Cumming, Georgia, less than a week after the disaster.
Dozens of families had moved to the area with little more than the clothes on
their backs. They had lost everything and probably wouldn't be returning to the
Gulf coast any time soon. When North Lanier Baptist Church heard about this,
they stepped into action. Members cleared and cleaned out an old house they'd
used for storage so a family could live there. They partnered with an
elementary school gathering supplies. And they took up an offering to help with
financial burdens of property damage and other material loss. All said, the
church gathered more than $25,000 and mobilized a dozen volunteers to assist
Lacombe Baptist Church in Lacombe, Louisiana-right near the banks of Lake
Pontchartrain. The team delivered truckloads of supplies from water and food to
personal hygiene items. At that point more than a thousand people a day were
seeking supplies at the church. The load of supplies was gone in 30
Members of North Lanier Baptist Church make supplies
ready for Hurricane Katrina victims in Lacombe, Louisiana.
"Our mission statement is to love God completely and love others
compassionately. Our vision statement is that all may know and grow in Christ,"
says North Lanier lead pastor Hutch Matteson. "We felt this was an opportunity
to fulfill both of these."
Members plan to take as many trips as needed to finish the job of restoring
Lacombe Baptist Church and its community.
Churches such as North Lanier are finding ways of grouping their resources to
help Katrina victims through Adopt A Church, an initiative developed by the
North American Mission Board. For more information on adopting a church
affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes, visit www.namb.net/dr.
volunteering in missions/sharing
My Turn Disaster Relief White Hat-Pascagoula, Mississippi
By Kay Cassibry
I arrived in Pascagoula the day after Katrina to a beautiful and sad scene.
Like other smaller cities along the Gulf coast, this Mississippi community was
easily lost in the shadow of devastation found in New Orleans and larger
Mississippi cities. News coverage had barely touched the area, but Katrina
The pastor and staff of First Baptist Church and their families had found
refuge in the church and were trying to offer support to 15 other families who
had lost their homes. The pastor said he and his family watched their
belongings swept out the front door and into the flood.
People sauntered directionless to the church wearing blank and hopeless
looks reminiscent of those I'd seen in Indonesia as I worked disaster relief in
the tsunami aftermath. They were so confused, they couldn't decide which door
to walk through. Without question, Katrina was the tsunami all over again on
Mississippi's coastal areas. In 11 years of working disaster relief, I've not
seen such widespread devastation.
And yet, as Mississippi Baptist Convention Executive Director James Futral
has said following Katrina, "the darker the night, the brighter the light." In
Pascagoula we saw this light as food units from Georgia and medical units from
Texas and Mississippi rolled in. In a matter of two days we had several hundred
people fed and loaded with supplies. Within two weeks, DR chaplains had led to
Christ an average of five people a day as they waited in supply lines. And
here's another miracle. The Georgia DR food unit was
a meal away from empty. Their supply order was late in arriving. Many hungry
people were relying on us for meals. But as anyone who's seen God pull through
in the most desperate of circumstances, we prayed and waited, and our miracle
came. The next day disaster relief personnel from the Maryland-Delaware
Convention -personnel trained by Mississippi DR (now that's
providence!)-arrived with food donated by a restaurant owner. The food stuff
was almost identical to the delayed food order.
Acts of love continued for weeks as believers who'd lost their homes
ministered to fellow Katrina victims. Stranded businessmen pitched in. People
who would have been happy with only a hot meal and shelter received genuine
love and, as needed, a listening ear. And what's been most encouraging is to
see how Southern Baptist Disaster Relief stands out from most other
organizations of its type. We are some of the few who are able to offer-in
addition to medical help, hot meals, supplies and shelter-a glimpse of the hope
found in Christ.
Kay Cassibry is WMU director for the Mississippi Baptist
impacting the culture
New ChurchSee you at the movies
Ridge Stone Church
Location: Riverstone Carmike
Target Audience: Young,
Senior Pastor: Gary Lamb
Pastor's path: A Georgia
native, Gary Lamb planted Heartland Church in Ames, Iowa, in the winter of
2001. After he started Heartland on a building program and helped find a
pastor, he felt called back to Georgia to start a new kind of church. "I
believe that a new type of church-something nontraditional-would reach out to
those who have been burned by church or given up on church."
a Brief History: A daughter congregation of West Ridge Church in Hiram,
Georgia, one-year-old Ridge Stone reaches in the northwest Atlanta suburbs
people of all backgrounds to worship God in a contemporary, casual and relevant
environment. "We chose Canton because it is one of the fastest growing areas in
Georgia. We saw it as an area where we could make a difference."
How does your church tell the greatest story ever told? Chances are you use
a variety of methods from traditional evangelism tools to out-of-the-box
outreach events such as the lakefront and campground evangelism of Mary Gore as
she makes the rounds at the 70-campsite North Toledo Bend State Park in
"We have to go where the people are," Mary says. "We take the church
outside. We want to give people the chance to not only experience His
creation, but also to meet the Creator. Sometimes, you just have to take
church to where the people are."
Through the 2006 North American Mission Study meet three of the more than
5,200 missionaries reaching communities for Christ in the United States and
Canada, sometimes through some not-so-conventional means!
For more information, call 770-410-6321 or visit www.AnnieArmstrong.com/study.
Siteseeing...www.namb.net/dr Go here for updates on
disaster relief efforts, to
In the throes of a gas shortage, North Park Community Church in Trussville,
Alabama, decided to partner with a gas station and shave several cents off the
cost of gas. Let's say gas is $3/gallon. North Park will advertise a gas
buy-down one day for a certain period of time, the gas station manager will
drop the price let's say to $2.50, and North Park will pay the difference. At
the end of the day, customers are happy because of the price, the business is
happy because of the traffic, and more people learn that your church can make a
difference in their lives.
Here's a good way to wrap up the year with servant evangelism: wrap up your
community's Christmas gifts. Providing a gift-wrapping service is a great way
to lighten the load of shoppers during the hustle and bustle of the holiday
season. North Park took on the community outreach project two years ago. From
year one to year two, the number of people wanting their gifts wrapped doubled.
If you don't have enough paper and ribbon for the entire community, or, if the
man-power and -hours just aren't there, pick a certain store during Christmas
and offer to do free gift wrapping for its customers. While volunteers are
wrapping, they can share with customers the reason they celebrate Christmas.
You might want to have information about your church available to hand out.
Location is everything. Pick a spot that's convenient for shoppers. Providing a
place for shoppers to relax and get off their feet is a plus.
Ideas for the New
Create a mission plan for 2006 using an Acts 1:8 strategy (www.ActsOne8.com)-
providing opportunities for members to reach their community, state, continent
and international areas. Host a Valentine's banquet expressing your love for a
people group by adopting, praying for and going to the people group in North
America and internationally. Visit www.peoplegroups.org to find a people group
or contact your associational office for more information.
Celebrate the Week of Prayer for North American (www.AnnieArmstrong.com) and International
(ime.imb.org/LottieMoon) missions by creating a week of prayer bulletin board
featuring missionary bios, location descriptions and photos. Members are
reminded and can pray as they're walking through the church halls. You might
also post similar reminders in Sunday school classrooms.
Send us your church's outreach ideas!On Mission magazine
4200 North Point Pkwy
Alpharetta, GA email@example.com
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC