Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ministering to Soliders and their Families

As I write today I am thinking of my oldest son, Stephen, who is a Captain in the Air Force.  Just two weeks after the birth of his first child, he deployed to a part of the world that is full of unrest.  He spent a short time on our soil training before actually departing to his assignment.  Right now, I am wondering what he is doing and if he is safe.  Another concern I have is for Stephen’s wife, Robyn, and our grandson, Gideon.  We try to call or text nightly to check in on them.  Our prayers not only blanket Stephen but we pray for Robyn and Gideon as well.   

My husband and I traveled to Las Vegas shortly after Gideon was born.  It was a twofold trip-see the first grandchild and say goodbye to Stephen before he deployed.  Oh ladies, I can tell you that on the day we left Las Vegas my heart broke.  I grabbed my fully-grown son in a bear hug and began to sob.  As I walked away that day I kept looking back to memorize his face but in doing so I kept seeing Robyn as well.  Stephen had told us weeks before that while he was away to please take care of Robyn and his child.

I want to say I am so proud of my son and his willingness to serve his country.  He is following in the steps of so many other men and women who protect our freedom daily.  However, I think we too often forget the spouses and families left behind.  These special people sacrifice too.  There are missed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events.

As a church family we often pray for our military and their families.  However, what do we really do to encourage them?  Personally, I am trying to send a card each week to my daughter-in-law.  I try to provide an encouraging scripture verse or a funny story about her husband.  Just yesterday I mailed Robyn a card with a gift card to her favorite yogurt place.  I hope it puts a smile on her face. 

One of Robyn’s friends in Louisiana hosted a card shower (I had never heard of a card shower) through  People simply signed up for the shower and could either purchase a card on-line or mail one from home.  When Robyn went to her mailbox on the assigned day of the card shower, she found it overflowing with cards and notes of encouragement.  I have asked a couple of ladies who had family members deployed what people did for them.  One friend said that receiving a card in the mail always brighten her day.  My aunt whose husband was in Vietnam shared an entirely different view.  She said during the Vietnam War people did not welcome soldiers home as they did in the past and now do.  In addition, the families left behind were shunned because people did not agree with the war.  Although many in her church were very supportive and checked on her and the children weekly, other members of her own church turned their backs on the family.  How very sad!  My daughter-in-law suggested offering to babysit so she could run errands, offer to bring a meal, or just come visit for a short time.  Her church family in Vegas is doing just that. 

So ladies, I need more suggestions on how to minister to families of deployed soldiers.  I would also like fun suggestions on what to pack in goodie boxes for my son while he is away.  Currently, I am trying to figure out a way to ship chocolate chip cookies so that the chocolate does not melt in the desert heat.
I hope you don't mind but I want to share this photo with you of this sweet moment.

See you later little man.


Pat said...

My heart breaks for you friend. I've been in your shoes and it's not an easy road to travel. Just know that I am praying for all of you every day! Love you!!

Vickie said...

Stephen's wife linked this blog post to her Facebook. Gee, at the hits and the encouraging words coming from her friends and family. Tons of folks are praying for Stephen, Robyn, and Gideon as well as the whole military. It is awesome.

Shelly said...

Mrs. Vickie, once again you found the perfect words to portray the situation. You have an amazing gift for that. One thing you can do for Stephen is to send him sandwich sauce ( like from firehouse or his favorite sub shop). Most chow halls have a sandwich line & the guys wind up eating a lot of sandwiches by the end of a deployment & its a good way to change it up. Just remember to make sure it doesnt have to be refrigerated. For Robyn, you can mail her a pedicure gift card to use when someone from the church keeps Gideon, or you can mail her the same brand tea Cane's uses since its her favorite & she can make her own sweet tea. I know someone who might know the brand && I've put a call in to find out for ya. Also, you can mail her scented lotions or yummy candles that she can us to just relax after Gideon goes to bed. I'll get back to you on the brand. Hope those Ideas help. Congrats on being a grandma I know you are loving it.