Last weekend Rick and I took a trip to Montgomery, Alabama to represent Military Ministry at a Weekend to Remember conference. We were invited to attend because of the high number of military families that would be represented at the conference; the area director with Family Life wanted us to have the opportunity for reaching out to military families. Montgomery is the home to Maxwell AF Base and Air University, the Air Force post-graduate school. AF Officer Candidate School is also located at Maxwell and I’m sure there are numerous other commands I know nothing about
An element that made Montgomery interesting to us is the presence of Lt.Col Mike and Lisa Conn.” We had heard of Mike and Lisa and their ministry called Family
Teams for Christ. They minister in Montgomery and they do incredible work strengthening and discipling military families in the Montgomery area. They have worked hand-in-glove with Family Life for many years, coordinating volunteers for the weekend, running a hospitality suite for military couples and encouraging everyone! They gave us such a great example of servant leadership and we learned so much just watching how they operate.
When we arrived Friday afternoon we found the people in charge and began to set up our table. The materials we showcase are books that strengthen military families, the Homebuilder series which is written by Military Ministry staff in conjunction with Family Life. We also set out materials for those who are exeprienceing post-traumatic stress and for those who love them. Here’s a photo of our table:
We don’t sell anything at the conference, we just want service members and their families, chaplains, as well as churches with military ministries to know the kinds of resources that are available through Military Ministry.
This weekend we met a number of veterans who acknowledged dealing with post traumatic stress. Rick always asks, “How are you sleeping?” or he asks a spouse, “Is he/she the same as before he left?” Sometimes the wives get tears in their eyes and this time I heard a vet reply, “It’s never what you think it’s going to be…” when Rick asked how his time in Afghanistan had gone. A few families stopped by to see if we had any contacts or information for their children who had returned from conflict with changed lives. And some who were clearly military just refused to make eye-contact with us.
By the end of the weekend all of Family Life’s Combat Trauma Healing Manuals were gone. Hopefully the service members who bought them are able to see themselves in the pages and then see the Savior, who is the real hope for their invisible wounds.