The last weekend in February we spent in Destin Florida at Family Life’s Weekend To Remember (WTR) Star Military Event. Thank you for your prayers; it was a wonderful weekend!
We joined Mike and Linda Montgomery, who are Military Ministry’s liaison to Family Life. The Montgomerys were there to guide on best practices in creating just the right environment that honors and grows the military couples who attend a WTR event.
Included in the Star/Military weekend event is a military breakout session on Saturday afternoon, right before DATE NIGHT. During the session, the Montgomerys lead the group of about 40 couples in some exercises that would be a part of an Art of Marriage event, which is like a WTR, but it uses DVDs and can be adapted for a weekend seminar, an all day event, a weekly small group study. It was wonderful for us to learn how it works and it was great to hear the responses the couples shared!
One of the amazing things my husband did–amazing man that he is–was
to stop at restaurants close to the Sandestin Hilton and ask if they would be able to give a gift certificate to a military couple attending the weekend. We all know I would never be able to pull this off, but for Rick it was pure joy! The generosity of the restaurants blew us away! A few in particular gave over and beyond what
we could have imagined and the couples who won the meals were just thrilled. It was a real gift for us to be able to share in this way of honoring the military. We give many thanks to these wonderful restaurants: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Tuscany Italian Bistro, and The Melting Pot!
On Sunday morning there was also a special breakfast, hosted by MilitaryMinistry for the active duty couples attending the weekend. The Montgomerys showed us how to plan for the breakfast and then how to do everything in our power to make it run smoothly. It was encouraging
It was great to meet these couples and learn more about how we can come alongside them with resources or a ministry of presence as they deal with stress of military life during a time of war. I still feel that there isn’t much that compares to the automatic connections between military families and when you put believing families together it is such a source of encouragement and wisdom and fun! It is such an honor to work in support of the military family!We’d like to share with you some of the comments the couples gave us regarding the Weekend To Remember:
“Amazing Welcome! Thank you for recognizing that the military family is unique!”
Navy husband deployed 9 times in the past 3 years.
“We made a commitment that divorce is not an option.”
Air Force spouse, deployed 3 times in the past 3 years, including one 8 month deployment.
“Thanks for the military angle. It made the experience more valued and enjoyable.”
Marine flight student
“We were not aware of Military Ministry before this event. We feel that the efforts of this ministry hold so much potential for helping us grow, mend, heal and support military families, that every effort should be made to grow it. We were personally touched and enriched beyond words.”
Army Warrant Officer and wife separated by deployments 48 times in the past 3 years.
“Going out of the way for the military made us feel loved and welcomed and encouraged.” Air Force officer
“I was ready for divorce. I no longer consider it an option!”
Air Force Warrant Officer
“We appreciate the military focus and recommend that you keep doing it!”
Dual career Air Force couple
Represented in Destin were couples from Maxwell AFB, Ft. Rucker, Tyndall AFB, NAS Pensacola, Whiting Field, Hurlburt Field, Ft. Hood, and Columbus AFB. We also learned, while we were at the conference, that a unit from Ft. Bragg had been relocated to Crestview, Florida, just north of Eglin Air Force Base and his church in Crestview had a new large influx of military families.
Another big blessing of this weekend was to be able to work alongside two other ministries. Mike and Arden Patterson, who lead the OCF team in the Pensacola area, brought some OCF couples to the WTR. Also there were Mike and Lisa Conn, who have a ministry called Family Teams for Christ in Montgomery, Alabama. Mike and Lisa minster especially to the pilots at the SOS school and they brought a whole crew down from Maxwell AFB. Mike and Lisa were a true example of servant-leadership; they spent the weekend caring for the children of one couple, whose grandparent sitter was stranded in a snowstorm in a cold place.
While in Destin we were reminded “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a military member in the Florida panhandle!” so we continue to go forward with plans to move to the area soon. We are trusting God for the wisdom about where to live and we are excited about the many opportunities ahead!
PS: The team from Northstar Church in Panama City were amazing. As Always.