It’s 3:40 a.m., three days before Christmas 2019. Throughout the house there are family members sleeping in bedrooms, living room, or chairs in the den. It’s now post-Christmas for we celebrated this day early. As with so many families, Christmas may come early or late, depending on travel plans to visit other family members in distant cities and towns.
This time of the year can be a hectic time, but the time with family and peace of this time of the year are good and so rewarding. Why then am I at the desk? I’m here because I realize within a few blocks of my home there are many veterans who are not enjoying “peace on earth, good will to men.” Within my city of Nashville there are thousands of veterans, many of whom are sad, lonely, tied up with pain and even homeless. Some may be among the 22+ a day who will decide that they cannot continue on, that life has been too difficult and too painful to continue.
I am so grateful for those of you who read this and our newsletter each month. Those who partner with us in so many ways and who are such encouragers, prayer-warriors, and financial supporters. You, individuals, churches, sponsors, and many others, are the sources of the drive that moves this GWFW work forward. GWFW is reaching out to more and more veterans across the nation, and even in some foreign nations where our military men and women are deployed. As I look back over the past year, I rejoice in the hope that has been made available to so many because of you.
Bringing hope and life for struggling veterans that comes through the good news of Jesus Christ. In a world that sets it sights and hopes on the false promises of secular wisdom, we are enabled to present the promises of one who said, “I come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). As I look to the future, I see more and more people like you, who are seeking to give hope and the good news of our God to others. I visualize congregations doing more than simply celebrating and appreciating our veterans on a certain day of each year. I envision church leaders recognizing the vast mission field and ministry, not just on foreign fields, but in our own backyard, among the thousands of veterans striving to acclimate back into a society from deployment. I believe that we will see budgets with a line item that reads, “Mission to Veterans.”
One of my student veterans at Lipscomb University wrote, just a couple of weeks ago, “I am so thankful for the many organizations that are fulfilling the serious needs of our brave men and women, who return home – housing needs, job opportunities, service dogs, medical and psychological needs, etc. However, I am saddened that there are only a handful of those who are reaching out to our veterans with the only foundation that can possibly help them rebuild the life that can be defined as ‘abundant.’ The only foundation in which to build, with all the tools being used to assist our veterans acclimate back into the society, is the foundation based on a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of your partnership with GWFW in filling the spiritual void so prevalent in the lives of many of our veterans. Our greatest challenge in meeting the spiritual needs of our returning men and women of the military is to continue to labor and trust in God to work his marvelous transforming power in lives we touch with the Gospel of Christ. Dr. Tom Seals