Sometimes, as Christian women, we have a strong desire to serve and help people, we simply have no idea of where to get started or what to do. Today, I have a suggestion for you that can be done by any congregation, large or small, and anybody, regardless of their age. One work that our congregation does from which we have had tremendously positive feedback is sending out military boxes.
For us, this is primarily a work of our Ladies’ Bible class. Each Tuesday when our Ladies’ Bible class meets we take up a collection of money for a “good deed”. Once a month that good deed is sending care packages to our military. While this could be done any number of ways, we choose to only send our packages to those military service men and women who are currently deployed overseas on active duty. Our ladies bring items to donate with them to class that day, and then one of our ladies takes everything home, packages it, and ships the packages out. The money from the collection is what we use to pay the shipping costs.
We have received numerous letters from the soldiers we have sent packages to, thanking us and telling us what a tremendous encouragement it was during a difficult time in their life. We have also had them send us information of fellow soldiers who don’t receive much, if anything, from home with requests that we reach out to them as well (which we are happy to do). The only requirement we have had for our boxes is that they currently be overseas on active duty. We send them to both Christians and non-Christians, those we know personally and those we only know through acquaintances.
The sister who coordinates this effort has had several family members in the military, and she has comprised a list of items that are ideal for military care packages:
* wet wipes
* granola bars
* chex mix
* candy (particularly M&Ms for shipping)
* cheese crackers
* peanut butter crackers
* sunflower seeds
* cracker jacks
* individual drink mixes
* slim jims
* Bibles (we include a small one at least twice a year)
* Christian magazines
* personal cards and notes
* drawing by kids
Each month she also includes a note thanking them for their service and stating that the package is from the Jefferson St. church of Christ with a Scripture for encouragement.
There are many ways this ministry could be adapted to fit your personal needs or the needs of your congregation: you could have a donation bin in your building where the entire congregation could drop off supplies at their convenience, you could contact the Wounded Warrior project and send your packages to specific soldiers who were wounded in combat (in which case you could tailor the package specifically to them and what they enjoy), or you could use the newspaper, social media, etc. to look for deployed soldiers who are specifically from your area.
While this is not a difficult, time consuming, or expensive ministry, it is one that has made a tremendous impact in the lives of those who have been blessed by it, not only the soldiers themselves, but also their families who benefit by knowing that there are Christians out there who care about their loved one and are praying for them. If you have been looking for a way to reach out and serve, military boxes could be just what you have been looking for!
Written By: Lacy Crowell
Lacy Crowell is the Let It Overflow Editor for Come Fill Your Cup. She & her husband Jonathan worship with the Jefferson St. church of Christ in Hobbs, NM where he serves as the Associate/Family Minister. They are blessed with four precious children which Lacy has the privilege of homeschooling. Lacy is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from Amridge University. She is also currently pursuing licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist through Amridge University and enjoys speaking at activities for women and teen girls.