At least four Louisiana Baptist associations – Concord Union, Eastern Louisiana, Delta, and Ouachita – recently participated in a LifeBox project to minister to military personnel on duty in the Persian Gulf.
At least four
Louisiana Baptist associations – Concord Union, Eastern Louisiana, Delta, and
Ouachita – recently participated in a LifeBox project to minister to military
personnel on duty in the Persian Gulf.
They sent at
least 680 packages to deployed armed service members.
The packages are
a ministry born out of the dream of a
Southern Baptist Army officer to provide Christian magazines published by
LifeWay Christian Resources to deployed military personnel. The captain,
accustomed to receiving LifeWay magazines through his church, wanted to make
the same magazines, such as – HomeLife, Stand Firm, Journey and more – available to the deployed troops.
“They wanted to
fill their reading hours with spiritually uplifting material that would
encourage them to stand firm in their faith,” according to the LifeWay website,
4,000 pounds of periodicals to churches in the Fort Campbell, Ky.
area, to mail to their members who were deployed. Later, LifeWay provided
magazines to repeat the project at Fort Bragg and Camp LeJeune, both in North
Carolina, and then again at Fort Lee in Virginia.
response led to LifeWay inviting a team of Southern Baptist directors of
missions and military personnel representing churches to develop a model that
could involve many churches and associations.
project is intended to encourage soldiers and provide an opportunity for them
to receive some positive reinforcement from home,” said Barry Joynier, director
of missions for the Concord Union Association. “Hopefully the boxes are to
arrive by Easter, which was the goal. We hope that it will make a positive
impact on the soldiers who are over there. We surely want to encourage them
spiritually, but also as citizens in service to our country. We wanted them to
know that we love them and we haven’t forgotten about them.”
boxes, stuffed with toiletry items; hard candies; personal items; The
Invitation, a c.d. produced by LifeWay with a message from Rick Warren as well
as contemporary Christian music on it; LifeWay reading material; writing
supplies, and more, cost only $8.10 to mail, no matter the weight. In general,
each box, including postage and the supplies, costs about $20.
The Concord Union
Association also included a New Testament as well as a personal note from
someone in the association.
collected about 65 names of deployed military from area churches, to whom they
mailed boxes directly. The association sent another 185 boxes to a chaplain in Iraq who agreed
to hand them out to soldiers as he had the opportunity, Joyner explained.
“We made sure
that our associational name and address was included in each box,” he
continued. “We hope to hear back from somebody. I found that there was a real
enthusiasm among our churches for servicemen.
of Choudrant] donated a check for $2000 for the Lifeboxes. It was tremendous,”
Close to 30 of
the 65 churches in Concord Union gave
money, items or participated in the program in some way, Joyner said.
assistant, Karen Knight, essentially was the one who was the works behind he
wheel,” he continued. “She did all the ordering, organizing, putting together,
and gathering the mailing list. She had a very big part in putting this together.
She was as enthusiastic about touching these soldiers lives as I was.”
Louisiana Baptist Association, under the organization of Janelle
Brown and through the participation of 11 churches, also sent boxes, a total of
157, she said.
Delta and Ouachita
associations sent at least 275 boxes combined and learned that the post office
generally needs notice to handle such a large a number, said DOM Ken Gilmore.
Twelve churches participated in the project out of 42, he said.
will provide the magazines at a discounted price, is encouraging the ministry
at the association level, according to the website. In order to receive the
discount, magazine orders must be place through an association office.
original goal for the project was for service members to receive their boxes by
Easter Sunday, LifeWay suggests that deployed personnel will appreciate
receiving the boxes whenever associations are able to send them, even if
receipt is after Easter Sunday.
To participate in
the project, associations can contact Jill Niehaus at firstname.lastname@example.org.