Military Family Begins Ministry to Service Personnel

Post a Comment » Written on February 8th, 2008     
Filed under: News
LAFAYETTE, IN (February 8, 2008) – Steve and Sally Rayl understand well the stresses, fears, and pride that comes from being in a family whose members serve in the military.

Later this month, the Rayls’ eldest son, Brian, is deploying to Iraq with his Army National Guard Military Police unit. Their younger son, Craig, serves in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces. Both of the Rayls’ fathers as well as Sally’s brothers also have served.

Their experience led the couple last June to begin a ministry at the Lafayette Evangelical Covenant Church to support military families as well as members of the armed forces. “Our church already was providing great support in terms of having a bulletin board in the narthex, a sign-up sheet that was used to generate bookmarks for remembering our service men and women in prayer, and having a service person mentioned each week in the prayer given at both Sunday Services,” Steve says.

The meetings, which are held on the first Tuesday of each month, have included intercessory prayer as well as planning future outreach. “We mainly function as a small group for now,” Steve says. But the ministry already has increased the church’s involvement.

“We spoke before the congregation in late November and received lots of snacks and food items that we placed in boxes and sent to those serving away from home,” Steve says. “We also included a devotional and card in each box. Some teachers in our congregation took it upon themselves to have their students prepare Christmas cards, and we had enough to send our service members several cards each.”

Families of several military members who received the cards have expressed their gratitude and said the service men and women enjoyed the cards prepared by the children.

The couple hopes the ministry will be viewed as an evangelistic outreach. “We attended a church service during our younger son’s boot camp, and there were very few dry eyes around us,” he recalls. “It is a very emotional time for them, with some of them having never been away from home.  I believe many hear the gospel for the first time, and are very open to accepting Christ.

“I would encourage other congregations to prayerfully consider starting a military support group,” Steve adds. “We owe our best to those serving on our behalf under difficult circumstances. Our prayers and efforts to reach out will provide them with hope and opportunities to start or continue their walk with Jesus.”

For more information, contact the church at 765-474-4842.

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