Recently, one of our on-staff pastors unexpectedly passed away. Les Palmer oversaw our Chaplain’s department and was always on hand for walk-in prayers and counseling. His death leaves a large hole in our staff. At his funeral, his oldest son gave a eulogy. Les, named after his father, noted in the days since his father’s death that he came to realize his father had long arms because Les touched lives all over the globe.
I realized that’s exactly what I want. Long arms for the Lord. I love teaching the Word of God because I know it changes people’s lives, but I also want to be His hands, feet, and arms. Wrapping around those in need, those who are broken, those who are wounded.
Having a heart for outreach means over the years I have prayed ardently for the Lord to use me in tangible ways. And He has ardently answered my prayers. Through prayer and our church, we have taken on many visions the Lord has provided. When 9/11 happened, I cried out asking God, “What can I do?” He made the way for Mercy Bands to be created. I still have people approach me and thank me for the band they have now worn for ten years. Over the years, through His vision, our Women’s Ministry has raised funds for organizations like Crowns of Hope, The Albuquerque Children’s Home, the SAFE House of NM, and even spent a semester giving our time and talents to serving at the Ronald McDonald House.
Last year it was a vision from the Lord that caused us to rally around the need for awareness of human trafficking in the US in our Free Them campaign. Many of our congregation members had no idea there were slaves being bought and sold right in our own city. Through handouts and a large media campaign, we taught the women how to recognize a possible victim of human trafficking, the importance of buying fair trade items when possible, and through their generous gifts we raised over $10,000 for the human trafficking cause.
This year, the Lord has given a vision for our service men and women and their marriages. Did you know since 9/11 over 2,000,000 service men and women have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and that nearly 20% of those returning from war are likely to suffer either PTSD or major depression? We’re still at war and the casualties are closer than we realize.
This year our desire is to Heal Them, by raising awareness to the struggle some of our service men and women face as they return home to loved ones and try to find their “new normal.” Our hope is to restore marriages through: 1) fervent prayer for these service men and women and their families, 2) collecting donations to purchase supplies for our Samaritan’s Purse Patriot Packs and 3) preserving marriages by giving these couples tools to restore their damaged relationships.
Our campaign just kicked off this past Mother’s Day weekend; I hope you will join me in this daunting task of restoring the sacred marriage covenant God holds so dear. For more information, check out helpoutnow.org. Let’s come together to show our service men and women how long the Lord’s loving arms are!