During the height of the Mid-East conflicts, Alan Stewart, who had a grandson serving in the Marines, recognized the need for a MPC group to provide support to those serving and their families. This Military Family Support Group, MFSG, has met once a month since then at the church to pray for those serving, update their status with the group, and provide assistance to the families. For those being deployed, the group provided a book to their children explaining why their mom or dad was away from them.
MPC had more than 30 people associated with the church serving on active duty in the military. Each month, the pictures and status of those serving were posted on the MPC website. Over the years, this number of active duty personnel decreased as many of those serving completed their service and the number of active conflicts decreased. Today, we have two active duty members, Tyler Van Dam and Jeff Behrman.
Our family found out the value of the group as our son was stationed in Iraq. While he had already served overseas in both Korea and Germany, during his year in Iraq, every time there was a knock at the door or the phone rang, our hearts would stop. On Christmas Eve that year, we received a video from our son with pictures of the troops there set to a song by Dustin Evans called “If I Die Before You Wake”. Click HERE to watch the video. The MFSG provided a forum for us to meet with other families coping with the same situation. The support and prayers were invaluable during this time.
As more service members transitioned to civilian life as veterans, the MFSG continued to track their progress and continued to pray for them in the transition. The group also puts together a Veterans’ Day video honoring all those who served their country. The group continues its function by email during the pandemic. While the pandemic has disrupted normal life for many of us, those serving still must continue to do their demanding jobs and deal with the pandemic at the same time.
There are a number of ways the congregation can support our troops and their families. You can get added to our mailing list and attend our monthly meetings when they resume. You can add service members to those on the MFSG’s prayer list. One of the simplest things to do is pray for the safety of all our troops, comfort for their families, and wisdom for the leaders who make the difficult deployment decisions. There are also several groups who provide support to our troops and veterans who welcome donations. On the local level, For The Troops in Simi Valley has a massive operation providing care packages to all those deployed. On the national level, both Wounded Warriors and Tunnels to Towers provide assistance to our disabled veterans and their families.