Responses to Strength for Service to God and Country
“I truly appreciate the blessing that you are distributing amongst soldiers. The impact of something as seemingly small as a book, can make a life-changing impact. Thank you.”
Tanner Mitchel, chaplain’s assistant
877th Engineer Batallion
“Thank you so very much for sending the Field Artillery Regiment (4th BCT, 10th MTN ID) a box of Strength for Service. As an active duty Army chaplain and United Methodist clergy (SWTX Annual Conf.), I really appreciate the high quality of the devotions and my soldiers really get a morale boost when they find out that the book is free to them.”
Captain Stephen Echols
5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment
4th BCT, 10th Mountain Infantry Division (LI)
Fort Drum, N.Y.
“Some time ago you sent me some copies of Strength for Service for use with veterans her at the VA Hospital in San Diego. Many books were given to WWII, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Veterans receiving end-of-life care in our Palliative Care Unit. I had the privilege of seeing several veterans experience significant spiritual healing at this crucial time in their lives and the Lord has used this devotional in a special way. If you could send some more copies I would love to make them available to more veterans. God bless you for what you are doing to serve those who have served us!”
VA Medical Center
San Diego, California
“One of our company commanders brought this book to my attention. I looked it over and found it to be very insightful, meaningful and personal. The company commander would like to give one of these book to every paratrooper in his charge. I would like some to give out to my paratroopers who are thirsty in this dry land. If you can accommodate 200 books, that would be a blessing
“I love my job, if you call it a job. Our God is awesome and everyday He amazes me with all of who He is.
“Grace from above,”
Captain Joel Britton, chaplain
501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, based in Richardson, Alaska
Deployed to Afghanistan
“I can testify being deployed away from family and friends will cause people like us to be discouraged and lonely.
“I know the times I encountered issues like those, I lean on God more than ever. When I read this book, along with my Bible in the morning before duty, it helps me to go through my day whatever circumstances come my way. The fifth Psalm, third verse, mentions, ‘My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.’
“I want to thank you for reviving the Strength for Service book, and I pray that it will continue to bless other Armed Forces personnel and give them the encouragement to go through life –– as it has done for me.”
Maintenance Support Specialist
Robins Air Base
Warner Robins, Ga.
“A good family friend gave me a copy of Strength for Service prior to my year-long deployment to Afghanistan. This year has been very rough and we’ve lost a lot of soldiers, including soldiers we never knew but fought so hard to save; most times we won that fight but sometimes we lost. I read the daily devotionals every night before bed to help me reflect on my day, become a better Christian and build my faith. On one of our toughest days here I returned to my room and said to God before opening the book, ‘This better be a good one… I need you’ and the devotional spoke about ‘Glorifying God in Suffering’. It was one of the most moving readings and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this book. It has helped me through a very tough time in my life and has become one of my most treasured possessions.”
“The daily devotional, Strength for Service, was a life saver for me during my deployment in Afghanistan 2011-2012. They brought me closer to God and my fiancée back home, as we shared each daily devotional together.”
SPC Michael Levine
Second Brigade Combat Team
“Thank you so much for your support via the God and Country daily devotional books. I love them and have been handing them out like candy to our sailors onboard the ship. Not only is there some very good content in the booklets there is that all important connection to the past heroes that is so important to our military mindset.”
Lieutenant Buster Williams, command chaplain
USS Gettysburg, a guided missile cruiser
Mayport Naval Station
“I noticed a copy of Strength for Service in my priest’s office and I believe it will be a great read for our military folks here. I currently work at the chapel onboard the Naval Base Ventura County, CA and our ministry reaches out to all pay grades, ranks and different types of commands. We have students, wing, Seabees and many more! Please send us the requested amount for the support of NBVC. Thank you!”
RP2 Walter Brobst
Naval Base Ventura County
Port Hueneme, Calif
I made a request last week for 100 of the Navy covers and received 25 today. Those books were distributed within an hour and so I am therefore requesting an additional 125 (50 Navy Cover and 75 Khaki Cover) for our troops mobilizing as well as those in support of them here in NOLA and HQ. Thank you in advance for your support of our Marines & Sailors of 4TH Marine Division.
RPC Frank Sherard
Fourth Marine Division
New Orleans, La.
“We understand that for every $200 that is collected, your agency will send us an additional 20 devotional books to be distributed in our community. However, the Men’s Breakfast group wants you to know that while this gesture is appreciated, they prefer that these extra books also be sent to the soldiers. We have enclosed a check ($869) for this project. May God continue to bless your work.”
The Rev. Sharon Albert, pastor
Lucas (Kans.) United Methodist Church
Gary Bretz, coordinator
Men’s Breakfast Group
“Thank you for your constant support. We really utilized these devotionals in such a life-enriching way in my last unit while we served over in Iraq. I look forward to reaching a new set of soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division with the Strength for Service books as we prepare for a difficult deployment returning to the Argandab Valley of Afghanistan where we lost so many soldiers just last year.”
Chaplain Jody Harlow
82nd Airborne Division
“I want to thank the many people behind Strength for Service to God and Country.
I am truly blessed by this devotional. I enjoyed a copy that was my grandfather’s during World War II and I was excited when I go an updated copy during my recent deployment to Afghanistan. I enjoy it and try to make a point to use it daily.”
Adonai is Semper Fi.
Major Dean Driskill
“Strength for Service books have gone like wildfire. These are a blessing beyond blessing. One man told me he picked one up in our chapel, one that I put out, and began to read it. He was going to look up how he could order more for his friends and family. These books are bringing great comfort and encouragement to who knows how many troops.”
Wing Chaplain Walter (Bubba) L. Smith
United States Air Force Reserve
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the 40 Strength for Service to God and Country Daily Devotionals. They came today. They will be of great value to strengthen the faith of the women and men in service at the Air National Guard Readiness Center. The Pastoral Care Chaplains will be able to distribute them.
“I am proud not only to serve God as a chaplain in the Air National Guard, but proud of the United Methodist Denomination, my own denomination, and our outreach and care through the General Commission on United Methodist Men and the Scouting ministry.”
Major Jackie Ann Rose Kraft, chaplain
Joint Base Andrews, Md.
“Thank you for these wonderful little books.”
Chaplain Erik Myhrberg
“Thank you for making these available to our service men and women. I will try to get these into their hands so the Word can get into their hearts.”
Captain Timothy T Sessions, chaplain
“Thanks for the wonderful service!”
Sergeant Joseph Henry, chaplain’s office
Fort Snelling, Minn.
“I first encountered your resource while deployed in 2009. My soldiers loved it. I’m in a new location, and I am already receiving requests for it.
“It’s the best devotional I’ve come across.”
Captain Paul Tolbert, SDDC chaplain
Scott Air Force Base
“I use this book for my personal devotions and I would like to share them in my National Guard BN.
“While I would like them beforehand, I can have them shipped to the site of my deployment if the date is too close.”
First Lieutenant Jeremy Pederson
“I am in the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade. I have a battalion that will deploy in August. I would like to have enough books to offer every soldier deploying.”
Major Jay Pagett, chaplain
Boone National Guard Center
“Thank you for providing a great resource. They are a great asset to our soldiers.”
First Lieutenant Curtis Ketsenburg
“We support 21 ships on Mayport Naval Station and sailors going to Iraq and Afghanistan. This book is definitely a great addition to our spiritual/morale package. God bless you.”
RP2 Thomas Keble
Mayport Naval Station
“I am serving with the Special Troops Battalion. We are due to deploy to Afghanistan. I appreciate any support your ministry can offer.”
Captain Rod Gilliam, chaplain
Fourth Infantry Division
Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Two years ago, I asked my Sunday school class (old men – I’m 90 years old) for a check to go with mine. I was hoping for $25. Two men spoke up and said, “I was given one when I went into the service in World War II, and I still have it.” Another man spoke up and said, “I move we sent $50. Motion passed.
“As a WWII veteran of the US. merchant marines, (I know) merchant seaman need Strength for Service more than anyone else. I know — I was there. We don’t need to forget our merchant seaman. It seems Washington has.”
The Rev. Henry K. Erwin
Mike Bremer of Middleville, Mich., says his congregation gives Strength for Service to God and Country to members of his congregation who are entering the military. He received the following response on a postcard:
So good to hear from you, man. Thank you very much for the Strength for Service daily message book and New Testament. I read 1 message a day, sometimes to others if they wish to hear. In times like these, it really helps to be able to relate to the life lessons of Jesus. Sometimes it can be the only thing keeping me from tearing all my hair out. During stressful days, I like to read 27 May, “Spiritual Peace.” I would like to share my thoughts (discuss) sometime. In late April I’ll be home on leave, so maybe then! Thanks again!”
“Thank you. I recently requested some books for our upcoming deployment. I just want to say, thank you for sending them so promptly.”
Chaplain David Tish
“I am a recently deployed chaplain’s assistant, and I’ve heard great things about your book. I’m hoping to get copies to hand out to our military members at our FOB.”
Staff Sergeant Brian Hanna
“My soldiers love these books. Thanks so much.”
“We have a 2,500 force deploying from Minnesota later this fall. We have used the devotions in the past and really enjoyed them. If 500 is too much, we’ll take whatever you can give us.”
Sergeant Jonathan Groeneweg
“I am battalion chaplain for a USMC unit that is heading to Afghanistan soon. I would appreciate copies to give to my marines. They will be spread out to several small outposts.”
Chaplain Chris Martin
“My soldiers have expressed a deep desire for these devotionals. I’m sure that our prayers for the salvation and sanctification will be answered if they receive the tools they need to hear God’s word and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Chaplain Steven Sudduth
“We have received the books in the past and they have been very comforting and helpful to members of the 10th Air Force. We have only a few remaining, and with the stress our members have received this year, having more on hand would be very helpful.”
Chaplain Chiquita Wilson
Carswell Air Force Base
Fort Worth, Texas
“I request Strength for Service books so we can hand them out to our recruits going through training as well as their drill instructors.”
RP2 Sarah Reza
MCRD Parris Island
“These were great for soldiers in my last unit. I think my new unit will like these too. Thank you very much.”
PFC Michael Kuntz, chaplain’s assistant
“I received a shipment of these in my last unit and took them with us when we deployed to Iraq. Since coming back I’ve been assigned to a new duty station and would love to have some more to distribute to my new soldiers. Thanks for making these available.”
Captain Ken May, chaplain
“We are being deployed to Iraq. I shared these devotionals with many soldiers and veterans and now I need more.”
Chaplain Kevin White
“Two men came to Christ in basic training as I ‘reluctantly’ gave away my copy to one of them. They both approached me sometime later expressing great joy that I had shared my testimony while giving away my book.
“Years later, after I was married, my father in-law had owned a copy printed during WWII. I was a marine machinery technician now, and full time Army Reservist.
In 1999 the Lord called me in a vision as a Pastor.
In 2003-2004 I served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
On 4 Feb. 2005, I was independently ordained, and had held the office of a Presbyterian Deacon.
On 6 Feb. 2005 I suffered a massive heart attack in water survival training; having Jesus pressing up against me shoulder to shoulder in shadow and out of body experience. It was my 20 years of military service on that day.
Today I am a licensed volunteer chaplain, attempting to share Christ harder than ever with our troops. I have come full circle now, and more than ever, need your booklet Strength for service to God and Country, it is spiritual food for the soul and has always played an important role with our service members since the second world war.
Today it is harder than ever to find spiritual comfort within our military, as books like these are no longer allowed to be passed out to our forces by our Government. Yet you can make a difference like I did, by giving these books to our troops individually.
Chaplain Roland Dell
Kent Island, Md.
“I was wounded in Iraq, and I was medically discharged I still have my military benefits that’s how badly I was injured, but I was wondering if you could send me a copy of your book and perhaps personalize it. It would me a great deal to me; religion seems to be the one steady thing in my life that keeps me motivated. Thank you kindly.”
SPC Danielle Mekailek
Santa Rosa, Calif. (deployed to Iraq Sept 2006 – Oct. 2007)
“I recently requested some books for our upcoming deployment and I received them several days ago. I just want to say, ‘Thank you for sending them so promptly.’ I hope to send you stories of soldiers lives touched because they grew closer to God because of this book. Keep up the great work and support of our troops. We will be deploying this fall, 2010.”
LTC Dave Tish, chaplain
Idaho Army National Guard
“These were great for the soldiers in my last unit. I think that my new unit will like these too. Thank you very much.”
PFC Michael Kurtz, chaplain assistant
Fort Bragg, N.C.
“Our soldiers in basic training really enjoy these books. They help them get motivated.”
PFC Brandon Warren
Fort Knox, Ky.
“This is the largest deployment for the Vermont National Guard since World War II. Strength for Service devotionals have also been requested by wives and parents attending the Yellow Ribbon events for families.”
Chaplain James MacIntyre
Vermont National Guard
“I am a chaplain’s assistant for 40th ESB and I received a copy of this book from a chaplain of our sister company. I found it to be extremely uplifting. We are deploying soon and I and my chaplain would like to be as well prepared as we can possibly be. That I why we decided to place an order for this book because lifted spirits can prevent all kinds of complications that can occur under the stress of deployment. I’d like to say thank you for having the heart to do something like this for soldiers. You have no idea how appreciated you are.”
SPC Philip Smith
Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.
“All soldiers will be activated to duty on 15 August, 2010, I hope to put a book in the hand of each of my soldiers.”
Chaplain John Branning
Crystal Springs, Miss.
“I am the full time Joint Support Chaplain Assistant for the Kansas National Guard. I received one of these when I deployed and am now requesting some to provide to soldiers in my state who are deploying. Thank you for the support and encouragement you provide through these devotionals.”
Sergeant Mike McClellan
“I am a new chaplain assistant and I am glad to hear we can pass devotionals out to our soldiers. It is comforting to them when we show how much we support and care for them.”
Pamela Chappel, chaplain assistant
Fort Knox, Ky.
“Thank you for your dedication in supporting the chaplain mission to bring soldiers to God and God to soldiers.”
Lieutenant Demetrius Walton, chaplain
“Please send 200 books for the Navy and Army guards serving Guantanamo Bay. These are a big encouragement to them.”
Lieutenant Anthony Carr, chaplain
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Please send 400 books for sailors aboard the USS Makin Island LHD8
RP2 Jason Cooper, U.S. Navy
USS Makin Island LHD8
San Diego, Calif.
“Please provide 100 copies. Thank you very much. Our soldiers will be really blessed.”
Lieutenant Anthony Gasso, chaplain
Los Alamitos, Calif.
“Faith in God played a vital role in my deployment to Iraq in 2004, and this book would have played a large role in my deployment experience. It will be a tool that I hold on to and use at the point the president and the United States Army calls upon my service. Thanks for the resource and I pray that this is a tool that is continued to be provided to service members in the future.”
Sergeant Ryan Luchau
Montana Yellow Ribbon Program
“Please send 100 Strength for Service books. We will distribute them at Sather Air Force Base at the Baghdad International Airport.”
Chaplain Mike Grubbs
“Received the SFS’s today and wanted to thank you, some of this shipment will be carried by soldiers as they deploy to assist the people of Haiti.”
Captain Jacobs, John W. Jr., chaplain
597th Transportation Terminal Group
Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
Ft. Eustis, Va.
“As you know, our military is being asked to do even more with less these next couple of years to support Afghanistan initiatives. Your beliefs on the war are irrelevant to deciding to support this ministry. If you believe in God’s great ‘Agape’ love that he showed through sacrificing his only Son Jesus, as the Apostle Paul said, ‘Even though we were retched sinners-Christ died for them’ then I ask that you pray how that unconditional love guides you in your support.
On Father’s Day of 1998 I said goodbye to my wife and two kids, 9/7 year olds to deploy to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. December of 2008, I deployed for six months as the command chaplain for a Joint Special Operations Task Force combating terrorism. It was the first time in my military career I had missed Christmas and all our birthday’s. I spent Christmas day at the entry control point hanging out (ministry of presence) with one of the Navy’s finest MSRON (Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron) troops as he showed me pictures of his 6 year old and 7 month old children. He had only spent ONE Christmas with his oldest son. I said nothing about this only being my first away from my family.
I shared a copy of Strength for Service with this military member and hundreds like him. I heard countless stories of how during times of high stress like holidays away from family have given them Strength to continue serving their country! Every holiday you and I celebrate, we must always remember 9/11 and pray for the men and women who sacrifice their freedom so that we can enjoy ours.
Chaplain Corps have very limited if any funding while deployed. Your generosity makes the Strength for Service critical to military chaplains throughout the world! Many times it is the only source in addition to Bibles to put into the hands of our faithful men and women of the Armed Services to help them keep going and keep the faith during times of stress, need and loneliness.
I’m humbled and honored to be able to serve God in ministry and represent you. Know that your support will enable renewal of the church and make disciples across the world-‘The World is Our Parish’.”
Mike Solano, chaplain
149 Fighter Wing
Texas Air National Guard
“You were a blessing to my ministry and soldiers when I was serving in the Ohio Army National Guard. God has seen fit that now I serve in the active duty Army and have recently moved to Fort Hood, site of the Nov. 5, 2009 tragedy.
“The 1,200-member battalion I am attached to may be the largest in the largest in the Army. And I am now doing double duty covering another battalion with another 1,000 soldiers that is without a chaplain. Both battalions appear to have been without a chaplain for a few months and there is absolutely no religious-support material for either one. Anything that you can donate would be greatly appreciated. My primary battalion is gearing up to deploy in September, 2010.”
First Lieutenant Bryan S. Kimble, chaplain
Fourth Brigade Combat Team
Fort Hood, Texas
“I am currently serving at West Point, United States Military Academy. For my last two assignments, I have given the Strength for Service devotional as a graduation gift for the soldiers who graduated basic training, Fort Jackson and for cadets who graduated the Academy at West Point. They highly value such a historic and yet spiritual document. Please share with the caring members of the United Methodist Church that these devotionals are placed in the hands of the future leaders of the United States Army and thank them for their contributions.”
Major Rick Cantrell, chaplain
United States Military Academy
West Point, N.Y.
“Thank you for the books you shared with us. As many churches realize there is not a lot of direct feedback from outreach ministries. Sometimes it is in the planting of the seed and allowing God to send someone to water and nourish. I can tell you that I have seen patients reading your materials. I have had patients thank me for providing these great resources. I have also had one of our staff come in and ask for one to send to her deployed son. ‘Chaplain, this blessed me so much that I just have to send it to my son.’
Again, thank you for your support in shared ministry.”
James E. Rayburn
Chief of Chaplain Services
VA Medical Center
“Please send Strength for Service books. I will be serving about 500 soldiers while deployed to Kuwait.”
First Lieutenant W. Lee Frye Jr., chaplain
“This service is greatly appreciated. Our subordinate unit ministry teams have cleaned me out. As the senior ministry team, we try to keep our other ministry teams supplied with these devotionals.”
SFC Keith Byers
“Thank you for the books. They help our troops a lot. God bless.”
First Lieutenant Anthony Gasso, chaplain
Joint Forces Training Center
Los Alamitos, Calif.
“I am chaplain of a Combat Engineer Battalion. We will be deploying in December and I would like to provide your resource to each of the deploying soldiers in my battalion.”
Chaplain Jeffrey Mitchell
“Please send 400 additional books. Your books are very popular here.”
SPC John L. Land
Fort Leonard Wood
“I am a chaplain assigned at West Point, N.Y. I have received Strength for Service devotions before when I was serving at Fort Jackson, S.C.”
Chaplain Rick Cantrell
Fort Montgomery, NY
“Our basic training soldiers loved the first batch you sent, and when I was in Afghanistan these devotionals sustained us. Thank you very much.”
Chaplain Jerry Johnson
Fort Jackson, S.C.
“Please send 1,000 copies of Strength for Service to God and Country. The reason for requesting the large quantity is that our mission here at Fort Dix is mobilizing and demobilizing soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and coast guard personnel. We truly appreciate your donation. Strength for Service is a great book that all have loved.”
Sergeant Denise Powers
“I am Chaplain Abraham Sarmiento’s assistant. We would like 250 books prior to our November deployment to Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan.”
Hunter Army Air Field
“We are with the USS New York. It is a ship built out of metal from the World Trade Center. We are a pre-commissioned ship and are starting our chaplain’s department from the ground up. Any help for our crew would be great.”
Chaplain Edmond Garrett
USS New York
“I am a Navy chaplain providing coverage for the USS Porter. We are just beginning a long deployment and I need 300 copies of Strength for Service. I am very thankful and excited to receive the copies for my sailors.”
USN Lieutenant Scott Sroka, chaplain
USS Porter Guided Missile Destroyer
“We distributed nearly 200 of these last month. They are very popular and we could definitely distribute more.”
SPC Stephen Pearson
Tripler Army Medical Center
“We have one battalion-size element deploying about 300 and one battalion of 700 returning. We have some books, but would love to have more.”
SPC Rory Townley
Carson City, Nevada
“I took some of these books to Iraq with me the last time I deployed and I would love to be able to take some again as well as give them out before we leave. Thanks so much for all you do.”
Captain Matt Hamrick, chaplain
Fort Carson, Colo.
“Please send us 100 books. Be have had Strength for Service books before, and they are very popular with our troops.”
Chaplain James Bastian
Niagara Falls, NY
“I work at the NAS Whiting Field chapel and we have been using your Strength for Service devotionals to help inspire new aviators. We are currently running low on tan copies, and I would like to request 200 additional copies.”
LTJG Craig Tieman
Whiting Field Chapel
“I work with Marine recruits during their second phase training at Camp Pendleton. I also serve a battalion of 450 Marines. These are great portable books that these guys can really get a lot of use out of. I appreciate the support.”
Lieutenant Matthew Weems, chaplain
Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“I am a chaplain assistant we would like to give these out to deploying troops.”
182 Airlift Wing
“Thank you for taking the time to think of our soldiers. It means a lot to them while they are away from his or her family. Your dedication and loving spirit is greatly appreciated.”
First Lieutenant Andy Stockner
Virginia Army National Guard.
Forward Operating Base
“I want to let you know how appreciative we are. Studies show there is a direct correlation in recovery for traumatic events to how well a soldier ‘feels cared for.’ Here we get to see some of the worst things that are found in humanity and, contrastingly enough, the very best that can be found in humanity. An example would be a local Afghan man is brought in with a gunshot wound to his leg, severing the femoral artery and, wouldn’t you know, his blood is type A/B. The American Red Cross isn’t here, so the call goes out for donors and the American soldiers stand up and step forward.”
Captain John Jacobs, chaplain
Forward Operating Base
“I have asked many of our soldiers if they would like copies of this book. I have had such an overwhelming response that I would like to order enough for all deploying. I am the deployment cycle support manager and run the deployment prep workshops. Thanks for all that you do. This book will be a blessing to many.”
First Lieutenant Barbara Conner
Fort Harrison, Montana
“I’m a UMC Army chaplain serving on active duty. I’ve deployed thee times to Iraq in the past five years and I typically receive one main request from my soldiers: ‘Hey Chaplain, do you have a year-long devotional?’ I would appreciate you being able to send me 50 copies of Strength for Service to God and Country. I know the guys would really appreciate them, and I know they would use them.”
Captain Clint Black, chaplain
Third Battalion 10th Special Forces Airborne
Fort Carson, Colo.
“I have depleted my supply of Strength for Service books during our unit’s recent deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. I would deeply appreciate a new supply of 100 books if possible.”
Lieutenant Daniel Curtis, chaplain
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion
United States Navy
“I go onto the SFS website, copy/paste the devotions daily and email them to our FRG leaders back in the U.S. and Germany and I also email the devotions to our Battalion, which is spread across Afghanistan.
“I have throughout the time received feedback of how these devotions were a great help for a wife back home or a soldier/leader needing a word of encouragement. I know from personal experience they are right on target, yesterday we were rocketed again and the devotion for May 27th hits the nail right on the head! Please send 150 more books.
“God Bless you all at SFS and May God continue to pour out His mercy and grace on America.”
Captain John W. Jacobs Jr.
“I will be deploying as the chaplain of the Infantry 48th Base Support Battalion. We will be spending a year in Afghanistan. We have around 350 soldiers in the battalion and around 4,000 in the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia Army National Guard. I appreciate you donation and covet your prayers.”
Lieutenant Leslie Nelson, chaplain
Georgia Army National Guard
“Greetings from Japan. I am the command chaplain on board the USS Blue Ridge. I was pointed in your direction by a Chaplain Paul Hyder. He has highly endorsed your devotional. We have about 1,100 sailors on board Blue Ridge. I request 200 books. Thank you for all that you are doing for the men and women in uniform. Your ministry is certainly a blessing to those that serve.”
Lieutenant Steven Benefield, command chaplain
USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19)
“I use Strength for Service to God and Country for my daily devotions and have found it truly a great blessing.”
Lieutenant John Jacobs, chaplain
U.S. Army 276 Engineer Battalion
“These devotionals are most helpful for our Marines both pre-and –posd eveployment. Thank you.”
Chaplain Shelly Scheibeler
U.S. Marine Corps
Kansas City, Mo.
“Strength for Service is used for those about to deploy. Many thanks for all that you do in spiritual support for those who wear the uniform.”
Major Leslie Janovec
Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
“I support two chaplains and 24 submarine crews. We used to receive Strength for Service in the past and we would like to receive more.”
RPC Timothy S. Brewster
Naval Submarine Support Cent
“I serve in Kuwait at the gateway to the Middle East where we provide counseling and help to over 4,000 airmen daily. We are asking for any type of literature and devotionals.”
SrA Martin Gomez, chaplain assistant
“I have used Strength for Service as a resource over the years for troops and families and give thanks to the Lord for what I think is one of the best resources available during the time of war. My first copy was given to me on loan from a member of my congregation who had served in World War II.”
LTC Gene Hanke, chaplain
“I am the chief investigation s operation officer responsible for training new arrivals at the law Enforcement Professional Program in Iraq. Over the past four months I have been passing out Strength for Service as part of our training package. I have personally used it as my daily devotional since December, 2007, and I’ve been most inspired by its content.”
Law Enforcement Professional Program
“I wanted to know if I could order a few cases of the Strength for Service devotionals for my Basic Training soldiers here at Fort Jackson. They were a very popular item in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division.”
Captain Jerry Johnson, chaplain
2-39 Infantry Battalion
Fort Jackson, S.C.
“The solders here are all wounded and always have a need for a daily word to pick them up. I thank you for he ministry that you do through this.”
Sergeant Mark Wright, chaplain assistant
Warrior Transition Battalion
Fort Benning, Ga.
“I just received the shipment of Strength for Service. THANK YOU! I have been sitting here flipping through the devotional and it looks like a great tool. I appreciate the generosity of the SFS organization.”
Lieutenant Travis Long, chaplain
1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“I just wanted to let you know that the devotionals you sent us here in Kandahar, Afghanistan arrived on Saturday afternoon. We immediately distributed them in the new worship service we started yesterday, and we have also placed them on our religious supply tables in the new chapel (which is basically the dining facility tent). Please extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those you work and serve alongside with for their thoughts, prayers and faithful acts of service.”
Captain Lyde Andrews, U.S. Army chaplain
“I am the chief investigations operation officer for the law enforcement professional program in Iraq. Our job is to identify the networks killing our soldiers. Over the past four months I have been passing out Strength for Service as part of our training package. I have personally used the book for my daily devotions since December, 2007, and have been inspired by its content.”
“I would like to request 2,500 copies of the book Strength for Service to God and Country. Colonel John Owens, chaplain of the Georgia Army National Guard, is going to give them to his chaplains so they can give them to soldiers before deployment over the next several months.”
Sergeant Beverly Jackson
Georgia Army National Guard
“I greatly appreciate these wonderful books. My soldiers cannot get enough of them – every deployment briefing that I give, I get an overwhelming request from soldiers for these.”
Captain Daniel Knaup
“Thank you so much for making these available. Some of the soldiers we will be taking had a pretty rough deployment last time around, and these will really help.”
Captain Thomas Tedmon, chaplain
South Dakota National Guard
Fort Hood, Texas (mobilization post)
“I use the Strength for Service devotional book every day. Sometimes I get behind, but I catch up. I had been looking for a copy of the book for almost six months, and I finally found two copies while I was passing through Ali A Saleem on the way back to Iraq from leave. I sent one to my mother-in-law, and kept one for myself. She had been looking for a devotional that she and I could both use from opposite sides of the globe. Since then, my wife has expressed interest in taking up daily devotions as well.”
CW2 Billy Myers
“This is a good tool to foster and encourage soldiers to maintain their relationship with God.”
Chaplain Frederick B. Denning
“It’s becoming harder to find good military focused devotional material to give to our deploying troops. I am very thankful to find this resource and provide copies to any and all I can.”
Captain J. Brian Anders, chaplain
Elmendorf Air Force Base
“The students of Submarine School and my command are enjoying this book. Even the base CO and XO have given great reviews about this item. Therefore, they want more if possible.”
Naval Submarine School
“Though it is not merely a United Methodist project, I need to tell you about the Big Gift. The national office of the United Methodist Men has provided thousands of copies of Strength for Service to God and Country, a devotional book made specifically for the ‘pluralistic’ military environment. More than a million of the original version was used in WWII, and one of the sailors from that period, gave his battered and worn copy to his grandson before he died. The grandson, a 15 year old Boy Scout at the time, decided to edit the original and add some more to it to reflect the much more pluralistic military environment of today for his Eagle Scout project. And now we are handing them out by the thousands because of the generosity of the United Methodist Men, and your generosity that is making this whole project possible.
“Do you know of any 15 year olds who think they can’t do anything worthwhile? Do you know of any small country churches who feel like they are no longer relevant? Tell them about your small part in a big thing that God is doing.”
Major James Lewis, chaplain
Ohio Army National Guard
371st Sustainment Brigade
Al Asad, Iraq
“I received a copy of Strength for Service from a chaplain while deployed to Haiti. This is one of the best books I have ever received. I continue to read it today. I have carried it on several deployments. Thank you for this outstanding book.”
Lt. Col. Tim Brandon
US Air Force
“Established in 1801, the Marine Corp Barracks in Washington, D.C. supports ceremonial and security missions in the nation’s capital, including burials at Arlington Cemetery. Marines from the barracks participated in the defense of Washington in the War of 1812 and the barracks currently serve as the home of the US Marine Corp Band.. “Strength for Service books give great strength to Marines at the oldest post in the Corp.”
Chaplain John R. Logan
Eighth and I
“Thank you so much for this material. I have used it on two deployments and the devotionals have been a blessing.”
Chaplain Cornelia White
Fort Leonard Wood
“As a United Methodist clergyman, I’m so very proud of the United Methodist Church’s commitment to John Wesley’s vision ‘the world is our parish’ as they provide this awesome resource especially to National Guard chaplains who have no funding. I have received rave reviews from airmen that have read this devotion. One airmen told me she was dealing with a friend dying of cancer; she didn’t know what to say to her and then read Strength for Service. ‘It was if God was speaking to me through the reading and I then knew what words would be of comfort to her.’ Praise God!”
Chaplain Mike Solano
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
“I would like to express my gratitude for the 700 Strength for Service to God and Country books. These have been a tremendous source of inspiration to our service members in particular. I have also distributed these books to all other camps throughout Kuwait and also to our civilians working on base. Our service members express their gratitude for these devotionals.”
Major Kristi P. Papas, chaplain
U.S. Army Support Group
“Everyone loved Strength for Service. Since we have more men and women deployed family members are also reading the book.”
U.S. Army Chaplain John Davis
East Orange, New Jersey
“The Strength for Service devotionals went like hotcakes.”
Chaplain Bill Berry
Camp Joseph T. Robinson
Arkansas Army National Guard
Little Rock, Ark.
“On behalf of the paratroopers of the Third Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, thank you for your part in sending a donation of 100 copies of Strength for Service. As the last true airborne division in the world’s most feared Army, the temptation is to think that we can successful defend America’s freedoms by human power. However, Proverbs 21:30-31 reminds us, “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” As the Panthers of the Third Brigade Combat Team prepare for our imminent deployment into harm’s way, the Strength for Service books will help our paratroopers to maintain a high level of spiritual fitness as we look to the Lord for spiritual strengthened prayers. Please pray for us as we seek to honor the Lord Jesus by bring order to a chaotic situation. Again, thank you for your generosity.”
Major Paul Jaedicke, chaplain
Parachute Infantry “Regiment
Fort Bragg, N.C.
“The boys in my Boy Scout troop would like to give out the Strength for Service devotional to the workers for a local power company. The employees of Mississippi Power Co. worked through the worst storm ever seen by man. They showed the strong will and determination that gave relief to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This may seem to some as if they were just doing their job, but consider many of these same people lost their homes too.”
“We have had many military personnel ask about this devotional. It would be greatly appreciated if you could accommodate us here at the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office.”
William B. Broome
“I would like to have 1,000 Strength for Service books to get into the hands of troops that are serving in Kuwait. We have a new rotation that will start in October. Many of these troops will be moving into Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Major Kristi Pappas, chaplain
HHC Area Support Group
“On our last deployment to Kosovo in 2004, this devotional book was instrumental in helping keep our unit spiritually grounded.”
Sergeant Randy Wilson
“The chaplains’ office sponsored two retreats this summer for active duty service members who are on the staff at Lanstuhl (Germany) Regional Medical Center. the staff cares for seriously wounded American service members flown in from Iraq and Afghanistan. In June, Navy Chaplain Steve Stavoy led a retreat on understanding the mind and consciousness of Jesus. In July, I led another retreat on spiritual growth. Each retreat was attended by 40 participants. The Strength for Service devotional books you donated to us were made available and received with appreciation by retreat participants. The remaining books are on hand for us to give to patients, family members and other staff. Thank you very much for your generous contribution to the spirituality and resiliency of the military staff here.”
Commander Lyn Juckniess, chaplain
US Navy Clinical Pastoral Division
“On behalf of LTC Chadbourne, the 703D Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) Commander, I want to thank you for your prayers for and support of our American troops. I had written Larry Coppock earlier in our deployment for some Strength for Service devotionals which I distributed around the battalion. I am sure God’s Word and the meditations have been a source of great encouragement and strength for our soldiers. Our soldiers are on the dangerous and uncertain roads of Iraq almost every day hauling and retrieving resources and supplies from base to base. The Commander allows the chaplain to have a prayer before each departing CLP. I have also given several of the devotionals to our Ugandan team which provides base defense security at the gates and dining facility. They were so filled with joy. Again, thank you for your prayers and support. We could not do what we do over here without knowing we have the support of our home team. Lord’s continued blessings upon the ministry of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. You are truly appreciated.”
Captain Shannon Philio, chaplain
Forward Operating Base Kalsu
“I personally have given out hundreds [of copies of Strength for Service], and the offices I’ve worked with, probably thousands. I have my own little corner of the post that I directly serve that is not too large, but past my ‘Jerusalem,’ I serve a broader ‘Judea,’ the largest post in western Iraq.”
Major James R. Lewis, chaplain
Al Asad Air Base
U.S. Air Force
“We have started a Strength for Service group to discuss devotions in the powerful book during lunch time.”
Staff Sergeant Andretti Seno, chaplain’s assistant
U.S. Air Force
Curacao, Netherland Antilles
“The sailors here at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton are constantly being rotated through ‘rip to fill’ for places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The chaplains here incorporate Strength for Service into the pre-deployment training.”
Kyle C. Mallard, chaplain
U.S. Navy Hospital
“I attended a training just recently and was given a Strength for Service and loved it.”
Peterson Air Force Base
El Paso County, Colo.
“Three boxes [of Strength for Service books] arrived on Monday afternoon. They are going to be perfect for our chapel. I can’t thank you enough.”
RP3 Benjamin L. Ivy
Sugar Gove Chapel
“I was given a copy of Strength for Service by an American soldier here in Basra and I wondered if you could send me some for distribution to our soldiers. We have nothing similar to your superb publication.”
Padre Mark Christian, chaplain
“I’ve given these [books] out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now I’m here in the Philippines and I will distribute them cheerfully. The troops really love them.”
Major Shannon Pitts, chaplain
“Thank you very much for your generous support of our soldiers and mission over the course of our deployment. Your support helps our soldiers who face daily combat stress to stay Army strong by boosting morale and maintaining high spirits. We are a battalion of approximately 1,200 soldiers out of Fort Steward, Ga. We supply maintenance, supply and services, transportation, medical services, force protection and convoy security for the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. Our soldiers are on the roads of Iraq everyday hauling resources to and from various patrol bases throughout a 40,000 square mile area. We could not do what we do over here without knowing we have the support and prayers of our home team. Thank you again for standing alongside us as together we preserve and advance freedom. You truly make a difference.”
Lieutenant Colonel John P. Chadbourne, commander
703D Brigade Support Battalion
“Thank you for the ministry that you provide for my soldiers.”
Chaplain Jay K. Clark
Contingency Operating Base Speicher
“I am grateful for your generosity and that of your donors. I just love the devotional.”
Major Terrence M. Walsh, chaplain
10th Combat Aviation Brigade
Fort Drum, New York
“I am currently serving as a chaplain’s assistant in an American military unit in the Philippines. We are very active in the global war on terror. I have a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country and I get a lot of comfort and wisdom from it.”
Master Sergeant Richard Younkin, chaplain’s assistant
U.S. Air Force
Republic of the Philippines
“I am a hitchhiker from troop to troop so I get the chance to talk and ride with lots of soldiers. Strength for Service is a great resource. Our squadron lost a soldier from an improvised explosive devise a few days ago. It is always hard when it one of our own. Please be praying as we deal with his death and everything surrounding it.”
Captain Jonathan Knoedler, chaplain
“They have been quite popular [and] veterans have taken all the Strength for Service books that I had.”
Wayne Fl. Olson, chaplain
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Long Island, N.Y.
“Approximately 500 homeless veterans receive housing, new clothes, intensive counseling and the opportunity to meet with retired military chaplains during their two-week stay at the San Francisco Bay Area Veterans Stand Down. Our chaplains hand out copies of Strength for Service to those who make or renew their decision to follow Christ.”
Robert D. Taylor, chaplain’s assistant
Corte Madera, Calif.
“Thanks for the Strength for Service devotionals. They are being dispersed at Camps Arifjan and Buehring in Kuwait and Camp Fallujah in Iraq. I read the meditations for my birthday (Jan. 14) and a friend’s (Sept. 21). The meditations for these two days alone humble me. Everything worked out for the best and it was on God’s time- the right time. I speak of the devotional often––its history––its relevance––it’s an amazing book. My schedule as a nurse doesn’t always allow me to go to church, yet sharing daily devotions and reflections allows me to have church whenever – wherever. May God continue to richly bless your organization and your families.”
LTJG Elyse M. Martin
U. S. Navy
Camp Buehring, Kuwait
“I am an avid used books collector, and I found an old copy of the first edition of Strength for Service in a bookstore in Fredericksburg, Va. The inscription is to a sailor, Courtney Emerson Birch, from his Chaplain, Lieutenant Allen Jones. The date on the flyleaf is June 23, 1943. I am a believer who read through the daily reader for a year, and was so blessed by its message that I have re-read it year after year. The most amazing part is that on the entry dated June 15, there are penciled notes from, I assume, Birch, that read ‘D-Day Saipan, 1944.’ I am so moved that this gift made its way back from the Second World War, and this Friday I am giving it as a gift to my boyfriend’s brother, who is graduating from OCS as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. My hope is that it will bless him as he goes into service with the encouragement that once blessed a WWII sailor.”
Virginia Beach, Va.
“Thank you very much for the Strength for Service book. I read one message a day. Sometimes I read them to others, but only if they wish to hear. In times like these, it really helps to be able to relate to the life lessons of Jesus. Sometimes it can be the only thing keeping me from tearing all my hair out. During stressful days, I like to read 27 May ‘Spiritual Peace.’ Sometime in April I’ll be home on leave.”
This postcard was sent from Iraq to Mike Bremer of Middleville, Mich.
“I had a lot of requests for these devotional books in Kuwait and also here. They are portable and soldiers will read these type books. They are especially interested when I tell them that they are reprinted World War II books.”
Chaplain Troy Harrison
Fort Bragg, N.C.
“My Prayer Advocate, Dr Peter Thoms, and I were in Nashville in March. We were having breakfast at the Embassy Suites. We got into conversation with a young lady who was cleaning off the tables. She was expecting her second child and her husband was headed for Iraq. I went to my room and picked up two copies of the Strength for Service and gave them to her so that they could read the same devotional the same day. She said, ‘Thanks,’ and that she would give one to her husband. It blessed my heart to know I have made a difference in their lives.”
Detroit Conference President of United Methodist Men
“I’ve heard very good things about the devotional Strength for Service and how it ministers to our airmen. My top chaplain assistant, Master Sergeant Tim Streich, asked me to secure much needed copies.”
Chaplain John A. O’Brien
115th Fighter Wing
“Thanks so much for the copies of Strength for Service you sent. I have already started doing ministry with Federal Bureau of Prisons staff members who are going through difficulties by giving them a devotional. My warden recently lost his father who was big into Boy Scouting so I gave him a copy. When he thanked me, he indicated his family had placed one in his father’s casket.”
Chaplain William Hoyle
U.S. Federal Prison
“I have found this wonderful devotional book, Strength for Service to God and Country at the family support unit at our armory. These little books offer comfort to so many under stress and in such isolation from the world. What a great thing the Commission on United Methodist Men is doing.”
“This is the most popular of the devotional material we provide for our veteran patients.”
Chaplain Jim Durham
Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center
“As the unit prepares to deploy, they’ll go through a number of stations to include finance, medical, etc., to take care of their records, shots, etc., to prepare for deployemt. One of the stations is the chaplain. At that time, I give out New Testaments and Strength for Service books.”
Captain Daryl Densford, chaplain
12 Combat Action Brigade Storck Barracks
“I served two tours in Vietnam and I know the value of the Word, especially when you are in the combat zone.”
New Baden, Ill.
“I really do appreciate the copies of Strength for Service to God and Country ! I work with basic training soldiers––as well as drill sergeants and some other soldiers. I get many requests for religious reading material––especially since the basic training soldiers aren’t allowed to read other materials––so this book really helps. It is a great durable book that can go anywhere with them. Thank you for this ministry you provide for our soldiers. It is a real blessing, and can certainly have great eternal value!
May God Bless each of you involved with the Strength for Service project.”
Captain Doug Hoover, chaplain
2-10 Infantry Battalion
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
“When I was serving a Marine Battalion, these devotionals were very well liked and much appreciated. I know it will be the same with the sailors stationed here in Japan. I do look forward to continued blessings from you. God bless!”
Lieutenant Johan Baik, chaplain
US Fleet Activities
“I handed out Strength for Service to God and Country during my one-year in Fallujah (and) I recently started a chapel service in the junior enlisted housing area. I would like to hand out copies of the book at a special service for our warriors at this new chapel site.”
CDR Alan Hanson
Deputy Command Chaplain
Marine Corps Base
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“I received a box of Strength for Service to God and Country devotionals today. These devotionals will be picked up very quickly by soldiers who are open to God’s presence in a renewed way here in the war zone. We are facing some challenging times here in Iraq and all of us are able to draw strength and inspiration from the support we receive from people like you. Please accept my humble thanks for your continued support. May God bless all of you in your organization.”
Major R Jay Hearn, chaplain
Second Brigade Combat Team
“I use the devotional book myself because of the perfect size; the devotionals give me a morning spiritual vitamin––a quick hit that builds me up in the faith.”
Lieutenant Virginia Emery, battalion chaplain
“The books were quite well received. I would like more copies if that is possible.”
Major Mike Hoffman, chaplain
412th Fires BDE
Camp Delta, Iraq
“In the past few hours, I showed the devotional online to a fellow chaplain who is leaving tomorrow for northern Iraq for 15 months. He was excited about the prospect of getting some of the Strength for Service devotional guides. He will join his unit who just arrived in Iraq whose commander is a previous parishioner of mine. He is requesting 100 to 120 of the devotional guiders for the three hundred troops he will be caring for driving convoys from Turkey to Bagdad.”
Captain Steven Lambert, chaplain
“We received several boxes from ‘Adopt a Chaplain’ today and there was a copy of your Strength for Service devotional in the first box. A soldier watching us open the boxes immediately snatched it up and said, ‘This is what I really want.’”
Major R Jay Hearn, chaplain
“I appreciate your offering this wonderful devotional and our military members greatly benefit by it.”
Major E. Ramsey Coutta, chaplain
Joint Forces Training Center
Camp Shelby, Miss.
“I’m happy to inform you that our unit safely returned to Fort Carson, Colorado, after the successful completion of a 15-month deployment to Iraq. We would like to express our sincere words of heart-felt appreciation for all the great support, care and prayers that you provided for all the soldiers, airmen, sailors and DOD civilians in our unit to lift up their morale and spirits during the deployment. It is a very wonderful meditation book that many love.”
Major Matthew B. Ahn, chaplain
Combined Joint Task Force Troy
“A fantastic resource.”
Lt. Matthew David Ward, chaplain
North Carolina National Guard
“I appreciate this service you are providing to our Marines.”
CDR Ralph S. Douglas, chaplain
Marine Corps Embassy Security Command
“Thank you for being a blessing to troops through the chaplains who serve them. Our mail tells us that these days are very tough, so resources for ministry such as this are greatly appreciated.”
Daniel Hoebeke, founder
San Jose, Calif.
“I would like to thank the United Methodist Church for their caring and support of the U.S. Armed Forces. The devotional books were given to servicemen and women in the Kuwait area. They were pleased to receive and read such beautiful devotional books. Thank you and God bless you.”
Col. Curtis E. Wells, chaplain
Third Personal Command
Camp Donha, Kuwait
“Thanks for your support. We really appreciate it. Muchas gracias por todo amigos.”
SPC Pedro Rodriguez
Third Personal Command
Camp Donha, Kuwait
“Thank you so much. The box of 100 books arrived at the armory the other day and I am packing it to go to Camp Blanding for our annual training with other battalions. The soldiers will be at drill for selective missions and your books will be a splendid spiritual resource. Thank you for your kindness to our military that is doing a superb job under difficult and complicated world-wide situations. These young ones today are truly America’s finest and I will work tirelessly in God’s vineyard to serve them.”
Major Linda J. Pugsley, chaplain
Florida Army National Guard
St. Petersburg, Fla.
“United Methodist Men and Scouts gave the West Virginia National Guard a supply of Strength for Service books two years ago, but we are now out of our supply. We are looking at 1,000 to 1,200 service members being deployed out of this state in the next year. Most of these have not had the opportunity to receive a copy of this tremendous text.”
Chaplain Bruce D. Reed
Joint Forces Headquarters
“Thank you for the spiritual support to the men and women of the Armed Forces. These devotionals are a great resource to provide to the cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.”
Chaplain Gary Weeden
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
New London, Conn.
“I have 368 soldiers preparing to deploy for Iraq and I would like to present each one of them with a devotional that will encourage them and lift them up through their deployment.”
Chaplain Jody Harlow
1-2444th AVN Battalion
“Last Friday night I had dinner with a friend who has a teenage son who is going through hormonal changes and driving the household nuts. Just before we met me she had a huge fight with her son. They screamed, he spit, and she hit him. He said he was leaving for good. She threw his stuff out in the yard, and then headed to meet me for dinner. She was about to depart for Iraq in a few days, and I had planned to give her a Strength for Service devotional to carry with her. When she got home, she read the March 2 devotion (Behold My Hands). She took this as a message from God that she should not have struck her son, and she thanked me for bringing her back to her faith in God after many years. She even attended church the following morning. This little book has been given to many of my close friends and family, and all love it. I was given one by the chaplain with the Marine Corps League while visiting the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. I loved it so much I knew I wanted more to give to those who would appreciate them. The messages apply to everyone.”
Susan purchased several copies to give to friends and members of the armed services.
“I have had the opportunity to utilize the Strength for Service books in past assignments and realized what a blessing they would be for our troops who will be deploying later this year. In sharing this resource with other chaplains, they too have seen its value. Just today I was able to turn over six of our eight cases to one of the units who will be heading down range. The chaplain was excited to receive them. It is very important that we provide our soldiers with the tools they need to ensure they remain spiritually fit during their deployment.”
Major Bill Schneider, family life chaplain
U.S. Army Garrison
“I have served in the Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy for 10 years now with prior service as a Naval Intelligence Officer and as an enlisted sailor since 1979. Prior to this tour with the Coast Guard I have served three Marine tours, the last being with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, San Diego Calif. I was recalled to active duty in February of 2003 to serve in combat operations in Iraq. I first came in contact with the Strength for Service devotionals while assigned as the Deputy Wing Chaplain, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing responsible for preparing chaplains and religious program specialist for deployment to Iraq. In Iraq, we ministered to Christians, Muslims and Jews. But the most highly sought after books remained the Bible and Strength for Service. In country we could not keep these in stock. While the Marines would use their Bibles and personal witness, they often provided a copy of Strength for Service to their Iraqi counter-part and he in turn gave the Marines a Koran and shared insights from his faith perspective. Through a simple faith-based devotional people came to share from their hearts about what faith in God meant for them.”
LCDR Father David Glassmire, chaplain
Lackawanna, New York
“Many of our people at Holloman Air Force Base deploy to regions where we are engaged in hostile actions. One of our own chaplains just returned from Afghanistan where he ministered to as few as 25 soldiers. He used and enjoyed these devotional guides as they helped him provide comfort and assurance that our Lord is at work in the midst of this conflict. Thank you for your generous contribution.”
Captain Paul B. Joyner, chaplain
49th Fighter Wing
Holloman Air Force Base
“I recently returned from Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East and I would like to tell you that [Strength for Service to God and Country] is a blessing to our troops overseas. During my stay in the Middle East, I have had numerous opportunities to visit military installations and to fellowship in the military dining facilities. I have had the opportunity to view many service members with their heads bowed in reverence to God for extended periods of times and I can assure you that it was not all for the nourishment that the meal was providing. They were thanking God that they were alive and for the ability to be there to partake in the meal. As a Force Protection Officer with Combat Support Associates, it was my job to train and oversee the security for the military installations in the Middle East. That is to say that we had to search every vehicle and most individuals entering the installations, and I would like to tell you that it was very gratifying and rewarding to see how many soldiers pulled that publication from their pockets. This publication is the soldier’s Upper Room, it is the word of God for the people of God and it is worded in such a way that it directly impacts the lives and daily responsibilities of the American fighting men and women. It is a blessing to have Strength and Service provided for our men and women who are in defense of our values and freedoms and who are willing to lay down their lives in order to ensure that we can enjoy those freedoms that only Americans have. The words within give them comfort and resolve and let them know that Jesus loves them and so does the country that they defend. And the book also allows them to dress in the armor of God in addition to man’s armor. I would like to personally thank you in behalf of all the men and woman serving in the Middle East for your concern for their spiritual health and welfare. You and your organization are a blessing to each and every one of the lives that you have impacted.”
Robert E. Lawrence, Jr.
Air Force Protection Office
Combat Support Associates
“Your ministry and service have been a blessing to so many young Marine recruits. Lay Leaders both Catholic and Protestant are given a copy of the devotional when they report to Weapons and Field Training Battalion. They are used during evening devotions, as words of encouragement to a struggling recruit – but most importantly as a generational link to the ‘faith of our grandfathers.’ Attention is drawn to the introduction and the relationship of Evan to his grandfather. Most if not all the recruits can relate to a faithful grandparent. While in Fallujah, Iraq, my fear was that those who entered into His presence may not have known Him. It was the heaviest burden I carried. Strength for Service [helps] lift these young men to the Lord.”
Captain Scott Radetski, chaplain
U.S. Marine Corps
Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“Thank you so much for the Strength for Service to God and Country books. They have arrived safely and are being distributed as I write this note to you. I have been carrying copies with me as I go “outside the wire” to visit soldiers at the places of duty within the Baghdad region. I have worked it out to where at least one book goes with every squad. The feedback from the soldiers is unanimous: ‘It is the perfect devotional for the warrior/soldier on the go.’ I keep mine in my left leg pocket, a perfect fit. Your ministry is a huge blessing. May God richly bless you all!”
Captain Pete Keough, chaplain
TF 519 MP “Vipers”
“This book is of great spiritual value to those who the Lord has given me to serve.”
Captain Clifford Neuman, chaplain
First Infantry Division
Fort Riley, Kansas
“Thanks again for the books! The signal battalion I serve is spread throughout Kuwait. At every camp our soldiers now have access to Strength for Service because of your thoughtful donations and prayers.”
Captain Bill Killough, chaplain
U.S. Army Signal Battalion
“These devotional books are extremely important to soldiers coming through Fort Riley. Their 60-day training schedule is extremely busy, therefore not all may be able to attend worship services. Speaking as an OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) veteran, I can say that I would read anything over there and I think these books are great for soldiers to have in their pockets when the get some down time.”
SSG Tony Setzer
Fort Riley, Kansas
“The Strength for Service books have been very helpful for us here at Second Battalion. There are a variety of resources that I hand out to the recruits, but I think this is the best and most relevant. It really encourages them because it is written with a military focus. So many of the other resources are great, but don’t address the issues that we face here. Strength for Service speaks right to the heart of a warrior and hits on the topics that are at the forefront of our thoughts. The size is ideal for carrying in a cargo pocket or in the pouch of a pack. The recruits seem to enjoy reading it and being blessed by the stories and prayers. Thank you for this great ministry tool that you are equipping us with.”
Lieutenant Jason Rochester, chaplain
Second Recruit Training Battalion
Marine Corps Recruit Depot
Paris Island, S.C.
“I will deploy with my aviation unit to Iraq next spring. I’d like to request 200 copies of these wonderful books for my battalion. I was given a copy by my supervisory chaplain, and I’ve got to say they are excellent.”
First Lieutenant Philip A. Winn Jr., chaplain
Minnesota Army National Guard
“Thank you for your prayerful support as we continue our ministry to soldiers and their families.”
Chaplain Willie Ailstock
Fort Knox, Ky.
“The 172nd Stryker Bridge was preparing for departure from Iraq with some soldiers even on the plane when they were extended in Iraq for and extra four months. The dependants here at Fort Wainwright are devastated. If possible, could we get 100 more books; this would be wonderful for soldiers here as well as for the soldiers in Iraq. God bless you and thank you.”
Lois Armentor, Garrison administrative assistant
172nd Stryker Bridge
Fort Wainwright, Arkansas
“The books are a great way to get the new Marines of Delta Company a strong spiritual devotional resource before they go out into the fleet. Special thanks to you and all who work to provide these to our Marines and other Sailors and Soldiers. I hope in my new command at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va., that I will be able to continue passing these great devotional booklets onto Marines and Sailors.”
LCDR Phillip E. Clark, chaplain
Marine Corps Recruit Depot
Parris Island, S.C.
“I just wanted to let you know that we received 100 copies of Strength for Service. We appreciate the donation very much, and they will be put to very good use here at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center.”
Kathleen Scott, administrative assistant
U.S. Coast Guard
“We will be deploying approximately 2,000 troops in the near future. The devotional books have been such a hit with our soldiers that we would like to include one in each pack as we have done since you introduced us to them.”
South Carolina Army National Guard
“Thank you so much for the Strength for Service books. These have been much appreciated and used by civilian and military personnel throughout the Pentagon. We have made them available through our monthly book distributions in the Pentagon corridors as well as at a literature display in our office. Soldiers drop by almost every day to look for a copy for themselves or to share with a friend. This is a spiritual resource that is touching souls at the highest levels of our military. Thank you so much for making these excellent books available to us here at the Pentagon.”
Chaplain Jim Driscoll
Deputy Pentagon Chaplain
“I will deploy with my Aviation unit to Iraq next spring. I was given a copy of Strength for Service by my supervisory chaplain and I’ve got to say they’re excellent.”
First Lieutenant Philip A. Winn Jr., chaplain
Minnesota Army National Guard
“I want to sincerely thank you. Your actions send a very visible message to the soldiers that they are indeed cared for and supported. Your support and prayers are vital to our mission and we are grateful.”
Captain Paul N. Douglas, chaplain
148th Support Battalion
“When I place a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country in the hands of wounded soldiers, they are elated beyond measure. They see the book as a tangible manifestation of God’s help and protection. They get so much out of the daily devotionals that it is unbelievable. Thank you so very much for this vibrant ministry to our men and women, whether on the home front or abroad.”
Captain Vincent Dominique, chaplain
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
“The soldiers of the 41 BCT, CJTF Phoenix V, are richly blessed by the devotional, Strength for Service to God and Country. The rich thoughts and messages given within its pages have encouraged and inspire so many. I use the devotional thoughts to open our nightly Battle Update Briefs. We’ve had several soldiers request them to mail home to their families. One small group is using them for a Bible study.”
Chaplain Terry Schrick
Oregon National Guard
“I request 100 copies of the book Strength of Service for members of Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron 34 and subordinate units, which will be deploying to the Middle East later in 2006. The Squadron is composed of the following elements: 75 Sailors on the Squadron Staff (55 Navy and 20 Coast Guard) 100 Sailors in the Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 75 Sailors with 6 patrol boats in the Inshore Boat Unit
75 Sailors with 6 patrol boats in the second Inshore Boat Unit 150 Soldiers under our tactical command providing landside security.”
Captain Carl Nagata,
Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron
Seal Beach, California
“Thank you for the generous contribution of 2,000 copies of Strength for Service to God and Country to the 278th Regimental Combat Team. We are fortunate to have the 278th back home now from nearly a year in Iraq, with only eight combat casualties out of more than 3,000 soldiers who deployed. Strength for Service to God and Country was the only inspirational publication some of these soldiers had after they deployed. I have talked with several of them and want to pass on to you what a profound impact this little book had on them. It is a true demonstration of God’s love and how He works through organizations like United Methodist Men to spread His message of salvation. It makes me proud to be a United Methodist.”
Joint Public Affairs Director
Tennessee Military Department
“Thank you for donating your books. They have helped me through the toughest weeks of basic training. I read a passage every night at lights out and it always strengthens me and gives me motivation.”
Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“It is difficult to be away from home and family and while our men and .women are deployed they have many opportunities to consider things of eternal significance. Thank you for providing another source of comfort. As I thumbed through my copy I found these words for 20 May: ‘Does God care? Does He know my name? Does He love me, or am I lost in the crowd?’ We know from knowing Him that He cares, He knows, He loves us, and because of what you, and many others have done by sharing this book, many of our military personnel will know as well. Thank you.”Scott R. Gardner Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force Office of the Chief of the Chaplain Service
“We are very grateful for the Strength for Service books. I know each service member who receives one will be very appreciative. It makes me proud to know a men’s organization recognizes its role in modeling what it means to be a real man of God. May God bless each man as he lives out his faith in a bold, courageous, and a visible way. I will see that the books are distributed.”
Chaplain Mike Langston
Senior Navy Chaplain for Afghanistan.
“I saw total destruction [in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina]. I wondered why such a burden would be brought upon anyone. This devotional helped me to understand how such an event could occur. The comfort provided by Strength for Service got me through the ordeal.”
John McWilliams, a firefighter from Bollinbrook, Ill., who was one of the first volunteers in New Orleans following the hurricane
“As with other units, our future will likely include deployment for many of our soldiers. Our budget is limited so I am thankful they are free to soldiers.”
Major Keith Shurtleff, chaplain
Big Red One
“We held a pre-deployment prayer breakfast and we distributed 400 Strength for Service books to our deploying soldiers.”
Chaplain Michael Tarvin
HHC, III Corps
Fort Hood, Texas
“All who have experienced this book have praised its value. Recently, the hospital chaplain told me that the staff as the hospital wants copies of the text. The chaplain reads a selection each morning during the morning report and both doctors and nurses want copies. Thanks for you faithfulness in this ministry.”
Chaplain Douglas McLeroy
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
“I am in Fort Bliss, Texas, getting ready to deploy to Iraq and I just wanted you to know how your book, Strength for Service, really helped me through a difficult time.”
Sergeant Darren Vitale
California National Guard
“I think it’s awesome that a scout compiled this as his Eagle project. I even think it’s more exciting that you plan to give one of these books to every person serving in the armed forces.”
Stephen Fessler, Eagle Scout
“Thank you for the copy of Strength for Service. I have already read several pages and passages in the book. I keep it in my patrol vehicle and refer to it often. Sometimes law enforcement is a thankless job. It really means a lot to me that your group would take the time to give me such a nice and wonderful gift.”
Lt. Chad E. Trivitt
Wythe County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office
“Our soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors, and Embassy staff love the Strength for Service books. They say the encouragement they receive is wonderful. The books help focus their day on the Lord instead of starting out (or in some cases finishing) the day with a “brain full of burdens.” Dozens of sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines have told us that they appreciate the durability and size besides the wonderful “daily doses” of spiritual feeding. The Embassy Marine detachment handed them out to their entire team. As personnel rotate into the Baghdad Embassy community we are handing out more. I appreciate your support.”
U.S. Army Chaplain James Finn
“Thank you very much for your generous contribution of 312 Strength for Service devotionals to the men and women of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault Division). We are preparing to deploy with the rest of the division and there will be a great spiritual hunger––as well as need––once we are downrange. Thank you for providing this cup of cold water to my soldiers in the name of the Lord.”
Lt. Gerald A. Sherbourne,
Battalion Chaplain, Fort Campbell, Ky.
“We’ve been going through the devotionals like crazy. They are really having an impact over here and are greatly appreciated.”
Sgt. Kyle W. Bunch, chaplain’s office
Arifjan Army Base, Kuwait
“Thanks for your efforts on behalf of our soldiers over here. I have seen your book and it is a source of encouragement that I know will be scarped up by our soldiers. I think this is a great project with significant value. I am so glad that others see the value and are helping with the cost of publishing and shipping these books.”
Chaplain John J. Cook III
“Thank you so much for supporting our troops.”
Ricky Sorci, senior chaplain assistant
91st Division, U.S. Army, Dublin, Calif.
“Strength for Service has proven to be a real blessing to my husband, Bill, who is proudly serving in our armed forces stationed in Kuwait. He has shared the book with some of the other men in his unit and the chaplain now uses my husband’s copy every day when he prays with the helicopter pilots as they prepare to make their flights.”
“Thank you on behalf of the 980th out of Bay City, Michigan for donating these devotionals before they were deployed.”
Chaplain Donald Smith
Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Recent service at sea, in Kuwait and Iraq provided me the opportunity to use Strength for Service devotional on a daily basis. I carry a small Bible and the devotional book in each of my chest of flak-jacket pockets while serving in Iraq. These two provide me the tools necessary to provide ministry to my marines and sailors during times of great stress, fear, and spiritual need. The book is full of powerful and appropriate messages in an easy to use format, written for Christians of all denominations and sects. It is wonderful. Thank you and all who have contributed to publishing this book. You have touched many lives in a positive, faith-promoting way. ”
Chaplain Clifford A. Stuart
Marine Corp, Iraq
“Your desire to provide spiritual consolation and nurture to those serving far from home is deeply appreciated.”
Richard B. Myers, chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff
“I know first hand of the blessing your generous gift has been to our deployed troops of the devotional book, Strength for Service. Your gift truly has been inspirational in strengthening the presence of God on our Air Force bases around the world.”
Chaplain Lorraine K. Potter
United States Air Force
“I get a very deep and warm feeling when these chaplains tell us that we have been able to provide to them and the members of the military that they minister to, something to let them know that God is with them as they go about their daily duties in the most hazardous of situations.
“We hope and pray that the need for something like this would end soon, but it appears as if there is no end in sight. We have found that some non-military folks that discovered the devotional prefer it for their personal daily devotions. We had one gentleman whose son is a Secret Service agent purchase 20 of them to give to each person in his son’s office. There are a lot of inspirational stories coming from these distributions so we know that we are having a positive impact and are proving spiritual support for our brothers and sisters in their time of greatest need.”
Harold Yost, executive director
North Carolina Lutheran Men in Mission
“I was among the majority of men who were focusing on the discomforts that surround us until I received a small devotional book called Strength for Service. The passages are short and relate to a soldier’s life. One in particular gave me a new focus on things. That passage said sometimes we must endure some discomfort to fully appreciate certain things in life. Being separated from loved ones along with being in a hostile environment has brought the true meaning of this passage to light. I can tell you this much, I am not the same man who arrived in Iraq three months ago. I learned to thank God for this experience because it has allowed me the opportunity to truly put into perspective what is important in life.”
Black Hawk helicopter pilot
“My son, Lt. Brian B. Barnes, is a battalion chemical officer for the 101st Airborne Division. He carried Strength for Service with him while assigned to Iraq as did soldiers in his command. He noted that the book was frequently used by the soldiers.”
Bray Barnes, chair
National Catholic Committee on Scouting
“We count it a blessing to be a small part of a young Boy Scout, Evan Hunsberger’s, vision, and the support of the United Methodist Men to continue the heritage of this little book. Please express our deep appreciation to supporters for their generosity to the Air Force Chaplain Service and to the men and women at our deployed sites.”
Chaplain Warren (Randy) Robnett
United States Air Force
“I’m sorry that it has taken me so long to reply. . . I have been extremely busy these past few months trying to prepare Marines for their next deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to thank you and the Scouts of Troop 87 for the Strength of Service devotional book that ya’ll sent to me. I was amazed at the story behind the book. This little book has comforted and inspired America’s sons in battle during World War II and Korea. I will continue the tradition and keep the book tucked inside of my flack vest and carry it with me where ever my Corps sends me. As to date, I have read just over half of the devotions.”
First Marine Regiment
“Soldiers like the format and they like the way in which it ties them to past generations. Patients and staff find the book just as uplifting today as it must have been for men and women in World War II and the Korean War. The books continue to touch more souls every day.”
Major John L. Kallerson, senior chaplain clinician
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
“Thank you and all who have contributed to publishing Strength for Service. You have touched many lives in a positive, faith-promoting way. Please continue the good work. God bless and semper fidelis.”
Chaplain Lieutenant Stuart
101st Airborne, Fort Campbell, Ky.
“We are processing 300 Army Reservist per week out of Birmingham for Iraq and Afghanistan. These reservists come from eight states. Please forward 2,500 tan devotionals. It is a powerful book.”
Chaplain Gerald Nelson
“Thank you and members of United Methodist Men for the copy of Strength for Service. I keep the book in my patrol vehicle and refer to it often.”
Lt. Chad E. Trivitt
Wythe County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office
“There is a spiritual hunger in the air. This devotional is one of the best ones that I have read. I read it every night before I say my prayers.”
Chaplain Kevin Wainwright
U.S. Army, Iraq
“Thank you for you authorizing us to be sent 200 of the Strength for Service books. I lead a daily devotional here in Iraq using the book. Our group has grown from 3 to 15 now with new faces every day or so. Many have asked where I got the devotional book and if there would be a way to get one. Thank you again from me personally and on behalf of those who will be receiving one of the devotionals.”
Major Tom Connor
U.S. Marine Corps, Fallujah-Iraq
“Give someone a Bible and they will glance at the cover, give them a devotional, they will use it.”
Chaplain Captain Jeffrey Clemens
“Thank you for your free book Strength for Service. I am in raining at Camp Shelby, Miss., and during the little free time we have, men have been given a big lift up by that little brown book.”
Staff Sergeant Wilton Touchton Jr.
Camp Shelby, Miss.
“It is a powerful book.”
Chaplain Gerald Nelson
“Rev. A.L.G. Stephenson, a now deceased Methodist minister, gave me this book in 1959 as I was entering the Air Force. He wanted to share God’s word and comfort to me. I treasure this book for its special blessings and because Rev. Stephenson gave it to me. I did not realize that an updated version was now available to our military people. Praise God for His blessing.”
“I am an Eagle Scout and I received a copy of Strength for Service at the 2005 National Jamboree. These devotions are full of truth from the Bible and practical ways of living the victorious Christian life.”
“Your desire to assist our soldiers, sailors and airmen is ‘eternally worthwhile,’ and only the Lord Jesus will reward you aptly.”
LTC Jeff Burnsed, chief of chaplains
Georgia State Defense Force, Jacksonville, Fla.
“Your donation proved comfort and encouragement to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and family members that come to Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center and the Ramstein Air Force Base. Spiritual support through pastoral services and your books enhance the holistic healthcare we provide for all those who proudly perform their sacred duty. Thank you for you compassion to our nation’s sons and daughters.”
Chaplain James R. Griffith
Wounded Warrior Ministry Center
Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center
Fund Raising Efforts
“We are looking for as many churches in our township as possible between now and the end of the school year to participate (in the effort to raise funds for Strength for Service). Kids in our Catholic and public schools are speaking with their religious leaders to get them involved. We are using the teen network of texting and Facebook.”
“Just a few hours ago, my wife and I presented Lieutenant Colonel Charles Purinton with 300 devotionals and it was just in time. We hand trucked them into his headquarters and witnessed them carried onto his pallet that was just about to be shrink wrapped for later shipment to his deployed location. Charley informed me that he used the devotion for October 20 as part of his chapel message last Sunday. This Thursday, we will present the last 100 from our previous order to the commander and his soldiers of our local armory. Thus far we’ve given devotions to over one-third of the 1,500 soldiers of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Mountain Division.”
The Rev. Martin R. Fors, retired chaplain Vermont State Guard
Lyndon Center, Vermont
“Please send us 472 Strength for Service devotional books for our Vermont National Guard. Enclosed is a check from our church for $2,124 to pay for them. We are so pleased that we were able to raise enough money to provide these books for our service people.”
Lyndonville United Methodist Church
“On the evening of October 12, in connection with a local display of the movable Vietnam Memorial Wall in our area, four of our churches came together for an ecumenical Veteran’s Recognition Service. As part of that service an offering was taken to support the Strength for Service Publication Fund. A check for $695 representing the proceeds of that offering is enclosed with this letter. Churches involved were First Baptist Church of Maplewood, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Bargeman Church of God in Christ and Maplewood United Methodist Church.”
Captain Walter Strong, U.S. Navy, retired
Sulphur , La.
“During the annual UM Men Breakfast meeting and program held in conjunction with the Virginia Annual Conference in mid-June the traditional offering taken for conference UM Men coffers was instead dedicated to purchasing copies of Strength for Service. Our check in the amount of $715 should pay for 178 copies.”
Larry Burian, president
Virginia Conference UM Men
“Please find a pledged contribution plus extra funds to be used as needed. My husband (Dave) signed the check before leaving for Iraq. His mission is as a civilian working with electronics. He helps make and repair a device called a “jammer.” It jams the signal so hidden roadside mines won’t go off. It can be stressful and the heat is nearly unbearable (130 decrees in the shade), but by the grace of God he feels it helps our troops in the cause of freedom. He does attend chapel there. When at home he is our church’s UM Men president. He left with copies of devotional books and would like to obtain more. Please be in prayer for him and our children. With joy in Jesus.”
“Shepherd of the Hills UMC in Sun City West, Arizona, raised more than $35,000 to print and distribute 10,000 copies of Strength for Service to God and Country. If we can encourage the faiths of the men and women who are fighting on our behalf, why wouldn’t we?”
Cal Lackore, a veteran of the Korean conflict
Sun City West, Arizona.
“On April 9, 2007, our grandson, Clifford A. Spohn (or, Adam, as we called him), was killed in Iraq. Adam would have been 22 years old this December. Enclosed is a check in memory of Adam for his birthday and Christmas. Please use the money to purchase Strength for Service to God and Country books. Thank you for doing such fine mission work.”
Clifford and Laura Spohn
“My Eagle project was to raise funds from a sandwich sale to purchase 100 Strength for Service books for local emergency crews and 100 copies for troops overseas. Our scouts sold 150 more sandwiches than needed and raised enough funds to purchase 350 books.”
Barry McIntyre Jr., Life Scout
West Willow, Pennsylvania
“Our congregation sponsors a pancake breakfast the morning of our Memorial Day parade. The church council voted to designate the profits to provide the devotional books for our troops. We send our prayers and thanks to the deployed young American men and women who will hopefully find comfort in the books purchased with our $1,000 check”
Mary Ann B. Becraft
United Methodist Church of New Canaan, Conn.
“I put a request for Strength for Service books in our church newsletter and bulletin. We received $1,125 to send 250 books to Captain Bill Killough, chaplain of Camp Arifjanin in Iraq. I heard about the project for the first time scanning the daily UMNS stories. As soon as I read the story, I knew our church would respond to this opportunity. The prayer list in our worship guide regularly lists (in addition to joys, sympathies, concerns, etc) twenty-seven active-duty members of the military that are members, friends, or family of our church family. It is there as a constant reminder of the spiritual covering necessary to protect them. One of our ‘sons’ sustained an eye injury in Iraq, but, Praise God, he is home recovering now. Chaplain Killough and his family are members of our congregation. We are blessed to have so many serving our country. Yet, surely our church is no different from any other body in our relationships with the military. If other churches are like ours, then this is the easiest ‘sales pitch’ in the history of good old United Methodist ‘special offerings.’”
Adam Samuels, minister of music
First United Methodist Church
Weatherford, Texas 76086
“I know the welfare of troops of our military personnel was a concern to my father. My husband and I learned of this project sometime ago and contributed to it in a small way.”
Eunice J. Mathews
Mrs. Mathews is the daughter of E. Stanley Jones, world famous missionary to India and author of one of the original 365 devotions. Her husband is a bishop of the United Methodist Church
“United Methodist Men of Messiah Church in Springfield, Va., raised funds to purchase 40 copies of Strength for Service books to give to patients and staff at Bethesda Naval Hospital. About 35 alumni of the Madrigal groups from three local high schools practiced for two hours and sang for four hours at the medical center on Dec 21. Bob Miele, choir coordinator, presented the Strength for Service devotionals and 30 other books to the chaplain’s office. Each Strength for Service was personalized with a note from men of the Messiah UMC.”
“I heard Evan Hunsberger speak at a chaplain’s breakfast that was held by the American Legion at their national convention several years ago. I was so impressed with his story of getting Strength for Service put back in print that I bought a case of books and have been giving copies of the book to local young men and women when they are deployed. The response from them was really overwhelming, and I am now on my second case. Evan is a wonderful young man and I thank him for getting this devotional book back into print.”
Joyce Arent, member
Pat Tillman Unit
American Legion Auxiliary
“Enclosed please find a $1,000 donation to the Strength for Service Publication Fund from the General Protestant Community that worships at U.S. Fleet Activities in Sasebo, Japan.”
Lieutenant Commander C.E. Hodges, chaplain
Marsh Memorial United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Va., gave 600 copies of Strength for Service books to the Lynchburg National Guard 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. This is the second presentation of the books by Marsh Memorial Pastor Randy Harlow. In a previous appointment, he gave copies of the historic book to veterans and members of rescue squads, fire departments, state troopers, and local police.
A blog about a father who carried the book
I happened to be looking through a shoe box full of pocket-
sized books that my Mom gave me. I found a treasure.
Strength for Service: To God and County: Daily Devotional
Messages for Men in the Services. Printed in 1942, my
grandmother bought this pocket book for my father and sent
it to him while he was overseas. It would have caught up with
him while he was in North Africa, probably Algeria. On the
frontispiece she wrote:
“My precious Soldier boy- I hope this little book will refresh
you and bring you courage and peace in your days of
Service to your Country and be a constant reminder of my
love devotion and appreciation for one I love dearly-
Mother Jan. 11th 1943.”
I suspect Dad carried the book around with him for the next
two years, through Sicily, France, Belgium, and Germany.
Among others, the corner of the March 4th page is bent
down and part of the following paragraph is underlined;
“In the dizzy shifting of the daily scene and the changing
panorama of life, there is something eternal and changeless-
the refuge of God’s overshadowing love. And in that heart-
less world of sudden death and bloodshed in which war has
involved you there still remains the everlasting tenderness
of God, as close and warm as a mother’s encircling arms.”
I never knew my grandmother. I do know that my father
learned his faith from her. For that- I am thankful.
A blog posted by Anderson Layman
World War II Veterans Remember the First Edition of Strength for Service
“I served in World War II in France, Holland, the Bulge, and Germany. I still have my New Testament Dr. (Marshall Russell) Reed gave us. He later became bishop in Michigan and baptized our three sons. I was president of Methodist Men at Hardin Park United Methodist Church and again at Friendship United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda, Fla.”
Glenn Fackler Sr.
Punta Gorda, Fla.
“Some of us ole war horses stood at the door of the Garden City United Methodist Church with open Bible to collect money for Strength for Service books. The horses collected $575.”
Garden City, Ga.
“Along with my ‘dog-tags’ and a few other personal items, my Strength for Service devotional book was a regular companion for much of my Navy life during World War II. I don’t remember the source of it, the giver or when I received it, but I do know it was a constant reminder of who I was and to whom I belonged. I would like to say that I read it every day and that each day’s reading prompted some meaningful faith expressions. That was not the case, but I still carried it and turned to it more than one might imagine. This little book was my connection with my faith community. It was a typhoon on Okinawa that separated my book (and everything else I owned) from me. A few years ago I found one of the old Strength for Service books. It today has a place in my home office and is still a reminder of who I am and of days away from family and home.”
Bishop Robert Spain
“My home church sent me one of those prayer books in 1944 when I was overseas during World War II. I carried it with me everywhere and brought it home in 1945, and I still have it today. I am 83 years old and thought I should write to you about this. Thank you and keep it going.”
“I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Dec. 14, 1941 (one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor). I was presented with a copy of Strength for Service at a 1942 Christmas service by the Second Presbyterian Church of East Liverpool, Ohio. I am proud to say it has been my constant companion since, including 31 missions out of Italy as a B-24 bombardier and over 21 years of service.”
Major Bill Gill (retired)
United States Air Force, Green Valley, Ariz.
“When I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943 as a 17-year-old youth, my parents game me a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country. I read it each day and it helped me during the time I was in the service.”
(In 2004, Chandler provided a copy of the book to each of the 4,000 members of the Jayhawk [Kansas] Boy Scout Council)
“During World War II while in the Navy, I received a Strength for Service book on April, 1945 from Huston United Methodist Church.”
David R. Duncan
(Duncan added this note to a check supporting effort to deliver an updated version of the book to deployed troops today)
“In December 1942, one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Church of the Brethren of Roaring Spring, Pa., presented to military personnel, who were associated with the congregation, a calendar year of devotions in a book entitled Strength for Service to God and Country. My copy served as a source of great comfort during five years of World War II service and later during the Korean War. The well worn copy of the book was given to my son who also received spiritual strength form the devotions during the Persian Gulf War.”
Robert H. Saylor
(In 2004, Saylor led an effort to send copies of the book to all members of the armed forces associated with 69 Church of the Brethren Churches in Pennsylvania)
“I flew a P38 in World War II and an F86 in Korea and I read from Strength for Service as often as I could. I think I received the book from the chaplain at Maxwell Air Force Base.”
“I was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. I still have my Strength for Service devotional book that I received in 1944.”
Saint Cloud, Minn.
“During World War II, I served on a LST connected to a repair ship. We had a doctor, but no chaplain. I did get over to a larger ship and was able to go to church many times. Enclosed is my check to support Strength for Service.”
“In 1944 I received one of these books. I used it as an acting chaplain at services. I still have a copy. Enclosed is a check. It’s the best I can do now.”
Glen Carbon, Ill.
“My mother recently died of cancer. Whilst clearing out her house I found the Strength for Service book in one of her cupboards. Inscribed on the inside cover was:
Presented to Forrest Weinhold by J.H. Maplin, Dec. 7, 1943 and found by Charles George Challdey, RAF, March 3, 1944. I can see it has brought great comfort to these people as it did my mother. Certain pages within the book have been underlined and in the back of the book is a poem written by a sailor.”
Vietnam troops had no similar resource
“In 1968, when I was part of our armed forces in Vietnam, we worked hard to provide spiritual support both to our local troops and to the flow of casualties moving through our hospital. Two things we desperately needed in our ministry were pocket-sized scriptures and pocket-sized devotional materials. We had neither during my tour. Because of the sheer number of casualties, we chaplains rarely had more than a few minutes to spend with each patient. A printed source of ongoing spiritual support would have significantly expanded the reach of our ministry. The timeless writings in Strength for Service to God and Country may provide inspiration and answers for many people in many walks of life.”
Colonel James E. Townsend, chaplain (now deceased)
United States Air Force
“I was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and I wish something like this could have been available to those who fought in that war. I pray you will reach your $3 million goal, and that countless lives will be changed as a result. I am grateful for an opportunity to help.”
Janet Fisher (retired)
United States Air Force
A life story
Just a little blue book
By Colonel T.S. Clark III, USMC
21 years ago…
I was first introduced to the Strength for Service (SFS) devotional in the late 1980’s when my wife, Amelia, gave me an original edition, which had been in her Grandmother’s possession. At the time I was a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and had just received my wings as a Naval Aviator. Being an avid reader with an interest in antique books, the book had a certain appeal.
Published in 1942 with a now faded blue hardback cover, the book was in average condition for its age. The binding was intact but loose. The pages were aged and slightly yellowed with numerous notes written in the margins. The inside of the front cover bore no inscription, but someone had obviously used it routinely. The book had a slight musty odor frequently experienced in old bookstores. All in all, not a very noteworthy addition to what I envisioned to be a growing personal collection of antique books.
My initial assessment, however, could not have been farther from the truth. As the years passed, I became very attached to that small blue book. In fact, it became a permanent companion in my daily devotions. Eventually, the binding of the book failed and I resorted to containing its innards with a rubber band…but I am getting ahead of myself. Let me go back to the beginning…
My small blue book appears to have been created sometime in 1942. I cannot say how it came into the possession of my wife’s grandmother, Maggie Belle Crenshaw, but the Crenshaw family has a rich military history dating back to the American Revolution. I speculate that it was actually owned by my wife’s grandfather, Thomas Crenshaw, who was a newspaper man in Columbia, South Carolina. Though he never served in the military, Thomas Crenshaw was a true professional, who dedicated his life to public service.
The book eventually came into my wife’s possession and she, in turn, passed it along to me as I entered the service in the Marine Corps. The book went with me during my first operational deployment aboard USS Coral Sea in 1989; however, it didn’t get much use. In retrospect, opening it and contemplating its contents certainly would have encouraged me. Had I done so, I probably would have handled my first experiences with overseas military service quite differently…
Likewise, the book traveled with me to Shaik Isa, Bahrain for Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in 1990-91, but it didn’t get much use there either. I recall returning rather shaken from one mission in particular where my flight had successfully dodged multiple Iraqi surface-to-air missiles while egressing from the target area in Kuwait…but alas, even this experience did not prompt me to explore the contents of my little blue book. Again, in retrospect, I think I would have handled my first encounters with actual military combat differently if I had been familiar with the book’s contents; or better yet, if I had possessed a personal relationship with the Lord.
This story continues much the same for the next nine years, or so, as I continued my service with the Marine Corps around the world. During those years I deployed twice to Japan and once to South America. Our family also completed four permanent-change-of-station (PCS) moves. Throughout, there was a great deal of stress and upheaval, both personal and professional, but not a lot of time spent with my little blue book. I had accumulated over 2000 hours of flight time and earned all the flight leadership qualifications possible in the FA-18; but spiritually, I was on a dead-end street going nowhere fast… In other words, from the perspective of military achievement, my “net-worth” was high, but spiritually my “self-worth” was extremely low.
The old is gone, the new has come…
Finally, in August of 1999, I arrived at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia to attend the USMC Command and Staff College. Command and Staff provides a wonderful opportunity for mid-grade officers to explore military service from an academic perspective. It’s also a great chance for young officers to take a short break from the hectic operational deployment cycle. It provides an opportunity to get to know one’s family again. For me, it also provided the much needed to time just to think, which I hadn’t done a lot of up until then. Early in the school year I discovered a quote by Socrates that reads, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And as I examined my life and contemplated my past, as well as my future, I didn’t like what I discovered. Outwardly, one could argue that I’d been very successful with a bright future in the Marine Corps. Inwardly, however, was a different story altogether—I was spiritually stagnant. As I reflected upon my life, I realized that it was empty. As Chuck Colson clearly describes this state of mind in his book The Good Life, “something was desperately wrong in my life. I had no sense of joy or fulfillment.”
It didn’t happen overnight, but during that year in Quantico, I found myself reflecting on all that I had come to know and understand about the nature, character, and promises of God. I slowly became aware that I had been living day-to-day for the acknowledgment and approval of others. My spiritual identity was validated by others who observed my behavior and works—some of which was good and some not so good! I realized that I had been endeavoring to find sufficiency in myself and had become overly concerned about the things that were temporary. I discovered that I knew the Truth in my mind; but my belief was being circumvented by my own lack of obedience and unwillingness to surrender my life and confess my sin. Eventually, almost begrudgingly, I acknowledged my absolute need for the Savior. That acknowledgment has made all the difference in my life, and I’ve never looked back.
It was during this awakening process that I discovered the treasure trove of encouragement, inspiration, and hope contained among the pages of my little blue book. Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying that the SFS devotional is or was the focus of my faith or a replacement for the Holy Bible. Instead, I found this little blue book to be incredibly useful in my daily devotionals as a guidebook that contained a suggested Bible passage, a short sermon-ette, and a prayer. Moreover, each entry was focused on service—a mindset and lifestyle with which I could identify. The SFS devotional served its intended purpose as an evangelical tool that helped lead me to my faith in Jesus Christ.
A life in Christ…
After school, when I returned to Beaufort, South Carolina for assignment in Marine Air Group 31, I approached my military service from an entirely new perspective. Aside from becoming very involved in our church, I took an active role in rejuvenating a local Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF) group. The SFS devotional continued to be the guidebook in my daily devotionals.
In October 2001, just one month after the attacks of 9/11, I found myself serving as the Executive Officer of the VMFA-251 Thunderbolts, one of the Beaufort FA-18 Squadrons deployed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt patrolling the waters of the North Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan. The squadron was serving in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. As in the past, my little blue book deployed with me, only this time its role in my life was much different. As in Beaufort, I led a small squadron bible study aboard the ship. Then in November 2001, Lieutenant Commander Stewart, the ship’s Protestant Chaplain, asked me to be the principal speaker at a Thanksgiving Day prayer breakfast. While relatively comfortable delivering public speeches, I had never given one on a spiritual topic. In preparation, I found my SFS devotional to be a valuable source of inspiration for the presentation, which I titled, “The Courage of a Nation.” The presentation centered on Joshua 1:1-9 and the Lord’s encouragement to Joshua as he prepared to lead the nation of Israel into battle.
In February of 2003, I found myself again serving in a combat zone, only now as the Commanding Officer of the Thunderbolts. This time land-based in Al Jabar, Kuwait, the squadron had deployed after a short eight-month turn-around to support Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Needless to say, my little blue book once again deployed with me, but by now its binding had almost failed, and I feared that I would begin to lose pages. As I mentioned previously, I resorted to using a rubber band to hold its contents together. It was during the early days of the operation when I returned to our Squadron Ready Tent after flying to discover an entire stack of newly published Strength For Service devotionals. To this day, I still do not know who supplied them, but I suspect that one of the Chaplain’s assistants placed them on my bench. Thanks to the efforts of Evan Hunsberger and the United Methodist Men, I could now easily share this wonderful devotional with other service members.
In 2004, I was selected to attend the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), which is part of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Like Command and Staff, this year at school provided a wonderful break from operations and an opportunity to fellowship with other students and believers in Christ. We created a small OCF group that met every Wednesday morning, and we used the SFS devotional as one of our primary resources. The United Methodist Men’s staff was instrumental in providing sufficient quantities for the class.
Continuing to serve…
In November 2007 I took command of Marine Air Training Support Group 22 (MATSG-22) in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today my original little blue book resides in a place of honor on one of my glass enclosed barrister bookcases. I am pleased to report that although the original blue copy doesn’t see much action anymore, my spiritual life certainly does, and I still start each morning with the day’s SFS entry from one of the newly published copies. By the way, although now available in blue, tan, and even green (for the Boy Scouts), I still prefer the blue cover. Fortunately, I found my way off that dead-end street, thanks (in no small part), to my little blue book.
While my collection of antique books hasn’t grown much since the early days of my career, the Strength For Service devotional certainly has made my collection richer for being part of it. More importantly, it has made my spiritual life richer. Today I still continue to grow spiritually, but my focus is now on practicing the presence of God and becoming the same person in practice that I am in prayer…but that is a story for next time.
Colonel Clark is now stationed at Corpus Christi, Texas