Celebrating Service of Military

11/25/2017 .
Saddleback Church

Through Saddleback’s military ministries, our church family is able to provide encouragement and strength to those who have served our country or are in active duty. To honor the sacrifice of our nation's veterans, Saddleback hosted several activities on Veterans Day weekend, including a Veterans Ministry Fair, a special prayer by Pastor Rick, gift packages, and more.

During services on November 11 and 12, Pastor Rick shared a prayer of thanksgiving for those who have served or are in active duty. At our Lake Forest campus, veterans were presented a gift mug containing a thank you note, ministry information, and a service pin.

Our church family created opportunities for veterans to connect to Saddleback’s Veterans Ministry which includes a fellowship group, outreach to the VA Hospital, and free assistance with accessing disability benefits. 

“We’re coming alongside military personnel in our church and community,” says Michelle Thune, Manager of PEACE Community Outreach. “The goal is to honor veterans and connect them to Saddleback’s Veterans Ministry, as well as offer opportunities to anyone to give back and serve with other military-related ministires including Active Duty Families, Acts of Appreciation, and VA Hospital visits.”

In front of a large flag display was a card station by Acts of Appreciation where members could give back to veterans or those deployed overseas. Our Acts of Appreciation outreach sends care packages overseas with hundreds of notes of encouragement to troops that are actively deployed. It was a chance to share words of encouragement, advice, prayers, and Christmas wishes. Markers, stickers, and crayons were on hand for children to get involved and share friendly greetings.

Many troops have responded with their own thank you cards. One responded with, “I just wanted to write and express my gratitude to both Acts of Appreciation at Saddleback Church, as well as to Jessica (from OC, age 14) who wrote me the kind card that came along with the snacks. We were having a very stressful week at my unit and our Navy chaplain brought your bags of snacks over to us — which definitely lifted my spirits.”

Another soldier wrote, “I would first like to start out by expressing how blessed and happy I was when I received one of your care packages. The support and love from home is what keeps us all going out here on the other side of the world. Everything from the beanies, bags of candy, and loving support letters put a smile on my face and those of my entire unit.”

Saddleback’s Veterans Ministry also shares encouragement through care packages, prayers, and visits to veterans in the spinal ward of the VA Hospital. Our Active Duty Families’ Ministry provides a supportive community for those facing difficult battles at home or in defense of our country.

Over the last several years, James, a commissioned Officer in the Marine Corps, found community through Active Duty Families’ Military Small Groups. As he explains, “They were there for me when one of my friends in the service took his own life and again when members of my family had health problems. It’s so important to be around fellow believers who have gone through what you are going through—people who understand the culture and way of life.”

With so many veterans in Orange County, it’s important that we bring awareness to the tools and resources available through Saddleback Church.

“Every person’s experience and story is different,” says Michelle. “God sees and knows every current and previous member of the US Armed Forces and cares about what they’ve experienced and carry from their service – whether honor, character, trauma, or pain. We want to create community and provide support for veterans, for whatever they face upon returning to civilian life. We also want to create support for military families as they experience the weight of having someone they love gone, and possibly in harm’s way.”

To learn more about Saddleback’s Veterans Ministry, and other Military ministires including outreach and fellowship groups, click HERE.