Troops, families draw support from outreach via magazines

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (BP)--As 14,000 Marines will leave the world's largest amphibious base, Camp Lejeune at Jacksonville, N.C., throughout early 2005 to serve their country around the globe, Debby Mallette hopes they will take along a small piece of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Mallette leads the military ministries team at Enon Chapel Baptist Church, located near Camp Lejeune in a community filled with military personnel. The team seeks to encourage members of the military to see Jesus as a source of hope, according to the church's website. They do this by developing various ministry projects, conducting special services and exhibiting special care to soldiers and their families during deployments.

Last October, the team obtained more than 21,000 LifeWay magazines to use in ministry to the troops in the area. The team received copies of HomeLife, Christian Single, ParentLife, Journey and Stand Firm.

"Because the magazines are Christian but not heavy [reading], people are very receptive to them," Mallette said.

The church's military ministries team placed nearly 800 magazines in care packages, handed out about 350 copies to individuals and held the bulk of the men's-themed publications to send overseas with military chaplains.

"[The chaplains] were very impressed and want to use [the magazines] as a support for their ministry in Iraq," Mallette said. "This has helped open a door for future ministry efforts together."

Rhonda Buescher, LifeWay's director of magazine and devotional ministry and business development, said she hopes churches will begin exploring the potential for magazine ministry. They can reuse the copies their members read or purchase extra copies for extended ministry purposes.

"We can have an impact on individual lives and communities, too," Buescher said. "[Magazines] connect the Sunday faith experience throughout the week."

Mallette said magazines offer troops "something concrete in their hands that they can take with them."

"They can carry [magazines] with them because they are light," she said. "These are things that as they go, they can use."

Buescher said magazines make excellent ministry tools partly because of the design.

"[A magazine] is less threatening because it's a familiar format," she said. "And LifeWay's magazines communicate a biblical worldview to our Christian lives and strengthen families."

For the thousands of Camp Lejeune troops from countless diverse backgrounds, the magazines provide a Christian voice without promoting a specific church.

"We don't want barriers," Mallette said. "These troops go to the ends of the earth, and they are really searching for what life is all about. It's important [for them] to have something in their hands that will be pertinent to their lives."

Mallette said Christian Single and the Stand Firm men's devotional are particularly helpful to chaplains who take the magazines overseas, mainly because the material appeals to the demographic of so many soldiers. Meanwhile, the church's military ministry team distributed copies of ParentLife to some of the workout teams in which the military wives participate.

"ParentLife supports wives looking for help while they hold down their families," she said.

In all, LifeWay produces 22 magazines that provide spiritual insights and resources for numerous audiences. "Magazines are very popular, and it's a wonderful ministry to these families and individuals," Buescher said.


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