LIFE IN THE MILITARY
Have you ever thought about the fact that military forces in any historical setting have always had their own culture of traditions and customs? Personnel serving in the military have unique needs, lifestyles, and experiences.
Today’s young American soldier lives and works in some of the most exciting jobs available, with men and women from all walks of life. They have a sense of new found freedom and grow quickly into responsible adults.
The married soldier and spouse enjoy an exciting life together. They have opportunities to travel the world, experience different cultures, and enjoy a constant flow of new friends. Yet, they are faced with numerous household moves (sometimes with very little notice), family separations due to training and deployments and virtual “single” parenting. Sometimes both parents serve on active duty.
The stress of combat may have lingering effects. The aftermath of battle can leave such an imprint on the soldier that he faces a long term struggle with physical, emotional, and spiritual effects. One survey shows 20-30% of soldiers returning from combat have some degree of Post Traumatic Combat Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other studies suggest this number may be higher.
MINISTRY AT FORT BRAGG
Spencer and Linda Hammons moved to Fayetteville, NC in 1997. The Lord has placed them in this unique location at Fort Bragg to minister to a great multitude of young active duty men and women.
There is tremendous joy when the Spirit of God opens the heart and mind of a young soldier or spouse for salvation or life service. Through various Bible studies on/off post, some soldiers have trusted Christ as their Savior. Others have grown in their Christian life, impacting fellow military friends. Serving through the local church, Spencer and Linda have taught Sunday School classes, organized Bible conferences and spiritual retreats. Social activities, such as whitewater rafting, are popular outings as well.
Spencer has spent many enjoyable hours discipling young soldiers. His involvement at Crossroads Coffeehouse on Fort Bragg has allowed numerous occasions to witness for Christ and develop long term relationships. At Carolina Bible College, Spencer teaches courses which train soldiers to study God’s Word. Linda teaches Ladies’ Bible Studies on Fort Bragg and has been privileged to speak at women’s retreats and conferences. Mentoring young women is her constant joy.
With the many deployments out of Fort Bragg, email and Facebook are great tools for soldiers and their families to stay in touch. One young man who attended Bible studies at the Hammons’ home commented: “Coming to Fort Bragg was a culture shock for me. It is very different here than at basic training! The Lord has really helped me to become more confident in standing for Him. I think my witnessing for Him is bolder with the help of the Holy Spirit. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and become more solid in my beliefs.”
Another soldier wrote from Iraq: “I can't wait to get back and be around faithful Christians again. I really miss our weekly bible studies and fellowship. It has been hard over here due to the lack of good fellowship with other Christians.”
With nearly 50,000 soldiers at Fort Bragg, the Hammons are strategically placed to reach the military for Christ. There are three groups of people at Fort Bragg: (1) believers who are active in a local church or chapel, (2) believers who are struggling spiritually and not a part of a body of believers, and (3) the largest subgroup: soldiers who are without Christ.
BMW is prayerfully seeking couples and individuals burdened to minister to our nation’s military. In the future, perhaps Fort Bragg could be used of the Lord to serve as an internship location to train missionaries for such a ministry. Imagine the impact you could have on the military community through evangelism, discipleship and leadership development!
“It is a tremendous to privilege to minister at Fort Bragg to today’s soldier and tomorrow’s spiritual leader. Please come join us on this exciting mission field!” Spencer Hammons
Since we live in Fayetteville (home of Fort Bragg) we are able to maintain contact with the military and carry on a limited ministry while we focus our attention on deputation.
Upon completion of our deputation ministry, it will be our goal to schedule Bible studies both on and off post focused on & for the military. There is tremendous need among the children of military families. In the future, one goal is to organize and schedule mission’s trip for interested military to a BMW mission field. Another is the development of a church ministry team focusing on the military.
Whether it’s the young enlisted or officer, future leaders in our country are found in the military.