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Guardsman deployed in Afghanistan thankful for LifeWay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In his yearlong deployment to Afghanistan with the 1128 Finance Detachment of the Tennessee National Guard, Kenny Washington said it was prayer that sustained him and served as his lifeline.

Washington, who has worked as a shipping clerk for 15 years at LifeWay Christian Resources, traveled throughout Afghanistan delivering money to troops who needed funds.

His latest deployment was his third during 16 years with the Tennessee National Guard, which he joined after four years of active duty in the Army.

While he was in Afghanistan, many people prayed for Washington daily, including his co-workers at LifeWay who added him to the prayer list in the Piland Prayer Chapel. Although being deployed was difficult, Washington said the support and encouragement he received from LifeWay helped him endure.

“It makes you feel like someone cares, knowing that people are standing behind you and are there for you,” he said.

Dell Raines, in LifeWay customer service, coordinates prayer requests in Piland Prayer Chapel and said employees gather daily to pray for requests just like Washington’s. “As a Christian operation, we need to practice what we preach,” Raines said. “We’ve seen many positive results. This is all due to God working because people were willing to take the time to pray.”

Washington is one of several LifeWay employees serving in the military.

Steve Lawrence, LifeWay’s human resources director, said the Southern Baptist entity demonstrates its commitment to all employees in the military reserves by providing support beyond the standard compliance with federal and state laws related to military service.

Lawrence said LifeWay believes it should support the employees/soldiers by going beyond the basic requirements and providing a supplemental salary for at least six months. “This supplemental salary is the difference between their normal pay and their military salary,” Lawrence said. As a result, the soldiers do not lose any of their salary while serving on active duty.

Washington said he received 100 percent support from co-workers. “It means everything to serve my country and then return to LifeWay. It’s been a blessing. Knowing that you’re surrounded by Christian people is the greatest benefit.”

He compared the necessity of prayer in people’s lives to gas in an automobile. “As Christians, we must pray. That’s what keeps us moving,” Washington said. “Prayer is the key to the Kingdom because it’s direct communication with God. With any problem and situation, we can go to Him in prayer.”

Washington is a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and a lifelong resident of Nashville. He has been married to his wife, Shirley, for four years.

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  • Sarah Phelan