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LifeBox initiative shows soldiers that churches care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For some soldiers serving far away from home, mail time is one of the most anticipated times of day. And for those whose only mail is one of the thousands of magazines sent by adult-oriented publishers, it’s a day to remember how lonely they really are.

For the soldiers who receive LifeBoxes from their home churches or associations, it’s a day for celebration and a continued commitment to their Christian values.

In the fall of 2006, the church resources division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention began working with Baptist associations to create the LifeBox initiative.

For example, 22 churches in the New River Baptist Association in Jacksonville, N.C., packed and mailed more than 800 LifeBoxes to deployed soldiers from their area for the 2007 Easter Sunday LifeBox mailing goal.

“I can’t remember a time when the churches of the New River Baptist Association have been as excited as they have been with the LifeBox project,” Sandy Bain, the association’s director of missions, said. “… Many of our churches are having ‘packing parties’ with GAs, RAs, youth and adult Sunday school classes. Needless to say, there is an excitement in the air.”

A LifeBox is packed with items such as a personal note to a service member, gum, socks, small candies, stationery supplies, homemade goodies and wet wipes, plus a LifeWay magazine. Christian music CDs and books also are appreciated.

“LifeBox is a way that LifeWay can work with local churches and Baptist associations to make a positive contribution to our Armed Forces personnel,” said Rhonda Buescher, director of LifeWay’s magazine advertising and circulation.

“LifeBox is a simple way to offer a good alternative to secular magazines that are readily available,” she added. “Christians serving in the Armed Forces have said that mail and Christian magazines are greatly appreciated, and now we have an opportunity to have a positive impact on their lives through LifeBox.”

Buescher said congregations and associations are encouraged to send LifeBoxes to men and women connected to their local churches.

“Almost every church has someone who is serving in the military,” she said. “But for those churches who do not have a personal connection, some chaplains have requested to receive the boxes to distribute to their units. What a tremendous ministry this is to those serving in the Armed Forces and to their families. What a tremendous opportunity this is for Sunday school classes, women’s ministry groups, men’s ministry groups, student ministries, church choirs, children’s missions groups, VBS and college campus ministries.”

Churches and interested community organizations can donate money to their local Baptist association to pay for magazines and postage for flat rate boxes. Associations can order HomeLife, Christian Single, Journey or Stand Firm magazines through LifeWay’s network partnerships area at a special discount for this project. Collection points for boxes should be designated at associational offices or churches.

Addresses of individual military personnel or chaplains can be collected from churches or from websites that house names of military personnel who wish to receive mail. Personal notes should be written and packed with other items in a flat rate mailer.

Some additional LifeBox project options for churches, families or ministry groups within churches include providing Christian magazine gift subscriptions for family members of the deployed. Other ideas are suggested in the FAQs section of the LifeBox website.

Churches and associations need to mail their boxes about three weeks prior to the targeted receipt date. Holidays are an especially meaningful time for military personnel to receive packages, but they are appreciated anytime.

“We are so pleased to be able to work with many of our Baptist associations to make LifeWay magazines available to our service men and women,” Buescher said. “The mission of LifeBox is to fulfill the dream of a Southern Baptist Army officer. A devoted husband and dad, he realized his responsibility as spiritual leader in his home included not reading certain secular publications easily available in deployment.

“Being accustomed to receiving LifeWay’s distinctly Christian magazines, such as HomeLife and Stand Firm, at his church, he wanted to find a way to receive those magazines while deployed as a commitment to his family values.”

LifeBox is a voluntary ministry organized and promoted by Southern Baptist associations and LifeWay, with key input from Southern Baptists serving in our Armed Forces and from an advisory team made up of directors of missions. This ministry is voluntary and has no official connection with or approval of any of the United States Military Services.
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For more information on LifeBox, visit www.lifeway.com/lifebox.

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  • Polly House