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"Survival kits" expand to wounded warriors

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 - 3:55 PM CST

survival soldier
Lavon Reep presents a Millennium Falcon T-shirt to a soldier.

When the Assemblies of God Chaplaincy Ministries devised the concept of providing free gospel literature to members of the military in 2003, the department ordered 500 "survival kits" for a trial run.

Since then, the outreach has grown more popular every year, to the point where AG chaplains have given 58,000 such kits away to members of the military. For the past three years, Chaplaincy Ministries has partnered with GTM (Global Training Ministries) to get the materials into the hands of wounded active duty personnel.

The contents include a New Living Translation Bible, an inspirational book by former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy, a devotional book by AG Chaplaincy Military/VA Representative Scott McChrystal and patriotic dog tags inscribed with Bible verses.

"The survival kits are an easy way to provide a salvation message," says AG Chaplaincy Ministries Director Alvin Worthley. "A military member might not accept a Bible directly, but a kit is different. It's a way for a chaplain to give something of lasting value to a member before he/she is deployed."

The carriers, originally the size of a makeup bag, have expanded to appear like a men's shaving kit. Initially, all kits were camouflaged canvas bags. Last year, half the kits were black special ops exteriors geared for the Navy and Air Force.

The packets cost $10 apiece for purchase; however, they are provided free to chaplains who request them. Chaplains themselves often donate money for the project, which also is funded by Light for the Lost as well as Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge.

The bags have been responsible for salvation commitments and discipleship.

"As I began to read the material I felt like my eyes were opened and for the first time I cried, because for the first time in my life I felt forgiven," a soldier wrote to Chaplain Richard Hartenberg. "Today I am a new person and have found a great fellowship that helps me to pray and grow in Christ."

survival kit

Jim Peters and Lavon Reep of GTM personalize the kits by adding superhero T-shirts, coffee and pens, then present them to wounded warriors at home and abroad.

Both Peters and Reep are AG licensed ministers who entertain troops with music ministry. Every month they also distribute survival kits and T-shirts to recovering military members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Maryland. Many of those who accept the gifts are amputees transitioning back into society after being wounded overseas.

"We wait until the second visit before offering the survival kits," Reep says. "We've never had anybody refuse us because there is a Bible in it."

For more information about Chaplaincy Ministries, click here.

Author: John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel

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