The Department of Defense bestows Freedom Awards on companies that go to extraordinary lengths to support their employee-members of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. But recently a small Lutheran parish in Yankton, South Dakota was also among those honored.
“Many churches send care packages, but St. John’s Lutheran Church wrapped me up and sent me as a care package,” said Lt. Col. David Gunderson, their senior pastor. Before being deployed to Afghanistan, he offered to resign and forfeit his salary. Instead, his church kept Chaplain Gunderson on the payroll and used his paycheck to support his military mission.
His parish was able to provide hymnals and offer increased access to grief counseling for those serving in Afghanistan. They also stocked a Soldiers Care room with much-needed items.
Service members and their families face challenges not always fully appreciated by civilians. They desperately need our worldwide support and care.
Be strong and courageous…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Care for those who put their lives on the line for us, Father.