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(smile) Hello, friends.

Today, I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about fear of the unknown. An 18-year-old woman had just finished military Boot Camp and was ready to receive her new assignment somewhere in the world.

She confessed to the woman standing next to her, “I’m only 18, and I’m supposed to be an adult, but I’m still just a growing child who’s honestly afraid of this big world I’m going into. Please pray for me.”

The woman next to her was Tammy, one of the Stonecroft National Military Team. Stonecroft, the organization that also sponsors our meeting here today, reaches women of all ages, standing beside them, giving them hope and assurance to face whatever life brings them.

Not too long ago, Stonecroft Military was invited to speak to a class of 75 females completing Army Boot Camp. These young soldiers had trained together for 10 weeks. They’d worked together, sweated together, eaten together, and learned to rely on each other. To put it simply, (pause) they had bonded.

With the conclusion of Boot Camp, that bond was going to splinter and break as each one traveled to her new assignment. And they were taking this challenge hard. Some would be deployed to bases where the male to female ratio was 20 to 1. The Boot Camp chaplain was concerned about the pressures they would encounter in their new environment.

Tammy, a retired Air Force major, was the speaker for the gathering. She was a straight talker, telling the soldiers, “You’ve got to be prepared before you walk out that door. You have no idea what it’s going to be like out there.”

Drawing on her personal experience in the service, Tammy shared what she did, what she should’ve done, and what she could have done. She told them how to keep from facing challenges alone, and how faith plays a role in overcoming unwelcome circumstances. When the time for questions and answers came, the women talked – and talked. And they talked some more. Some of the women were transparent, revealing devastating pasts. Some shared about their anxieties, such as the 18 -year-old woman who feared the future.

(slight pause) But, we need to know, this is no longer a story of fear of the unknown. Sixty-one (61) female soldiers indicated they were taking the step that would transform their lives, just as Tammy suggested! They’d chosen not to do life alone.

And this story will continue for many more women! The Military Team has now been invited to speak regularly to the graduating servicewomen at that Boot Camp.

This is just one way the National Military Team takes its programs to posts and bases around the country. These activities allow women in the armed forces and military wives to experience the same relationships and feel valued, just like we do in our Stonecroft group, the (name of your group).

The National Team, often called the “Boots on the Ground,” gains access to the different facilities through invitation, usually from the chaplain. These four women understand the military life in the strongest way possible. They’ve lived it.

These women have been (slower) military wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, and cousins to those serving or who have served. And Tammy is a retired servicewoman herself!

Our military outreach is just one way Stonecroft helps women where they are, as they are. As we prepare to receive donations for Stonecroft, we ask you to consider the many women from all walks of life who need encouragement and to feel valued, connected, and loved through your support.

(Explain how to give: envelopes, etc.)

If you are a first-time guest, please feel no expectation to give at this time. We are privileged to share with you the bigger Stonecroft story.

(slight pause) You and I can bring hope and help to places we could never reach on our own, to women we may never know. Join us in reaching women where they are, as they are.

Thank you.

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