It was Stonecroft’s focus on women that attracted Barbara to the Military Event.
When a friend invited her to the 2011 Stonecroft Military Event at Camp Pendleton, Barbara wasn’t sure she should attend. A military wife of fourteen years, Barbara wasn’t a regular churchgoer. However, the idea of attending a Christian luncheon became less intimidating when she saw that the Stonecroft Military Event was specifically for women.
“There is something about having a ministry—or any organization—just for you that makes it much more approachable. I don’t need to explain myself to another woman, because women get it—we know what it’s like to be a mother, a daughter. We’ve all been there.”
Barbara’s husband went to Afghanistan several weeks before the event; it was time for Barbara to make more connections in her new community. But she could never have known how important a connection she would make.
At the Heart Event, Barbara signed up for a Bible study that turned into one-on-one mentoring with Stonecroft Military Liaison Mary Young.
Barbara says, “Mary is such a wonderful lady. She’s so patient. I told her, ‘Mary, you’re going to have to teach me as if I were a three-year-old in Sunday school.’ I was embarrassed because I had never read the Bible. We started from scratch.
“I was so excited. We met together every Wednesday for eight months. I’m a visual learner so sometimes we would watch movies together, like the book of John or The Ten Commandments.”
Through studying the Bible, Barbara learned the true meaning of being a Christian.
“My religious background was kind of scattered. I went to several different types of churches growing up, and I believed that if you thought you were a Christian, you were.”
Barbara began having personal time in God’s Word each night, and gave her daughter a children’s Bible. On Wednesday evenings, her daughter attended a children’s program at a nearby church. Then Barbara found out there was a worship service at the same time so she went each week. “I started calling Wednesdays my ‘Jesus Days,’” says Barbara.
“It was so cool because for the first time, I understood everything the pastor was talking about. I highlighted my Bible and it was so exciting. I understood why people were saying ‘Hallelujah!’
“Sometimes Mary and I would meet for three hours because we talked a lot. She took the time to get to know me and teach me in the way I needed to be taught. I think that’s why I have such a loving friendship with her and am so thankful for what she did for me and my family.”
When Barbara began a full-time job, her Wednesday meetings with Mary came to an end. But the impact of Mary’s mentoring remains.
“Everything Mary and I experienced during those eight months is lasting. It’s still there. I still have my Bible by my bedside. I’m doing what I need to do—and I wasn’t doing that a year ago. Mary was able to give that to me.”
Barbara appreciates Stonecroft’s desire to come alongside military women. She loves military life, but it has many challenges.
“I think it’s great that Stonecroft is focusing on military ministry. Men are extremely important in a family, but we wives are the backbone. Men are being pulled in many different professional directions, so we’re the ones who keep life consistent for our children. We’re the ones who make a house a home wherever we go. It’s stressful and it’s draining and it can be extremely emotional.
“It’s so nice to have someone who just wants to make our day better and recognizes how hard it is to be a military wife.
“What Stonecroft is doing will always mean something to me and I’m sure it will to hundreds of other ladies too.”
This article was originally posted on Thursday, January 3, 2013