March, in English, is the only month whose name is also a command. It was named after Mars, the Roman God of war. This month we dedicate our newsletter to those who, traditionally at least, march a lot—our soldiers.
The WELS European Chaplaincy is dedicated to serving the men and women of the United States Armed Forces in Europe. We share the Gospel of Jesus with soldiers and their families who live far from their home congregations. It is the first way we honor and support our soldiers as ween joy fellowship with those who are living the military experience in a foreign field. Of course,many civilian families participate in the worship and fellowship the chaplaincy provides.
We all can agree that service members have experiences that truly are unique. They follow orders. They keep physically fit. They transfer to different bases and posts often! Their living quarters change, sometimes drastically. They need to function in a variety of cultures during each assignment. They, and their families, need to be flexible. They need each other for moral support (and because only they can understand the special language of military acronyms). They know what ACK, BCM, PCS and TDY*mean without having to explain themselves. All this is happening while they serve and protect us and our allies.Fighting the enemy, physical combat, weapons, artillery, and endless training. These make up the harsh reality of military service. Our gratitude and respect go to all those who face these realities for us.
There’s more. Just like the rest of us, our service men and women belong to another armed forces. They join all believers in the army of Christian soldiers. Indeed, there are many similarities. Christian soldiers serve others. They enjoy fellowship and each other’s moral support. They live in a variety of locations and cultures. Yet there is one big difference.Our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians6:12).
Our fight is against the world that mocks our faith. It is against our sinful flesh that struggles to remain faithful. Most of all, our fight is against the evil foe. Jesus knows all about our spiritual battles. He faced ridicule from the world and answered with the truth from God’s Word.He was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. He fought against the evil foe and won! Yes, Jesus knows very well the battles we face. He also knows the help we need to fight those battles. He provides that help in his Word.
Listen to what St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Paul is telling us to prepare for battle by wearing protective gear and by wielding the powerful Word of God. Notice that the Lord first provides us with five pieces of defensive armor. He knows the attacks will be many and strong. Then he provides us with the one and only offensive weapon we need: God’s Word! It can thwart any spiritual danger that comes our way. Hebrews 4:12 assures us that “the word of God is alive and active.Sharper than any double-edged sword…”
Fellow soldiers, we have been given all the military equipment we need to fight the good fight of faith. Our commander in chief is Christ the Lord.Therefore, we can march on with confidence and courage as we face our spiritual challenges. May the faithful study of God’s Word strengthen us and uphold us until we join the Savior in our heavenly victory.
Onward, Christian soldiers
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christian Worship page 537
*Key: Acknowledge, Beyond Capability of Maintenance, Permanent Change of Station, Temporary Duty
Comings and Goings
It is our intent to highlight the comings and goings into and out of our groups so we all have a chance to get to know each other better. Since the last posting in January we welcome the following folks:
To USAG Stuttgart: Jeff and Tanya Bessler and their son, Sam, and daughter Abby.
To Ramstein: Another Bessler family(no relation to Jeff and Tanya). We welcome Katie and Greg and their children, Sierra, Adrianne, Nathan, Lukas, Isabella, and Jeremiah.
Also to Ramstein: Ryan and Melanie Truschinski and their children, Joyce, Jason, and Noah.
Welcome to you all. It’s great to have you and your families with us. We can’t wait until we are again able to have Sunday School,Bible class, and fellowship opportunities along with our worship.
Sadly, we bid a fond farewell to the Hansons who are ending a five year stay at Ramstein. Reidand Brenda, and their children,Avery and August,will be leaving this month for Fort Bragg in North Carolina. God’s blessings to them in their new adventure. We will miss you!