Dear Friends in Christ,
Two important days occur this month – Veterans’ Day on November 11th and Thanksgiving Day on November 24th. Birmingham has the largest Veteran’s Day parade of any city in our country, based on a report from the University of Alabama Newspaper in 2011. Alabama, according to the last census, has a population of over 400,000 veterans. According to statistics in 2015, of the 3000 homeless people in Birmingham, 800 were veterans. As you know our ministry has an outreach to veterans who either struggle with symptoms of PTSD or Moral Injury. The two combat Marines (John Murphy and Chris Gill) who work with us see the need to have a place to help men with addictions and other effects of the invisible scars of war. Recently they traveled to Houston TX, to see a facility called Camp Hope, which offers a Christ-centered approach to helping veterans. This ministry has a four-acre campus, with accommodations for 60-65 men. Their program gives these veterans a “military type schedule,” but with a Christ-centered emphasis. Each day the residents are required to attend Bible Study, they must work out physically, they have chores, and they are taught basic life skills of how to live in the civilian world.
Our hope and prayer is that God will raise up a place locally where other hurting soldiers could hear the gospel, learn of God’s grace for healing, and also be equipped and trained for functioning again in the civilian world. Please pray for us in this step of faith. There is a 50 plus acre tract of land owned by another veteran who has a heart for this kind of ministry. We are praying about working with him on this needed ministry.
In addition to this possible future ministry, John and Chris have been asked by the VA hospital in Tuscaloosa to enter training for being clinical chaplains. This position is not an official chaplain of the VA Hospital, but allows organizations like ours to help chaplains who have been trained under their chaplaincy program. This would allow John and Chris access to the hospital in Tuscaloosa, as well as in Birmingham, to counsel soldiers one-on-one.
As I worked on this newsletter, a man dropped by our office asking about our counseling services. He is an Air Force veteran who served until 2002. He described briefly his struggles with alcohol, his marriage, and some of his past. Please pray for him and his wife, that they will not divorce (they are presently considering that option), and that both will come for counseling.
This month we also celebrate Thanksgiving. As Christians we should be more thankful than unbelievers because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. I recently saw on Facebook a post of what we as believers will still have regardless of who is elected in November. We will still have our salvation, the Lord will still be in charge and we can still share our faith with others.
On behalf of the ministry team at Grace Solutions we are thankful for each of you who pray for and support the work of God through each of us. Please pray about a year end gift that will help us finish in the black this year.
In Christ Our Life,
Dr. Jay Jackson