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The Battlefield - Ripe for the Harvest

Since becoming a believer, I have been drawn to the stories of missionaries - of selfless sacrifices, leaving family, friends, risking their own health by living in a more primitive land, risking their lives or even losing their lives, to share the Gospel.  Missionaries showing Christ's love through their kind acts of service; building relationships so that those they serve would come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As I read the above words describing a missionary, I picture another servant - our military.  How great is their sacrifice, some paying the ultimate sacrifice...

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

The battlefield - a mission field ripe for harvest, where young Marines are facing their own mortality every day - without Jesus...

Such an incredible opportunity to reach a Marine in their own mortality...  How great a Gift, to share the Gospel that promises Eternal Life, with a Marine who is willing to die, so that we might live free.

Through my son-in-law's experience in Afghanistan, while he served as a U.S. Marine, the Lord placed a desire on my heart to minister to Marines.

The ministry was born out of a telephone call with my son-in-law as he sat on a hill in Afghanistan.   I remember thinking how incredibly clear the connection was even though he was across the world!  He mentioned the socks that I sent him in a Care Package and how much he appreciated their quality.  He added that he wished that all the Marines could receive these particular socks saying they were the best he'd ever worn!   The conversation then moved on to catching up and just enjoying our time "together".  When I hung up the phone, I began to ponder our discussion about the socks.  It was then that the Lord provided me with the ministry focus - to send an encouraging letter, a Gospel of John tract and a pair of combat socks to a Marine.

In the days that followed, I prayed for direction as I faced what seemed like daunting obstacles.  I looked into 501C charity requirements, but didn't meet the criteria.  With the stringent privacy protocols involving our military, I didn't know how I would even obtain a list of Marines to reach!

The Lord then led me back to an online community I already participated in, MarineParents.Com where I noticed for the first time the The Care Package Project.   I read their mission statement which stated, "The Care Package Project's mission is to support deployed troops by sending care packages with letters and content donated by individuals in communities throughout the United States."  I made contact with a MarineParents' Care Package Project representative where I learned that my ministry could fall under the umbrella of MarineParents.com, solving my 501C issue, AND that they had a list of Marines that would receive the Care Packages!  The Lord had provided solutions to the initial obstacles I had faced!

I did have one further concern.  Would MarineParents.com allow their Care Package Project to be used for sending the Gospel to Marines.  Not only did they allow it, but each person I dealt with involved with the Care Package Project was a Believer!

My next step was to contact Covert Threads, the company where I had purchased the socks for my son-in-law.  I spoke to the owner who is a Believer!!  He was so excited and encouraged by the ministry.

I then contacted the The Pocket Testament League where to my utter joy I discovered that they have special combat Gospel of John tracts with non-reflective paper for the troops safety.

In the weeks that followed, I received brochures and posters from the Care Package Project and Covert Threads to be able to promote the fundraisers.  The Lord was providing everything!!

The Lord led me to name the ministry, the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry.  "And having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace." The verse's description of the "feet's" purpose in the armor of God seemed so fitting in light of the Marines receiving socks and the Gospel through this ministry!


All the pieces were in place!  Now it was time to pray that the Lord would provide the financial gifts through His people.

The Lord moved my own church family to participate.  The Lord also moved several local churches to host fundraisers as well.  We were able to conduct the fundraisers remotely by providing an Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry Packet containing a bulletin insert, a poster and brochures.

Since the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry began in 2011, the ministry has raised almost $7000  reaching just about 1000 Marines with the Gospel!   Praising God for how He has blessed this ministry!

I have entrusted the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry into the Lord's hands.  There have been years that the ministry raised a large amount of money.  Other years, when the monies raised were not as much, the Lord was able to multiply the amount of gifts we were able to purchase - like the bread and the fishes.  This past year, however, we only raised a fraction of what we had in the past.  The economy is hitting churches hard which has effected the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry.

I was actually at the point of praying, wondering whether the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry had served what God had intended and whether it was time to end it.  I just wasn't sure how else the money could be raised...

During the week I was praying and considering the future of the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry, I happened to read two blogs, both dealing with ministry.  One blog post dealt with a ministry desire placed upon the heart years ago, but one that the Lord was waiting to launch in His perfect timing; the other blog post encouraged those who are in a ministry to "not grow weary of doing good".   As I read both posts, I felt the Lord was telling me to continue on with the Sock Ministry...

I continued praying...

It then became apparent that the Lord was changing the means in which He would provide money to share the Gospel with the Marines.  I felt the Lord calling me to use my blog, a blog which could potentially be seen all over the world!  It was then that I established a page dedicated to the ministry as part of my blog's website.

I don't even remember how it happened, but somehow I became aware of PayPal's donate button which can be used on websites for fundraising.  Like all the details of this ministry, I believe the Lord led me right to it!

I installed the donate button on the blog a little over a week ago with plans to introduce the ministry at the end of April, just before Military Appreciation Month which is held in May.

Within just days of installing the donate button on my blog, I had a gracious donation from a sister blogger in the United Kingdom!!  I felt like Abraham when he laughed!  I was laughing thinking, "Of course the Lord did that!"  I then had another very gracious donation from someone in the midwest!  And both of these donations happened without me "promoting" the ministry!

The Lord has already done such an amazing work through this ministry over the past four years.  The following is an excerpt from a letter which I received from MarineParents showcasing the enormity of God's blessings toward the Marines.

"The Executive Director of MarineParents and myself were near tears when we saw all the boxes of PERFECT socks that the Marines wear and need...

In closing, on behalf of the Marines and the rest of the staff at the Corporate Office at MarineParents, we are unbelievably touched by the gracious donations of your group...

May you and your Sock Ministry continue to be blessed abundantly by God's Graces, Karen!"

Indeed!  May God continue to do great and mighty things through this ministry; that many Marines would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

All Glory and Honor to Him!

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MINISTRY UPDATE - August 18, 2015
SOCK MINISTRY NO LONGER TAKING DONATIONS.

It is with great disappointment that I will be suspending the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry until further notice. 

I was notified today by MarineParents that the Care Package Project, our sponsor, stopped accepting donations in July 2015 due to lack of need.  {The staff at Marine Parents normally receives addresses of deployed Marines which in turn would receive the Care Packages.  With the recent draw down and more special operation deployments, MarineParents has not received enough addresses to sustain the Care Package Project.

The Care Package Project will be having one more unofficial packing day to clear out their inventory. Please be assured that the funds you donated through my blog will be used toward the final care package shipment by Marine Parents.

In the meantime, I will be looking into other sponsors for the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry in the hopes of opening up the ministry to donations again.

Thank you again for your past generosity. 

Blessings,
Karen 

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If you would like to participate in the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry, you can use the donate button located at the bottom of this post.

If you think your church would be willing to conduct a fundraiser, please use my email contact form, and I can provide your church with more information and/or an Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry Packet.


If you would like to use your blog to conduct your own fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry, feel free to include a link to this blog post.


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I thank you for allowing me to take the time to share what the Lord has done to bless the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry.  You can read more about the ministry here or visit the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry Facebook page.


"We ourselves feel that what we are doing
 is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would
 be less because of that missing drop."  
Mother Theresa


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog Hop

Comments

  1. I'm glad to read about this ministry, God's guidance and provisions for you. What a blessing for soldiers! I'm visiting from Inspire Me Monday.

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    1. Thank you Carol!

      Praising God for His provision and blessing. :-)

      I'm glad you stopped by!

      Delete
  2. Praising God for His hand upon you and this ministry. How beautiful! I love ministries that effect our military. I was a Navy child and married to a Vietnam Veteran so I am military as far as I am concerned.
    I hold you and Ephesians 6:15 in my prayers.
    Glad I followed you from Anita's today.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and most especially for your prayers.

      Thank you so much for visiting!

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful ministry God has gifted you with :). May he continue to lead and guide you and multiply the gifts that people graciously give.

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    1. Indeed!

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement. :-)

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  4. What a beautiful & needed ministry! May God bless you!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. :-)

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  5. Your neighbor today at Tell His Story. God bless you as you step out of the boat and watch Him do miracles.

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  6. Karen, I have a friend who started a ministry to encourage military spouses. http://supportmilitaryspouses.org/. Her name is Diane Rumley. She might be a great contact and encouragement for you.The Lord is blessing their work. Blessings to you in yours.

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    1. Debbie, thank you so much for sharing your friend's information. I so very much appreciate it!

      Praising God for the Lord's blessing on Diane's ministry to military spouses which is so very needed. When my son-in-law was deployed, my daughter would have benefited very much from such a ministry.

      Thank you for your blessings to our ministry. :-)

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  7. As the sister of two military brothers, and a military-wife-sister, I am grateful for people such as yourself, who minister to these men and women who are sacrificing so much! Praying for favor and provision as you grow this ministry. Blessings! #livefree

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    1. First of all, thank you for the sacrifices you make as a military wife and sister. Please thank your brothers and sisters for their sacrifice serving in the military.

      Thank you so much for your prayers for favor and provision upon the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry.

      Thanks for visiting! :-)

      Delete
  8. What a fantastic idea and ministry the Lord has led you too. May it be blessed and may many marines find comfort not only in wearing the socks but especially from the Word of God. Thank you for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words and blessings upon the Ephesians 6:15 Sock Ministry.

      I am happy to be a part of Good Morning Mondays. :-)

      Delete
  9. What a beautiful thing the Lord is doing through you Karen, and it blessed my heart to read about it! I love the verse that you chose - having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel - who knows how many lives will be touched by this care package shared with the gospel. Praying that the Lord continues to bless your ministry mightily, and that you are continued to be encouraged in all you do!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! :-)

      Your prayers and blessings for the ministry mean so much!

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  10. Hi Karen this is a remarkable story you have shared. I am overwhelmed with joy. I could almost feel your heart when you saw the donation.
    Thank God for His faithfulness. I pray you will share more testimonies.
    God Bless Karen

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    1. Hi Ifeoma, Your heartfelt joy for this ministry to the Marines brings such blessing.

      Thank you for your kind words. :-)

      Delete
  11. What a cool ministry, Karen! We have a heart for the armed services as well and try to love on/minister to my husbands battle buddies whenever we can. I sent extra care package supplies to him in Ranger School to share and we love to encourage/pray for our service members! Keep up the great work-- because clearly God is behind you! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! :-)

      And thank you for sharing your heart for the military.

      Delete
  12. May God continue to bless your ministry! Thanks for sharing your faith journey, how the Lord has led and is continuing to lead you.

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    1. Constance, Thank you so much for your encouraging words and your prayer that God would continue to bless this ministry. :-)

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  13. May God bless you for sowing the seed of God's Word to those who serve across the globe! Our sermon today was on Sowing the Seed -- God is speaking to my heart to be more faithful in this area. Linked up with you at Spiritual Sundays -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!
    God bless,
    Laurie
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Laurie, Thank you so very much for your encouragement and kind words. :-)

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  14. I love how you have persevered to follow through with a ministry that you knew was needed but God provided the means to truly get it off the ground. What a blessing! So glad you shared this at The Weekend Brew.

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    1. Mary, thank you for your encouragement.

      Praising God for all that He has done for this ministry. :-)

      Delete
  15. I never knew about this ministry, thanks for the post on it and for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!

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