To help the spouses of those who have been deployed for military service cope with the challenges they face, the combined ministry of International Bible Society and Send the Light ministry has created a special military family Bible.
"Finding Hope Beyond the Battle," which was released this past week, is a New International Version special-edition Bible with 13 additional color pages of stories from 12 wives and one husband left at home.
The featured testimonies tell how "the Word of God and their faith in God has helped them get through a variety of challenges, difficulties, and problems while the service member has been deployed," explained Chuck Adams, IBS-STL's director of Military Ministries, to Mission Network News.
The stories, according to IBS-STL, show the pain, sorrow, anger, and other fiery emotions spouses felt and how God faithfully demonstrated His control in each situation. These include difficult good-byes, fears of loss, loneliness at holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays, waiting for phone calls, child-birth and life threatening diseases, and crying alone at night.
IBS-STL's Adams, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, reported that chaplains he had shown the special Bibles to have received them with "excitement and enthusiasm."
"The reception … [is] just pretty overwhelming," he said.
"We are hoping to draw these family members who are not normally believers or Bible readers into the Word of God."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, approximately 1.5 million American troops have been deployed to support U.S. war effort, according to a preliminary report that was prepared by the American Psychological Association to the Presidential Taskforce on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Member.
According to IBS-STL, the military family Bible fills a long-standing need that Lorrie Pies, wife of an Army soldier, understands all too well.
"Military service is always a family experience, not just the soldier's job," she commented. "Like many spouses left at home, I've battled depression, loneliness, anger, and other emotions while trying to deal with the challenges of daily life. This Bible helps me know I'm not the only spouse who struggles with life in the military. Finding Hope Beyond the Battle is a timely help for winning these battles and strengthening me to care for my family. It guides me to God, the source of hope and help."
Pies particularly noted how she was able to see through the stories how "[r]eal catastrophes were transformed into beautiful pictures of hope and trust in the Lord."
Starting last Wednesday, 55,000 copies from the first printing of the special Bible were distributed free through military chaplains to families of deployed troops.
IBS-STL in the United States has distributed Bibles and New Testaments to soldiers since the War of 1812. Since 1990, its military Bibles and New Testaments have been New International Version special editions with camouflage covers plus help to locate and understand Scriptures especially meaningful for troops in combat. The ministry now adds Finding Hope Beyond the Battle for military families.