Yvonne and I have been ministering to the military in our home for 19 years. We invite them in every weekend. One of the most enjoyable moments for us is when a young serviceman or woman comes through our front door, smiles and says, “Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve been in a real home!”
God’s Call to Open Our Home
In Matthew 25:35, Jesus said,
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.
Jesus was talking about ministering to the needs of others through hospitality.
In June of 2000, the Lord called Yvonne and me to a new season of ministry. He brought us to Virginia Beach to reach young single servicemen and women for Jesus Christ. We originally thought we would pattern our ministry after The Port O’ Call in California. That was the servicemen’s center where Yvonne and I met, and where I invited Jesus Christ into my life. They had a building, and many hosts and hostesses. It was a ministry large enough to reach hundreds of the servicemen and women stationed in the San Francisco area.
One day while praying about where to look for a building, God spoke to my heart. He said, “I don’t want you to look for a building; I want you to minister in your home.”
I was surprised and asked, “Why, Lord? We could get so many more people into a different building. We can only fit about 20 people, at the most, into our home!”
He said: “I know, but the young people in the military today are different than you were 30 years ago. When you were 18, you came from an intact family, you had a church background, and you believed in God and the Bible. Most of the young people in the military today, that you will be ministering to, will come from broken or dysfunctional families, little (if any) church background and little or no belief in God or the Bible. Servicemen and women today need a loving family environment where they can see Christ’s love lived out in front of them. They need to be loved into the kingdom.”
I knew from that moment we would open our home and invite them in. And that is what Yvonne and I have been doing every weekend for 19 years.
For Yvonne and me, hospitality becomes real and practical as we open our home and provide 18- to 25-year-old sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen. We provide a safe and comfortable home and family environment. A place where they can relax and get away from the pressures of military life for a few hours each week. Providing this environment helps us develop personal relationships with them. And it opens the door for us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
Yvonne and I love hearing them say, “I feel like I’m part of a real family again.”
But not only is it important for them, Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40 come flooding back to my mind:
Lord, when did we see you a stranger and invite you in? The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, YOU DID FOR ME.
While ministering in Colorado, over a three year period, we had 200 young high school students come through our home. Not long after moving to Virginia, I was praying and reading through the book of Haggai. In Haggai 2, verses 7 and 9, the Lord said,
I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord Almighty….The glory of the present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty.
God knew what we had done in our home in Colorado, ministering to the high school students. In this verse, He was telling us our ministry with young military men and women in Virginia, would be greater than what we had done in Colorado. So far, we’ve ministered to 565 soldiers, sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen, and their families. They come from 46 different states, and 7 foreign countries.
The Lord promised to grant peace to those who would came into our home in Virginia Beach. Just as He had granted peace to the teens who came into our home in Grand Junction.
God’s Call to Open Your Home
There are tens of thousands of young servicemen and women stationed on scores of military bases around the United States. Most of the young men and women do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Yvonne and I would love to reach them all! But obviously we can’t be everywhere at the same time.
In the vision God gave us for this ministry, He said He would bless us and multiply us. The picture we hold in our hearts is of Pentecostal people all over the United States living near military bases. We see people who are involved in good strong Pentecostal churches. People who open their hearts and homes to young, single, servicemen and women. People sharing the Full Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
This is a picture based on Isaiah 51 verses 1 and 2:
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
Imagine if every serviceman and woman, on every military base in the United States, had the opportunity to hear about Jesus. What if they had the opportunity because people like you chose to open their home and invite them in.
God is working in amazing ways in the lives of military men and women around the world. He is bringing thousands to know Him through people stepping out in faith just like you.
Do you sense God inviting you to join Him in connecting Jesus to servicemen and women around you? Is God calling you to open your home to young military men and women and invite them in?
We can help. In Lighthouse Military Ministry, our passion is connecting people to Jesus and seeing Him change lives. We want to help people share this passion. We can equip you to share Jesus and encourage you along the way.
If you sense God leading you to start a ministry on a military base near you, we want to help. You don’t have to do this alone. The very best way we can help you is to coach you. We will be happy to guide you, answering questions, suggesting tools and resources, and encouraging you along the way.