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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Remember military families

Children at United Lutheran Church, Red Wing, Minn., made 600 gift bags for families of Minnesota National Guard members serving in the Middle East.

Two Sundays later, parishioners helped stuff each bag with an inspirational bookmark, a $10 gift card, note cards, a list of groups the families can call for help, and a personal note.

Many members invited friends to worship to help with the effort called "While They're Away."

"About 2,400 soldiers from Minnesota are going to Kuwait and Iraq this spring," said Steve Timm, a pastor of United. "Those soldiers leave behind husbands and wives, moms and dads, and kids who are making huge sacrifices.

Having them gone a year is a big thing, and for many it's the second deployment.

While many organizations send care packages to soldiers, we wanted to provide care packages for families to let them know we're praying for them too."

Why 600? "We thought, 'What can we reasonably do?' Then we decided to do a little more," said Timm, who has been deployed to Iraq and areas hit by Hurricane Katrina as a guard chaplain.

For more information, contact Timm by email.


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