One Illinois church has found another way to honor veterans, first responders and military.
After First Baptist Grayville’s pastor, David Smith, and his family cleaned the gravestones of about 1,000 veterans on Memorial Day last year, they found a new ministry focus. Church member Marc Neeley developed the idea for a prayer case that displays law enforcement and first responder uniform patches.
Once they had the idea, implementing it was easy.
Marc’s father, August Neeley, a Navy veteran, quickly built a large display case. Their goal was to present this prayer case to the church by Veteran’s Day, but they easily filled it and had already begun work on another case over a month before then.
Swapping patches is a common practice among law officers and firefighters. Many first responders are glad to give their patch to the church as well.
Beyond the patches
More than simply displaying the patches, the church prays for every person connected with each patch.
This has opened gospel conversations where there might not be openings. “It’s a simple request,” Smith said. “I ask if the first responder would like to be prayed for, then explain that I won’t be the only one praying. Most of them believe in prayer even if they don’t understand Jesus.
“We are honored by the service of our first responders, military and veterans and hope to honor them through this,” Smith said.
EDITOR’S NOTE —This article was written by Leah Honnen and first published by the Illinois Baptist, newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association.