We often use holidays to point people to Jesus. On Christmas, we remind people about the birth of Jesus. On Easter, we remind people of Jesus' death on the cross and what He experienced. During Thanksgiving, we stress the importance of counting our blessings that God has provided. Recently I even heard of a church passing out GLOW tracts during passion week with some passion tea in baggies!
As a veteran, there are three holidays that mean a lot to me—Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day. These holidays mean more than simply going to the lake or park. They are more than having the day off and doing a cookout. They stand for something, especially to all those who have fought and died for our country.
For the millions who have died, we remember them, and we are forever grateful. For the families who have sacrificed time spent with their spouse and families, we also thank them. For the families who have been broken apart and destroyed by war, words are not enough to say how sorry we are for the pain that war has brought. This is what these holidays mean to veterans.
Sadly these holidays have come and gone for many years, and I have missed the opportunity to use these holidays to say "Thank You for your service!" and "I'm sorry for your loss!" at the same time as pointing them to Jesus in some way. As each holiday passed, I would kick myself for not thinking ahead to try and do something. This year I bought a box of books entitled Hero of Hacksaw Ridge.
This year for Memorial Day, my family and I went to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. Greenfield Village is 80 acres of American history spanning 300 years. This holiday brought more guests than usual with a Civil War demonstration and theme throughout the park. I decided to take about 20 books inside.
Before putting them in my backpack, my wife helped me insert two GLOW tracts along with the books. Alternating between America in Prophecy and When Freedom Dies and then adding a Jesus on Prophecy tract in there, we set out on our educational family outing. I was able to give a couple of copies away to a non-denominational pastor who was also a veteran. He and his brother were so thankful and surprised that I would be giving away such a book. We ended up having a good conversation about the main character in the book. In fact, they said they had just started watching the movie the night before for the first time and looked forward to reading more!
I gave another to a couple from San Antonio on a train ride. Turned out they have some good friends back home who are Seventh-day Adventists. They were very grateful.
Once I arrived at the veteran's recognition table, I gave a book one of the ladies behind the counter who was eager to start reading. I realized that I would have a hard time getting out the remaining 15 books by myself (I wanted to give them to people who would appreciate them) so I asked the ladies if I could lay some books out on the table. They were ecstatic at the suggestion and allowed me to place some there. I placed 10 or so at first because I wasn't sure if many people would want them.
I returned a couple of hours later, and they were all gone. So I placed the remaining five on the table. I went back about an hour after, and as I walked up the last one was taken. They said that people were so happy to receive the book, and that they had already started reading it themselves.
They asked for my email to send me a “thank you” message and mentioned that they saved one to put in the Greenfield Village Library. The manager was there and thanked me for donating the books. I told them I had more in the car and could have brought more with me. They stated they would be here the next year and I could bring as many as I wanted!
What a great and easy way to not only say "thank you" to our veterans for their service, but also to share essential truths with people on our patriotic holidays. Whatever you do, don't forget to put the GLOW tracts inside!