Remembering and Celebrating our Veterans Past and Present

Remembering and Celebrating our Veterans Past and Present

Written By Kendrick Neal

Remembering and Celebrating our Veterans Past and Present

This Friday, November 11, we will be remembering and celebrating our veterans, past, and present.  As a veteran myself, I will probably spend the day a little bit differently than others. I will receive texts and calls from those I served with throughout the years. I remember the times we had together, both good and bad, but all are cherished memories. I know what each of those men and women sacrificed in order to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and all who sleep under its protection.

Due to many nights away from home, my wife, Melissa, signed all her letters with Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” It meant the world to me, and now it is a verse I share with many of the veterans I had the great opportunity to serve with all over the world. This Veteran’s Day, I thank God in all my remembrances of them.

As a veteran, I am also grateful for my church family, who loved me, ministered to me, and cared for my family while I was deployed. Melissa and I married in July 2001, and in just a few months, the world would change forever. Little did we know I would be deployed 30 out of the first 36 months of our marriage. Not only did our church, Palms Baptist, send care packages and pray for me and others from our church, they cared for and ministered to our families back home. This is the greatest ministry to those who are deployed. The church members went out of their way to comfort, disciple, and minister to so many families whose husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers were deployed, often without set dates for a return. In the midst of uncertainty and chaos, the church became a place of refuge, support, and comfort.

To all Pastors in military communities, Pastors with veteran family members, and Pastors of churches who have become families to those with deployed military members, on this Veteran’s Day, I also thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. You truly partner with veterans in the Gospel. Churches, you become family to so many families who are miles away from their immediate families. You love on them, you care for them, you protect them, and you disciple them.  You love them in the way Jesus loved you. Your impact on the men and women who serve this country and their families may not fully be recognized on this side of heaven, but I am so grateful for each one of you who manifests God’s love for us and demonstrate Jesus’ service to each deployed veteran.

As a Pastor, I thank God for each remembrance of every veteran I had the opportunity to serve with and every veteran who swore an oath to protect my right to worship freely.

As a veteran, I thank my God for every pastor and church that loved and served not only my family but every veteran and their families who have ever attended their church. Thank you for partnering in the Gospel with us.

As a former active duty Marine and member of Palms Baptist Church, I am grateful my pastor invested in me, discipled me, and sacrificially served me and my family, knowing we would soon be moving. Thank you, Pastor David Squyres, for truly partnering in the gospel with me and each military family who walks through the doors of Palms Baptist.

While it is easy to ignore or discount military families because their stay in your church will be temporary, I challenge you to imitate Pastor David and so many other pastors in military communities who not only love these families but see each one as an opportunity to disciple them in the gospel, encourage them, challenge them to grow in their relationship with Jesus, then send them out as missionaries to all corners of the world.

To all other pastors and churches who partner with veterans in the Gospel, know that on this Veteran’s Day, so many other Veterans and I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

About the Author

Kendrick Neal
Pastor, Calvary Church West Hills

Kendrick is a former Marine who after 13 years of service, resigned his commission to serve a faith-based organization serving in closed and hazardous locations around the world. In 2013 Kendrick accept a call to be an Executive Pastor in San Diego and connected with CSBDRM where he continues to serve as a chaplain and Blue Hat for cleanup. He also served as a San Diego Police Chaplain. In 2017 Kendrick became the lead pastor at Calvary Church West Hills. He continues to serve with CSBDRM and as a Law Enforcement chaplain, now for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Kendrick serves on the Executive Board of the California Southern Baptist Convention. He has a Master of Arts and Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, VA and is currently working on his DMin through Gateway Seminary.

He and his high school sweetheart, Melissa, have been married for 21 years, and they have three children, Isaac, Selah, and Max.

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