On Memorial Day we remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Please keep the United States’ active-duty military members and their families in your prayers today. Young Life Military is known to teens and families as “Club Beyond.” Staff and volunteers around the world consider it a great honor and privilege to serve the teenaged children of our active-duty military force.
A Los Angeles Times article featured a USC study of the impact of family member deployments on today’s military teens. The most startling finding in the article was that among those teens who had a family member that had been deployed, 1 in 5 had created a plan to end his or her own life and nearly all followed through with an attempt. This was nearly twice the rate of their civilian peers, basically doubling the risk for military teens in this area – solely because they had a family member who had been deployed to a far-off corner of the globe to protect our nation’s freedoms.
This single measurable and documented impact of the stress of military life on teens is just one challenge area for them. Club Beyond staff and volunteer leaders, as they walk alongside these teens, see many other challenges they face on a daily basis. During the last 40 years, Club Beyond staff have reached out to Military Teens living at or near more than 105 military installations in 16 countries across four continents. While this is good news indeed, there is much work remaining in order to bring this outreach ministry and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all 500,000 teenagers whose parents serve in the active-duty military.
There is a well-known war memorial to the brave American service members who fought and won the battle of Iwo Jima and it stands in full view of Arlington National Cemetery, where many of the United States’ fallen heroes have been laid to rest. This memorial commemorates the sacrifices and the victory of the Marines who took the hill on top of Mount Suribachi, and it represents the sacrifices made by all service members to provide us the freedoms we enjoy at this time. The sacrifice this memorial represents can be compared to the sacrifice represented by the cross. Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives and drew strength to take the hill just outside Jerusalem – in order to provide us freedom from sin and death for all time. And it was a Roman Centurion who witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross and proclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54, NIV)
Club Beyond is bringing the Good News of Jesus’ victory over sin and death to military teens across the globe.
Please take a moment this Memorial Day to remember our fallen military heroes and their family members, as a grateful nation pauses to remember their service and sacrifice. Please pray for them, and please pray the Club Beyond ministry will continue expanding in order to give every one of America’s Military Teenagers the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and to find freedom through faith in Him! Thank you.