Members of the body of Christ at Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Tampa, FL, have had the privilege this year to assist disabled veterans at the James A. Haley VA Hospital attend Sunday morning Protestant worship services. The need for volunteers to transport veterans to the Presbyterian services was requested by Chaplain Robert Byrne, who has served our veterans at the James A Haley VA Hospital for over 20 years.
Our missions committee solicited comments from those in our congregation who were blessed in serving our veterans in this way. Here is a sampling:
“It has had a great impact on my walk in the kingdom. I’m energized. I want to be there every Sunday. I find myself wanting to go and read the Bible to nearly-blind ‘Ms. A’, or to ‘Ms. B’, her roommate…”
“I embarked on this mission thinking I would bless others by serving in this way only to be showered with blessings myself. What a great God we have! I look forward to doing it again next week!”
“I was ministered to more than I ministered.”
“What a humbling experience to serve the Lord in this way (escorting – pushing wheel chairs – for vets from the nursing home at the VA). It has certainly clarified and reinforced for me that we show our love for our Lord by loving and serving others. I had the honor of escorting a woman who could barely sit up in her wheel chair; couldn’t control her head movements; could not use her arms, hands or legs; couldn’t talk but could make sounds. I hand fed to her tiny pieces of donut (so she wouldn’t choke) and she eagerly took the pieces from my fingers with her mouth. She liked the donut so much, she had a second one.”
“Volunteering to escort VA patients to the chapel service ministered to me in several ways. I was blessed in serving the Lord, in honoring my country, and in honoring those who have defended my country and are now in need of care. “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
“My observation of the three weeks I was at the VA was that the real ministry was to us.”
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
For any PCA congregation within close proximity to a VA hospital and not already involved, this is a great way to serve our veterans and show them our appreciation for their sacrifices for our country’s security. From WWII and Korean War vets to recently returned service members from the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, let us love and serve them out of our love for the Lord, and to bring Him glory.