Paul Wolfgramm, a 35-year-old Marine Corp Reserve veteran with deployment experience, understands the importance of the work of WELS Military Services—even though he admits he didn’t know about the resources offered by WELS during his own service. “It’s a time when your faith can be unraveled or it’s a time when your faith can really be strengthened and you can grow in your relationship with your Savior,” he says. “To be able to reach people who are in such a critical junction in their lives with God’s Word and sacraments is really special.”
Wolfgramm, a member at Good Shepherd’s, West Allis, Wis., now works to make sure other WELS members in the military know where they can find that spiritual support. As a laymember of the WELS Military Services Committee, he recently hosted a video, “Staying Close to God’s Word While in the Military,” aimed at preparing high school students planning to enter the military to guard and strengthen their faith during their service.
“The combination of being pulled away from your support group and the intense temptations can be spiritually dangerous [for young people], but it can also be a time where you can really learn to appreciate your faith and see God working in your life,” says Wolfgramm. “Being in the military gives you the opportunity to look at things a little more seriously, especially when you’re deployed. It gives you the chance to pray more and gives you the chance to benefit from other Christians praying for you.”
Wolfgramm stresses the importance of staying connected to God’s Word during service and deployment and how WELS Military Services can help. “A great place to start is asking people to go to wels.net/refer. You can sign up yourself or you can refer someone else who is actively serving,” he says. “They’ll receive a welcome kit and regular devotions written by the national civilian chaplain, Pastor Paul Ziemer, to encourage them in the work they are doing.”
In addition to receiving military-specific spiritual resources, service members will be connected with the nearest military contact pastor and potentially other WELS members in their area. WELS currently has 120 military contact pastors serving congregations near military installations and military service personnel on base.
Timing is important, says Wolfgramm, because once WELS members are on base WELS Military Services can’t provide spiritual resources unless they are contacted, and the best way to do that is to fill out the form at wels.net/refer.
Learn more about the resources, services, and support offered by WELS Military Services at wels.net/military. To watch “Staying Close to God’s Word While in the Military,” visit csm.welsrc.net/military-resources.
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021