- What we believe
- Spiritual Help
- How we serve
- Christian Aid & Relief
- Adult Discipleship
- Campus Ministry
- Christian Giving
- Congregational Counseling
- Lutheran Schools
- Military Services
- Ministerial Education
- Multi-Language Publications
- Special Ministries
- Women's Ministry
- Youth and Family Ministries
- Northwestern Publishing House
- WELS Administration
- News & Events
- Streams media
- About WELS
Serving those who serve
Mike Tracy, along with his wife and four children, has moved 14 times in 25 years due to his career in the Air Force. As lifelong WELS members, their priority for every move was locating the nearest WELS church. When Tracy was stationed at Ramstein, a military base in Germany, seven years ago, the first thing the family did was learn about the WELS European Chaplaincy.
As part of Military Services, under the Commission on Special Ministries, Pastor Josh Martin serves in Germany and other nearby European countries where WELS members, both military and civilian, are living.
For Tracy and his family, knowing a WELS chaplain was serving wherever they moved, including Germany, was like knowing family would be there for them. "Having the WELS churches near military installations available to you was just a huge comfort factor," says Tracy. "It makes the moves less stressful, because you knew that family was going to be there. You didn't know who they were, but you knew they were family."
When a family moves around as much as some military families do, it's important to feel like you have family no matter where you are in the world. Tracy says, "Anybody coming into the military needs to know that just because they're leaving their home congregation does not mean they're out there by themselves."
In Europe, Martin divides his time among five locations. The first Sunday of the month, he heads to London. The second and fourth Sundays, he spends mornings in Wicker, Germany, and afternoons at Ramstein. On the third Saturday, he travels to Vilseck Army base in Germany, and on the third Sunday, he ministers to a few families in Switzerland.
"[Military members] want to worship the Lord. They want to have somebody administer the Word and sacraments to them. They want to hear the Word of God preached to them, to be able to take the Lord's Supper," says Martin.
Tracy is now retired from the Air Force but continues to work at Ramstein as a contractor. During his career and now as a contractor, he has seen what kind of stress servicemen and women are under.
"There are a lot of stressors we have in our lives that I wouldn't say the typical American family has," says Tracy. "A lot of these guys go through things that no human should go through."
Some wounds you can see, he says, but some, you can't. "These men and women are wounded when they come back, and they need care quickly and constantly," says Tracy. This isn't just medical care but also spiritual care. With Martin right in Germany, he is available to provide that spiritual care for WELS military members.
Volume 99, Number 6
Issue: June 2012
Volume 99, Number 6
Issue: June 2012
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2009
Permission is granted for a single personal copy of an article. Additional copyright information is available at Northwestern Publishing House.
Subscribe to FIC
This monthly magazine, sent to almost 50,000 subscribers, addresses important issues facing Christians today.
Bible translation revision
Have you heard that the publishers of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible have updated the translation? A Translation Evaluation Committee has been established to study and examine this new translation, along with other English language translations. The committee has compiled essays, information, and studies on the topic.
Home Missions partners with Church Extension Fund to build worship facilities for mission congregations. Learn about two congregations that recently dedicated new buildings.