‘Children in military families face uncertainty, frequent moves and deployment of parents. Our Good News Clubs share with them the unchanging anchor of Jesus Christ’
For Immediate Release
July 3, 2023
ST. LOUIS — About four million people call the U.S. military “home” and more than one million American children have at least one parent on active duty. Life for military families often means frequent moves to different states and even different countries. When a parent is deployed away from the family for six months to a year or more, it can bring enormous stress to children.
“Independence Day reminds us of how much we owe the brave people who serve in the armed forces. Children in military families face uncertainty, frequent moves and deployment of parents. Our Good News Clubs share with them the unchanging anchor of Jesus Christ,” says Andy Bunn, Military Children’s Ministry director.
Approximately 25 to 35 percent of the people in a given military community move every year. Most assignments last two to three years, with the end of the assignment possibly bringing a move across the world. Children in military families not only frequently have to pick up and leave their homes but spend extended periods away from their parents during deployment and training. Some of them are indirectly exposed to war, often at a young age.
More than two million American children have had a parent deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. More than 2,200 children have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan and at least 19,000 children have had a parent wounded in action.
“Children of all ages experience more emotional and behavioral problems when their parents are deployed,” according to studies reported by the Armed Services YMCA. “Younger children show behavioral problems and attachment difficulties during the deployment and the reintegration period, such as difficulty sleeping, bed wetting, nightmares, excessive clinginess, and difficulty trusting the deployed parent or respecting their authority.
“Older children and adolescents with a deployed parent show problems like decreasing grades, anxiety and depression, aggressive behaviors, suicidal thoughts and substance use.”
“Children in military families must continually adjust to new surroundings and make new friends,” Bunn says. “They need stability and assurance that transcends their environment. They need Jesus, the Rock of Ages. We have established ministries on 14 bases in 11 states and are aiming to add more in the near future.”
A Good News Club is held in a military neighborhood in a home or school that is safe for a child to attend. This is another way to bring the teaching of biblical morality to not only the children but to the neighborhood. This connects the child and family to others where they live and develops community spirit.
Active ministries include: Alaska: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (Air Force/Army); Kansas: Fort Riley (Army); Kentucky: Fort Campbell (Army); Louisiana: Barksdale (Air Force); Missouri: Fort Leonard Wood (Army); New York: Fort Drum and Fort Hamilton (Army); North Carolina: Fort Liberty (Army), formerly Fort Bragg); South Carolina: Fort Jackson (Army); Texas: Fort Bliss (Army) and Fort Cavazos (Army) formerly Fort Hood; Virginia: Fort Belvoir (Army) and Joint Base Langley-Eustis (Air Force/Army), and Washington :Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Air Force/Army).
“These families deserve all the help we can give them,” Bunn says. “They put it all on the line and their children are a big part of that. We are grateful to God that we can play a role in giving them the lifesaving message of the Gospel.”
In the coming year, CEF is continuing to reemphasize its commitment to the Great Commission with a new slate of ambitious goals. With God’s help, the ministry hopes to:
- Reach approximately 26.5 million children in 2023.
- Minister to 100 million children each year globally with the Gospel in the near future.
- Increase the number of Good News Clubs® — in 2022, CEF’s Good News Clubs® served children in 79,733 public schools worldwide.
- Train hundreds of thousands of adults worldwide to reach more children for Christ.
Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 86 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.
Last year, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. In 2022, more than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.
To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.