"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18
Last week the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs served the Security Forces (Military Police) at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada, after the death of one of their airmen.
James Colip, Master Sgt., Section Chief, Operations Security Forces, invited the LCC K-9 Ministry to visit with each of the Security Forces shifts the week of October 25-28 to ensure the airmen had time to spend with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers.
LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dog Reuben (First Lutheran - Yuba City, California) and his veteran handler and LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Gomer (St. John’s - Napa, California) with his handlers and ministry partner traveled by vehicle 12 hours from California to Las Vegas to join LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Lois (First Good Shepherd - Las Vegas, Nevada) and Salome (Faith Community - Las Vegas, Nevada) to serve the Security Forces Unit at Nellis. Each day these four K-9 ministry teams visited the different shifts on the base to share the mercy, compassion, and presence of Jesus Christ with this hurting unit.
Many serving in the United States military are very young - even the officers, but they do their job every day to protect our country. They are far from home and without their families. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs allowed them to receive love and comfort. Some were talkative; some said little or nothing but stayed with the dogs. All were so grateful for the visits that week. This was truly a ministry of presence as the soldiers are trained to push down their emotions.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog handlers and ministry partners noticed a real difference in how the airmen responded to the first day they were there and then on subsequent visits. Many were hesitant to interact with the team at the beginning of that initial visit, but when the Comfort Dogs and their handlers returned the following night, those same individuals sought them out as they were returning from their shifts. The handlers and ministry partners were able to continue the conversations they had started the day before.
The K-9 ministry teams felt like we made some real connections there. Master Sergeant Colip of the Military Police expressed a desire to continue having the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs visit the base in the future and told the team he considers them "part of the unit." This deployment reinforced how the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs provide a bridge for us to share the mercy and compassion of Christ.
Something that handlers shared was how many people noticed that the Comfort Dogs' vests say "Please Pet Me" and commented about how they loved that since the dogs they work with serve a very different purpose, and they aren't able to interact with them in that way.
Please keep our activity duty military and their families that support them in your prayers and thoughts. We pray Salome and Lois Comfort Dogs, and their teams will be able to continue to visit with these brave men and women.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:9