Over the last year Xenos has launched a new ministry called Call-Sign--a weekly Bible study hosted by veterans, for veterans. It hopes to give veterans the chance to experience a relationship with God and enjoy His healing grace. Since it’s led by vets the teaching and discussions are very relatable, and while it is not designed to be a long-term provision for fellowship (like a home church), it provides a gateway to approach God for veterans who may find it difficult to talk about their experiences with people who can’t relate.
If you know a veteran who might benefit, please consider inviting them. It meets every Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the Main Campus Atrium (1390 Community Park Dr., 43229). You can contact Kim Downs if you have questions at email@example.com.
Organizers say when people from the military community gather, they experience instant camaraderie, even if they're from different branches. With that unique atmosphere in place for Call-Sign gatherings, it can help make it as easy as possible for veterans to interact with the Bible and ask serious questions of God’s Word.
Tim Downs is a retired USAF captain and one of the volunteers helping with Call-Sign. He says they hope to reach veterans of all ages with the gospel, offering them answers to the isolation and lack of purpose many experience after leaving the military. They also hope to offer friendship and hope as they transition from their time as warriors back into everyday life.
At the direction of Xenos elders over the last few years, Doug Patch has been working to develop Xenos’ ministries to the military community. Xenos member Kathy Vannatta, an Army National Guard captain has played an important role in connecting Xenos with the training and networking necessary to undergird this ministry.
Doug says the original concept for Call-Sign came from discussions he had with veteran Mike Fairman, a member of the Fallara Home Church and co-founder of Summit for Soldiers. Mike said that while home churches are a great place to find community, many veterans would need to warm up to that by connecting in a setting explicitly for vets. The Gospel would be brought to light through Biblical teachings and discussion applied to vets, in the context of building friendship with one another.
Without knowing it, Mike described Xenos’ HOPE ministry for addicts. He attended a HOPE meeting and returned, strongly affirming that a similar meeting exclusively for vets was the answer. Several veterans in Xenos committed to the ministry, received training, and launched Call-Sign last April.
In addition to helping conceive this approach, Mike continues as a volunteer. He served for 18 years as a Navy Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, serving in the Republic of Georgia during the 2008 conflict and to Afghanistan from 2010-2011. “Out of uniform I have traveled to some of the most desolate places in the world and have seen the worst that man can dish out. My demons span not just through war, but peacetime as well. I have had a long continuous road to recovery, but God is definitely the one who gets me through my mental health and suicidal moments.”
Mike says he felt great despair a few years ago when the son of one of his Summit for Soldiers board members died from suicide. “I was at a loss on what to do. God placed a burden on my heart in that all our efforts to ‘save’ a life this side of the grave are futile if we have not secured our place on the other side eternally.”
Mike says God answered his despair through the formation of Call-Sign. “It’s given me renewed purpose and reason for the sake of others, which God is using to grow me closer to Him, and that alone is life-saving. Thank you for letting me serve in this capacity!”