Sharing the Good News with Those Who Served
American Bible Society’s Armed Services Ministry is reaching U.S. Veterans with hope in God’s Word
This Veterans Day, American Bible Society thanks God for the faithful service of our Veterans. We honor their bravery in risking their lives for our freedoms and remain committed to sharing the good news with those who served through our Armed Services Ministry. Since 1817, we have deployed God’s Word to the Military community. Today, we share reflections from two Veterans on the importance of this ministry: Rev. Dr. Paul McCullough III of Armed Services Ministry and Bob Deyo, who received a Military-focused Bible that renewed his passion for God’s Word.
Strength and Encouragement in Every Season of Service
IEDs. Surprise attacks. Rocket fire on Christmas morning.
These are just some of the dangers that Rev. Dr. Paul McCullough III, who serves as a Senior Field Manager with American Bible Society’s Armed Services Ministry, faced during a six-month tour in Iraq.
“I was tempted to fear death every single day,” he says. “We were on constant alert.”
Before his deployment, McCullough received a Bible and a God Understands devotional from his Chaplain. He remembers reading through both books multiple times, finding comfort in putting on the full armor of God along with his battle gear. “All I could do was pray, read the Bible, and know that God held me in the palm of his hand,” McCullough says. For daily courage and strength, he turned to Psalm 23:4 (KJV):
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
When he retired from the Military, McCullough faced a new set of challenges. Like many Veterans, a life outside of the Military felt unfamiliar, and his first civilian job didn’t seem to fit with God’s plan for his life. Once again, he turned to God’s Word for comfort:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Today, McCullough and his Armed Services Ministry colleagues are committed to ensuring that other Veterans, Military members, and their families can receive the same life-changing message of God’s love.
“I wish I had this Bible fifty years ago.”
One recent beneficiary of Armed Services Ministry is Bob Deyo, who received a free Warrior’s Bible through his local church.
“This [Bible] came along at the right time,” says Deyo, who grew up in a Military family and served in the Army for nine years during the Vietnam War era.
As a young child, Deyo witnessed the Bible’s transformative power in his father, who was a Veteran of World War II—including the pivotal D-Day invasion of Normandy—and the Korean War. Deyo’s mother faithfully instilled biblical values in him and his siblings , reading a children’s Bible storybook with them each night. But while he grew up knowing about God, spiritual transformation came later in life.
Deyo says he began to take his faith more seriously after surviving a traffic accident in 2017. He likes to tell people that he “got retired” by two dump trucks, which forced his own truck into a telephone pole. While his truck was totaled, Deyo survived with relatively minor injuries. “[The state police] had to pull me out of the truck,” he remembers. “They said, ‘You’re lucky to be alive.’” In that moment, he was faced with how close he had come to death: “I realized life could end, instantly.”
After his accident, Deyo endured more trials in the form of a battle with cancer and a sudden stroke. Then one day, during a service at his church, he heard an offer for Veterans to receive a free Bible from American Bible Society. He says he jumped on the opportunity since his current Bible was 18 years old and wearing thin. As he began to read the Warrior’s Bible, he found new encouragement in the Bible’s Military context, notes, and references.
“The references to experiences [of] Military personnel [were] especially helpful because I could recall similar experiences,” Deyo says. “Some things you just never forget. And [this Bible] just puts it in context . . . It brings back memories, and it clearly makes sense.”
Even years after active service, the Warrior’s Bible helped him understand God’s Word more deeply and encouraged him through his health struggles. Today, Deyo studies his Bible for about an hour each morning on his patio. “My quiet time in the morning has been especially productive in understanding God’s Word, which has given me direction in retirement,” he says. He has only one complaint: “I wish I had this Bible fifty years ago.”
Serving Those Who Served—In Their Heart Language
Like McCullough, Deyo sees Scripture resources for the Military community as a definite need. He empathizes with the men and women currently serving our nation, saying that the Bible could be a critical source of comfort for them.
“Military life can be lonely and depressing. It can also be easy to become afraid,” he says. “Dealing with adversity and hard times is certainly a regular occurrence for most of us.”
McCullough agrees. “Many Veterans and Military members won’t ask for help, even if they need it,” he says. “This includes help with taking the next step in their spiritual journey. And often, pastors don’t know how to relate to them because of their unique vernacular and experiences.” Without anyone to talk to or a way to meaningfully engage with God’s Word, Veterans and Military members often feel helpless—and hopeless.
“Veterans, Military members, and their families have given so much in defense of our nation,” McCullough says. “The least we can do is provide life-saving Scripture resources that speak to them in their heart language and let them know that they are not alone.”
For Veterans like Bob Deyo, the Bible is coming alive in ways they have never experienced before through the resources provided by Armed Services Ministry. To the generous partners of American Bible Society who enabled him to receive his Bible, Deyo has one thing to say: “Thank you for helping me grow as a Christian!”
Explore and share free resources for the Military community from Armed Services Ministry!
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