Surviving child uses dad’s benefits to help milspouses become missionaries
In 2014, Brook lost her Marine Corps father to suicide. When she heard about a nonprofit working to send military spouses to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to become certified missionaries, an idea was born. She would be the first donor to the nonprofit and the catalyst for an extraordinary partnership.
In late 2022, Air Force spouse and theology major Megan Brown launched Milspo. Co., a Christian-faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those in need and sending military spouse missionaries through theological education. From there, these trained missionaries are ready to work in conjunction with Chaplains and local churches around military bases to care for service members and their families.
Dr. Daniel Akin has been the President and Professor of Preaching and Theology for SEBTS since 2004. “Southeastern is very, very passionate about fulfilling the Great Commission and it is kind of the heartbeat at the school. We call it the umbrella under which we do everything here,” he explained. “When I met Megan last year at the SBC in Anaheim, she was just, of course, an explosion of energy. But when she shared what was on her heart and her vision I knew there was something there.”
Christian churches have long been sending missionaries all over the world to share the Gospel. Brown’s idea of using military spouses who are already deployed with their service members all over the world was an idea that stunned the leadership at SEBTS. But it also excited them, as well.
“I know so many men who have come to faith in Christ and I hear remarkable stories about what God's doing through our chaplains. But here off to the side are our military wives and no one was talking about them,” he explained.
“God knows the limits because I can see the potential for this to go nuclear, all over the world. If that's God's plan then we'll just ride his coattails and enjoy the ride,” Akin smiled. SEBTS has long been passionate about the military and sees many Chaplains walk through its doors.
The first donor to the initiative was Brook Leona. It was a story that brought Akin to tears, he shared.
“I can hardly talk about it because I was just stunned and without words. That this girl lost her dad in the way she did and wanted to use his death benefits to send women as Christian missionaries, it was just overwhelming,” Akin said. “I can expect that from somebody that is older, perhaps married or has family but she's a teenager. Yet her heart just is bigger than Mars, bigger than the moon bigger than Jupiter. I just thought, well, we'll honor this, we will make sure that we honor it.”
Honor it, they did. SEBTS has matched the donation and plans to partner with Brown to continue fundraising for more scholarships to be given to military spouses.
Akin himself came from a military background as his father was a Korean War veteran. “I had a chance to visit the area he was stationed in and when I shared that he had been part of the war the people began weeping. You would have thought he was a king or something the way they talked about their gratitude for him and others like him,” he shared. “They know to the North what it would have been like had America not intervened to fight off communism. So because of it and just the fact that I have great love and respect for people in the military I've worked really hard in our school to nurture a strong chaplaincy program.”
Relationships with people like General Douglas Carver and students and now leaders like Dr. Jeff Streucker, SEBTS has worked hard to serve the military community through faith.
When asked what he would say to military community members who may be reading this and struggling, it was profound.
“Don't lose hope because Jesus does provide the answers to the deepest needs of our soul. That is not to make light of pain and suffering and difficulties that especially are part of the military world,” he explained. “We're training men and women to come alongside you and love you well and serve you well and help you walk through the difficult times and the end of the deep valleys. There is light and hope on the other side. Don't give up.”
To learn more about Milspo. Co, click here. You can also read about Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary here.