About Never Alone
Defending this nation as a member of the American military is the ultimate act of servant leadership. It’s a warrior’s job, performed by men and women who choose to step into the breach and risk everything for our freedom, our way of life, and the fellow warrior standing beside them. Serving is an honor, but it’s also a costly profession.
Deployment is a supercharged mix of exhilaration and traumatic stress. The intensity forms bonds that are nearly impossible to replicate at home, and the horrors of war impact the human psyche in ways that reverberate forever. When active duty ends, the adjustment to stateside life is as significant as the training that was required to go downrange. Physical, psychological, and spiritual injuries mesh together in a environment where very few understand what has been experienced. Too many veterans find themselves mentally isolated, coping in silence with pain that’s difficult to make clear sense of.
Never Alone is a place to begin processing the struggle. We offers stories of veterans and military members who’ve been through the worst of it and have come out the other side meaningfully healed. We offer Scripture that connects directly to the specific issues our veterans are dealing with now. And we offer connections to communities of service members where bonds can be reformed and suffering in isolation can be ceased.
Never Alone is a nonprofit effort managed by Armed Services Ministry of American Bible Society. ASM exists to help meet the critical spiritual needs of our nation’s military by providing customized ministry programs and Scripture resources. These resources are freely available to all of the men and women serving our country, as well as Veterans and family members. From 1817 through The War on Terror, American Bible Society has delivered nearly 60 million free Bible resources to America’s armed forces.
About God Understands
Armed Services Ministry in collaboration with Veteran Affairs (VA) chaplain consultants developed the God Understands series: A resource created to provide healing, hope and comfort to Veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and the spiritual, physical and emotional brokenness brought on by active duty service.
Based on the Spiritual Injury Scale used by VA chaplains, real life situations about Veterans are shared to help identify spiritual injuries that often lead to feelings of uncertainty. There is a common human thread that flows through our frailties, our weaknesses, our heartaches and our sufferings—and a common thread of hope that so many have found through prayer and Scripture.
Engaging this content has helped many process their injuries and begin to heal.
About the Authors
American Bible Society thanks Chaplain Keith Ethridge, Chaplain Jeni Cook, Chaplain Juliana Lesher, and Chaplain Dick Millspaugh for their involvement with the conception and completion of the God Understands series.
Chaplain Juliana Lesher, M.Div., Ph.D., BCC
Chaplain Juliana Lesher is one of the authors of the God Understands series. In 2008, she wrote four of the “God Understands” booklets. In 2010, she revised these booklets and also wrote a “God Understands User’s Guide” with Chaplain Dick Millspaugh. In 2011, she participated in the development of the audio and online versions of the God Understands series. Since the first publication of the God Understands series in 2009, she has used these resources in ministering to countless people. She has also given numerous presentations about the God Understands series and the impact which it has in ministering to those with spiritual injuries. She has written other publications and spoken at various conferences about ministering to Veterans and their families.
Chaplain Lesher has a Bachelors of Arts in public relations and journalism, a Master of Divinity from Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University’s School of Business and Leadership. She is ordained in the Evangelical Congregational Church. She has served as a professional chaplain in settings in Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Texas. Juliana affirms that her inspiration in caring for others is found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” As a minister, Juliana notes that while we crave understanding for the senseless confusions of life, the real comfort comes when we peacefully rest in the arms of God and know that God understands.
Chaplain Dick Millspaugh
In 2008, Chaplain Dick Millspaugh was asked to write two booklets for the God Understands series. Then a chaplain at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, he wrote these two booklets on his own personal time, and another two were finished in early 2009. In April of that year, the published God Understands series was first presented at the VA Chaplain Leadership Convocation.
Chaplain Millspaugh is an ordained clergyperson serving in the California Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and a Board Certified Chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains. He served four churches, two in Iowa and two in Hawaii, before studying hospital ministry for two years at Methodist Hospital in Rochester MN.
In 2003, Chaplain Millspaugh was asked to come to the VA San Diego Healthcare System to serve as a staff chaplain. He developed a Best Practice in Advance Care planning on the Intensive Care Unit. A few years later he was asked to serve as Acting Chief and then Chief of the Chaplain Service. He has been instrumental in developing specialized staff ministries to serve the Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. He developed an outreach program to local churches and received national recognition by the VA National Chaplain Center for educating local faith communities in the spiritual distress often experienced during the deployment cycle by military personnel and their families, and how local faith can intervene to bring spiritual healing. More recently he championed the Warrior to Soul Mate program, adopted by dozens of VA’s throughout the nation, which uses curriculum entitled “Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills” to help Veterans and their partners strengthen their communication and intimacy skills.
Chaplain Millspaugh enjoys writing and has been published in professional chaplaincy and medical journals. He retired from the VA in March of 2015 and resides in San Diego with his wife Carol.