“There are not words big enough. There is not a hug strong enough. There is not a smile wide enough. You are in my thoughts. You are in my prayers. For all you’ve done, thank you!”

This coming Sunday is Veterans Day with Monday being the “holiday”. I believe that Veterans Day, along with Memorial Day, are the two most important patriotic commemorations of the annual calendar.

And is it me, or are we seeing these becoming less and less commemorated as time goes by?

As I was growing up, every school and church had a special Veterans Day program/service. Almost every town and community had a parade. School was out and government and businesses shut down to offer thanks to the men and women of our armed forces. But in many places today, if you didn’t have a calendar, you might not even realize it’s Veterans Day.

What a shame. For almost 250 years, these brave men and women have left their homes, their jobs and their daily lives to serve at home and abroad. All came home “different”; many came home physically scarred; far too many came home in flag-draped coffins. We dare not forget these men and women nor lessen their importance to our nation, past, present and future.

Had it not been for the military of the 18th century, we could be drinking hot tea with crumpets each afternoon, instead of sweet tea and Krispy Kremes, and singing God Save the Queen instead of the Star-Spangled Banner. And we should all have tears in our eyes remembering the many who fought in the 19th century, particularly those of the gray and blue -- Americans all.

And in the 20th century, these men and women traveled all over the world and had they not done the work they did, we could be part of Germany or Japan today; or we could be criticizing American Communism and/or Socialism instead of putting down the democratic republic we live in and millions across the world would die for!

I still tear up when I see the YouTube videos of military men and women coming home to surprise their children or when I see them walking through airports and people stop to applaud them. Every American should honor and thank these brave men and women. And as a nation we should do all within our power to help them when they come home, to give them all they need to return to “normalcy” in their homes and lives.

Whether they are privates, non-coms or generals, they are vital to our nation. The mechanics, the cooks, the medics and the chaplains all are part of that one group called “military”. They don’t want to fight, but they answer the call when needed. And who in Horry County hasn’t seen the National Guard fighting floodwaters and helping to rebuild our community?

As we show gratitude to these men and women and pray to God for their safety, let us not neglect their families. Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, children, siblings all wait at home, praying for the safe return of their loved ones yet knowing that war has casualties and they may have to sacrifice for others.

As I researched for a fitting tribute to our veterans, I found this “poem” attributed to Ruth Abusch-Magden.

The Last Soldier

“When the last soldier passes on, when armies are disbanded and militias discharged, when weapons are abandoned and armor discarded, your mission will, at last, be over.

“For you know the soldier’s secret. Yours was not a mission of war nor a mission of ruin. Yours was not a mission of destruction nor a mission of death. Your mission was safety, security, protection. Your mission was honor, loyalty, service. Your mission was to end violence, tyranny, despair.

“When the last soldier passes on, when the uniforms are retired and the final grave filled, we will remember all who served and sacrificed for our nation.

“Until then, God of mercy, watch over our soldiers and our veterans. Renew their courage; rebuild their strength. Heal their wounds; bind their hearts with Your steadfast love. Remember them, bless them, sustain them, and give them peace.”

On this Veterans Day, to all our past, present and future military men and women, and their families: “Thank You” and may God bless and keep you!

Item of Praise

Asia Bibi is a mother who has been on “death row” in Pakistan for more than eight years. Her supposed crime: blasphemy; she gave water to two co-workers in the field and since Asia is a Christian and the others were Muslim, that was a big no-no.

During that time violence and protests have called for her hanging and two men, who tried to assist her legally, were killed. This past week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan released her.

In their decision they gave a scathing rebuke to those who accused her, acknowledging contradictory testimony, out-right lies and their own misstatements against Asia’s faith. This is another answer to prayer!

But we must not cease to pray for the persecuted church around the world. A busload of Egyptian Christians was ambushed this past week with many casualties. One reporting group estimates that there is a Christian killed for his/her faith every five minutes. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Shoebox Project 2018

25,800! Wow, that’s a big number; what’s it all about? That’s the regional goal for shoeboxes for this year’s Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Project. How do we attain such a number? We all get busy and help.

Packing a shoebox is fun, easy and inexpensive. The results, up to the Lord, are eternal and priceless. National Collection Week is Nov. 12-19 and there is a collection church/site near you. If you don’t know what it’s all about, e-mail occcoastalsc@gmail.com.

There are a number of local dropoff locations for your boxes.

They include North Conway Baptist, Bethany Bible Chapel (Conway), Surfside United Methodist, Ocean View Baptist, Trinity United Methodist (Andrews), Ringel Heights Baptist (Georgetown), All-Saints (Pawleys Island), North Strand Community (Little River), Green Sea Baptist, Antioch Baptist (Galivants Ferry) and Carolina Forest Community.

Drop-off times vary by facility. Check with the church or e-mail occcoastalsc@gmail.com or go to the website.

Fundraiser for flood victims

Help4Kids will sponsor a fundraiser to raise financial help for victims of our recent storm and flood. The fundraiser is also sponsored by the Vacation Myrtle Beach resort group.

This event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Crown Reef Beach Resort and Water Park. Enjoy cotton candy, snow cones, a petting zoo, bounce house and slide, face painting, tattoos, food, balloons, carnival games and much more!

Entry to the event is $3 per person, $10 per family and food tickets are $1 each or one donated nonperishable food item. An additional $10 per person donation will include admission to the indoor waterpark and a $5 game card.

Additional items being collected include blankets, cleaning supplies, new and gently-used clothing etc. All proceeds will benefit the Help4Kids flood relief effort. Phone (843) 651-4310 or visit Help4KidsEvents.org.

New Beginnings

Faith Outreach Ministries of the Grand Strand has sponsored the New Beginnings food distribution since March 2011. This event is held on the third Saturday of each month at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 17 Bypass, Surfside Beach.

Each time the ministry provides free groceries, free lunch, social services information and a children’s craft table. New Beginnings is operated exclusively by community volunteers, JROTC, CCU students and area churches. And on a typical Saturday, more than 200 families are served and lunch is fed to more than 600 people.

The next New Beginnings will be held Nov. 17 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 pm. But please note a new time for Dec. 15 and Jan. 19: 10 a.m.-noon. Phone (843) 267-2952.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army requests your prayers and your help during the upcoming holiday season. Individuals, churches, civic groups and businesses may help with donations of food, toys and financial help to meet the needs of the needy of our area.

Don’t neglect the Angel Tree program, Adopt-a-Family program, Teen Angel Tree, Senior Angels and the Red Kettles. Phone (843) 488-2769 or go to www.tsahorry.org.

Holiday Events

During November and December, most of our churches and houses of worship will have special services and events, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and so on.

Let your community know what’s going on in your church/synagogue and invite them to come share it with you. Send your announcements in ample time to Church Talk and we’ll make sure they get into these newspapers. You can send them directly to me by e-mail to bethanyb@sccoast.net.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church will hold its annual Fall Revival continuing through Thursday of this week at 6:45 p.m. This year’s theme is The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.

Guest lecturer is the Rev. Leonard Griffin, pastor of Morris Street Baptist Church in Charleston; revivalist is Dr. Clarence Moore, pastor of Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Augusta. Phone (843) 248-4900.

The church will also sponsor its annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Thanksgiving Day. If you or someone you know is sick, shut-in, homeless, handicapped or otherwise unable to secure a meal, call the church at (843) 248-4900 with the following information: name, address, telephone number, number of meals requested.

You can eat at the church from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or meals can be delivered from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. There is no cost for the meals.

■ Ridgefield Baptist Church, 891 S.C. 90, invites you to its Harvest Day/Homecoming Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. The Harringtons will be in concert and the Rev. Leo Smith Jr. will be guest speaker. Lunch will be provided.

■ Aynor United Methodist Church, 1007 Elm St., is hosting a Veterans Day program Sunday at 4 p.m. Ginger Smith, a local veteran’s mother, will be guest speaker and there will be patriotic music; refreshments will follow the service. All veterans who can attend are asked to assemble at 3:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall to march in together.

■ Bayboro Baptist Church, 3901 Green Sea Road, invites you to Homecoming Sunday at 10 a.m. There will be special singing by Grace Revealed. Phone (843) 756-8132.

■ Langston Baptist Church, 763 S.C. 905, announces the following and cordially invites you to each:

The Harringtons will be in concert Sunday at 6 p.m.

A Christmas event, Carols & Candlelight will be held Dec. 23 at 6 p.m.

And don’t miss Evangelist Tyler Blue for one night, Jan. 12, 2019, from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

■ Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road, will have revival services Sunday through Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. each evening. Guest speakers will include the Rev. John (Randy) Riddle, John Kunkel (chalk artist), Pastor David Dickerson, Kevin Johnson and Pastor Aaron Hurley. There will be a special testimony and music each evening, and you are invited. Phone (843) 369-7729.

■ At First United Methodist Church, 1001 Fifth Ave., don’t miss Ding! Dong! Merrily on High! a Christmas handbell concert with Carillon Choir and guest musicians. This will be held on Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. and everyone is welcome!

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box located on the Broad Street side. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the box. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Grand Strand Baptist Church’s annual Jubilee by the Sea continues this week through Sunday. Services are at 6:30 p.m. nightly and at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Hear great Christian music and Biblical preaching each session and the “Just Say Jesus Ministry” kids’ program. The church is located near the racetrack at 350 Hospitality Lane. Phone (843) 236-2233 or go online to www.grandstrandbaptist.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, invites you to a special Veterans Day Celebration Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with guest speaker Colonel Bob Brand and at 11 a.m. with guest speaker Colonel Mark Singleton.

There will be special presentations, patriotic music and the dedication service for the Memorial Wall for all Veterans. A carry-in dinner will follow the 11 a.m. service to honor the veterans and share in thanksgiving and fellowship. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Don’t miss the third annual Holiday Craft Fair, sponsored by Fr. Anthony Mostesinos Columbiettes 5086 and held at St. Andrew Catholic Church, in the Parish Community Center, 507 37th Ave. North.

This will be held Nov. 17 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Browse more than 40 vendors, a luncheon café with homemade soups, sandwiches and dessert), a bake sale, door prizes and more!

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Hwy. invites you to Friday night services at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Services at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Also: Sunday and Hebrew School, 9:30 a.m.-noon. (Information? E-mail pks@sc.rr.com).

Chanukah Dinner and Talent Show: Dec. 2, 6 p.m. Hot dogs, hamburgers, side dishes, latkes, sufganiyot; adults, $15; children under 12, $10; under 4, free. Mail to 406 65th Ave. N, Myrtle Beach SC 29572.

All day Mah Jongg Tournament, Dec. 5; doors open 9 a.m. and games begin 9:30 a.m. Light breakfast, lovely buffet lunch served and all-day refreshments. Prizes every round and door prizes too! Entry fee is $25. Mail to Mrs. Vita Friedman, 1605 Hack Court, Myrtle Beach SC 29575. Phone (843) 748-0612.

Current Second Nature Project: collecting items for the Community Kitchen. Items requested include: comfort food items such as canned soup, mac and cheese etc. Place in the basket by the front door of the Rosen Center. Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

You may also donate travel-size items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, soap, mouthwash etc. for packages to be given to our local shelters. Label them “Wendy For Shelters” and drop off at the Rosen Center.

Temple Emanu-El Israel Tour with Rabbi Avi Perets will be held March 21-April 1, 2019. Get information now.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, has recently opened its Thrift Store that will be open each week, Thursday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and in so doing you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

■ Don’t miss the Christmas Bake Sale sponsored by the Ladies Philoptochos Society of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. This annual event is held Dec. 14-15 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy Greek pastries and bread; baklava, kourambiethes, almond crescents, koulourakis and more.

The Church is located at 3301 33rd Ave. North. Phone (843) 448-3773.

■ St. Nicholas Orthodox Church is having its annual Cookie Sale! Yum! Yum! The church is located at 404 N. Maple St. in Myrtle Beach and the sale day is Dec. 15 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

There will be a wide variety of cookies and they are sold by the pound. You pick out what “fits your fancy” or “tingles your taste buds”. Phone (843) 283-2402.

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