When Benita Koeman found herself caring for three young children as her husband, Rev. Scott Koeman, was stationed overseas as a Christian Reformed military chaplain, she was overwhelmed.
“I had the stark realization that I was alone in this, and that was tough,” Koeman said of the stretches when her husband was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and Kuwait.
“Not that people weren’t friendly, or that no one did anything [for us], but support was minimal, and I truly felt that no one really cared,” she said.
Because of that experience, she built a website to help other spouses whose mates are deployed. She addresses questions those spouses have, like the one from a wife who wondered whether to tell her deployed husband disturbing news that might distract him from his demanding duty and risk the lives of other soldiers.
Traffic to the website is up to 200 visits per day.
Koeman, who lives in Ft. Lewis, Wash., also offers extensive advice to churches on how to support the spouse on the home front, and suggestions on dealing with a bereaved spouse. For example, Koeman said, “’How are you doing?’ is the stupidest question you can ask someone who just lost everything.”
The Koemans are members of EverGreen Ministries Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Mich.
Koeman’s ministry can be found at operationwearehere.com, and on Facebook at Christians Caring for the Military. The site also includes “Brat Town Bugle,” which connects military children with deployed parents.