Did you know that a lot of websites you visit may contain outdated information? This can be annoying, but it's also a disservice to those who showed up at the website hoping to find valuable information. And I'm not criticizing too much--I realized the other day that one of my contact forms had stopped working on one of my own websites, likely for several months. While that's a shame for me, it's more of a shame when members of our military can't find important information on a website meant to help them, like the Lutheran Military Support Group.
I have to admit that I was using the contact information on the website to send out emails to people who might link out to a website I created. It was not done to sell anything but as a way to help someone else. What surprised me was the number of contacts on the website that came back to me as invalid email addresses. The copyright on the website says 2015, so you'd assume it's fairly recent, but I'd say nearly 20% of the emails were broken (see photo of some returns).
The other part that's surprising is the lack of interest in supporting the military from the remaining contacts. The service I was offering was free and totally made sense for military members. If people read the email I sent, they would not have had a problem promoting it, or at least responding to it in a way that described why there would be a problem. In fact, one of the few responses I received was from a WELS pastor who was concerned that the service was ELCA (it's not). In fact, the service provided is WELS, which makes the silence from WELS contacts even more surprising.
I get it: you get a lot of Spam. I hate emails about inappropriate stuff, always trying to sell me something. However, if you are going to profess to run a service and provide contacts for people in the military who might need help, then people need to be available on the other end. Sure, Lutheran Military Support Group could be mostly defunct at this point, which might explain way less than 100% working links. And I know maintaining a website is not easy. I just feel bad that our soldiers might be missing out on real support that might be needed. It's honestly even more frustrating that working emails ignore contacts from the website because of spammers clogging up inboxes, since contact forms will mostly eliminate this issue.
If you are in the military and looking for support, by all means try your local church. Do not get too discouraged if you don't receive an email back. No one is trying to ignore you. Either the email went to a junk folder or was missed because of all the spam. It's not your fault, nor is it the fault of the person who wants to help you. Just try someone else, maybe someone with a website designed by Luthernet that uses a contact form rather than an email address. Those in our armed forces deserve to be able to have a working online support system.