On July 29, 2011, the Rock Military Ministry welcomed home the men and women of the USS Harpers Ferry (formally the USS Germantown) with a bowling party for the crew and their families. The party was held at Naval Base San Diego's Bowling Alley and included free bowling, shoes, pizza and drinks, for the sailors and their families.
Ministry leader and coordinator of the event Dessie Johnson felt that the crew of roughly 300 men and women needed to be welcomed back in a fun way and that their families needed to be included. With the help of the ship's chaplain, Lt. Commander Paul Kim, they were able to throw a successful event by taking 20 lanes (designated for the sailors only), holding a raffle with prizes ranging from Best Buy gift cards to Pinkberry frozen yogurt, goodie bags filled to the brim with Rock Church contributions for the crew and patriotic grab bags for the kids.
The Rock Military Ministry has been supporting the Harpers Ferry since the fall of 2010. In October, the ministry along with dozens of civilian volunteers made history by being the first religious group allowed on a working naval vessel; they served Thanksgiving dinner to sailors. Chaplain Kim expresses his gratitude towards the ministry by saying, "Rock Military Ministry has offered prayer support, and met the needs of their sailors while away," he goes on to state that "The Military Ministry?s prayers were both a spiritual and a moral boosts for us." He notes that while they were at sea the Executive Officer received Christ, three sailors' wives were cured of cancer, and marriages were saved by the power of prayer.
On April 21, 2011 the crew of the Germantown swapped commanding officers and crew with the Harpers Ferry during an exchange of command. In May 2011 the USS Harpers Ferry was relieved of deployment duties and then preceded back to their homeport in San Diego.
The Rock Military Ministry believes in, "Reversing our military communities' culture from surviving to thriving one hero at a time." The group's volunteers total over 200 members. This year alone they have sent out over 100 care packages. In addition to the welcome home party, the group has held events such as a Memorial Day Celebration and Freedom Festival for those who serve and their families. The ministry meets Tuesdays at the Rock Church.