Faith Lutheran Church in Knob Noster serves the families at Whiteman Air Force Base through many outreach opportunities. One occasion to connect with families is through their group called Trail Life Troop, which is essentially a Christian scouting troop. Previously, many families were participating with a troop that was over 45 minutes away. This created a strain for families at the Base, and Faith saw an opportunity to help them. The congregation at Faith worked with some of the airmen from Whiteman to develop a new Trail Life Troop chapter at Faith.

Trail Life Troop was required to have at least five faithful leaders, one of whom was James E. Webb. Webb was one of the group’s founders in 2020, and he was very involved with the group despite a cancer diagnosis. He made the effort to participate in many activities with the Trail Life Troop and even went camping with his son, which was something he initially did not think would be possible due to his illness.

One of the Trail Life Troop’s annual activities is called a “chilly chili” hike which began as a hike through the cold snow in January while Webb cooked chili for the participants at the camp. In 2023, the troop officially named the hike, “The James E. Webb Chilly Chili Hike.” Webb unfortunately passed away in the fall, and this past January was the first time that the hike was held in his memory. On January 20th at Knob Noster State Park, about 20 youth–including Webb’s son–hiked along with about 10 dads, two of whom were commanders at Whiteman Air Force Base. Pastor at Faith, Rev. Jon-Michael Schweigert, said about the hike, “James’ wife came out and thanked us for keeping his memory alive and serving the kids he loved. Then we set out and it was so cold that my mustache froze to my beard. BUT the kids had a blast, and we used the opportunity to teach safety when one is in a cold weather environment.” He also noted that some of the men, including Webb’s son, enjoyed the hike so much that they went back and hiked a second time. Rev. Jacob Mueller from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Emma cooked chili for the participants. It was a great way to remember a strong faith leader.

Faith Lutheran Church has a unique opportunity to share Christ with the families at Whiteman Air Force Base. We thank God for their military ministry with these families and pray that God continues to bless their work!