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VOL. 4, NO. 2 • MARCH 2018

the magazine

SACONNECTS.ORG


A BIGGER STORY

JULY 28 - AUGUST 4 University of New England, Biddeford, ME saconnects.org/lead


the General’s Easter message

Transformed by the Cross The message of God’s restorative and redemptive love, as evidenced in the Cross and empty tomb, is still as powerful and relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. The Cross is central to our faith and gospel message. It is integral to everything we believe and is our motivation in reaching a dying world with the message of hope, love, and salvation. The Cross is purposefully located at the center of the Salvation Army crest.

A Personal Encounter Each of us needs to have a personal interaction with the Cross, for it is there that we kneel to surrender our lives to Christ. The Cross is our place of repentance for sin; where we receive restorative grace and begin a new life in Christ. The Cross is transformative as God’s love, grace, and forgiveness are unleashed in our lives. We come to the Cross condemned but leave forgiven (Romans 8:1). We come to the Cross dead in our sin, but leave with new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20). Through the Cross, our eternal destination changes from Hell to Heaven (John 3:16). The Salvation Army’s sixth doctrine states: “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.” The Cross is available for everyone and the gospel message is for the whosoever— this is central to our faith and witness, particularly as Salvationists. We know this. We preach this. The key question and challenge is, do we always experience the power, reality, and transformation of the Cross in our own lives?

More Than … You see, it is more than simply admitting sin and acknowledging our need of salvation; more than recognizing that Jesus died for our sin; more than a personal and corporate need; more than a simply sacrificial act. Yes, the Cross is about the price of sin being paid, but it is also about the power of sin being broken. Yes, the Cross is about forgiveness, but it is also about restoration. Yes, the Cross reminds us of our weakness, but it is also a place of power. We come in shame, but we leave in victory! The Cross is about victory over the powers of evil. The Cross cancels the curse of sin and breaks its power. Christians can have lives of victory and strength because of the Cross. Defeat is exchanged for victory. Weakness is exchanged for strength. The old self is left behind and the new self is embraced. This gospel of Christ and the power of the Cross are holistic. Our 10th doctrine clearly states that we believe “that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Stay Focused What a glorious reality! What a complete work! All because of the love of God, revealed in Jesus and manifested on the Cross. Never lose sight of the Cross. We stumble and fall when we forget the Cross. The songwriter Fanny Crosby prayed, “Jesus, keep me near the Cross” (song 178, The Song Book of The Salvation Army) and George Bennard said he would “cherish” and “cling to” the old rugged cross (song 191). The apostle Paul never lost sight of the Cross. In Romans 1:16–17 we read, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” Paul also asserts that “the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). It makes no difference how the world views the Cross. The inability of existing and previous generations to grasp the fullness of all the Cross accomplishes does not diminish its power or eternal impact. The message of the Cross may not be a popular one, yet its truth is eternal and relevant.

The Empty Tomb Good Friday and the Cross is only one part of the Easter story. Praise God the story does not end with a dead Savior! We worship a risen Lord who, in addition to canceling the curse of sin and breaking its power, also defeats death to provide eternal life and Resurrection power to every believer! The glorious reality of Easter morning is symbolized by the empty tomb. “He is not here; he has risen” were the words of the angel in Matthew 28:6. The question posed to the women who went to the tomb on that morning was, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). Nothing can constrain God­—not sin and certainly not death. The events of Easter demonstrate the sovereign power of God who intervenes in our physical and spiritual realities. God reveals the full extent of His power, defeating Satan and crushing the two most limiting and controlling aspects of our fallen humanity.

A Prayer for You As we once again reflect on God’s incredible gift of freedom from sin, it calls for a personal response from each one of us. I pray that we will all know the love, forgiveness, grace, and power of God as we experience His risen presence in our lives.

Una versión en español de este mensaje está disponible en SACONNECTS.ORG/ENESPANOL

 —  General André Cox


MARCH

contents VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 2

in every issue 3 vision perspective 4 from the editor 5 relevents 6 army jargon 30 wholly living

departments 20 FAITH in ACTION

Women in Bangladesh get a second chance at life through Others Trade for Hope.

29 LEAD

Exploring gender equity and the image of God.

32 great moments

Thelma (Hill) Schotter, who survived World War II in England, has two Bibles and a flag that are precious possessions.

Fan Chiao Gina Chen immigrated from Taiwan when she was seven years old. Read her story in Coming to America on page 14.

7 ‘He

leads me daily’

 Juanita Hager of Piqua, Ohio, brings the love of God to her visitation ministry.

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Shelter offers hope

People are getting their lives together at the McKenna House, a Salvation Army shelter in Concord, N.H.

14

Coming to America

As the debate regarding our nation’s policies on immigration continue, members of The Salvation Army family share their heartfelt stories of how the United States became their new home.

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Read about the women in Bangladesh in ‘Shuvo shokal’ on page 20.

Para leer más artículos en español por favor visite SACONNECTS.ORG/ENESPANOL


vision perspective

ARC and Corps Integration Integración del Cuerpo y el ARC

*

*Centro de Rehabilitación para Adultos

Our territory’s 20/20 Vision guides us in our thinking about how we, as Salvationists, can make a difference in the Kingdom. We understand that:  The Lord has blessed the Army with people to fulfill His work, while continuing to bring thousands more our way each day.  The Lord has given us varying programs to reach the masses.  The Lord has equipped us with valuable provisions to accomplish His work. The Lord’s plan will require the collaboration of soldiers, officers, employees, and other stakeholders, which include our Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) and communities. Our desire is to support and strengthen frontline ministry, its leaders, and its soldiers. The plan is designed to encourage each person to identify opportunities to support the vision. One aim is to better integrate ARC and local corps ministries. A working relationship is beneficial to both entities. For example, Bible studies, men’s fellowships, and women’s ministries can all be incorporated into an ARC program. That can translate to new converts, membership growth, and greater family involvement at corps. ARC and corps officers need to keep communication open between them and understand each other’s ministry. We are all one Army. At the Manhattan ARC, we are blessed to have officers from the Times Square Corps and the Harlem Temple Corps come once a week for Bible study. ARC women participate in a Bible study at Harlem Temple. ARC beneficiaries attend special events. Some of them also choose to worship there. In moving forward with the 20/20 Vision, let us take intentional steps in all our communities where there are ARCs to integrate with local corps ministries so we can build the Kingdom of God, one soul at a time.

— Major / Mayora Beth Muhs Administrator for Program, Adult Rehabilitation Center Administrador del Programa, Centro de Rehabilitación para Adultos

La Visión 20/20 de nuestro territorio nos guía en nuestra reflexión sobre el modo en que los salvacionistas podemos ejercer un impacto en el Reino. Entendemos que:  El Señor ha bendecido al Ejército con personas que llevan adelante Su obra.  El Señor nos ha provisto una variedad de programas para que alcancemos a las masas.  El Señor nos ha equipado con valiosas provisiones para que realicemos Su obra. El plan del Señor requerirá la colaboración de soldados, oficiales, empleados y otros interesados, incluidos nuestros Centros de Rehabilitación para Adultos (ARC, por sus siglas en inglés) y nuestras comunidades. Nuestro deseo es apoyar y fortalecer el ministerio en el frente de batalla, así como a sus líderes y a sus soldados. El plan es diseñado para alentar a cada persona a identificar las oportunidades que se presenten para apoyar esta visión. Uno de nuestros objetivos es integrar mejor el ARC con los ministerios de los cuerpos locales. Por ejemplo, tanto los estudios bíblicos, como la fraternidad de varones y los ministerios femeninos pueden incorporarse a los programas del ARC. Eso se puede traducir en nuevos convertidos, en crecimiento de la membresía y en participación de las familias en el Cuerpo. El ARC y los oficiales directivos tienen que mantenerse comunicados entre sí y entender el ministerio que uno y otro llevan adelante. Todos somos un mismo Ejército. En el ARC de Manhattan, tenemos la bendición de que los oficiales del Cuerpo de Times Square y los del Templo de Harlem se reúnen una vez a la semana para realizar un estudio bíblico. Las mujeres del ARC participan en un estudio bíblico en el Templo de Harlem, mientras los beneficiarios del ARC asisten a eventos especiales. Algunos de ellos optan por adorar allí al Señor. Avancemos en concordancia con la Visión 20/20, demos pasos intencionadamente en todas nuestras comunidades donde haya ARCs a fin de que nos integremos con los ministerios de los Cuerpos locales de manera que podamos edificar el Reino de Dios, alma por alma.

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from the editor

Volunteerism rocks! ¡El voluntariado es lo máximo! “You [volunteers] all play a vital role in The Salvation Army and for that, I thank you. God bless you all.” — GENERAL ANDRÉ COX international leader of The Salvation Army

Recently, General André Cox paid tribute to the men and women who volunteer their service to help advance the Army’s mission around the world. In the aftermath of the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean, Mexico, and the southern United States last year, he acknowledged how volunteers were “quickly on the scene, distributing drinks and food as well as emotional and spiritual support.” In our next SAconnects magazine, we’ll share stories that reveal how volunteerism is alive and well in our territory. Commissioner Robert A. Watson, former national commander, wrote in his book Leadership Secrets of The Salvation Army: The Most Effective Organization in the U.S., “Volunteerism can be exhausting, emotional work. “Yet, their conversations are not about how depressing the experience had been. Just the opposite. They talk about how their own lives had been changed for the better by the opportunity to help.” Please join us in April and discover why, in some places, the volunteer experience is so rewarding that many people sign a waiting list to participate! We pray you’ll be so inspired, you’ll roll up your sleeves this year and do the important work that adds quality of life and cohesiveness to communities.

— Warren L. Maye Editor in Chief / Editor en Jefe

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“Todos y cada uno de ustedes [voluntarios] juegan un papel valiosísimo en el Ejército de Salvación y por eso, les doy las gracias. Que Dios los bendiga a todos.” — GENERAL ANDRÉ COX Líder internacional del Ejército de Salvación

El General André Cox, recientemente, rindió homenaje a los hombres y mujeres que ofrecen su servicio como voluntarios ayudando en la tarea de impulsar la misión del Ejército en todo el mundo. Tras el paso de los huracanes que asolaron al Caribe, México y el sur de los Estados Unidos el año pasado, el General pudo constatar “lo rápido que los voluntarios se hicieron presentes en los lugares afectados, repartiendo agua, bebidas y comida así como apoyo espiritual y emocional”. En nuestro próximo número de la revista SAconnects, contaremos algunas historias que revelan lo vivo y activo que está el voluntariado en nuestro territorio. El Comisionado Robert A. Watson, antiguo comandante nacional, escribió lo siguiente en su libro Secretos del liderazgo del Ejército de Salvación: La organización más eficiente en los EE.UU.: “El voluntariado puede ser un trabajo agotador y emocionalmente intenso. “Sin embargo, en sus conversaciones, los voluntarios no hablan de lo deprimente que fue su experiencia. Todo lo contrario. Hablan sobre cómo se han visto mejoradas sus vidas por la oportunidad que tienen para ayudar”. Así que te invitamos a unirte a nosotros en abril para que descubras por qué, en algunos lugares, la experiencia de trabajar como voluntario es tan gratificante. ¡Muchas personas añaden sus nombres a las listas de espera para participar! Oramos para que tú también seas inspirado, te arremangues la camisa este año y hagas un valioso trabajo que aporta calidad de vida y cohesión social a nuestras comunidades.


relevents

Christina Schweitzer, director of Employment Services for the Salvation Army’s Buffalo, N.Y., Corps, talks about her experiences as an immigrant, the power of faith in action, and working with terminally ill children and their families. interview by Hugo Bravo

I was born in Belgium to Greek immigrants. We lived in Belgium until my father moved to Germany to find work in the auto industry. Our first home in Russelsheim, Germany was made from two train boxcars with no running water. The mother of a childhood friend stopped her from playing with me because, as a guest worker’s kid, I was an “ausländer,” or an outsider. Ironically in 1975, when I returned to Greece in my late teens, I stood out for a different reason. Having been raised in German culture, my jeans, sneakers, and black punk rock clothing looked unusual compared to what conservative Greek women wore. Today, I can relate to the struggles of immigrants in the United States because I’ve experienced those feelings of isolation in my own way.

I came to the U.S. when I was 19 to live with my husband, Randy, whom I had married while he was stationed in the U.S. military in Germany. When I was 12, I remember looking through a picture book on life in the United States. I saw an image of a young black child walking past a laundromat sign that said “Whites Only.” I had thought it meant that you could only wash your whites there. Years later, I learned about racial segregation. These painful realities simply could not mesh with the beauty of American life I had heard so much about. Nevertheless, in 1998, I became a U.S. citizen because I wanted to vote.

After graduating college with a degree in social work in 1991, I came to The Salvation Army in Buffalo, N.Y. I worked for the SAFE program, helping parents better themselves so they could get their children back from Child Protective Services. Twenty-two years later, after working different jobs, I returned to the corps where I had begun. I thought, this feels right. Churches had always provided a great deal of comfort for me.

The biblical story of the wedding at Cana is special to me. It’s about putting faith into action for the good of others. When the wedding party had run out of wine, Mary asked Jesus to help. He hesitated, saying His time to reveal Himself had not yet come. We all feel that way sometimes; that it’s not our time to help. But we should put our faith into action as Jesus did.

I worked at a pediatric hospice in Buffalo for over ten years. I was told that I would be good for this job, and that the hospice had never had a “bad death.” I thought this thinking was insane; the thought of seeing dying children every day was unimaginable. But I prayed, knowing God would be with me through every hardship, and I accepted the job offer. We never had a bad death because we provided comfort to families, helping them deal with the most difficult situation a parent can go through. Losing a child is devastating, but through the transition from life to death, we helped children and their families create positive memories.

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ARMY jargon the magazine

your connection to The Salvation Army

HALLELUJAH LASSIES “LAS JÓVENES ALELUYA” While many denominations grapple today with the role of women in ministry, The Salvation Army has deployed women in leadership since its inception. In the beginning, “Hallelujah Lassies” attracted so many people, the official history records “no building could contain the people who came” to hear them. The formal recognition of women as equals with men in ministry is an important Salvationist value. The source is Scripture itself. In the Old Testament, Miriam and Huldah are recognized as prophets and Deborah was both a prophet and judge. In the New Testament, Anna is recorded as a prophet; Priscilla, a respected teacher; Phoebe, an overseer; and Junia an apostle. This scriptural presence impelled Catherine Booth, “the Army Mother,” to be a pioneer woman preacher. Her influence in the development of The Salvation Army is incomparable. Let us not be naïve—others disagree with the Army’s stand on gender equality. However, with a solid biblical rationale, we opt to avoid using sporadic verses of Scripture, taken out of context and culture, to institute them as broad denominational policy. Rather, we heed the larger theme that “in Christ there is no male or female,” (Gal. 3:28). The call is for a generation of women leaders to continue the legacy, and for empowered leaders to appoint them. Catherine Booth drew a short line between the restricted ministry of women and “the comparative non–success of the Gospel in these latter days.” The Army’s women fight against any notion of “non–success.” May God empower them. May we release them.

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Si bien es cierto que en la actualidad muchas denominaciones cristianas se debaten en torno al papel que deben jugar las mujeres en el ministerio, el Ejército de Salvación ha asignado mujeres a puestos de liderazgo desde sus principios. En los inicios del Ejército, las así llamadas “Hallelujah Lassies” (nosotros diríamos “las jóvenes aleluya”) atraían a tantas personas que, según los registros históricos, “no había edificio alguno que pudiese acoger a toda la gente que acudía” a escucharlas. El reconocimiento formade las mujeres como iguales a los hombres en el ministerio es un importante valor salvacionista. La fuente de ese reconocimiento es la Escritura misma. En el Antiguo Testamento, se reconoce a Miriam y Huldá como profetas. En el Nuevo Testamento se dice que Ana era profetisa; Febe, diaconisa; y Junías, apóstola. La presencia de mujeres en las Escrituras impulsó a Catherine Booth, “la Madre del Ejército”, a convertirse en una pionera como predicadora. Su influencia es incomparable. Algunos no están de acuerdo con la posición del Ejército sobre la igualdad de género. No obstante, provistos de una sólida base bíblica, optamos por evitar el uso esporádico de ciertos versículos de la Escritura —tomados fuera de su contexto y ajenos al momento cultural en que fueron escritos— para instituirlos como política denominacional. Más bien, preferimos asentar nuestra postura en el valor más amplio de que “ya no hay... hombre ni mujer, sino que todos... son uno solo en Cristo Jesús” (Gálatas 3:28). El llamado es a que una generación de mujeres líderes continúe el legado salvacionista y que los líderes empoderados las nombren a puestos de liderazgo. Catherine Booth trazó una línea corta entre el restringido ministerio de las mujeres y “la relativa falta de éxito del Evangelio en estos últimos días”. Las mujeres del Ejército luchan con denuedo contra toda “falta de éxito”. Que Dios las empodere. Y, de nuestra parte, abrámosles todas las puertas.

USA EASTERN TERRITORY TERRITORIAL LEADERS Commissioner William A. Bamford III Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford CHIEF SECRETARY Colonel Kenneth O. Johnson, Jr. COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY Major Tonie Cameron EDITOR IN CHIEF Warren L. Maye MANAGING EDITOR Robert Mitchell EDITOR / HISPANIC CORRESPONDENT Hugo Bravo KOREAN EDITOR Lt. Colonel Chongwon D. Kim ART DIRECTOR Reginald Raines PUBLICATION MANAGING DESIGNER Lea La Notte Greene GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Keri Johnson, Karena Lin, Joe Marino STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Love CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brenda Lotz, Major Young Sung Kim CIRCULATION Doris Marasigan COMMAND NEWS CORRESPONDENTS PENDEL Major Kathryn A. Avery EMP Jaye C. Jones GNY Major Susan Wittenberg MASS Drew Forster NNE Cheryl Poulopoulos PR & VI Linette Luna SNE Laura Krueger WEPASA Captain Kimberly DeLong Territorial Music Liaison Derek Lance Territorial Youth Liaison Captain Gillian Rogers

THE SALVATION ARMY

MISSION STATEMENT

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. SAconnects is published monthly by The Salvation Army USA’s Eastern Territory. Bulk rate is $12.00 per month for 25–100 copies. Single subscriptions are available. Write to: SAconnects, The Salvation Army, 440 W. Nyack Rd., West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. Vol. 4, No. 2, March Issue 2018. Printed in USA. Postmaster: Send all address changes to: SAconnects, 440 West Nyack Rd., West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. SAconnects accepts advertising. Copyright © 2018 by The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory. Articles may be reprinted only with written permission. All scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless indicated otherwise.

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‘He leads me daily’ Photo by Jay LaPrete

by Robert Mitchell

March is Women’s History Month The Salvation Army’s history is packed with great heroes. But we sometimes overlook the women who have toiled in the shadows, many of whom are heroes too. This month, we’ll spotlight them. For example, Juanita Hager, who visits people in a rural Ohio nursing home on cold winter nights, is a hero. She demonstrates the love of God in a way that changes lives. For more stories on Salvation Army women, go to page 24.

J

uanita Hager is the quintessential Salvationist. The 80–year–old Piqua, Ohio, woman found her spiritual home at The Salvation Army when she was just seven. During the pursuing decades, she became a sunbeam, a girl guard, a corps cadet, a junior soldier, and a senior soldier. Today, she is the Corps Sergeant–Major for Pastoral Care. “I’ve been through the whole system,” Hager says. “I’ve played the alto horn in the corps band since I was a teenager.” Hager and her husband, Cecil, also raised their three children in the Piqua (pronounced pick–wa) Corps. Major Jody Kramer, the corps officer in Piqua, called Hager

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‘I just love doing for the children’ Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” —MATTHEW 19:14

I don’t wait for an invitation; I spend time with Him every single day. God is the center of my life. Whatever I feel He is asking me to do, I try to do it. —Juanita Hager

Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army Piqua Corps

Susanne Pummill was a cook at Piqua High School for 25 years and then worked as a substitute cook for another decade. That might have been enough for most people, but when the opportunity arose to also cook for the kids at the local Salvation Army for several summers, Pummill was all in. “I’m a retired cook and I love doing it,” she explained. “I have the skills to do it. I just love doing for the children.” Pummill, 70, retired as a school cook in 2006. Four years earlier, she had cooked every day for the Salvation Army’s summer feeding program, which lasts for 11–12 weeks. She also cooked for the Salvation Army’s kids throughout the year in various other programs. “The time, energy, and love that she pours into cooking for all of these children is such an amazing blessing,” said Major Jody Kramer, the corps officer in Piqua. Pummill, who has two children and eight grandchildren of her own, said the love she imparts comes from God. She desires to show that love to other people. “They just want someone to love them,” Pummill said. “That’s my way of showing love. They relate to me that way. “If you feed an empty belly, that helps them.” Pummill attended the Piqua Corps as a child and has been back for 25 years or so. “When my husband passed, he left me financially able to care for myself,” she said. She sometimes helps send the corps kids to divisional events. Kramer said that comes from Pummill’s generous spirit.

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a “wonderful, living, breathing example of holiness.” When the corps decided to split its corps sergeant major duties—one person handling the “traditional” role and the other handling “pastoral care” duties—the church thought enough of Hager to give her the latter job. “Juanita has an amazing capacity for the pastoral care of our congregation,” Kramer said. “She visits with people, calls them, and genuinely cares about each one.” Hager said she loves the role because her mother, Thelma, was a home health

care aide. The compassion for others has always been there. “At one time, I helped her with being a home health aide. I could see the need that was there,” Hager said. “That was a big start for me. “Growing up in the Army, you see all of the situations. Going to nursing homes and to other homes, you see the ways the Army helps people. I love it. It’s a part of me. My mom was like that. She was very loving and caring to other people and that’s how I try to be.” She also learned from other women in the corps, including Marcella Denman, June Supinger, Doris Klohe (Susanne’s mother), Dorothy Carr, Rosella Fair, Evelyn Purk, and Goldie Shaffer. Hager visits people in nursing homes, in hospitals, in private homes, and wherever they need her. She prays with them and it’s not uncommon for her and other


Photo by Jay LaPrete

women from the corps to bring along a gift or a Salvation Army magazine. “Visitation is very important to them because they know I’m a Christian and they know it comes from God,” Hager says. “That’s important to me. “I think God touched my heart many, many years ago, even before I was a teenager, to be a special part of the Army and an outreach of God’s love and understanding. People need that when they’re going through a hard time. “It’s wonderful to go around and see the smiles on their faces. That outreach means a lot to all of us. We love doing it.” Most recently, Hager has been visiting a longtime corps member who is in a nursing home. “I visit her frequently and we just sit and share,” Hager said. “We talk about family, the church family, and God. We have a lot to share because we have so

much in common.” Hager worked for an Ohio furniture company for 37 years, and later for an attorney, before retiring. Today, she focuses on her church. “I wanted to spend time doing other special things,” she said. Being retired also allows her to maintain a vigorous devotional life that keeps her spiritually sharp and ready to make visits. “I don’t wait for an invitation; I spend time with Him every single day,” Hager said. “God is the center of my life. Whatever I feel He is asking me to do, I try to do it. “Christ is everything to me. He’s the center of everything I do and say.” Hager and her husband recently felt God asking them to open their home to an unwed mother and her baby. “We helped them to get established

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in every way that we could and to have a place to live on their own,” she said. “Whatever it is, He leads me daily. I try to say and do what I feel God is leading me to say and do. He’s the center of my life.” At Christmas, the Hagers help around the corps by picking up and distributing Angel Tree gifts. Hager said you won’t see her in a rocking chair anytime soon. She plans to keep up her special ministry of visitation—and then she hopes someone will visit her someday. “I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” she says. “I’m very healthy right now. God has been good to me and has blessed me, along with my husband. We’re active and I want to stay that way. “I love The Salvation Army and what it stands for. They’re a special organization. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of that. I want to stay in it until the day I die.”

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New Hampshire Shelter

offers

HOPE

T

om Ryan arrived at the Edna McKenna House in Concord, N.H., two years ago when his mother entered a nursing home and he had nowhere else to go. “I was drinking a lot,” said Ryan, who went to rehab while in the Salvation Army–run shelter. Ryan was a resident of McKenna House for six months before he received a staff position and then was hired as the house manager a year ago. Speaking from his experience on both sides of the desk, Ryan said the shelter is a success because it’s a “caring place.” “I’ve stayed at other shelters before, but this is totally different,” he said. “This is humane compared to the other shelters. “They give you resources to better yourself. The other shelters did nothing. You would go there, sleep there, and then, you’re gone. These people here try to help you find work, give you direction, and some type of hope. I’m very grateful for this place.”

Ryan is one of many extraordinary success stories coming out of the shelter in recent years. Major Rick Starkey, the corps officer in Concord who oversees both the corps and McKenna House, said the shelter’s success rate is as high as 80 percent. “It’s very, very successful, but that success is different, depending on who the person is and what we’re looking to accomplish,” Starkey said. The residents are often looking for a job, housing, education, or a vehicle. “We consider it a success if they come in and we’re able to help them get one of those things. It’s two for some of them,” he said. “We’re full all the time. This is so much better than just a warming shelter.” Starkey said people can live in the shelter, which employs two part–time and two full–time staffers, for up to a year. “They may get a job while they’re living in the shelter, but they may not make enough money or have a place to live,” he said. “We teach them budgeting and other life skills.”

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by Robert Mitchell

The program fee is only $10 a day, but shelter residents can do 20 hours of community service instead and many choose to work at the corps or at a thrift store. Geno Hanc, for example, put his culinary arts degree to use by serving as the house cook. Hanc’s road to the McKenna House started when he and his long–lost brother, Nick, found themselves in jail together a few years ago. “It was the first time I ever spent Christmas with family, as sad as that may sound,” Geno says. “I had a tough upbringing and never had family in my life.” Nick had recently been kicked out of the McKenna House for violating the shelter’s rules. If he could do one thing over, he told Geno, he would go back and make things right. Geno said, “‘You know what, Nick? I’m going to go to the McKenna House and do it for you.’ That was my promise to him. That’s why I’m here. I’m showing my brother that he can do it too.

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Kathy Tilton

“Getting out of jail, I wanted to go somewhere safe where I could transition back into a good standing in the community and work on my sobriety.” Geno recently found permanent housing, but he also realized that being the house cook was therapeutic. “I love cooking for the house and these people. That keeps me sober. That gives me purpose for living and for moving on. Preparing a big meal two or three times a week, and just getting 42 people to be silent, that’s where I find pleasure. They’re eating my food and enjoying it.” Living in the shelter allowed Geno to save money after he landed a job as a cook at one of Concord’s best restaurants. Geno, who has a long history working in restaurants, soon had a bank account and was on his way. “I’m learning that it’s not scary to succeed,” he said. “It’s not scary to pick yourself up when you fall.” Hanc also received spiritual support and would sometimes go to the corps, which is just a few doors down from the shelter, where he heard Major Starkey and his wife, Bethany, preach. “It seems like every time I go, they’re talking to me, even though there’s a room full of people,” he said in amazement. “It gives me solace. “That feeling can carry you through the day and through the week. The message is there. The love is always there. I like that feeling. It doesn’t go away.” Hanc, who was in and out of foster care as a child, says the McKenna House saved his life. “I’d be in prison right now if it wasn’t for the McKenna House,” he said. “This place has done miracles for me and I’m very grateful for it.”

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KATHY TILTON, 61, lived in her car for five months last winter before coming to the McKenna House. Her constant companion was her dog, a chocolate Labrador retriever named “Hershey Kisses.” “We did okay, but I was using all my money to keep the heat on in the car because I’m a diabetic,” she said. It was hard to inject her insulin and find somewhere to use the restroom, but she struggled along until getting into McKenna House. “It was warm,” she said. “I met people. It was a nice place. They saved me by giving me a warm place and listening. They were there for me. They showed me love. They cared. “I got a family there. I wasn’t used to something like that. I never thought I’d be homeless. I always wondered how people live that way and I became one of them. “I was able to save and I had my own monies to buy an apartment.” Tilton volunteered at the corps to pay her program fees. Today, she volunteers at the corps and works the front desk at McKenna House. “The McKenna House will save you if you want to be saved,” she said. “If you want to make it work, you can. They saved my life.”

Majors Rick and Bethany Starkey stand at the entrance to the McKenna House.

SCOTT PERRY had almost nine years of sobriety under his belt. Then his 16–year–old son died. “Slowly but surely, I ended up going back to the drinking,” said Perry, who soon lost his job, his family, and a place to live. Perry tried to commit suicide before coming to McKenna House. He worked as a volunteer staffer, then left recently after a year–long stay. “This gave me an opportunity to work on my sobriety first and then transition back into life,” he said. “I had to learn how to deal with the grief of my son’s death and to live life without drinking. “The McKenna House allowed me to baby–step my way into getting better, staying sober, and getting a job.” Perry would often go to the corps and pray in the chapel. “I’ll pray and cry and pray and cry for about 45 minutes,” he said. “I kind of gave up on God after my son passed. But now, I find that the more time I spend in the chapel, the more I reconnect with God. “When I first came here, I used to hate waking up every morning,” he says. “Now, every morning when I wake up, it’s a blessing. I’m glad I wake up. I look forward to what today has to offer and I look at today only. “When we come here, we’ve hit rock bottom. We don’t see any hope down the road. This place gives us hope.”


LIZ CRABTREE lived at McKenna House five years ago, but today, she is the case manager. She found structure, support, and guidance—and a lot of love—to tackle her drug and alcohol issues. “It led me to self– motivate and succeed in getting out of here and into housing,” she said. “The love of the staff projects out and it spreads. This is a self–motivating program, and without that love, I don’t think I would have been able to get on my feet again.” Crabtree, who is earning her associate’s degree in human services, said she eventually found housing, health, and therapy. Then she sought employment and saved enough money and bought a vehicle. “They loved me here when I couldn’t love myself,” she said. “I found that ‘self–love,’ and, with a lot of help and love and courage, I was able to motivate and kind of pull myself out of that rut I was in. “They really helped me. They carried me when I couldn’t walk, and when I got up, I just started running. I think this place does that for a lot of people, if they want it.”

They carried me when I couldn’t walk, and when I got up, I just started running. I think this place does that for a lot of people, if they want it. — Liz Crabtree

Liz Crabtree

SCOTT HINCHEE’S drinking problem brought him to the McKenna House last year. He is now the custodian at the Concord Corps. “I pretty much lost everything I had,” Hinchee explained. “Alcohol was a big part of it. I lost good jobs. I’ve been trying to change since then. This has been a great help.” Hincheee, who has battled alcohol for 45 years, also started coming to the corps on Sundays for worship and is seeing his life turn around. “God has been a big part of it,” he says. “I was away from God for years. I had lost God in my life. I found Him again. “The Salvation Army has been a big influence on what I am today. I’m not the same person I was. I’m trying to do better every day.”

Jenny Connor–Belcourt

JENNY CONNOR–BELCOURT, who has been the director of McKenna House since 2016, said its faith–based nature is a key to its success. “A lot of the people who work here are spiritual people and there’s a lot of prayer for the shelter,” she said. “I’m a firm believer that’s why this program is so successful. “We have case management and really good people who work here and care. People are held accountable. It’s a program of responsibility and accountability.” It’s hard to miss the subtle messages on wall hangings around the shelter. 1 Corinthians 13 is emblazoned on a staircase. “I’m pretty open about spiritual things,” she said. Conner–Belcourt, who was homeless a few times in her life, grew up in an alcoholic home and moved around a lot. She went to church as a kid, but fell away. While camping on her father’s property alone one summer, all she had to read was a New Testament. “I had a spiritual awakening during that time and I decided to change my life,” she said. Jenny moved to the west coast to attend college. Today, she sees herself in some residents. “They need to walk the walk,” she said. “Asking for God’s help is crucial. We offer a hand up, not a handout. I’m kind of tough in that way.”


im·mi·grant noun A person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

by Hugo Bravo

coming to

A M E R I C A

Filled with uncertainty, challenges, and risks, most immigrants would say coming to the United States is worth it. People seeking a better existence for themselves and for their children eagerly embrace this land of opportunity. Dwayne, Fan Chiao, Miguel, and refugees at the Tonawanda, N.Y., Corps share their unique stories of hope. Today, they are bound by a common thread—their faith in God and in The Salvation Army. More than 100 years ago, Army Founder William Booth helped such people in need—London’s “submerged tenth,” as he called them—by sending the poorest of the poor to more developed countries to pursue better opportunities. Today, we can only imagine Booth’s opinion on the controversial issues surrounding immigration. What is clear is that the Salvation Army’s mission to help marginalized people in our society continues to include everyone, without discrimination.


AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE In 2012 and with visa in hand, I immigrated from Montego Bay, Jamaica to Greenwich, N.Y. at 19 years old. Since I was 14, I had known that my family, who are Salvationists, would come to the United States. I had hoped that I would complete my last year of high school in the U.S. Instead, I remained in Jamaica during that time, waiting for the immigration process to finish as I watched my peers take college entrance exams, pass them, and go on with their lives. My own American dream was to serve in the U.S. Army. But weighing 325 lbs., the recruiter told me I had to lose weight before I could even be considered. In 2013, my family relocated to Glen Falls, N.Y. and I put my dream in the back of my mind. We had thought about attending the corps close to our home in Glen Falls. But when we visited the Sunday service in Saratoga Springs, we noticed that the corps congregation needed more people. Although it was 30 minutes away from our home in Glen Falls, the corps in Saratoga Springs became our church. In 2014, after I had all but abandoned any thoughts of going into the U.S. Army, I accompanied my younger sister Stephanie to a recruitment center. She enlisted as I had tried to do. The recruiters then turned to me and casually asked, “Why aren’t you joining too?” When I told them about my weight problem, they offered to weigh me again. I was surprised to learn that, in the two years since being turned down, I had lost the weight that had prevented me from enlisting. Stephanie and I went to the Army’s Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) where recruits receive medical tests to see if they are physically healthy enough to serve. I passed the tests. When a recruiter asked me “What do you want to do now?” I said, “I want to start the paperwork.” Stephanie and I enlisted in the U.S.

Army together. Being able to serve my new country brought me closer to permanent citizenship, and provided me with an opportunity that I would have never had in Jamaica.

READY TO WORK In both my military service and as a Salvationist, I have been privileged to help other people who are immigrants. To this day, my U.S. Army recruiter calls me when he’s trying to help someone get enlisted who was born in another country. If he’s not sure of the immigration procedures, I’m happy to help in any way I can. At the Saratoga Springs Corps, people from countries such as Turkey and Ukraine seek assistance for their families. They also need help with tasks that many of us might take for granted, such as getting a driver’s license. I understand their struggle and desire to live a better life. When I was a 20–year–old immigrant with no car, no job, and no citizenship, all I had was my faith in God. I prayed to Him that He would guide me towards a better life— and He did. Immigrants come to the United States to better their lives and to be the best persons they can be for their new country. They come ready to do the difficult jobs and work long hours, whether it’s manual labor outdoors or defending the country, as my family did. Sometimes, immigrants are welcomed and put to work, but when the job is finished, someone finds a reason to send them right back to where they came from. I feel that is the most heartbreaking thing you can do to someone. To anyone who seeks a better life like my family and I did, please do not give up. God will make sure that there is a place for you, whether it be in the United States, or anywhere else in the world. Strive for what you want to be and follow God, because He already knows your hopes and dreams.

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Dwayne McFarlane is a soldier at the

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Corps, and an E–4 Specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve.

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UNDERSTANDING THE STRUGGLE When my father brought our family from Taiwan to Hawaii in 1985, the first thing he did was choose our new “American” names. He found them in an old magazine. My mother became Tina, I became Gina, and my brother became Stan (to this day, he doesn’t like that name). Renaming us opened the first chapter of our story and is typical of the stories of many immigrants with unusual names. They simply pick a new name that sounds American, and hope it’s easy to spell. To a seven–year–old girl who had been born poor in Taiwan, Hawaii seemed like a paradise straight out of a movie. I spent every day on the beach. Sometimes, I even wore my bathing suit underneath my school clothing just so I could go swimming as soon as I came home. While my brother and I enjoyed our new island, my father, who had come to the United States on a student visa, was getting his education at Brigham Young University in Hawaii. My mother worked as a cleaning lady at the same university. She also babysat children during the day. Many of the children she cared for were the sons and daughters of other immigrants. Mine was the classic immigrant family—parents who left their country of birth so their children could have a

le·gal im·mi·grant

noun

A person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence as permitted by law

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better life. Ironically, today Taiwan has universal healthcare and a booming economy. It’s a different place than when we lived there. At the Salvation Army’s Newport, R.I. Corps, one of my roles is to supervise the food pantry and soup kitchen. While doing this, I have met families that need help with clothing, utilities, and groceries. I know how hard those first few months and years in a new country can be when you’re an immigrant, especially if you’re undocumented. My own life experience helps me understand the mentality of those who seek assistance. When someone who doesn’t look like us or speak like us acts differently, we can attribute negative connotations and motives. But it’s important to understand that what someone who grew up in the U.S. would consider normal can be strange or off–putting in another culture, and vice versa. Look beyond your own cultural norms, and try to not fall into the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ paradigm. Also, remember that immigrants feel uncertain regarding their present situation and their future. They don’t know if their children will have the better life they pray for or if their own hard work will pay off. I’m sure my parents felt that uncertainty every day.

MOST IN NEED The recent anger and negative rhetoric towards immigrants, sometimes even documented ones, has been shocking to witness. The Newport Corps welcomed refugees from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated their island. These American citizens talk about the anger and animosity they faced from some people when they arrived on the

Fan Chiao Gina Chen is a social worker for the Salvation Army’s Newport, R.I., Corps.

mainland. For me, this reaction feels like a betrayal to them and of our American values. I sometimes wonder, if this type of culture was present when my parents came here, would they have wanted to stay? Yet, I still believe the United States is an amazing country with unlimited potential, and we can all help it reach that potential. My work with The Salvation Army in Newport is my place of influence where I can do my part. I became a citizen in 1995. I don’t have to be scared about my future here anymore. I now help those people who remain scared. They are the people with the most need, because they are uncertain about their place in the United States.


AN ARMY WELCOME Five years ago, the Salvation Army’s Tonawanda, N.Y., Corps welcomed refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, and other African countries in the region affected by two decades of deadly civil wars. The families of Meya Kayi, 16, and Joule Mazikou, 15, were among the people who left their city of Brazzaville in the Salvation Army’s Congo Brazzaville Territory to eventually live in upstate New York. Chazia, Meya’s older sister, is a Salvationist. When the family arrived in New York, Chazia and a group of women from Congo visited different corps in the area. They all spoke Lari, the language of Congo, and French. A French–speaking Salvationist introduced the family to Major Celestin Nkounkou, corps officer of the Army’s Tonawanda Corps. Major Nkounkou had also immigrated from Congo years before the wars. When the Kayi family and other refugee families from Congo immigrated to Tonawanda, Nkounkou and his ministry staff welcomed them. Nkounkou’s heartfelt outreach to Joule Mazikou’s family touched their lives. The Mazikous were all raised Catholic, and Joule’s father wanted to continue that tradition. But when Joule’s father had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of a serious hand injury, a family friend invited Major Nkounkou to visit the Mazikous. “The Major had never met us, but he still came to pray for us. We were grateful for this,” said Joule.

OVERCOMING BARRIERS “Refugees come from countries suffering from daily violence and death,” says Nkounkou. “They may have spent months or years in camps. Their children may not have received the proper education. And when they find themselves in a completely new country, with new rules, new languages, and a new climate, it can be a real culture shock.”

Nkounkou says that language barriers can prevent many immigrants from being the best they can be. Refugee children, he says, may have a difficult time learning English. “In Congo, school–age children study French,” said Nkounkou. “This becomes a stepping stone to learning English. But if you are a young refugee, you may not always have the type of education needed to learn new languages.” “In America, sometimes having a good translator isn’t enough,” said Nkounkou. “It’s important to understand that, just because refugees find new, safe homes, it does not mean that their struggle is over.” Today, Tonawanda continues to welcome refugees from other African countries such as the Ivory Coast and Togo. These new corps families have legal residency status, and like Meya and Joule, are grateful to America for saving them from the refugee camps. Meya expressed her particular perspective on the immigration debate. “When I hear about immigrants being discriminated against, threatened to be sent back, and the effort to build walls to keep them out, it hurts my heart,” she said. “I wish that there was more help for the undocumented person to become documented. Though our situations as immigrants or refugees may be different, we all come to America looking for a better life.” Last September, Meya and Joule became senior soldiers.

ref·u·gee

One who flees; especially a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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noun


GOD’S PATH FOR US My American dream is to have an opportunity to do God’s will in the United States. At an early age, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior. As a young child in Colombia, my father abused both my mother and me. However, in 1998, the Lord rescued us. Through His grace, we gained the courage to leave my father and our home country to move to Queens, N.Y. Five years later, we began attending the Queens Temple Corps. My mother raised me alone and worked all day to provide for us. I had a lot of freedom and time to myself. Unfortunately, this led to teenage years filled with drug use and negativity. But at 20 years old, God helped me take control of my life. I gave up the behaviors that were poisoning my soul. I could hear God telling me, “Miguel, I didn’t just sober you up for yourself; I have a purpose for you.” As a teen, my

DACA The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a United States immigration policy that allows some individuals who entered the U.S., illegally as minors and remained in the country, to receive a renewable two–year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. Currently there are approximately 800,000 individuals enrolled in the DACA program.

idea of pursuing the American dream was to finish school, find a job, and become rich. This was not God’s plan. As I became more involved in the Queens Temple Corps, I discovered a new dream: to serve God as an officer in The Salvation Army. To take this new

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path for my future, I attended Candidates Seminars in 2013 and 2014. It never occurred to me that my status as an undocumented immigrant might keep me from God’s path for me. I remember speaking to Major Angelo Rosamilia about my plans. He was very excited, and worked to set up all the appointments needed for me to enroll in The Salvation Army College for Officer Training (CFOT), without telling me he had done so. When I told him I was undocumented, I could see the disappointment in his face. “But don’t worry,” I assured him. “I’m going to get my papers.” His face lit up. “Yes! Yes, you will!” he said. He didn’t see my undocumented status as a negative. Instead, he saw that I was sure I would have my papers in time to go to the CFOT. I applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and received my paperwork in April of 2014. I could now legally stay and work in the U.S. But I had processed the documents too late to enter CFOT that year. I was heartbroken, but God still had the final part of His plan in store for me. In June, Captain Giovanni Guerrero, my mentor, informed me that, with my DACA papers filed, he could help enroll me in the CFOT’s fall semester. Because of DACA, I was able to attend training and became a pastor.

THE LORD IS IN CONTROL I am not a political person. I don’t see things as a Democrat or as a Republican. Instead, I see all sides as being controlled by God. His hand guides whomever is in charge. I saw Him at work when President Obama introduced DACA. The Lord has brought me far in life and saved me many times over. DACA was another

Lieutenant Miguel Alban Guerro

is the assistant corps officer at the Salvation Army Corps in Nashua, N.H.

example of His love and compassion. I know that He will continue to bring what is best for immigrants like myself, whether it’s through President Trump or anyone else in Washington. Nashua, N.H. has a large immigrant population. Many people who are there and undocumented are afraid to ask for help. I tell them to seek the Lord and ask for His protection, as I did. When I had to renew my two–year application for DACA, my loved ones were afraid for me. They knew the angry political climate, and they feared that I would be unfairly questioned, or worse. Fortunately, I renewed without any problems. As immigrants, God is guiding us and has a great plan in each of our lives. If you find yourself in a new land looking for a better life, trust in His plan, and know He has not forgotten you.


BELIEVE IN POSSIBILITIES 2018 NCRD/EDS CONFERENCE Indianapolis, IN

F

May 1-3, 2018

2018BELIEVE.ORG


‘Shuvo shokal’ (Good morning) by Warren L. Maye

Others offers a fresh start in life. “Yes, the people absolutely have a very entrepreneurial culture in Bangladesh,” said April Foster. “They’re hardworking, productive, and efficient.” April, who is director of the USA Eastern Territory’s Others Trade for Hope program, has traveled to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh several times to offer women and men there an opportunity to empower themselves and their families by producing products for sale. Others began in Bangladesh in the late 1990s and has since spread to include partnerships in Kenya, Pakistan, and other parts of the developing world. Its lush greenery and many waterways notwithstanding, Bangladesh has been plagued by poverty, war, overpopulation, and catastrophic weather events. Despite the challenges, the people work hard to create a better future. Foster is particularly excited about the opportunities in Bangladesh and is inspired by the women and their work ethic. “For example, we would talk about new designs for things and then, the very next day, those designs would be there,” she said. “It’s just a high level of industriousness where they say, ‘Yes, we can do this. We’re not going to miss this opportunity.’” Rather than the typical charitable giving, Others offers something different. “It’s a face–to–face connection with people,” Foster said. “It’s not charity. It gives strength and hope to people. Everyone is bringing to the table what they have. Together, we make something beautiful and positive. It’s a healthy relationship. It’s about how to weave a genuine partnership. The common thread (the fabric loom), brings this all together.” Major Soo Jung Kim, Mission & Culture Department secretary, accompanied April on a recent trip to Bangladesh. Kim later said at a chapel service in New York, “The producers may be living with very limited resources and not sure what would be promised tomorrow, but we declare that God has planned something better for our friends. Together with us, would they be made perfect, and together with our friends, would we be made perfect.” Others is making a difference in Bangladesh, one person at a time. “These are not sad stories,” said Foster. “They are stories of hope and strength. They’re about peoples’ future and how Others plays a part in making that future. We are together, being made whole.”

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RUNA has one son and two daughters. Her husband is a farmer. She makes embroidered hearts for Others. “It takes me one hour to make a heart,” she says. “I use the income that I make to pay for our children’s education.” With some of the income she makes, she has purchased new furniture for her home. “I am proud to be an Others Trade for Hope producer.”

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2018 MARCH

21


AFSANA is 18 years old. She has completed the Others two–year training program with The Salvation Army and is now a producer. “I also help train other people who are coming into the program,” she says. “Both of my parents died and I have a sister who is living in another town. I am helping my sister raise her three children.” The products that she makes are aprons, hearts, and wire work. “All the income I make helps me to support myself and my family. My work with Others is my main source of income and I am proud of my accomplishments and the ability to make something beautiful with my hands.”

ADURI lives in Savar, Bangladesh and is a soldier at The Salvation Army corps. A mother of three children, she is helping her husband make ends meet. They live in a rented house. “School fees for our children are very high,” Aduri says. “I went to The Salvation Army asking if there was any work I could do to help support my children.” They told her about Others. “I started making the embroidered hearts for Others and saw how my life was improving with the income I made.” Aduri told other women in her community about this opportunity. Today, she has five women who she has trained to also make the hearts. “I am able to pay for the school expenses of my children,” she says. “Others has been a great blessing in my life.” AMEENA has been married for 12 years and has two

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children. “I have been with the Others program for five years. It was challenging for me when I first started working with Others, because I had a young child. I had no income when I first joined the group. I was trained in skills like working with jute and embroidery.” Ameena’s income helps to support her family. “I have become very good

at tailoring and I make all the clothes for my family,” she says. With the income from Others, Ameena has purchased chickens and ducks for cultivation. “I am very happy that I am working.” JUMUR has been with Others for two months. Her husband was sick and could not work, so she needed

help to support their family. “I borrowed money from the Salvation Army church loan program so that I could buy medication for my husband who is now doing much better.” Jumur’s work with Others has allowed her to repay her loan and begin earning money for her family while her husband recovers. NIPA is 20 years old, married, and has a five–year–old son. Her husband is a garment worker in Dhaka, which requires him to be away from home and pay rent in Dhaka. He is only able to come home every three months for one week at a time. “When my husband was not employed, we had to take out a loan to survive,” Nipa says. Working with Others has allowed her family to pay off their loan in full. Today, Nipa is better able to care for her son. “When I am stitching the hearts, I feel great joy in my heart,” she says.

Nalima is a member of The Salvation Army in Savar, Bangladesh. “I was the first lady to begin making products for Others in my community,” she says. “I have a sewing machine and make gym bags, aprons, and the embroidered hearts.” Since Nalima began, 15 other women in her community have joined Others. “I have seen a great change,” she says. Her husband is a guard at The Salvation Army, and they live in a rented house. With the income she makes from Others, they are able to pay their rent and support their children. “Recently I have been sick. Without the income from Others, I would not have been able to afford the medication. Continue to pray for us, as we open our hearts.”


KHUSHI (pictured in the orange shari) has been a member of Others for four years. “In our community, it is hard for a woman to go out and get work,” she says. “We have many responsibilities at home, but we are willing to work and contribute to our household expenses.” Others has given Khushi a way to work from home. “I make the embroidered hearts. This is something I can easily do from my home and the income I make has improved my life,” she says. Khushi is part of a team of women in her community. “We have seen the change and we are proud. We have not kept this to ourselves but also encourage other women to get involved.”

ROZINA has been working with Others for 10 years. She has two children. “My husband does not have daily work, so the money I earn helps to cover the education expenses of our children,” she says. “I make floor mats, shoe bags, hearts, and coasters.” She was able to purchase a cow with the money she earned from Others. That cow birthed three calves. Rozina sold one calf and made a better cow shed. Because of Others, she now enjoys a better position in her family. “I am respected and am making a contribution for our future.” RUMA has two children and has been working with Others for four years. “Before Others, I was not working and could not help to provide for my family,” she says. “It was a great stress on our family when I had to depend on my husband for all our basic needs.” Today, Ruma is gainfully

employed as an Others producer. “I am very proud to be able to create products like the embroidered hearts. The income that I earn gives me confidence and allows me to support my children. I am proud to be part of Others.”

Salvation Army. I am now able to work as hard as I can and save enough money to care for my child and be together all the time. Please pray for me that I can accomplish this desire of my heart.”

began looking for ways that he could assist me.” As the primary breadwinner in his family, Shib desperately needed a job. “I was good at tailoring before the accident, so when the Others group in Sankerpur began

KOMOLA is 57 years old. She has three children, with one son still living at home. “I was the first woman in my community to join Others,” she says. “I earned a certificate in sewing before I got married. I am always happy to teach more women how to sew and do embroidery.” Making the Others embroidered hearts has helped her family to survive.

SHALVINUIZ is 28 years old. Her daughter lived with a relative because Shalvinuiz was unable to support her. “I saw her every three months and this caused me a lot of pain when we were separated,” Shalvinuiz says. “I have completed the two–year training with The

SHIB used to be a driver, until a road accident injured his spine. “I became permanently disabled. It is difficult for me to walk and to speak clearly. The Salvation Army corps officer in my community came to visit me, and

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making the hearts, I was asked to sew them.” Shib has his own machine and can work from home. “I am very proud that I can still be productive despite my disabilities. Others has given me that chance.”

To purchase Others products, go to www.tradeforhope.com.

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FAITH  in ACTION

Women of the Army by Robert Mitchell

Three women carry on The Salvation Army’s rich tradition of service, compassion, and holiness. Here are their compelling stories. BACK TO HER ROOTS Retired Major Joan Sayer grew up at the Findlay, Ohio, Corps, where she heard the call to a lifetime of service. “I left Findlay and served 43 years as an active officer,” Sayer said. Sayer and her husband, Major James Sayer, served throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. “We were called to be corps officers,” she said. “We wanted to be at a corps.” By the time the Sayers retired in 2010, all three of their children had moved to Findlay. The children loved Major Joan’s parents and wanted to be close to them. Now, the Sayers are back in Findlay too. Now, they’re one big happy family. The Sayers are also back doing what they love—serving in a corps. While they could kick back and just enjoy retired life, slowing down is definitely not their style. Major James heads up kettles during Christmas. Major Joan volunteers three or four days a week in the corps office and more during kettle season. She can also be found helping with food assistance, serving as Home League secretary, and leading a women’s Bible study. “I’ve been involved in a lot of Bible studies,” she said. “I feel I need to be regularly in the Word. I’ve been studying. My husband and I both keep active.” The couple, who met at officer training 40 years ago, recently served in post-retirement at the Lexington, Ky., Corps “I want to be able to serve the Lord,”


Major Joan said. “I want to help people. My passion is people and leading them to Jesus.”

EXCITEMENT REIGNS IN CLEVELAND When Major Cheryl Wirth arrived at the Adult Rehabilitation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, last year, she immediately saw an unmet need. She wanted to start a children’s program during church hours to minister to the families at the ARC. “On top of all the events she has, she still has a spot in her heart and understands the need in taking care of our nation’s most precious resource,” said the Rev. Louis Woolley, the senior counselor at the Cleveland ARC. “If she can reach even just one child with the Gospel, that could mean countless souls who might come to the saving knowledge of Christ and enjoy a better life through that one child.” Woolley said the program started out with about six kids, but is now up to 10 or 11 regulars each week. Major Cheryl sings in the choir during worship each Sunday, but then takes the children out for their own church. “It’s everything from flannel-board discussion to homework and a snack time,” Woolley said. “It’s coming out really nice and she just has a really powerful heart for that ministry. “I’ve seen the results of this kind of ministry be very positive.” Giving the children their own church service allows the parents, many of whom are in recovery, the opportunity

to focus on the Gospel–based sermon with no distractions,” Woolley said. “They get to develop their relationship with Christ and the children have their own personal time,” he said. Woolley said the Cleveland ARC ministry is seeing steady growth and one couple is seeking to heal their marriage. The couple’s son attends the children’s church, which has allowed his parents to seek God. “There’s a spirit of excitement and refreshment here,” he said. “We’re packing out our sanctuary a couple of times a month. It’s very exciting to see all that takes place. God is just pouring out blessings over blessings here. It’s a wonderful time to be here right now. “There are some absolutely beautiful things happening. The children’s church is another piece to reach the inner city and the people who got caught up in the opiate problems, the drug addiction, and the alcohol. It’s fabulous to see reconciliation taking place.”

THE REAL DEAL Margie McLaughlin says from the first day Martha Gelnett began working at the Camden, N.J., Kroc Center, she realized there was something special about her. “She truly exemplified what the meaning of being a Christian is all about,” said McLaughlin, the human resources manager at the Kroc Center. “She is the model of an outstanding example of a faithful Christian—excited to share the joy of God’s love with everyone she meets.”

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Gelnett is the Kroc Center’s adult ministries coordinator. She develops and implements programs where adults and seniors are “introduced to Jesus and discipleship” at the Kroc Center and also Camden’s Mission House, McLaughlin said. The goal is “spiritual maturity, while providing an environment in which prayer, worship, and the study of Scripture are shared with all who attend our program,” McLaughlin said. Gelnett also has the human touch. McLaughlin said when a new member joined adult ministries a few months ago, Gelnett warmly embraced the woman, but did not make a loud announcement to the group. “Instead, she slowly, carefully introduced our new member to one person and then another,” she said. Today, the woman, a former shut-in, is active in adult ministries. Gelnett, an original hire of the Kroc Center in 2014, also plans a large Christmas luncheon each year. “She has worked tirelessly over the past three years to build a strong community of adults and seniors who are welcomed with unconditional acceptance and care in an environment that facilitates commitment, not only to one another, but to God through the love of Jesus Christ,” McLaughlin said. “There are tons of people today in Camden whose lives have been significantly changed as they now accept our Lord as their God and Savior thanks to Martha.”

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FAITH  in ACTION

Luisa Gutierrez

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Moving Beyond Crisis

Last April, Luisa Gutierrez thought she was going to The Salvation Army in New Haven, Conn., to simply pick up a few vegetables for her guinea pig. She got her vegetables, but she also found an entirely new life for herself and her 9–year–old twin boys when a case manager pulled her aside and told her about a new program called Pathway of Hope (POH). “Everything changed that day,” Gutierrez says with a smile that brightens her face. “It was exactly what I needed in that moment.” Stella Guitandjiev, the POH case manager in New Haven, said Gutierrez was a “perfect fit” for the program. “She was eager to learn more, move forward with her life, and find a better life for her and her children,” Guitandjiev said.

SETTING BENCHMARKS Guitandjiev and Gutierrez set seven or eight goals. While Gutierrez is a self–motivator, Guitandjiev said she encourages her client to keep moving. “We are working together,” Guitandjiev said. “She is working toward her GED and would like to take Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes.” Meanwhile, Gutierrez’s two sons attended Camp CONNRI and the

summer program at the New Haven Corps. They also attend the corps on Sundays and go to the after–school program. The road has been difficult for Gutierrez, who is lucky to be alive. She grew up in the Dominican Republic and lived in Puerto Rico before coming to the United States in 1992 at age 18. While living in Danbury, Conn., Gutierrez suffered through an event that caused her great trauma.

ON HER OWN Three years ago, she left Danbury, her home for 10 years, and moved to New Haven. “I said, ‘Let me go and change my life and do everything new.’ I didn’t want to stay in Danbury, where everyone knew me. When I moved to New Haven, I didn’t know anybody.” Gutierrez initially went to a shelter for battered women in New Haven, but was anxious to get into permanent housing. She was aware of The Salvation Army from her days in Danbury and had received Christmas gifts and other help there. She is a big believer in the POH program she found in New Haven. “It’s the best,” she said. “It’s very

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by Robert Mitchell

good. If you really need help, if you work together with them, they have many different things to help you change your life.” Gutierrez has also received practical needs from The Salvation Army, including clothing, coats, and bus transportation, but the case management has made the difference.

PATHWAY OF HOPE (POH) is designed to help repeat emergency assistance applicants move beyond crisis and overcome the barriers keeping them in poverty. Clients set goals and work with a case manager to find help with job training, health services, childcare, education, housing options, and legal services.

FINDING HOPE AND HELP “It’s not only the immediate things you need,” she said. “You receive more than that.” Gutierrez said she also found support, a church for her sons Kendrick and Kenneth, and relationships. Guitandjiev is more than a case manager; she takes an interest in the life of

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You never know when God has something for you. Be ready. God has something very different from what you expect, but it might change your life.

—Luisa Gutierrez

each client. For example, Gutierrez was recently offered a seasonal cleaning job at Yale University in New Haven and Guitandjiev urged her to take the job to boost her resume and future job prospects. “They give me a lot of personal support here and they help me with many things,” Gutierrez said. “Sometimes Stella will tell me, ‘Just breathe.’ She tells me to focus on my future. She calls and finds out how I’m doing. “When I see people interested in my life and wanting to see me do well, I feel better. Everything you need, no matter what it is, they are there for you. I thank Stella every day for everything.” Isaiah Salafia, the former regional coordinator for POH in the Southern New England Division, said more than 70 families have been enrolled in POH across Connecticut.

MAKING PROGRESS POH operates in New Haven, Bridgeport, and in Meriden, Connecticut. “Even though we only have three locations, we can work with up to 60 families at any given time,” Salafia said. In New Haven alone, Guitandjiev has enrolled 31 families, representing 111 people.

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“New Haven is really the hub for Southern New England,” Salafia said. “It’s demographics are diverse. We see an equal mix of Latino, African American, Caucasian, and Asian families.” While most people are used to leaving with something tangible such as a bag of food or diapers, Salafia said POH takes a more long–term approach. “It’s difficult to get them to understand this is a new approach, not just for corps individually, but for The Salvation Army as a whole,” he said. “We’re trying to work over a long period of time.

BUILDING INTO LIVES “It’s a work in progress. We’re obviously learning as an Army, as individuals, and as case managers, but it’s going incredibly well. The results we’re seeing, particularly in regard to the loss of inter– generational poverty, are great.” Salafia, who was recently named POH coordinator for the Eastern Territory, worked in disaster relief before his post in Southern New England. He would see victims during a crisis, but usually never again. “It was very fulfilling, but three months down the road, I wasn’t sure if they were going to be okay,” he said. “Having them

in Pathway of Hope, and working with them for six months to two years, bolsters the clients and families.” Guitandjiev said she counsels many single mothers who are smart and have potential. “They just need someone to push them a little bit,” she says. “I’m going to call you and I’m going to bother you.’ I’m really annoying. “I keep telling them, ‘You’re smart. You can do it. Just put in a little more effort. You’re almost there.’ But some of them give up and disappear. They switch phones and I can’t reach them. They don’t have any support. For them to see someone like Luisa, is a big plus. It helps them buckle down and put in the extra work.”

IT’S ALL WORTH IT Gutierrez says her life today is fulfilling and rich as she watches her sons, who are junior soldiers, gather their Bibles on Sunday morning and excitedly head to church. “When I feel sad, I look at my sons and I feel better,” Gutierrez said. “You never know when God has something for you. Be ready. God has something very different from what you expect, but it might change your life.”


LEAD

Gender Equity and the Image of God by Isaiah Allen

“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – GENESIS 1:27 One day I sat in chapel at a Christian college to hear a presentation by Salvationist scholar Roger Green. While he spoke on women in the holiness movement, a young man next to me texted another student, “Why are they making us listen to this? It’s not even an issue anymore.” I thought, Can women in leadership still be an issue? In 1859, Catherine Mumford Booth, co–founder of The Salvation Army, published Female Teaching whose alternate title was Woman’s Right to Preach the Gospel. Since then, the Army has elected three women Generals (international leaders). Colonel Julie Campbell, the Army’s national advocate for gender equity in Australia, argues that we shouldn’t measure progress on the basis of publications or on senior leadership positions (Others magazine, October 2017). These high–visibility signals belie the everyday situations of numerous

WHAT CAN I DO? TUNE IN FOR A LIVE DISCUSSION on women in leadership Wednesday, March 21, at 2 p.m. www.facebook.com/leadsummit2017 GATHER A GROUP of any sort to

access the video recordings and discussion guides at www.saconnects.org/On-Point-Webinars

Shutterstock

PRAY TOGETHER that God’s creation

intentions, and kingdom values will find expression in your daily life, in your neighborhood and community, in your place of work and worship, in our nation, and in our world.

women. Women deserve dignity and respect at all levels, not just in our stated ideals or hierarchies. Proper views call for proper actions regarding women in leadership. Consider the beginning: Genesis opens with a creation narrative, making profound claims about God, the process and products of creation, and particularly about humans. Scripture insists that both men and women bear God’s image; they are thus of equal worth. Humanity reflecting God’s image requires gender equity. Mounting a fuller argument, Roger Green emphasized that the Army believes in women in ministry not in spite of the Bible but because of the Bible; yet Colonel Janet Munn observes that, although women are a significant majority of Army participants, they remain a small minority of decision– makers (Theory and Practice of Gender Equality in The Salvation Army, 2015). William Booth (Orders & Regulations for Staff Officers, 1886) wrote, “One of the leading principles upon which the Army is based is the right of women to an equal share with men… She may hold any position of authority or power in the Army from that of a Local Officer to that of the General… Women must be treated as equal with men in all the intellectual and social relationships in life” (quoted by Scott Simpson in Others, July 2017). Booth’s last sentence has practical implications for ordinary people, such as you and me. Most of us will never have the privilege of sitting on the Army’s High Council and electing a woman General

or of appointing a woman to be the commander of a division or territory. But, we all interact with women every day, who are called by God to serve in various capacities and deserve encouragement. We all have the role of affirming and embodying dignity and respect toward women. We are all decision–makers to some measure. The Apostle Paul acclaimed the spiritual leadership and ministerial labors of women (Philippians 4:3, Colossians 4:15, 2 Timothy 1:5), and Christ Jesus relied on women to proclaim the Gospel and exemplify discipleship (Matthew 28:10, Mark 12:43, Luke 7:44–46). I witnessed my mother’s leadership in spiritual, domestic, and professional capacities. I learned from competent and passionate, hard–working and gifted women teachers of biology, ballet, and the Bible. I’ve seen my wife lead people to greater accomplishments than I could achieve. At the same time as these women are good at what they do, they often endure suspicion, harassment, and resistance. Let it not be so among us. Let the world see that none have a higher esteem or more affirming practice toward women than Christians.

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wholly  living

Spiritual Formation Resources

at your fingertips

by Chris Stoker

Are you looking for a spiritual push this spring? Does your soul need a warming? Perhaps you want to kick your prayer life into gear this year? If binge–watching internet TV shows has left you longing for depth, here’s how to make the most of your online moments. This month, we’re offering you some online options that promise to enrich your spiritual life. We’re featuring two Salvationist cyber stops that have just what you need.

The USA Eastern Territorial Spiritual Life Development (SLD) page has many resources ready for you to download. You can follow our blog, take a look at Cultivate our online spiritual formation courses, or search everything SLD until you find what you’re looking for. We have a heart that is focused on supporting you. However, our resources can reach even further. If you lead a youth group, teach a Sunday school class, lead a prayer walk, or are looking for a different flavor for a worship service, we’ve got it. Here are samples of what you’ll find.

www.saconnects.org/sld

from the SLD Blog

from the Silence & Solitude series

Your Ways, Your Thoughts

To Wait for Thee

by Major Marie Larrinaga

by Rob Jeffery

How many times do we put our Lord in a “time out” because we think we have a better plan or we believe that we can handle things better on our own? Nonetheless, our Lord, being the gentle, kind and loving Father that He is, would never penalize us. Instead, He would perhaps chuckle a bit and remind us of the following words found in Isaiah 55:8–9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Tree of Life Version) 8

Thomas Merton referred to contemplation as “a long loving look at the real.” It was time for me to get real about the issues I was facing in my life and to forge a more authentic relationship with God. A chorus sung in our own Salvation Army tradition expresses what happens when we wait on God in silence: Silently now I wait for thee, Ready, my God, thy will to see, Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine.[1] If the opportunity comes to attend a managed, silent retreat in a beautiful outdoor space with Christian guides that will teach you to attend to the discipline of silence – take it, you will not regret it. More importantly though, if you can begin to carve out a few minutes of everday life, to step into your cave seeking God in silence—the Holy Spirit— the greatest guide, will take you on a new journey with Jesus that will truly change your life.

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USA EASTERN TERRITORIAL SPIRITUAL LIFE DEVELOPEMENT


book review

THE SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF FAITH by Thomas Merton

CSLD: CENTRE FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE DEVELOPMENT www.salvationarmy.org/csld

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” —THOMAS MERTON

The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters Centre for Spiritual Life Development’s (CSLD) mission reads: THE SALVATION ARMY is in a time of spiritual renewal, of re-awakening to the Fire of God on the inside of people that fuels all the outward activity and service. Surely the Spirit of God is inviting The Salvation Army in these days to hear afresh the call to become a house of prayer for all nations, the place where God promised to dwell, the place where God makes himself at home. Paul admonishes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) We can’t do God’s part; he won’t do ours. Hear his invitation to participate, do your part in being a centre for spiritual life development. “Simply put, it is time for us to take more seriously issues related to our inner life. We owe it to our people. It is essential to maintaining the engine of commitment and passion. Our mission is energized by our spirituality. ...The cultivating and sustaining of the spiritual life of [Salvationists] is paramount.” —General Paul Rader, as quoted in Called to Be God’s People, by Commissioner Robert Street

You’ll find resources (audio, video, downloadable resources, and several links) and you can follow CSLD on Pinterest. Sign up for the email newsletter and visit the online prayer request page for more. Check it out!

@

USAEastSLD

Interested in more information about how to give your spiritual life the boost it needs this year? Reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest @USAEastSLD, or at the Salvation Army’s Eastern Territorial Headquarters.

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The Seven Storey Mountain is an open and honest telling of one man’s journey of faith. Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of 26, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders—the Trappist monks. This story of peace was published in 1948, at the end of World War II, and quickly struck a chord with readers as it was a time of disillusionment about war and the meaning of life. The life of Merton was not an easy one as both of his parents died by the time he was 16 years old. Thomas, who shifted from one guardian to another, lived an undisciplined life, consisting of alcohol abuse and one failed romantic relationship after another. Yet in the midst of his wanderings, he was curious about spiritual matters and drawn to the Catholic faith. Although his monastic lifestyle certainly plays a part in the way he lived his life, this story is so much more than a faith tradition. It’s a bumpy journey to becoming all one can be in Christ. Merton’s transparent way of sharing his tumultuous journey in faith, while having no doubt that he was within the Savior’s care, is a window into the limitless mercy and compassion of the Savior. Merton’s struggle was always the question, “How do I withdraw from the world and still be fully immersed in it for Christ’s sake and the sake of others?” Despite choosing a life of contemplation and prayer, he stayed in touch with the most famous activists, artists, politicians, and theologians of his day and wrote extensively from that unique perspective. The Seven Storey Mountain has been recognized as one of the most influential religious works of our time. — by Major Lauren Hodgson

View a short video about the life of Thomas Merton: www.youtube.com/watch?v=O650TPCIXrI

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great moments

If this flag could talk … by Cari Friend

Born on May 24, 1928, Thelma (Hill) Schotter has a house and heart full of memories in East Stroudsburg, Pa., as she approaches her 90TH birthday. Growing up a Salvationist in Plymouth, England, Thelma survived multiple bombings during World War II, including one which blew her out of bed and into a wall. Over the years, Thelma has never lost sight of what was important to her—God, family, and The Salvation Army. Thelma’s father, who was at the battle of Dunkirk, carried the small, black New Testament (pictured) through France during the war, keeping it safe and well read. He gave it to his daughter before she embarked upon The Queen Mary in 1946 on her way to Pier 90 in New York with her new husband, Fred, a GI fresh out of the war. His hope was that the Bible would keep his daughter safe, as it did him. A father’s wish was granted as the well-loved and time-worn Bible continues to protect Thelma and offer comfort through hard times and pure delight as she thumbs through its memories in her mind. A second, brown New Testament was picked up by a soldier on the beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. That soldier, William Ridler, was Thelma’s cousin and he passed it on to her in the hopes that it protected her as it did him that fateful day. Another memento close to Thelma’s heart is a small Salvation Army flag, which flew on a truck of Thelma’s brother Edward Hill, who was originally stationed in India and then Africa during World War II. He was part of Gen. Bernard Montgomery’s famous 8th Army. Her brother lovingly affixed the flag to the truck and there it stayed and travelled with him and his platoon, seeing unimaginable horrors and witnessing amazing miracles. Now, if we could only get that flag to talk… —Cari Friend is the executive secretary at the East Stroudsburg, Pa., Corps.

(Top) Thelma with the flag that flew on her brother’s truck and the New Testament her father carried through World War II. (Left) Thelma with her father and brother.

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Gathering ATION AR ALV ES

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FACEBOOK.COM/WOMENSMINISTRIESUSAEASTERNTERRITORY

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#GATHERING2018 SACONNECTS.ORG/GATHERING2018 #ENCUENTRO2018 SACONNECTS.ORG/ENCUENTRO2018

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GATHERING is a movement to cultivate authentic community. It’s a monthly group of women who commit to meet for a meal and guided conversations that go deeper than our usual chatting. What will emerge when we gather intentionally to explore life themes? Maybe encouragement, love and healing? See your corps officer for more details.

N ’S M I N I S T

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JUNE 15–17

COMMISSIONING WEEKEND

HERSHEY LODGE • HERSHEY, PA

THE SALVATION ARMY USE TERRITORY

#2020U SAEAST SACON N ECTS.ORG/COM M I SSIONING

USA Eastern Territory Commissioners William A. & G. Lorraine Bamford Territorial Leaders

SAconnects, Volume 4, Number 2  

The Salvation Army: SAconnects Your connection to The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory

SAconnects, Volume 4, Number 2  

The Salvation Army: SAconnects Your connection to The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory