SAconnects, Volume 6, Number 4 — Special Issue 2020: COVID–19

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VOL. 6, NO. 4 • SPECIAL ISSUE 2020: COVID –19

Delivering

HOPE The Salvation Army has taken a stand against COVID–19 as it continues to plague our country and the world.

SACONNECTS.ORG

the magazine


Shattered Dreams? Lost your way?

Alcohol, drugs, and other issues shouldn’t determine your direction.

Contact us. To find real help and hope, contact The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. We provide residential programs for adults who seek purpose, meaning, and solutions. For the Adult Rehabilitation Center nearest you, call 800-728-7825 or visit us at SAREHAB.ORG today.


a message from General Peddle

A Message of THANKS to Salvationists General Brian Peddle, The Salvation

Greetings, Salvationists:

Army’s international leader, issued a call to prayer, urging Christians to pray into the current coronavirus situation with urgency. In particular, Sunday April 19, 2020 was set aside as a key time to do this together. We saw a huge response as the Army united in prayer. Here’s a short message from General Peddle, thanking our movement for this response.

The General calls for Salvationists to protect themselves and others against COVID–19. View the message here: vimeo.com/440991435

Psalm 113:3 says, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” We have done that. We’ve done that in our response to a call to prayer as we have followed the sun. We began in Samoa and now the sun has set in Hawaii. As Salvationists, we have prayed and lamented the loss of precious people. We have prayed for many still in need and prayed for those on the front lines while praying for an end to this virus. I want to acknowledge your faithfulness in your confidence in God. Thank you for believing with me that things happen when people pray. Thank you for not testing God, but through prayer, showing that you trust Him. God bless The Salvation Army and its worldwide family. I think that now the real test begins. We must believe that God will now answer our prayers. People are still suffering. Sadly, people are still dying. I hear the lament; I see the tears. People are still on the front lines while others are unsure, uncertain, and afraid. Let’s continue to pray and anticipate God’s response and be careful then to give Him the glory. In my call to mission, I have asked for our Army to be ready to be engaged and take responsibility. Maybe through your praying God has nudged you to respond to this call. We believe God has raised up the Army for such a time as this. I believe God is sending our Army to serve others at such a time as this. Please be safe in all that you do. But be His church in a world that needs our God whom we love and whom we serve. And again, thank you for your prayers. Together, let’s fill our hearts with expectancy in the days to come. May God bless you.

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—General Brian Peddle

2020 SPECIAL ISSUE: COVID–19

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to everyone serving on the front lines

In various and essential ways, you have made a difference in the lives of people in need throughout the USA Eastern Territory during this COVID–19 season. We express our deep and heartfelt appreciation for your sacrif ice in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


SPECIAL ISSUE

contents VOLUME 6 | NUMBER 4

in every issue 4 from the editor 5 relevents 26 an active army 30 wholly living

departments 6 what’s the digital COVID–19 forced Salvation Army corps (churches) to hold events online. What does that mean for the future of ministry?

24 FAITH in ACTION The Salvation Army is serving in big cities and small towns during COVID–19.

27 great moments The 1918 flu pandemic was one of the Salvation Army’s biggest challenges.

32 to your health Experts offer advice on how to cope with COVID–19.

10 The HOPEline What began as a small group of volunteers on phones in the USA Southern Territory has blossomed into 1–800 HOPEline, a national network of volunteers who offer emotional and spiritual care to callers 24/7.

14 A Sign of Hope The Salvation Army has found creative ways to get food into the hands of the hungry during COVID–19. Enjoy some of the more compelling photos captured at the height of the pandemic.

20 Faith Through COVID Jean Renel Murat and his wife, Wiselaine, helped start the Salvation Army’s Haitian ministry in East Orange, N.J. When they both contracted COVID–19, they called on God to heal them so they would have a new testimony to share with others.

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from the editor your connection to The Salvation Army

USA EASTERN TERRITORY TERRITORIAL LEADERS Commissioner William A. Bamford III Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford

Back in print, still online

CHIEF SECRETARY Colonel Philip Maxwell COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY Lt. Colonel Kathleen J. Steele EDITOR IN CHIEF Warren L. Maye MANAGING EDITOR Robert Mitchell EDITOR / HISPANIC CORRESPONDENT

I pray that you and your family are well. Since COVID–19 caused the closure of all Salvation Army corps (churches) and the lockdown of its rehabilitation and community centers, our challenge has been to discover innovative ways to reach you online. These closures also resulted in the suspension of our print magazine, which is typically distributed at these locations. So, the question was, “How do we cover this unprecedented effort to deliver food boxes to doorsteps and to take calls from people 24/7 via a national HOPEline?” Despite the challenges, our job was to make you aware of the Army’s largest food distribution as well as emotional and spiritual care counseling ministries in its 155–year history. At the same time, the murder of George Floyd, a former Army employee, resulted in a global movement for justice, racial equality, and to end police brutality. Our coverage of shouting voices and marching feet had to be sensitive, honest, and heartfelt. In the process, our staff realized what we always knew was possible—that we could collaborate effectively, integrate multiple platforms, and reach you in a more dynamic way. Today, we’re back in print. In December, we’ll offer a beautiful 8–page holiday issue and then relaunch our plans for the magazine in 2021. May you be encouraged as the Bible’s King Asa was as he began to rebuild houses of worship. The prophet said to him, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Hugo Bravo KOREAN EDITOR Lt. Colonel Chongwon D. Kim HISPANIC EDITOR Minerva Colon–Pino ART DIRECTOR Reginald Raines PUBLICATION MANAGING DESIGNER Lea La Notte Greene GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Keri Johnson, Joe Marino, Mabel Zorzano STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Love CIRCULATION Doris Marasigan

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.

Member since 2015 Award winner 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020

www.saconnects.org www.facebook.com/saconnects www.twitter.com/saconnects SAconnects is published bimonthly by The Salvation Army USA’s Eastern Territory. Bulk rate is $12.00 per issue for 25–100 copies. Single subscriptions are available. Write to: SAconnects, The Salvation Army, 440 W. Nyack Rd., West Nyack, NY 10994–1739.

— Warren L. Maye, Editor in Chief

Vol. 6, No. 4, September Special Issue 2020. Printed in USA. Postmaster: Send all address changes to: SAconnects, 440 West Nyack Rd., West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. SAconnects accepts advertising. Copyright ©2020 by The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory. Articles may be re-

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printed only with written permission. All scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless indicated otherwise.


relevents

Ministry in Masks

Territorial leaders reflect on COVID–19 by Warren L. Maye

“ The face mask will forever be a symbol of this time in history. Although it is typically used to hide one’s identity, our people have used it to reveal who we are,” said Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial president of Women’s Ministries.

“It’s a call for us to get back to our basics,” said Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander. “How do we get people to worship? How do we get people together? How do we come back together as a body of believers? People must be creative in answering these questions.”

WAB: During the past 4 ½ months, we have served millions of meals to thousands of people. Our officers, soldiers, and volunteers are giving their all. Yet, the amount of sickness among them due to COVID–19 has been minimal. God has allowed this to be an opportunity for us to connect with people. In some of our corps (churches), officers are cooking up big pots of soup to deliver at lunchtime or at dinner hour. We are still serving. Because of faithful people, we’ve been able to do what we are doing. The economic impact will be with us for a long time. Thirty million people are out of work. Many of those people will come to us. We have to strategize. How are we going to help them on their journey? Now is the time for us to think about this. Innovative programs such as “Camp in a Box,” “Virtual Pizza parties,” online Bible studies, and music lessons have been amazing. Who would have thought that we could conduct a band or Songsters Brigade on Zoom or Facebook live? It’s happening and it’s great stuff! Out of this comes the realization that relationships and friendships are

important. On a number of occasions, I’ve heard people say, “It’s just good to be together.” GLB: Technology has changed the way we look at things. We must keep what’s good about it as a permanent tool and an avenue of ministry. However, we must maintain face– to–face contact with people. That’s critical. We want people to know who their pastor is. So, these tools can be dangerous if we rely on them to replace our spiritual family. Our social ministries departments are already looking at what social service ministry client interviews will look like in the future. We must remember that most people have internet access, but others lack access. So, we must expect that most people will be able to go virtual while others will need alternative methods. We’ve got to find that good balance. As The Salvation Army, we are positioned to help people in the aftermath of disasters. When they happen, we’ve already got boots on the ground. We have the ability to serve in every zip code in the United States. We’re still in the middle of this disaster. That’s the difficulty for all of us. We’re

seeing the pandemic ease in some areas but rise in other areas. When will it be over? Everyone is wondering. So, we trust God through the fear as we roll up our sleeves in His name. WAB: The HOPEline calls are another opportunity to connect with people about the challenges they’re going through. It’s an opportunity to meet the need for spiritual and emotional care and to express the love of Jesus. GLB: The murder of George Floyd brought to light the inequities and systemic racism that continues. Social media has allowed people to converse more. This has been positive and negative because conversations from a keyboard sometimes fail to represent what someone’s heart is actually saying. We need to keep those virtual conversations going and eventually bring them to an actual setting if we are to grow through all of this. WAB: Think about your personal calling. How are you to serve? What is your personal mission? What is God saying to you, right now? Then, ask yourself, How do I accomplish that? How does doing it help the community to change? Finally, you must implement it, which takes us back to the basics: sharing the gospel and being in relationship with people and with God.

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what’s the Digital

COVID–19 forced many church leaders to change the way they held services and interacted with their congregations. Will this be the future in a post–pandemic world?

FULL

ZOOM AHEAD? by Robert Mitchell

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After COVID–19 caused the cancellation of church services in Concord, N.H., Major Rick Starkey bought 20 frozen pizzas and delivered them to his congregation one Wednesday in March. The pizzas came with instructions—”cook them up and be on Zoom at 6 p.m. for a ‘virtual pizza party’ with worship to follow.” “We knew it was going to be at least a couple of months that we wouldn’t be meeting together,” Starkey said. “I just tried to continue to have fellowship and to bring people together. We wanted to keep everyone focused and let them know we hadn’t forgotten about them.” As COVID–19 raged, it seemed as if everything in the USA Eastern Territory went virtual through Facebook Live, Zoom, and other platforms (see sidebar). Did COVID–19 drag Christian ministries into the digital future kicking and screaming? Phil Cooke, a writer, producer, and media consultant who has helped several prominent Christian organizations engage the culture and move into the future, believes so. “Since the lockdown, I’ve probably worked harder than I have in the last year,” Cooke said. “Ten or 20 years ago, we could not have launched a global movement like this in two or three months.”

SEEING THE FUTURE Before the quarantine, Cooke said LifeWay Research found that 41 percent of churches in America had never offered anything online to their congregations. “No services, no resources, no products, no small groups, nothing,” Cooke said.

“That has all changed dramatically since the COVID–19 shutdown,” Cooke said. Before the pandemic, he recalls pastors telling him they didn’t mind live streaming their services, but they also said, “That’s not real ministry.” “Well, those guys have completely changed their tune,” Cooke said. “They realize that it’s go online or die.” Cooke recently spoke to 200 pastors across Russia about improving their livestreams, as well as 50 pastors in South America and several denominational groups in the United States. He also led an online class on the topic for Oral Roberts University, his alma mater. “There’s just been a huge uptick in the number of pastors and ministry leaders who understand that online is the future,” Cooke said. “What I’m essentially telling them is that, as we start to go back to church, this is not the time to take your foot off the gas with your livestream because, frankly, a significant number of people will not come back to church. “We’re going to get a significant number of people who will come back, but they’re going to reduce their church visits to one or two times a month. They’re going to watch the livestream the other two times a month. That’s why we need to be really intentional about the livestreams that we do.”

IT’S ABOUT ENGAGEMENT Cooke said he’s been working for years to help churches with their livestreams. Several church leaders have told him that they generate as much as a third of their income from the livestream audience. One pastor in South Carolina said his livestream audience gave more than his 6,000–member congregation. “What we’ve discovered is your congregation will support you whether

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they’re in the building or not,” Cooke said. “They’ll respond if you treat them intentionally, if you take them seriously, if you really engage with them and not just set up a camera off to the side somewhere and show them a glimpse of the service. If you really talk to them, welcome them to the service, look them in the eye, they’ll really get on board.” Cooke said another pastor told him that before the shutdown, he only had eight subscribers to his YouTube channel. He now has 23,000 subscribers and 30,000 to 50,000 people a week watch his livestream. The church’s Easter service drew 1.5 million people. “This church only has 900 members,” Cooke said. “He told me, ‘I feel guilty saying this, but I really am not anxious to go back into the building because we’re having more of an impact than we’ve ever had in our history.’ So, the bottom line is, pastors who take it seriously and treat their online audience intentionally are going to see some really remarkable things happen out there.”

VIRTUAL WORSHIP However, it was during Sunday worship that Facebook and Zoom had the most influence. Some corps leaders pre–recorded their services and played them on Sunday, while others preferred livestreaming them. “It has drawn a lot of our congregation members together and we’ve been able to connect in ways that we probably haven’t before,” said Captain Charles Adams of the New Haven, Conn., Corps. Meanwhile, Starkey and his wife, Major Bethany Starkey, used Zoom and Facebook to interact with the members of their corps. On Sundays before the livestream from Territorial Headquarters,

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The Virtual Army As buildings closed their doors, corps looked towards Facebook and Zoom to connect to their members and creatively fill the need for ministry and donations.

Starkey would go live with praise, prayer, requests, songs, and Bible readings. Starkey also periodically posted Facebook videos to encourage his congregation. “It was fellowship as if we were in church together,” he said. “It helped to see each other and talk to each other as we were worshipping. It’s us seeing each other’s faces and expressions and singing the songs together.” For couples like Sean and Caitlyn Bohanan, who attend the Concord Corps, Zoom has been a huge help in keeping them connected since they have two small children. Sean said evening events at the church happen just as he’s getting out of work or preparing the kids for bed. With Zoom, he can still take part. “This is a good balance because the kids still have somewhat of a routine, but we’re still able to partake in church services,” he said. Caitlyn agreed, adding, “It’s nice with Zoom because you can still see everybody and chat with everybody and hear everybody’s praises and prayer requests.”

GREATER CONNECTIONS? Lieutenant Michael Borrero, the corps officer in Meriden, Conn., said he saw his congregation “take church out of a building and into their own personal lives” during COVID–19. “We did Bible studies via Zoom and we saw the potential for our members to be able to see what the Bible and a verse is saying,” he said. “They would give opinions and were more active. “We’ve seen an increase in that and it’s been a great blessing to see how our congregation has grown when they read the scriptures and meditate and worship on their own. They’re finding ways to connect with God outside of a building.” Lieutenant Bree Barker, the corps officer in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., said

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it has been difficult not having live church, but she sees advantages to virtual worship. “We did Zoom meetings with our people, and I think we actually got closer to each other spiritually, at least those who were on the calls,” she said. “They were more honest and open with each other. To be honest, I had time to chat with the adults, when usually on a Sunday morning I feel like I’m herding cats.” In Spring Valley, N.Y., the corps held weekly Bible studies, Sunday school, and worship in Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English, via Zoom. “We did as many programs as we could on Zoom,” said Major Tom Hinzman. “We continued to reach out to all of our people with electronic programs.” Hinzman said he often tags several government and community Facebook pages to draw a larger audience. Some people have sent in money and mentioned that they saw the videos. “It’s amazing how many people who we’ve never heard of or seen before are watching the videos and are responding,” he said. “We’re hoping that will open the eyes of the people to what the Army is doing and just help people feel more connected to what’s available and what’s being done at the corps.”

GETTING THEM BACK Cooke said some pastors have expressed worry that parishioners won’t return after COVID. “I think the answer to that is you’ve got to really have an experience worth coming back to,” Cooke said. “If all you do is play a few songs and get up and preach and go home, I could watch that online. I don’t need to see that in a live service. But if you have something for me to come to and be a part of community, that’s different. “You’ve got to be just as intentional

Majors Rick and Bethany Starkey prepare to hold a virtual service with their congregation in Concord, N.H.

about creating connections in community live as you were about doing it online. If you can do that, you’ll have a better chance of getting people to come back. They want to get plugged into something. They want to change the world. They want to be a part of something big.” Cooke said livestreams and Zooms can’t replace fellowship with church family, corporate worship, and prayer, but the younger generation sees things differently. “You talk to anybody 35 years or younger and you’ll find that online is fellowship to them; that’s community,” he said. “For these folks, being on a Zoom call, being on FaceTime, and being live on Zoom is just as much community as real life. So, we have to look at it from their perspective, not just our traditional perspective.” Cooke said changes brought on by the pandemic may be here to stay because church leaders realize the future is online. He remembers the criticism Commissioner James Knaggs received when he launched the Salvation Army’s Vision Network in 2011, but the times have changed. “I hate saying there’s a plus side to a pandemic, but if there is, it’s made

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thousands and thousands of pastors and church leaders aware that there is a serious, legitimate congregation online out there and we need to take them more seriously,” Cooke said. “To say today that ‘we’re going to do ministry without online’ is like saying 100 years ago that ‘we’re going to do ministry, but without books.’ That would have been ridiculous 50 years ago. Now, to say I’m going to be a pastor, but I’m not going to mess with the online thing, is just as ridiculous.” Cooke said the implications for evangelism are staggering. With a world population of 7.8 billion and a nearly 85 percent literacy rate, that means 6.6 billion people could connect through online networks. “Why are we not jumping into that, full bore?” Cooke said. “We think of missions only in terms of geographical boundaries. Let’s start thinking about missions in terms of digital boundaries. Many of them have cell phones. What can we do to start reaching the world with the gospel through the online technology we have at our fingertips? “This is the greatest opportunity available that’s happened in the last 200 to 300 years. This could be a game– changer if we just take this seriously.”

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The HOPEline Trained volunteers provide emotional and spiritual care during the COVID–19 pandemic.

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To date, 123 spiritual care operators have connected with 2,242 callers nationwide.

Silence

by Warren L. Maye

can be deafening. Just ask an Emotional and Spiritual Care (ESC) specialist who is trying to connect with a stranger on the other end of a HOPEline call. “If there’s a silence, I don’t know whether they’ve become emotionally down,” says Marie Cole. Alluding to a time when such meetings took place in the same room, she continued, “If I’m in a one–on–one with them, I can see their body language. It means a lot.” Today’s COVID–19 restrictions keep ESC specialists like Cole and her callers at a safe but frustrating distance. Mandated guidelines have cloaked subtle clues. Nonetheless, this dedicated volunteer, based in Sidney, N.Y., persists. As Cole sits in her living room recliner with a colorful knitted throw behind her head, she listens carefully on her phone and, through her mind’s eye, sees the tears, frowns or exuberant smiles on people’s faces. What started as a small group of volunteers on phones in the USA Southern Territory has since blossomed into 1–800 HOPEline, a network of volunteers in every territory who field many calls every day from across the nation. “We are not counselors,” says Cole, who started

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volunteering for The Salvation Army in 2006 in response to floods in Sidney. After receiving her Emergency Disaster Services training in Syracuse, N.Y., she was deployed to various hurricane sites around the United States, including Superstorm Sandy in New York City and surrounding areas. “I really love what I’m doing. When the silence comes, I try to get them to open up so I can find out what they need. I try to understand if they’re going to need financial assistance, food, clothing or housing.” Cole’s soft voice is disarming. Her kind words can easily fill awkward silences. She calms, encourages, and lovingly cajoles her callers into staying engaged. “I really like helping people; being able to give them some comfort; helping them to realize that they really are not alone. They want somebody to listen. There are many repeat callers who feel alone; they are confused about what they can do and what they can’t do.” Cole remembers a woman who questioned why she had to wear a mask. “‘Why do I have to do that? I have trouble breathing,’ she said. So, we talked through that because, it is hard; we’re not used to doing all that.” Born in Washington, D.C., Cole has spoken to callers from Chicago to California, and from young to old. Regardless of their station in life, their common thread is fear. “Nighttime is hard because people are alone. Some older people can get Sundown Syndrome and they are afraid at nighttime,” says Cole. She refers to a state of confusion some people experience that typically begins with late afternoon shadows and continues into the night. It can cause anxiety or aggression or cause people to pace or wander. “One young man was afraid he might go back to doing drugs,” she says. “So, we talked a lot about that for a while and I recommended he go to The Salvation Army because they have a wonderful rehab program.” Her work keeps her busy, despite having a husband who is recovering from surgery. “I had been up until midnight taking calls almost every night. When I wake up in the morning, there are three to four missed calls that came in the middle of the night.” She has since made 9:30 p.m. her new bedtime. “When my husband is back on his feet, I’ll probably be able to pick back up again,” she says.


Stories from the HOPEline Other specialists have also connected with callers and helped meet their variety of spiritual, emotional, and practical needs. The following are just a few examples. Living in the ‘War Zone’ Dan, an ESC specialist, receives a call one night from a woman who lives in the Washington, D.C., metro area. She has just come home from the grocery store, which she refers to as a “war zone.” She calls because she needs someone to talk to. She speaks about people’s hysteria and the distrust she has for the news media. While spending about 15 minutes on the phone with her, Dan learns among other things that she is a Christian. She explains that she misses her church, which is quite a distance from her home. She tells him about someone who is a family member of a friend of hers who is ill and who does not know Jesus. “I asked her if I could pray for her, her friend, and her friend’s family member and she agreed. We had a nice time of prayer after which she let me know that she felt better,” says Dan. Help after a bipolar episode On another night, Specialist Major Margaret McGourn answers a call from a woman in Chicago. “She said she just wanted to talk,” says McGourn. “That made me happy.” The woman had lost her job as a pharmaceutical tech due to a bipolar disorder episode. “She had interviewed for a new job but had not heard back and was discouraged. We did a mock interview and I was able to help her explain being let go from her previous job. At the end of the call she was so much more upbeat and seemed even hopeful about her future. She was happy for me to pray with her.” Recovering from depression Lt. Colonel Edith Pigford speaks to a 19–year–old woman from Orange, Calif. “She was experiencing depression and wanted spiritual help,” says Pigford. “She was pleased to find the free line since other counseling lines were not. She needed someone to talk to.” However, as the call progresses, the woman and Edith discover that they have different definitions for spiritual help. “She was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) but left at 16 due to a demanding and critical stepfather. She spoke of the expectations and rules, and her father pushing her to do things. “She asked about my life. I spoke of my journey, the example of my parents and other family members, and

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acknowledged my trust in God, His gift of salvation, and my acceptance of that gift. She said that in all her years as a JW, she never saw or experienced such a relationship. I gave her the address of the nearest corps and told her that someone would be there to speak to her further, if she wished. We closed the conversation with her appreciation for my promise to pray for her and my reminder that God truly does love her.” A soldier’s story Pigford receives a call one Sunday from a Salvation Army soldier in the Western Territory. “She called just to talk to someone about her feelings,” says Pigford. “She appreciates her corps officers but does not want to burden them because she knows that they are doing all the social work and meal service.” The woman who writes notes and makes weekly calls to people in the corps, tells Pigford, “I feel guilty for just wanting someone to call me.” Since the pandemic hit, the woman and her adult disabled son have sheltered in place. “Due to the closure of the agencies that would have provided services to her son, they have been basically locked in her house since March,” says Pigford. “The soldier misses the interaction and worship at the corps. She appreciates the video ministry but feels guilty about being depressed. Her daily schedule is gradually falling apart, especially due to her son’s lack of regular activities. I encouraged her to pause each day in the Word and give thanks for God’s faithfulness. I told her that since March, I have been writing down song titles each day that have come to mind. It has become my journal of His faithfulness.” For Pigford, the encounter is a wakeup call. “It points out to me that there are not just people in need of food due to being furloughed from their jobs who are hurting, but there are those in our own church and fellowship who are feeling out of touch and wondering what the future holds. The video ministry in the territory is helpful, but when people feel disconnected from their local congregation, that feeling of loss can lead to depression. “What a brave, faithful soldier she is to reach out in honesty for help.”

THE FUTURE The short term plan for the HOPEline is to keep it open through the end of November. Emotional and Spiritual Care is a vital tool in the aftermath of a disaster.


WE’RE HERE TO LISTEN. COVID–19 Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline Emotional and Spiritual Care counseling is vital during a crisis. If you’re struggling right now, please call us. We’re here to listen.

1-844-458-HOPE

9am–1am EST

(4673)


A sign of hope by Robert Mitchell

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The COVID–19 shutdown caused millions of people to lose their jobs, leaving them without money to buy food and other provisions and afraid to even leave their homes. However, in the midst of this crisis The Salvation Army reinvented itself as a food distribution hub in many communities. All over the United States, the Army’s familiar white food boxes emblazoned with the red Salvation Army shield were seemingly everywhere and served as a sign of hope. “We call them ‘hope boxes.’ We don’t call them food boxes,” said Captain Kevin Johnson, the corps officer in Lynn, Mass., an area hit particularly hard by the virus. “We’re providing hope.” Necessity is said to be the mother of


At some point this year, 54 million Americans may not know where their next meal is coming from. —United States Department of Agriculture

The National Guard helps distribute food boxes.

invention and Salvation Army officers, employees, and volunteers found innovative ways to get those hope boxes into the hands of hungry people—all while wearing masks, socially distancing, and staying safe. Many Salvation Army facilities offered a “contact– free,” drive–thru pickup option for families. They just drove in, popped the trunk, and watched as staffers lowered the hope boxes into place. Other locations offered curbside pickup as would a local restaurant. In other cities, volunteers placed the boxes on tables and walked away, allowing recipients to get their food without encountering another person. The Salvation Army also built relationships with food banks and other nonprofits and engaged the help of the National Guard. In some cities, state troopers helped deliver the hope boxes. This woman joyously receives a Salvation Army food box. Throughout the pandemic, volunteers delivered food to people who were homebound.

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Pedestrians line up to receive food boxes. Other sites offered a “contact–free” drive–thru pickup option. Salvation Army volunteers sometimes left food on a table while social distancing (left) or put it in a recipient’s trunk for them.

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The Salvation Army in the United States responded to the COVID crisis by providing nearly 3 million food boxes and almost 10 million prepared meals through Aug. 1. find us on facebook / estamos en facebook www.facebook.com/saconnects

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(Top) a volunteer makes sandwiches at the height of the pandemic. (Right) The Salvation Army partners with food banks and other organizations, making the arrival of trucks full of food a daily occurrence.

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FA I T H

T H R O U G H

COVI If you ask Jean Renel Murat about his COVID–19 experience, he will tell you it was both bad and good. First, the bad. Murat, who helped start the Haitian ministry at the East Orange, N.J., Salvation Army, believes he contracted the virus in March from another employee at Stop & Shop. Murat suddenly started experiencing a fever, headache, sore throat, and pain in the back of his neck. He was in agony much of the time. “When I realized I was infected, I put myself in quarantine,” he said. “I didn’t want anyone else to get infected and I didn’t want to be in contact with anybody. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything.” Murat did go to the hospital a few days into his ordeal, but doctors sent him home. He got by on vitamins, Tylenol, and home remedies. “We Haitians believe in home remedies,” he said with a laugh. Despite Jean’s best efforts, his wife Wiselaine also contracted COVID–19. Things got so bad that the officers at the East Orange Corps, Captain Nephtalie Joseph and Lieutenant Tharonza Elmonus, took the couple’s two children for a few weeks.

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by Robert Mitchell

“God gave me a new testimony.” — Jean Renel Murat


‘KEEP US ALIVE’

FEELING BETTER

Murat lost weight and was in such anguish that he had trouble sleeping as he sat at home. “I spent 10 days without sleep, not even for a second,” he said. “I felt like every night was a battle. I was suffering. It was hard during that time. I know about hardship. I felt like I was close to death.” In his suffering, Murat said he meditated on the trials of the biblical Job and the woman who bled for 12 years but knew she would be healed by touching Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20). “In his suffering, Job still trusted in God,” Murat said. “In my suffering, I trusted in God. I talked to God and I said, ‘I’m not ready to die from the virus. I don’t want any member of my family to die from the virus. I want you to keep us alive for a testimony.’ I felt like my head was about to explode, but I kept my faith in God. “Since Job believed in God, I felt I too had to believe in Him. If He did it for the one in the past, He will do it

Wiselaine went to the doctor and was given a breathing pump. Like her husband, she largely depended on home remedies to improve her breathing and fight off the virus. “We heard so many people were dying, but God has given us a second chance. God can do anything. Just believe on Him and He will do everything. We say, ‘thank you’ to God,” she said. Jean said it was hard to watch his wife suffer, but he reminded her of some of the lessons from Job as they pulled through together. “It was so hard for her,” Jean recalls. “She said she wanted to die instead of living. I asked her, ‘Did God ask you for any advice when He created you? Keep the faith in God and continue to pray. We’re still going to pray. We’re still going to take medication.’ After a while, things started to get better. We both suffered a lot.” Looking back, Wiselaine said her COVID–19 suffering strengthened her faith. “Now I trust in God more and I take it seriously because from where I am now to where I was before, it’s a good testimony,” she said. While Wiselaine was concerned about her own health as she bravely carried on each day, her thoughts also turned to the wellbeing of her daughters, Laesha, 12, and Sabrinah, 8. “I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with the kids?’ They were still in school,” Wiselaine said.

A LOAD LIFTED

The Murats (middle) hang out with their officers at the East Orange, N.J., Corps not long after their ordeal with COVID–19.

for me. That’s what I prayed. He heard my prayer and I started to get better. From there, I realized that God answers prayer.” Just as Jean started to turn the corner in early May, his wife started showing signs of the virus. She didn’t have many of the same symptoms her husband did. Her main problem was breathing. “When I laid down, I felt like I was going to run out of breath,” she said. “Some people had a fever, but I never did. I sometimes had a little bit of a headache. My whole body was aching.”

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Jean prayed about the situation with the children and trusted God. “It was so complicated,” he said. “Both of us were suffering. The kids couldn’t do anything for themselves, but God answered another prayer.” Soon, corps officers Joseph and Elmonus, who are also Haitian, offered to take the couple’s children to live with them for two weeks. “We had to do it because they were sick,” Joseph explains. “Who was going to take care of them? I know they have family around here, but still we are family too.” Joseph said the couple missed the children but maintained social distance until everything was clear. “They would call every day,” said Joseph, who added that the Murats would sometimes come to the corps parking lot to see the children from a distance. Sabrinah said she was “really upset” being separated from her parents. Laesha called it “weird” since


the family is close, but the officers played games, organized dress–up dinners, and exercised with the girls. “We had a lot of fun with them,” Joseph said.

THEIR CHURCH HOME Wiselaine said she is eternally grateful to the officers, who have since been reassigned to a Salvation Army church in Columbus, Ohio. “We thank God for placing people in our path,” she said. “Not everybody wanted to take them. They might have thought the kids were infected as well. We didn’t think about the infection, we just wanted the kids to be safe. “We don’t have any words to thank them for taking our kids during that time. Even though we want to give them the world, that would not be enough.” Jean agreed, adding, “You cannot put a price on what they’ve done. It was worth more than gold to us.” Elmonus said the Murats are very protective of their children so she and Joseph were flattered by the family’s confidence in them. “So, allowing us to have the kids for a few days meant a lot to us because they don’t trust the kids with anyone,” she said. “We were honored. We love the kids, so it was a wonderful experience.” Joseph said the Murats, who live in East Orange, are active in the corps. Wiselaine cooks for many of the fellowships. Jean was the first senior soldier enrolled when the Haitian ministry started in 2017. Joseph said Jean is a Sunday school teacher, part–time preacher, and helps lead Sunday worship and prayer meetings.

A FAITH REBORN Murat can also be found humbly cleaning the church, which is made up of predominately African American, Hispanic, and Haitian believers, Joseph said. “We can call on him at any time and he will come and help us do anything,” she said. “We are two female officers and so sometimes we need a handyman. We can call on him and he’s always there.” Elmonus said the Murats are “very strong in their faith.” “When they were going through that whole experience, they were calling everyone for prayer, including us officers. That shows that faith means a lot to them,” she said. In fact, Jean said the “good” part of his COVID–19 experience was that it renewed his faith in God. “I see God from a different perspective. I understand that He really loves us. In that period, it was only Him. Nobody else. God took my suffering and I glorify God. It

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was so tiring at times, but in the midst of suffering, we know that whatever we ask God, He will do it. “With all my heart, I asked God, ‘We don’t want anyone in the family to die from this infection’ and God heard me. I am alive today to share this because God heard me. That makes me love God every day and encourage others to love God as well.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. —2 CORINTHIANS 1:3–4

GOD STILL REIGNS Murat said he also has a conversation starter when it comes to sharing Christ. “They will think if God can do it for somebody else, He will do it for me as well,” he said. “I know through our testimony other people will believe in God. “Maybe they doubt His power, maybe they doubt what He can do, but when I explain and share my testimony, many people will see and know that God exists, that God is powerful, and they will trust in God as well. Many times, people want to believe, but they want other people to testify. “The sickness confirms that God is powerful. That’s why I said it was a good experience because I have a new testimony. This is what I asked Him to give me—a testimony. That’s exactly what He did.” Joseph said she sees “God’s hand” all over the Murat’s testimony and believes it will be used powerfully for His glory. “God is on the move,” Joseph said. “Because with everything that’s going on, it’s easy to doubt His goodness. It’s easy to say, ‘You know what? God has given up on us.’ Then when you hear people like this sharing their testimony, you realize that God is still on the move. He’s still powerful. He’s still on the throne. He’s still in control.”

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FAITH  in ACTION

Around the Territory

by Robert Mitchell

COVID–19 attacked large, densely populated cities, and rural areas were also hard–hit. Here are some reports from the field. Lebanon, Pa.—Lieutenant Ivonne Rodriguez said the phone never stopped ringing after the outbreak of COVID–19. The calls came mostly from the community’s growing Hispanic population. Many had lost their jobs and were scared. “Some of the clients we’ve seen call us every single day,” Rodriguez said. “They are Hispanics. They’re not working, and all of the callers are asking for food. They don’t have groceries and they mainly want to know about our distribution for emergency food.” Rodriguez and her husband, Lieutenant Marlon Rodriguez, are bilingual and that was reassuring for the Spanish–speaking people who called. “They feel comfortable when you speak their language,” she said. “They want to express themselves. They have concerns. They have questions. They want to know how they can register and get food. They need prayer and we pray with them. Some of them start crying and we talk to them about God if that door is open. Whatever they need, we are here to serve them.”

Ashland, Ohio—Four Chinese students from Ashland University (AU) found themselves stranded in the small Ohio community due to the travel restrictions surrounding COVID–19. The university allowed them to remain in campus housing, but the school was otherwise closed, including food service. The students came to the food pantry at the Salvation Army’s Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Ashland seeking assistance. Major Annalise Francis, the Kroc Center administrator and corps officer, said the staff shared a month’s supply of groceries and told the students about The Salvation Army’s mission and the love of Jesus Christ.

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“We were later told by an AU staff member that they returned to the university blessed by the experience, mentioning how they were treated with love, dignity, and respect,” Francis said.

Monessen, Pa.—When a local barbeque restaurant donated brisket to The Salvation Army, Captain Susan Thwaite wondered who would appreciate such a delicacy. Then she thought about the healthcare workers battling COVID–19 at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Thwaite said the brisket became the centerpiece for 40 meals, which also included green beans, egg noodles, dessert, and drinks. “They were very nice meals compared to the other feedings we’re doing,” she said. “That was something special. We just wanted the hospital workers to know we were thinking of them. We wanted to brighten their day, give them some hope, and let them know we’re praying for them.”

Nashua, N.H.—It pays to be connected. Rosemarie Dykeman, the director of social services for the Nashua, N.H., Corps, is one of the most connected people in town and that helped The Salvation Army land a much–needed commercial freezer during COVID–19. Dykeman is a member of the Greater Nashua Food Council and also serves on a variety of local boards, including several funded by the United Way of Greater Nashua. Those two organizations recently came together to buy four freezers for local non–profits at a cost of about $7,000. “I was able to express the things that The Salvation Army here in Nashua needed and I said, ‘If I can do a big ask, we would really like a freezer. That would really help us out.’ Since we’ve installed it, it is completely full. We keep

filling it up every day. It has been so helpful,” Dykeman said. Dykeman said before the freezer arrived, The Salvation Army and other organizations sometimes had to turn away large food donations. “Because we didn’t have enough freezer and refrigerator space, we weren’t able to take as much as we could,” Dykeman said. Having the freezer upstairs near the front lobby of the corps has been a huge blessing during COVID–19. “Our numbers tripled since COVID,” Dykeman said.

Bangor, Maine—The Salvation Army’s Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen received a $3,700 donation from Central Maine Moving and Storage and the Masonic Rising Virtue Lodge, both in Bangor. The bulk of the donation came from Central Maine Moving and Storage’s employee auction. The company makes more than 1,000 home deliveries a month for various firms. If a piece of furniture is damaged or not acceptable, the companies ask Moving and Storage to pick it up and store it in their warehouse. Eventually, they usually ask for the items to be disposed of or given to charity. The company holds an employee auction each month and gives the proceeds to charity. This time, it was The Salvation Army.

Bloomsburg, Pa.—The food needs in this small Pennsylvania community were not large, however the area’s children grew restless during the quarantine. Michael Schmid, the treasurer and a volunteer at the Bloomsburg Salvation Army Service Center, sprang into action. A 39–year military veteran, Schmid enlisted the help of two local


American Legion units, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Elks Club, to raise $2,000 for “Boredom Survival Kits.” “We went shopping and we got everything from spinners to birdhouse kits to race car kits,” Schmid said. “We got little planters and dirt and seeds. We put together some fantastic kits.” Schmid said 102 kits, which also featured such unique gifts as painting projects and card games, were distributed at two separate events.

Cambridge, Ohio—Captain Candice McMillen came up with the idea of “Boredom Buster Bags” in her community. “We found that we had a lot of stocking– stuffer–type toys left over from Christmas, so we put those in a bag,” said McMillen, a former pre–school teacher. “We also copied our Orange Sunday school material. We purchased new books. We had some board games and game cards (such as UNO) and we included those to encourage families to work together.” The bags included an assortment of goodies such as Play–Doh, coloring and puzzle books, crayons, small cars, craft kits, checkers, kites, and bubbles, along with age–appropriate COVID–19 information sheets.

Kingston, N.Y.—The corps fed hungry people daily through a pick–up window at the corps, but Lieutenants Alexander and Olga Vargas also remembered the children of the community. During Holy Week, the officers delivered 30 Easter baskets to the Children’s Home of Kingston, where several kids were separated from their parents for the holiday. The baskets included chocolate crosses, candy, prayer books, and a water bottle. When it came to providing food, the corps delivered meals and other foodstuffs to 25 rooms at a local motel housing people receiving social services. Alexander said many people in the motel had no transportation or were elderly. Preparing meals in their rooms was prohibited.

The corps staff handed out food to people who congregate at a nearby gas station and delivered ice cream to children at a local daycare center that remained open.

Vineland, N.J.—The corps typically offers a popular Adopt–a–Family program during the Christmas season. When COVID–19 created a need for food, the corps decided to resurrect the effort with an Adopt–a–Family food drive. Case manager Aubrie Bonestell, who is also the administrative assistant, said the corps advertised two “no–contact” food drives in late April. Donors were urged to adopt a family and donate enough items for a meal or even several meals. Bonesteel said tables were set up in the parking lot. People drove up and handed off their donations to volunteers or simply popped their trunks. “They didn’t even have to get out of their vehicles,” she said. “If they had items in their trunk, we would get it for them. There was no contact. They had their masks on, we had our masks on, and people loved it.”

Steubenville, Ohio—Lieutenants Erik and Barri Vazquez–Muhs had to go it alone for a month when they lost their only employee and faced a huge increase in people seeking food during COVID–19. Because the corps is cramped and most of its volunteers are seniors—the most vulnerable to the virus—the decision was made to keep them at home. “It was a lot of extra work and it was just my wife and I for the entire month of April,” Muhs said. Between the two of them, Lieutenants Erik and Barri developed a workable social distancing solution for food distribution. One of them would handle the phones and the intercom system at the corps and send orders via walkie–talkie. The other would box the food and leave it outside the back door when someone was ready to make a pickup.

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Portsmouth, N.H.—When a local homeless shelter lost its volunteers because of COVID–19, the city’s AC Hotel stepped into the gap to provide daily meals. The hotel managers also helped The Salvation Army by providing 100 meals a day, seven day a week, for the six critical weeks after the COVID–19 outbreak and shutdown. The meals included such fine foods as ham, turkey, and spaghetti & meatballs. Major Donna Marie Reed, who leads the corps along with Lieutenant Kimberly Clark, said the meals were served each night out of the soup kitchen at the corps. The help was timely. “Having those 100 hot meals was amazing, especially at the beginning, when everything was closing down and there weren’t many places for people to go,” Reed said. “They went to seniors and the homeless population and just low– income people who are struggling.”

Marietta, Ohio—With nursing homes taking the brunt of COVID–19, Lieutenant Megan Moretz wanted to bless the staff of the Heartland of Marietta nursing home, which saw several people contract the coronavirus. The home is special to Moretz and the corps because they held a church service there once a week before the coronavirus hit. “We’ve gotten to know a few staff members and several of the residents,” Moretz said. “They’ve certainly been in our hearts and prayers as they’ve dealt with this. “I know it must have been a stressful time for the staff and everyone living there.” In late May, the corps received a donation of candy bars and decided to bless the nursing home staff, which was toiling each day despite receiving little recognition. Moretz delivered 50 candy bars to a staffer outside the nursing home. “We just tied the candy bars together with a ‘thank you’ note and delivered those to the Heartland of Marietta,” Moretz said. “Even just a small gesture like that was appreciated by the staff.”

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THE SALVATION ARMY AND MASKS

an active army

MASK–UP is a program by the Salvation Army Women’s Ministries that provides masks for all members of the Army’s 36 Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) in the USA Eastern Territory. Using online resources, the finished masks are distributed to the ARCs in most need.

MASKS by Robert Mitchell and Hugo Bravo

The girls’ robotics team at Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School in Ohio was disappointed last month when officials canceled the state competitions because of COVID–19. But two teachers at the charter school were determined to turn the bad break into something positive and help community groups such as The Salvation Army. The teachers used materials left over from the robotics program and the school’s 3D printers to design plastic masks, which have been in high demand since the outbreak. Principal Ugur Zengince credited Mustafa Aytekin, an engineering teacher, and Nebi Sevim, the educational technology coordinator, for the idea after hearing Ohio Governor Mike DeWine talk about a shortage of masks. “The teachers came to me indicating that they wanted to do their part to help the community in some way,” Zengince said. “We determined that we had capacity and resources to create 250–300 masks in school from the materials that were left over from the robotics program. Since the masks are plastic, they can be disinfected and easily reused, which extends their life span and usability.” Zengince reached out to local non–profits and heard from Major Steven Ashcraft, area coordinator for The Salvation Army of Central Ohio. The Army received 100 of the 3D–printed masks.

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“We have been struggling to find masks for our frontline workers who are continuing to serve those in need throughout this crisis,” Ashcraft said. “We truly appreciate the offer from Horizon Science Academy to donate these masks.” The Salvation Army operates eight food pantries and an anti–human trafficking program in central Ohio. The masks will help keep workers safe as they deliver food and other necessities. “We are so happy to be able to make this contribution to such a worthwhile organization,” said Zengince. “I know our girls were disappointed that they were not able to compete in the robotics competition at the state level. But at least they know that their program was still able to accomplish something very important. “We didn’t know at the time if there would be an interest. Now we cannot even meet all the requests. We are just limited to the supplies.” Zengince said the school is reaching out to other charities to see who else could benefit. “Until we run out of supplies, we will continue that,” he said. “I believe we can do up to 200 or 300 masks. We have already done 200 so far.” Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School, which opened in 1999, has been recognized by the state and federal departments of education. U.S. News & World Report named it the No. 3 charter school out of 142 in Ohio.

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division (GNY) received a donation of 30,000 professional–grade cloth face masks at Territorial Headquarters (THQ) from the COVID–19 Life Preservation Initiative (LPI), a coalition of four American and three Chinese non–governmental organizations. The masks were delivered to Salvation Army officers, staff, and volunteers, as well as to residents or clients of corps programs who are most at–risk. Sewing groups such as Quilts for Kids and the Advent Lutheran Church Quilters have teamed up with the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary in York, Pa. to sew masks for local hospitals and health centers. Masks have been provided to York Hospital, Hanover Hospital, Head Start of York County, and Salvation Army staff and volunteers. MyPillow has donated 5,000 masks to The Salvation Army in founder Mike Lindell’s home state of Minnesota. Lindell has also directed that 75 percent of MyPillow’s production go toward making cotton face masks. He hopes to get his factories to create up to 50,000 masks a day, while creating a safe environment for his employees. Due to COVID–19, the Salvation Army’s Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Auxiliary lost the opportunity to host its 33rd annual Fabric event. Instead, they donated five cases of cotton fabric and elastics. This was enough to produce 1,000 masks for employees of Excela Health’s Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, Pa.


great moments

by Warren L. Maye

D

evastation is the only way to describe what The Salvation Army faced in the days leading up to the 1918 flu pandemic and during it. Imagine: the First World War breaks out and plummets entire countries into armed conflict, the deployment of troops to an array of battlefields exacerbates the spread of a deadly virus, and as a session of cadets at The Salvation Army training school in the USA Eastern Territory prepare to face these challenges, the school itself burns to the ground. Undaunted, The Salvation Army reinvented itself in a way no other organization could. Even in the face of possible illness and death, its soldiers became laser–focused on their new mission to restore healthcare in communities. They also remained cognizant of their ultimate mission, which is to help save souls from sin and to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ without discrimination. General Evangeline Booth’s account of these perilous times was recorded in an article published by The Salvation Army in its War Cry magazine. She expressed the deep gratitude she felt toward her officers and soldiers and related a heartfelt thanks to them that was shared by many individuals, agencies, and organizations around the world. Through telegrams and letters from as far away as India, Korea, China, and Japan, they recognized the significance and the courage of so many Salvationists who had responded to the scourge that claimed the lives of

General Evangeline Booth, circa 1918

thousands of people in the United States and millions worldwide. “The way our people braved the disease when visiting hospitals, nursing the sick, and burying the dead was inimitable, and in the patient and heroic discharge of their duties some lost their lives,” Booth wrote. “This epidemic wrought havoc with every

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department of our work. Especially was this so with those phases that have to do with our young people and with public meetings. “There was also the severe and almost irreparable loss sustained through the death of 25 of our own officers. Some of these had given long years of faithful service, while others

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A nurse cares for a patient in the flu ward at Walter Reed Hospital.

were called away in the prime of life. They loved not their lives to the death and were called away in the midst of their toil.”

STANDING IN THE GAP After expressing her deep regret for the losses, Booth nonetheless confirmed, “We must press on, for every gap in the fighting front must be filled.” As the disease spread, those gaps widened. City hospitals and clinics quickly reached capacity, pressing the Salvation Army’s citadels into service to house patients. In John Merritt’s The History of the Salvation Army, he wrote, “Hospitals to care for influenza patients were established within corps buildings at Roxbury, Massachusetts and in Charleston, West Virginia in 1918 and were maintained with local physicians and community support.” Red Cross volunteers made and passed out gauze face masks to be worn by doctors and nurses. Boy

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Scout troops pitched in, running medicine from pharmacies to patients. Early automobiles were volunteered to help transport patients and physicians. With respect to public health, African Americans experienced systemic challenges. “When the 1918 influenza epidemic began, African American communities were already beset by many public health, medical, and social problems, including racist theories of black biological inferiority, racial barriers in medicine and public health, and poor health status,” wrote Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD, Professor of Medical Humanities at The George Washington University. To address these problems, Gamble said they established separate hospitals and professional organizations and repudiated the theories. “It appears that the incidence of influenza was lower among them, but it still overwhelmed their medical and public health resources.” Nursing leader Lillian Wald, director of the Henry Street Settlement and

chair of the newly formed New York City Nurses’ Emergency Council, issued an urgent call for nurses to join the fight. The Salvation Army responded to Wald’s call as well as the Bureau of Communicable Diseases; the Bureau of Child Welfare; the Red Cross; the Maternity Centers; the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children; the Milk Stations; the New York Diet Kitchen; the Social Service Department of Mt. Sinai, Presbyterian, and Beth Israel hospitals; the Catholic Nursing sisterhoods; the Teachers College Department of Nursing, and other social agencies. Trained nurses, as well as untrained volunteers, constituted the front–line response. Skilled nursing was essential for influenza patients. There was minimal understanding of the disease, and no antiviral medications to inhibit its progression or antibiotics to treat the complicating pneumonia that often followed. Aspirin, bed rest, sponge baths, whiskey, cough medicines, clean bedding, and hot soup were among the therapies most often prescribed. Local pharmacist frequently used advertisements to warn customers that the pandemic had cleared their stock of the much sought after Vick’s® Vapo Rub. Local markets also advertised that their meats, particularly pork, had been properly inspected for the virus. In Ontario, Canada, nearly 70 percent of all victims were between 18 to 43 years of age. The Salvation Army opened its own hospital. New cases and more deaths continued to emerge in successive waves. In San Bernardino, Calif., the Red Cross had an emergency hospital in the Redlands Salvation Army building. Mary L. Saunders, age 40, was the head nurse. As an experienced professional, she had also been superintendent of the Redlands Hospital in 1914.


FLATTENING THE CURVE By late October, the earliest locations of the influenza epidemic saw numbers of new cases decline. Newspapers reported that the epidemic was over at two U.S. Army bases in Syracuse, N.Y., but elsewhere the epidemic continued. The New York State Public Health Department continued warning everyone to cover their mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing. Doctors also recommended washing hands and wearing masks. Fort Devens in Western Massachusetts reported they were using whiskey, eggs, and milk to fight flu and pneumonia. Also in October, the superintendent of the St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, N.Y., reported that 300 patients and staff were ill. Physicians’ wives were assisting in the care of the sick. The Salvation Army also set up a hospital and 24 patients were admitted with influenza. From January 1918 through 1920, an estimated 500 million people were infected with the disease worldwide. It reached every corner of the globe, decimating even the most isolated settlements in the Pacific and even in the Arctic. It’s estimated the virus contributed to the deaths of between 50 million and 100 million worldwide, representing between 3 percent and 5 percent of the world’s population. The corps facility in Charleston, West Va., eventually became the Charleston Hospital, which evolved into a home and hospital for unwed mothers. It remained open and served the community with distinction until its closure in 1964. “Big things almost invariably are accompanied by big difficulties, and it was so in this case, for we had no easy task to prepare for the exceptional demands,” wrote Booth. “From the president down, in a personal sense, all seemed to highly esteem The Salvation Army for its

“ The life of whole cities was paralyzed by the frightful visitation and hospitals, doctors, and nurses were at times so few compared to the demand that thousands sickened and died without remedy.” — General Evangeline Booth, the War Cry, (circa 1919)

work’s sake. They admired the objects of the movement and greatly esteemed its spirit.

COMPETENT, CONFIDENT, COMPASSIONATE “’Were we competent?’ was the all– important question, and because of the boundless confidence that filled our hearts, we were glad to submit to all the needed observation. You all know that recognition duly came, and it has been our constant privilege to so labor as to merit the flood of commendation that has poured in upon us from the highest official quarters. Nothing has been more gratifying unless it be the unbroken note of praise and gratitude that has come from the men with and for whom we toiled.” General Booth also praised The Salvation Army for remembering its

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ultimate mission. “At all times, they lifted up the cross and preached Christ and Him crucified. The influence of their devoted and uplifting service has served to strike with admiring wonder the whole world. “I question if any of us at this time can sufficiently measure or duly appreciate the far–reaching importance and benefits which this devotion, faithfulness, sacrifice, and service of our splendid men and women, who served with equal devotion and sacrifice at home, brought to the Army.” Today, as the world battles yet another pandemic, the far–reaching importance of the Army’s contribution in 1918 can be clearly seen with 2020 hindsight. Hopefully, the lessons learned from that experience will inform the Salvation Army’s response going forward.

Salvation Army ambulance, circa 1918.

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wholly  living

BOUNCING FORWARD by Major Lauren Hodgson

As COVID–19 appears to be slowly flatlining in the Eastern Territory, several companies have launched some rather savvy product advertising. Some are making accommodations for hard times that many people have experienced and are creating “deals,” so we can all get back on our feet. A commercial produced by a communications company recently caught my attention. Regarding our re–entry into a new normal, the announcer said, “Let’s not just bounce back, but bounce forward.” This phrase got me thinking; What have I learned from this time of social distancing, and how will I live differently and change for the better? I don’t want to just bounce back to the

“ Let’s not bounce back into the ‘same old, same old,’ but bounce forward.”

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same way of living (not that there is anything wrong with that). But how can I do it with greater intention and meaning? How is God spurring me to being more Christlike? In the book of Isaiah, the Lord prepares the children of Israel to be delivered from captivity in Babylon and to return home. He encourages them to be sensitive to His voice and direction, rather than assume things will be business as usual. “Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none” Isaiah 43:19 (VOICE). In this verse, the Lord says He is

doing a new thing, not a bunch of new things. Maybe you can identify with me when I say that I tend to undertake way too much. When I do, I become overwhelmed, I lose focus, and I throw up my hands and say, “I’ll never change.” I must keep in mind that my adversary is the master of confusion. I need to focus on one thing that I will do now or differently or be more intentional about or have a new perspective on or let go of because—God is calling me higher. Someone once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” Let’s not bounce back into the “same old, same old,” but bounce forward into new ways of doing everyday things such as listening, acting or thinking.

LISTENING

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

—JAMES 1:19

Maybe the “one thing” that God is calling you to do is be a better listener. Conversation is becoming a lost art. It sometimes seems as if we are talking at each other instead of with each other. For some people, this has become the sport of inserting their thoughts or experiences into a conversation to sound intelligent. What would happen if we went into a conversation to intentionally focus on others, look them in the eye, and strive to be genuinely empathetic? A constant stream of words is not necessary. It is OK to have some quiet moments to allow contemplation of what has been said or to maybe just take a breath.


—A RESOURCE—

THINKING

“…awareness is learning to keep yourself company. And then learn to be more compassionate company, as if you were somebody you are fond of and wish to encourage.” —ANNE LAMOTT This may sound strange, but sometimes we need to talk to ourselves. This is not some new talk therapy, but sound advice. The psalmist did just that when he said, “Why am I so overwrought? Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life” Psalm 42:5 (VOICE). What would happen if we occasionally stepped back from a thought pattern and asked ourselves, If I continue down this road of thinking, where will it lead? Is it edifying? Is it God–honoring? The psalmist cautions us to be decisive rather than to listen to our emotions. Is the “one thing” God brings to our attention what we are already thinking? Isaiah 43:19 tells us that God is doing a new thing and it’s “happening now, even as I speak.” Don’t think the responsibility is all on your shoulders. What’s the first step? Begin by sitting in God’s presence and truly listening long enough to hear what that “something new” is for you. Then ask Him, “where do we go from here?”

ACTING

“We rise by lifting others up.”

—ROBERT INGERSOLL

Take a moment and ask yourself: What would my life look like if I were a kinder person? Is it possible this is the “one thing” God is calling me to do? It is important to note that, to some people, kindness means being naive or weak, when it actually requires being courageous and strong. Let’s be more like Jesus, who cared for everyone, regardless of their circumstances. Is the Lord’s “one thing” moving you forward to be a kinder, gentler person with everyone in your day?

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Through this pandemic, many of us have experienced loss. It may have been the loss of someone close to us, the loss of employment or the loss of a lifestyle. It has been a painful time. As long as we are in this world, we will suffer. So how do we learn how to suffer well? If we do not learn how to lament properly, we’ll begin to see ourselves as the protectors and keepers of our hearts instead of leaving that responsibility to God. When our knee–jerk reaction is to stuff down any feelings that are contrary to having joy in the Lord, we misrepresent God. Our souls become burdened with unresolved pain and suffering, which eventually becomes a reservoir so full that it overflows into all areas of our lives. When we do not lean into lament to wrestle with God over the difficult circumstances and feelings of our experience, our impulse will be to play the blame game. We blame ourselves, we blame God or we blame others. The Spiritual Life Development Department has created a resource that you may find helpful in this time of suffering and be a useful tool as you move forward in your “post–pandemic” lifestyle. Visit saconnects.org/ lament-what-is-the-disciplineof-lament/ to dowload “Lament: A Discipline.”


to your health

COPING with

Facing a pandemic such as COVID–19 can be stressful and scary. There are continuous news reports of outbreaks and other developments. How can you remain calm? M anage your media exposure. Staying current on important changes (e.g., travel bans) is appropriate, but it’s not necessary to check news outlets multiple times a day. tay connected with friends S and loved ones. Try to discuss various topics, not just the current crisis. M aintain routines when possible. If your old routines (e.g., leaving for work) aren’t possible, establish new ones such as daily walks or exercise. S eek out meaningful, productive activities. Make something creative, clean out a closet or take an interesting course online. S chedule regular video chats or phone calls.

COVID THE EFFECTS ON CHILDREN any of these strategies apply M to helping children cope, too. Additional steps to support them include: C orrecting any misinformation. Encourage precautionary measures, but provide appropriate positive information as well. They should know, for example, that even if family members get sick, most likely they will recover. A llowing them to express their feelings. Show that you understand what they feel by mirroring their communication (“sounds like you’re pretty worried”) without disputing it. Let them know that being frightened is perfectly normal. P roviding verbal and physical comfort. Reassure them, but avoid false promises. I nstructing them on ways to stay healthy. These steps include good hygiene (especially handwashing), nutrition, rest, and exercise. Remaining patient. They look to you as an example for how to cope. Know that the situation, while challenging for everyone, is temporary. —by Eric Endlich, PhD

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2020 SPECIAL ISSUE: COVID–19

Children are likely to be experiencing worry, anxiety, and fear. This can include the types of fears that are similar to those experienced by adults, such as a fear of dying, a fear of their relatives dying or a fear of what it means to receive medical treatment. If schools have closed as part of necessary measures, then children may no longer have that sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment, and now they have less opportunity to be with their friends and get that social support that is essential for good mental well–being. How to protect children from COVID–19? Take steps to protect children and others. Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol–based hand sanitizer. Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing). Put distance between your children and other people outside of your home. When outside of your home, encourage children to wear a mask. Are children at a higher risk? Children do not appear to be at higher risk. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID–19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.

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AFTER THE UNSPEAK ABLE,

WE SPEAK HOPE. The Salvation Army has helped survivors of every major natural disaster in the USA since 1900, and we’re doing the same for those affected by COVID-19. We are there for the most vulnerable in our community. For those whose wages are gone, for those who need food, for those who have no place to call home, and for so many others who desperately need help and hope in this time of national crisis. For 120 years, we’ve rescued people in need and supported them on their journey of recovery.

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