saconnects, Volume 7, Number 1, 2021

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Teaching music at church p.8 VOL. 7 NO. 1, 2021

A story of redemption p. 22

Setting a table for spring on a budget p. 27

COMBATING

HOMELESSNESS

40 million Americans are at risk of losing a most precious possession


Times are tough.

We're here to help. For more information visit easternusa.salvationarmy.org/use/pathway-of-hope

Pathway of Hope uses a client-centered case management approach to empower families and address barriers preventing them from becoming more self-sufficient. By breaking the cycle of crisis with our community partners, it offers a hand up instead of a handout, enabling a path out of poverty.


CONTENTS

WHAT'S INSIDE

WHO WE ARE

VOLUME 7

page 5

RECOVERY

page 19

Programs

In the Potter's Hand

The Salvation Army in Kearny, N.J., focuses on music education. Plus: How to introduce your child to music.

The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center is successful for a variety of reasons. Learn what they are.

page 8

People Cassidy Bowers reflects on her work for The Salvation Army during COVID–19. page 9

Faith in Action Leaders at the Passaic, N.J., Corps talk about how volunteers in their congregation inspire them. page 10

page 19

Led Home by Grace Brian Shields had a rough upbringing, but The Salvation Army and the love shown by two of its pastors helped him find peace in Christ. page 22

Thrift Store Finds Setting a holiday table can be expensive. Let your local thrift store offer you a more economical way to show friends and family you care.

LIVING

NUMBER 1

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Spirtual Life Development Moving in the right spiritual direction is what everyone desires, but how is it done? Here are some tips on ways to have that conversation. page 30

VOLUNTEER

page 32

Nicolau Sambo An asylum seeker from Angola, Africa, donates his time to the Salvation Army's Tools for Life program in Portland, Maine. page 32

page 27

History Fighting alcoholism and substance misuse has been a decades–long battle for The Salvation Army, but we're winning. page 29

COVER STORY A look at the homelessness crisis amid the COVID–19 pandemic page 12

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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.

The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts.


FROM THE EDITOR

TERRITORIAL LEADERS Commissioner William A. Bamford III Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford CHIEF SECRETARY Colonel Philip J. Maxwell SECRETARY FOR COMMUNICATION Lt. Colonel Kathleen J. Steele EDITOR IN CHIEF Warren L. Maye MANAGING EDITOR Robert Mitchell EDITOR / HISPANIC CORRESPONDENT Hugo Bravo ART DIRECTOR Reginald Raines PUBLICATION MANAGING DESIGNER Lea La Notte Greene GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Keri Johnson, Joe Marino, Mabel Zorzano STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lulu Rivera 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

SACONNECTS is published six times per year 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 West Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2021. Printed in USA. Postmaster: Send all address changes to: SACONNECTS, 440 West Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. SACONNECTS accepts advertising. Copyright ©2021 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.

www.saconnects.org | @saconnects

Welcome! WARREN L. MAYE Editor in Chief

Today because of the ravages of COVID–19, we live in an extraordinarily disconnected world. In response to this unprecedented challenge, SACONNECTS magazine is designed to put you in touch with people and resources that will help you meet the practical, emotional, and spiritual needs of your life. So often when we are faced with crisis, we wonder, Who should I call? In this issue of SACONNECTS, we will provide some answers to that essential question in the areas of family counseling, homelessness, food scarcity, shelter, clothing, drug and alcohol recovery, and emotional and spiritual care. As you read this, perhaps you or someone you love may wonder if they’ll ever rise from the ashes of isolation, loneliness, joblessness or the tragic loss of loved ones. If so, then read on because we’ve got some testimonies from real people who have been there, but who are now back on their feet. Brian Shields is just one example. When his life was in crisis, he discovered how to connect to people and resources that gave him hope and a hand. You can read his compelling story on page 22. Sometimes when people look back on the blessings God has given them, they also want to give back. Did you know that The Salvation Army offers many opportunities to volunteer and share your gifts with others? Read Cassidy Bowers’ inspiring reflections on volunteerism on page 9. Finally, the financial impact of COVID–19 has been devastating to many people across this nation’s demographic and socioeconomic landscape. For that reason, everyone will benefit from visiting a Salvation Army thrift store. It’s an economical way to clothe your family with quality apparel, furnish your home with an array of vintage and mint– condition items, and set your Spring table in style (see page 27). Welcome to SACONNECTS magazine. May God richly bless you and yours!

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WHO WE ARE

PROGRAMS PEOPLE FAITH IN ACTION

ARC The abbreviation stands for

10 million +

misusers with a mission

prepared meals have been distributed by The Salvation Army in the United States since the pandemic started in March, 2020. Turn the page to

to rehabilitate them.

see a map of our impact across the globe.

Adult Rehabilitation Center. They’ve been around since their inception in 1881. Founder William Booth opened shelters to the homeless and alcohol

“ The influence Do you or a loved one

of their

struggle with alcohol or drug dependency?

devoted and

You can find help at The

uplifting

Salvation Army: gethelp.salvationarmyusa.org.

service has served to

“Go straight for souls, and go for the worst.” —William Booth

“Soup, soap, and salvation,” is a motto Salvation Army founder William Booth coined when he started his army of Christ followers. “You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet,” he said. The feeding and shelter programs continue to be at the center of our ministry.

strike, with admiring wonder, the whole world.”

Brass instruments such as tubas and trumpets are found in 2,500 brass bands throughout The Salvation Army worldwide. Music education has long been a part of of our ministry. You can find a music program at most of our corps (churches).

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— Evangeline Booth leader of The Salvation Army, reflects on the work of the first responders and volunteers during the 1918 flu pandemic.

SCAN ME to read more about the 1918 flu pandemic.

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COVID–19 Emergency Responses This world map shows where and how The Salvation Army responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

THE COVID–19 PANDEMIC has presented challenges that have never been faced before. Most disasters happen over a small area and enable the sharing of resources and expertise, but the 2020 coronavirus crisis has affected almost every part of the world simultaneously. The Salvation Army, which is at work in 131 countries, has strong links in a number of other nations. Its worldwide response has been made possible by having local Salvationists, staff, and volunteers available to react quickly to the greatest needs—often funded by generous donors and through international contacts. This map shows the geographic scale of the response and demonstrates the huge outlay of resources that will have to be replenished over the coming months and years.

HYGIENE Promotion/ distribution of hygiene articles

FOOD Food parcels for quarantined/ locked–down families

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WHO WE ARE SNAPSHOT

HEALTH Health services (specific to COVID-19 needs)

SPECIAL SUPPORT Special support for homeless, refugees, etc.

EDUCATION Education (specific to COVID–19 times)

This map was first published in the October–December 2020 issue of All the World, The Salvation Army’s international magazine: www.salvationarmy.org/alltheworld

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WHO WE ARE PROGRAMS

The Value of Music

by HUGO BRAVO

Learning to play an instrument can provide many benefits for students of all ages. Through music, young people can find a way to express themselves and discover untapped talent. It can also help adults lower their stress, alleviate depression, and quicken their reaction time. Captains Hwang Lim and Seoyoung Soo, leaders at the Salvation Army’s Kearny Corps (church) in Kearny, N.J., were blessed with music education at an early age. “While growing up in Korea, I took private piano lessons and had music education in school,” says Seoyoung. “Most Korean corps focused on the ministry aspect of church, so they didn’t have many other services like art or music.” Hwang’s church in Ahyeon, Korea, was a pacesetter for creative art appreciation. “In 1992, my corps was the first to have a youth band in the Seoul Division, and I was its first member,” says Hwang, who played brass instruments. When the couple received their first ministry appointments in Montclair, N.J., they saw how music was a big part of the congegation’s identity. Hwang felt comfortable in this role. Seoyoung saw a church that was investing in the lives of its youngest members by developing their talents and relationships with The Salvation Army. “Montclair understood that through music, we could connect with Christ in new ways,” says Seoyoung. In Kearny, N.J., they further developed the music program by using what they had learned from serving at Montclair, as well as their own musical upbringing. “The music program in Kearny was only an hour long. In that hour, children studied three different music lessons,” remembers Seoyoung. “As someone who took many hours of piano lessons, I knew that this was not enough.” They extended music lessons to three hours, made voice and singing a separate class, and began teaching music theory so

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children could play brass instruments better. As in most Salvation Army churches, they also taught timbrels (tambourines). “Our Kearny Corps has some outside influence in timbrels,” says Diane Basilowitz, who teaches timbrels, dance, and beginner band at the church. “We have Salvationists here from Kenya who know different techniques than what we teach in the United States.” “Salvation Army events like Star Search (the Army’s yearly talent showcase for young people), are reasons to practice and put in the hours,” says Seoyoung. “We always want to know that we are as prepared as we possibly can be when competing. The practice always pays off.” “The captains push us to practice hard because they love us,” says Casey Matua, who plays the euphonium for the church in Kearny. “They know firsthand how much practice it takes to be great at music.” “Playing in Kearny has taught me unity, and how to play as part of a team,” says Casey. “When in a band, everyone has a role to play to create music.” Everyone also has a part to play in the growth of the program. The pastors keep the church advisory board updated on the progress made in the program. In turn, they inform the community and other service clubs about what The Salvation Army does. “It’s just better when you have music coming out of your corps,” says Hwang. “Kids like learning a new instrument, and their parents come to see their children play. When they see what we have here, both children and parents want to become part of the church.” Some community members are a bit surprised when they see that the pastors are immigrants from Korea. “We may not be completely fluent in English,” says Seoyoung, “but music is universal.”

TIPS ON HOW TO INTEREST A CHILD IN MUSIC Pick the right instrument. It’s the most important part of developing a love of music. Have your children try different instruments before making a decision. Look for an experienced instructor. Even if you can play an instrument, you might not be the right person to teach your child music. Choose a teacher who will encourage and inspire them. Explore online options. Parents who are concerned about COVID–19 can find many programs that offer virtual lessons for their children. Stay actively involved. Ask them what they’re working on, what they’re enjoying the most or if they’ve learned facts about their instrument. Make sure they stay committed to practicing and remind them that their hard work will pay off. Be open to the music that they like. Learning classics and spiritual songs is important, but children will also want to play the latest radio or pop hits. The more they relate to music they like, the more they will be driven to perfect their playing. Be their biggest fan! Set aside time for their performances, even if it’s for one song in the living room. Offer praise to help them continue to practice and reward them for it.

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WHO WE ARE PEOPLE

Closer to Normalcy Interview by HUGO BRAVO

Cassidy Bowers, formerly an event and volunteer program manager for The Salvation Army Massachusetts Divisional Headquarters, talks about learning new skills and ways to serve during COVID–19; what it’s like to put on the Salvation Army’s mascot costume; and what she looks forward to doing when the pandemic is over.

When COVID–19 hit around this time last year, I went from setting up events for the Army to helping to run food pantries. I had to quickly learn how to operate forklifts and move pallets of supplies. I was making pickups at food banks and preparing boxes to be distributed. We turned our children’s learning center that had been closed due to the pandemic into another food pantry. Our team gave out around 12 million meals to families who needed help during the pandemic. I learned how to organize a team and set a common goal. I had worked with Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) in the past, but that was for smaller, local emergencies rather than for a state recovery effort like this one. At The Salvation Army, a big part of our job is knowing when to drop everything and give our focus to a new, more important task at hand.

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When we did our yearly backpack give–away last September, we had to make a lot of changes to the process. We usually have a big event at TD Garden in Boston. Vendors and sponsors team up with The Salvation Army to play games and get to know the families we help. This time the event signups were all done online. Instead of distributing backpacks at a single location and in one day, we divided them between five different corps, and gave them away in three days. Distributing boxes of food and letting children pick out backpacks in their favorite color were different experiences, but the act of giving was still the same. We wondered if children would be excited to get a backpack full of school supplies and items such as masks and hand sanitizers. It turns out that they definitely were excited. For many families, going back to school was a return to normalcy.

Three out of four times a year, I become “Captain Redd Shield” the Salvation Army’s costumed mascot for events such as Donut Day and fundraising kettle drives in Boston. Wearing the costume gets really hot, I have no peripheral vision, and the giant shoes make it hard to walk. Sometimes, children will try to take a picture with me, but I can’t see them posing. I don’t know how professionals, such as the ones at Disney World, wear those costumes every day without holding someone’s hand, especially in the Florida heat!

My family lives in Rhode Island, only 45 minutes away, but if I were to visit them, I would have to quarantine myself for two weeks and I’d be unable to do my job. Some of my best experiences while working for the Army happened during the pandemic. But being able to see my family is what I miss the most about life before COVID–19. Hopefully, we’ll soon see our loved ones as often as we want.

“You’re a fool whether you dance or not, so you might as well dance,” is one of my favorite sayings and a twist on “Dance like nobody’s watching.” You need that joy and silliness to be part of you. Life is going to be full of all sorts of crazy, unexpected experiences, so find a way to enjoy every bit of your time here on earth.

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WHO WE ARE FAITH IN ACTION

What More Can We Do? by HUGO BRAVO

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ieutenants Guilbaldo De La Cruz and Yesenia Hernandez, pastors at the Salvation Army’s church in Passaic, N.J., have let the community know that, no matter when they are needed, they are on call to serve. Their untiring efforts are inspired by their commitment to God and the many volunteers who give their precious time to support the ministry. “This is the example we try to set for our family and our volunteers,” says Lieutenant Hernandez. “Just because there are certain times we serve lunch, it does not mean that we tell a hungry person at our door, ‘It’s not time for you to eat.’ If we do not feed that person now, he or she may go days without any food.” “We cannot go to our homes at night, look at the roof over our heads, and not think about people in our community who do not have the same,” says Lieutenant De La Cruz. “As officers, we are driven by asking ourselves, ‘What more can we do for them?’”

Papers and Uniforms Originally from New Brunswick, N.J., Guilbaldo and Yesenia attended a church that was forced to close when its leaders could no longer afford the facility. Fortunately, the Salvation Army’s New Brunswick Corps officers had lent their church space to

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others in the past. Many members of Guilbaldo and Yesenia’s congregation also saw The Salvation Army as a church. They received a warm welcome when they started going to the New Brunswick Corps for the first time. “We were fascinated to learn the mission of the Army, their call to service, and the reason they wore those beautiful uniforms,” remembers Yesenia. Guilbaldo says, “I wanted to look and be like the officers at the corps. I thought to myself, What can I do to wear those elegant uniforms too?” The couple took soldier classes and became members of the New Brunswick Corps. But it would be a decade before they would get a chance to enroll as cadets in the Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training (CFOT). Guilbaldo was undocumented, and Yesenia, who had already

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“ Sometimes I ask myself, Who puts that deep love of helping others into our volunteers’ hearts? The answer is always, God Himself.” — Lieutenant Hernandez

received her residency, was working with Guibaldo to get his residency too. “I wanted the work that I do to reflect my need to serve God, and I knew that the way to do that was by becoming a legal resident,” says Guilbaldo. “It was frustrating; I prayed to God often. I said to Him, ‘I do not want to be here breaking a law.’” When Guilbaldo was finally able to get his residency papers, they both found employment with The Salvation Army. This income made it possible to pay the immigration lawyers who had helped Guilbaldo obtain his residency status. “We were able to pay off all the bills from Guilbaldo’s case within six months,” says Yesenia. “From there, we finally enrolled at the CFOT in 2017.” “We hadn’t been in a school environment like this for many years,” says Guibaldo. “Adhering to a schedule and studying books for hours was all very hard.” Yesenia said, “An officer said to us, ‘If you’re not going to give your 100 percent here, don’t even bother.’ The words seemed very aggressive and direct. I was shocked at her bluntness. But that was what I told my family when we went to the CFOT. ‘We are all going to give it 100 percent, even if it is difficult or if it cuts into our personal time.’ We learned so much by giving it our all.”

may immediately be in charge of a building in a community that looks to you for help right away,” says Hernandez. “New Brunswick had seven employees to help the officers. Here, there are no employees; it’s just us. But we are blessed to have so many devoted volunteers who put in their time every day to help the corps.” Many of the volunteers were surprised to learn that the building displaying the Salvation Army’s shield was actually a church. Initially, they only saw its workers as people who wanted to help by feeding the homeless community. “I’m inspired when someone asks, ‘What can I do to help you with your mission?’ That makes us want to work harder ourselves,” says Lieutenant De La Cruz.

Cautious, but not afraid Hernandez knew that the COVID–19 pandemic would have an effect on the couple’s first assignment. She remembers driving down to a Walmart in New Brunswick after their CFOT graduation because she heard that masks and disinfectants were still in stock. “In dealing with the pandemic, we are cautious, but not afraid. We have faith in God to keep us safe and keep the building open,” says Hernandez. “Fortunately, we have received help from city hall and the Army. They provided supplies to serve others who are trying to stay healthy.” “Some people say that telling someone ‘No’ is easy. For me, it would be the hardest thing in the world to say that to someone who comes looking for food or a place to stay warm,” says De La Cruz. “We follow the recommendations of the city and health officials because, above everything, we must be able to keep the corps open and running.”

God’s hand The first assignment As a full–time volunteer in the New Brunswick Corps, Lieutenant Hernandez saw many officers come and go to new appointments and learned from all of them. But in their first assignment, the couple saw that running the Passaic Corps would be different than what had been expected of them in New Brunswick or even at the CFOT. “New Brunswick taught me how to organize my day according to the corps’ needs. It was crucial for being able to get anything done. The CFOT prepares you for what might happen as an officer, but when you start your appointment, you

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The officers have more than earned the privilege to wear those uniforms they admired from afar in New Brunswick. Today, they say that there is more for them to do for the Army. Their next goal is to establish a new way to feed the community. “We are talking to the city and drafting a proposal to have a day–long food program for Passaic,” says De La Cruz. “We’re going to see what we would need to serve at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “Everything that has happened to us only becomes fruitful when we let God do His work,” says De La Cruz. “I see His hand in the funds and food donations that come, but the most valuable of all is seeing His presence through the time that volunteers give to the Passaic Corps.” “Sometimes I look at our volunteers and ask myself, Who puts that deep love of helping others into their hearts? The answer is always, God Himself,” says Lieutenant Hernandez.

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unparalleled

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by WARREN L. MAYE

Unsplash/Randy Jacob

The U.S. is facing a national homelessness crisis and COVID–19 has delivered its devastating blow. Undaunted, The Salvation Army continues to help people in need, without discrimination.


When homelessness looms, hope is sometimes all that remains. Even before COVID–19 hit, the United States faced a massive homeless and housing crisis. Due to lapses in rent and mortgage payments caused by

40 million more families are at risk of losing their most precious possession. A nationwide moratorium, imposed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), was extended to March 31. A $1.9 trillion stimulus package now in process by Congress and the House of Representatives is, among other pressing needs, designed to prevent these families from being forced into substandard dwellings or even the streets. “Congress has been working on a bill since last summer,” says Linda Wright, divisional social services director for the Empire State Division. “This is such a big issue and involves so much more than just the lowest income people.” Wright and others say that the urban, suburban, rural, and even affluent communities across the USA Eastern Territory and the nation are all at risk. Brenda Downing, director of social services at the Army’s office in Middletown, Conn., in the Southern New England Division, agrees. “Disasters do not discriminate,” she says. “They affect all races, nationalities, and lifestyles and by no fault of their own.”

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Unsplash/Ev

the pandemic, nearly

The consequences of COVID–19 have been devastating. People have lost jobs, homes, and loved ones. Many have also lost the ability to pay their rent, mortgage, and utility bills and are desperate for help. Although the moratorium has been helpful in postponing the inevitable, the bills will eventually come due—retroactively. Karen Cotugno, social services director in the Greater New York Division, says everyone is asking important questions that must be resolved. “In January, will people be able to pay all of that rent that goes back to March? And then, what about the landlords? I don’t know if anyone has figured those pieces out yet,” she says. Wright says those pieces need to come together before the bottom falls away. “The moratorium did not prevent evictions, it just delayed them. The delay was helpful, but it does set up a looming cliff in our work of supporting the lowest income people to keep them housed.” Even in the midst of the moratorium, judges and court officers are still processing and serving papers on families. They’re using large convention centers and sports facilities as courtrooms in order to expedite this process en masse. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, CNN reported that some tenants who failed to complete the forms accurately are in danger of being eliminated from even consideration in the moratorium.

AN INVISABLE ENEMY Downing, who has worked for The Salvation Army 25 years, and who started disaster recovery work in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy, says this disaster is different from any she’s seen. “It’s different because it impacts other social services. Other disasters did not impede our ability to run other programs. Because the pandemic is an unknown and we cannot see it and we have to proceed so cautiously, it has impacted every facet of our social services ministry and how we deliver services. While we’re trying to deal with recovery, we’re also trying to continue our day–to–day social service ministries. “Everyone is affected, regardless of their

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station in life,” says Downing, who points out that middle class and affluent communities are also suffering great financial loss. “We’ve got some neighborhoods, such as in Greenwich and Fairfield, that make far more than the median income. But they don’t have the income they used to have to maintain the lifestyle they’ve been living, so they need help too.” The situation reminds her of shoreline residents whose homes were washed away during Hurricane Sandy. “We’re seeing some very great need in areas where we

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‘ There is a larger percentage of homeless people in rural areas than in urban areas.’ — Linda Wright

wouldn’t normally see it.” Another twist has to do with big city vs. small town resources. In urban areas, many participating agencies are able to weave a tighter collaborative network of services than can be typically sewn in suburban and rural towns. “There is a larger percentage of homeless people in rural areas than in urban areas,” says Wright. “This is because resources are fewer. Strong emergency housing networks are needed to provide an effective safety net for people who fall into poverty and homelessness. “Rural communities have no such network of providers. For example, hundreds of shelter beds are available in urban environments, but perhaps fewer than 100 are available in the rural

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People among the homeless population are Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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2–3

times more likely

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to die during the COVID–19 pandemic.

communities. Sometimes, people are actually bussed from rural to urban communities to get help,” Wright says. Downing adds that, since the pandemic, the CDC’s social distancing requirements in Connecticut have further reduced the number of beds allowed in shelters. “This is why our Salvation Army in our smaller communities is so important, Especially during COVID–19,” says Wright. “We may be the only food pantry or emergency soup kitchen left standing for ‘take– and–go’ meals.”

MANY POINTS OF VIEW Erin Sparks, social services project manager in the Greater New York Division, says such a wide range of perspectives make collaboration a formidable challenge. “This pandemic has opened the curtain on the disjointedness regarding city, government, and non–profit priorities. We all know that we are living in a very interesting political climate. We’ve now seen how that can impact all of us; our health, wellness, and the families we serve. “City, country, and town officials are beginning to recognize the need for understanding each other’s points of view. So, I’m hopeful that in the coming days more people will come up with innovative ideas. Creating resources that connect landlords, tenants, and non–profits that serve these tenants are key,” Sparks says. Wright concurs. “Our goal is figuring out how we connect all the dots—all the partners who are at this table.”

iStock

THE PEOPLE AT GREATEST RISK

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Despite what appears to be an overwhelming situation, Salvation Army social services personnel are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work like never before. The goal is to keep families housed, fed, and comforted during these unparalleled times and return them to their pre–COVID status.

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by COVID–19,” warns Downing. “If their income has remained the same, but they chose not to pay during the moratorium, their request for assistance from The Salvation Army may be in jeopardy.” In every situation, how the Army can assist best will include a comprehensive understanding of how the individual or family was impacted by COVID–19.

PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS Downing warns that the gap between what

“All we can do is continue to look for more funding opportunities and to set up an infrastructure. We need to encourage counties and towns to look for ‘out–of–the–box’ solutions. The counties are talking to each other now and watching how each other are doing things. That has been helpful.” Cotugno says, “We’ve also been fortunate to have received a lot of funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and philanthropists, but there are still a lot of unknowns.”

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division/Stephen M. Ditmer

“People want to know what the need is, but they won’t understand that until they start doing the work,” says Downing. “We are trying to educate people to ‘pay what you can’— show that you’ve made an effort to comply.” Doing so allows The Salvation Army to serve needy families. “The Army has a reputation among utility companies and landlords as being a credible advocate in negotiations,” says Downing. “We’ll support rather than duplicate the work that

has already been done by local, state, and federal agencies. “We align our assistance to meet the needs of everybody. We help folks when they don’t qualify for programs that are set up for the median group. Those folks can be poor or affluent or undocumented. We want to maximize existing resources and help make people whole; to get them back to their pre–disaster status,” says Downing. “The people at greatest risk are those who today believe they are safe under the moratorium and choose not to pay, even though they are not adversely affected

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people owe and what they can actually pay remains bigger than the Grand Canyon. Sparks says that to help fill the gap, The Salvation Army needs to make use of every available funding option. “At this point, we need to get these programs up and running and doing all we can to be entirely prepared to hit the ground running whenever those eviction moratoria are over. “If we can get the tenants to pay what they need to pay as soon as possible, that sets the landlords in the right direction. So, it’s just about working through these blockades that are preventing that from happening.

Through the month of February, Rescue Alliance and partner organizations such as the Bowery Mission, New York City Relief, The Salvation Army, and Hope for New York participated in the annual “Don’t Walk By” winter outreach event. Volunteers engaged 650 New Yorkers experiencing homelessness.

A MATTER OF FAITH Nonetheless, Salvation Army frontline workers remain optimistic about the future. “I’m hopeful because I am a person of faith,” says Wright. “I believe people can be called and committed to doing what is right. The social worker in me says, ‘We must understand the struggle of generational poverty and the people whom we serve.’” Downing offers a similar response. “I am hopeful about the future. God has been good; we have a great team. We often say we are an agency built on faith, but sometimes we have to take that leap of faith.”

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RECOVERY

TESTIMONY REDEMPTION HISTORY

IN THE POTTER’S HAND by ROBERT MITCHELL

“ Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (ISAIAH 64:8)

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hat makes the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation (ARC) program so successful? If you ask Don Coombs, director of program development for the Salvation Army’s ARC Command that question, he says the answer is rooted in Scripture. “The way the potter makes clay into a beautiful vase is constant pressure in the right direction,” he says. “It’s not too much that it breaks anything and not too little that it flies everywhere. It’s constant pressure—just the right amount—in the right direction. That’s how God makes us and molds us and that’s how people change their lives in the ARC. “What’s great about the ARC ministry is it’s really six months to a year of redirecting a person in a healthy direction.” Coombs said that redirection begins on Day 2 of a person’s entrance into the ARC. They begin to “live normally” by getting up on time. They also are introduced to devotions, namely Bible reading, prayer, and quiet time.

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“Some people haven’t done that in a long time,” he says. “Other people have never done that. “Living normally is also taking care of your hygiene items. That’s going to work as therapy. That’s learning some new coping skills and new ways of thinking. That’s learning how to live with a biblical worldview. That’s having healthy relationships.”

Learning how to do life ARC beneficiaries complete their “work therapy” in the family stores, which fund the entire ARC program. They learn to concentrate, follow directions, complete a task from start to finish, and work together—all constant pressure in a positive direction. The work as therapy helps prepare them for life and employment once they graduate the program. “They’ve actually had to sustain

attention and keep to a task,” Coombs explains. “They get to see they can make a positive difference in their life and the lives of people in close proximity to them.” Beneficiaries also meet with their counselors. They also can attend education programs; self–help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Celebrate Recovery; and bible studies and chapel services. “There are all these groups we get people involved with so that they truly know and experience that they’re not alone, and where we have unity, we have tremendous strength,” he said. Coombs said 20 percent of people who enter the ARC stay and complete the program, graduating from “chaos to really living in the community.” “What it takes to graduate is really quite intensive,” he said. “That 20 percent is a

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Most overdose deaths involve illicitly manufactured fentanyls

CAUSES OF OVERDOSE DEATHS

Heroin

Cocaine

3.2%

Methamphetamine

5.5% 6.3% Prescription opioids

Fentanyl

19.8%

9.2%

Most overdose deaths involve one or more illicit drugs. The 10 most frequently occurring opioid and stimulant combinations accounted for 76.9 percent of overdose deaths.

23.1%

32.9%

Overdose deaths from other causes

Fentanyl combined with one or more of the following: methamphetamine, prescription opioids, heroin or cocaine

source: www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pubs/ featured–topics/overdose–deaths–data.html

good number because it’s residential and there’s a lot involved to get to that number. That 20 percent is actually pretty good.”

been mixing drugs with fentanyl for years, a more powerful drug called carfentanyl has surfaced. “It’s killing the younger guys,” Iorio said. “They think they’re buying heroin and there’s fentanyl and carfentanyl mixed in it. We’ve seen a lot of overdoses. “Sadly, from my perspective, I see poly or multiple substance users,” Iorio said. “There is no main drug anymore. It’s multiple drugs. They’re used simultaneously and they’re also used in place of one another. If

America today. “We can talk about opioids, which quickly kill somebody, but alcohol kills people just as well,” he said. “When someMental health complications one drinks alcohol, they’re drinking the While some short–term rehabs allow “slips” highest level of a carcinogen. or relapses, the ARC program does not. If a “We really need to look at all mood– person relapses, they are referred to a detox altering, non–prescribed drugs, includand may return later. ing alcohol. I think that’s really where the “When it comes to the ARC, you need concern needs to be, not just on one drug.” to think of it as a residential church where Iorio said that’s why the long–term people do worship, teaching, fellowship, nature of the ARC program is the key to dealservice, and prayer,” he said. “Then ing with the myriad of issues. think of an atmosphere where “One of the reasons I chose some of those things that would to stay employed here is because hinder relationships, such as drugs we have a resident long–term, and alcohol, are not allowed.” whereas a regular treatment Coombs said t hat many center that is billed by state persons who have a substance insurance or regular insurance, abuse problem also have a is 28 days,” he said. co–occurring mental health “The key words are ‘relational — Andy Iorio, counselor at the ARC in Wilkes–Barre, Pa. disorder. That would include ministry.’ I think the reason depression, anxiety, obsessive The Salvation Army is successcompulsive disorder, and bipo­lar disorder. a person can’t afford cocaine, they’ll go for ful is because we have time to build rela“It’s not just one issue or one substance,” something cheaper and if they can’t afford tionships and get to see what’s under the Coombs said. “As a residential church, our that, they’ll go for alcohol. It’s rare that I surface. When a resident is with us six goal is to connect people with the level ever see a person with only one substance months to a year, with a little time and of service and care that they’re willing to use or a dominant substance use.” pressure, we really get to see what’s underparticipate in and that they actually need.” neath there.” Andy Iorio, a counselor at the Wilkes– Putting in the time Iorio said the long–term nature helps Barre, Pa., ARC, said the drug landscape Coombs said while new drugs are surfacthe ARC make referrals for mental health is also getting tougher. While people have ing, an old one is still a major problem in and spiritual needs.

“ Carfentanyl is killing the younger guys, they think they’re buying heroin and there’s fentanyl and carfentanyl mixed in. We’ve seen a lot of overdoses.”

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Volume 7 Number 1, 2021


RECOVERY TESTIMONY

SAVED TO SERVE OTHERS Christ at the center “Being a long–term facility with work therapy gives us an advantage because our guys leave here employable when most of them were not when they first arrived. I think that all ties in—mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. “You can’t develop a successful long– term program without some time. That’s one of the advantages that keeps me excited about working here.” Iorio said another key to the ARC’s success is that whether it’s groups, counseling or chapel, the Bible is the ultimate authority and not the “shallow” principles of humanism. “We’re not giving any opinions or anything unless it lines up with that biblical authority,” he said. “We get to be Christ– centered here, which seems to be rare these days. I appreciate being able to say, ‘This is what the Bible says.’” Coombs, a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor and an ordained minister and evangelist with the Church of the

More than 3 in 5 people who died from drug overdose had an identified opportunity for linkage to care or life–saving actions (such as the ARC). source: www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pubs/featured–topics/VS– overdose–deaths–illicit–drugs.html

Nazarene, said his motivation is also biblical. He cites John 13:34 as a life verse: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” “Because I really truly believe the Bible is God’s revelation, it has helped me in my personal relationships,” he said. “I want to emulate that and love other people the way Christ loves. Who better to learn from about having healthy relationships and loving other people than Christ? That’s my message.”

Thurston Johnson’s journey from drug dealer and homeless heroin addict to happily married homeowner isn’t necessarily unique—and that’s the whole point, he says. “My mission is to help people turn their lives around,” says Thurston, who is the intake coordinator for the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Rochester, N.Y. “The Salvation Army did that for me and I’m here to do the same for others.” Thurston, 55, grew up in a housing project in Newark, N.J., and enjoyed playing basketball, baseball, and football. But street life—drugs and crime—became a normal way of life for him at an early age. “I came from a great home with a great mother, but in high school, I gravitated towards a certain crowd and a certain way of life,” he said. “I always had a strong work ethic and turned that work ethic into becoming a big–time drug dealer with an even bigger reputation.” That reputation came at a high price though. Thurston found himself in prison after being stabbed, shot five times, and becoming addicted to both alcohol and heroin. “I watched my family and friends suffer because of the life I chose,” he said. “My attitude and actions became reckless and my life went downhill very quickly.” At this point, both his mother and brother were doing everything they could to try and help him. After Thurston spent three years in prison, his brother picked him up and drove him from New Jersey to Rochester—far away from the life that was destroying him. “I didn’t know a way out of that life and I give credit to my mother and brother for helping to change my life,” Thurston said. “That trip saved my life and I’ve never looked back.” Thurston’s brother dropped him off at The Salvation Army’s ARC in Rochester. The ARC program provides spiritual, social, and emotional assistance for men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Centers offer residential housing, work, and group and individual therapy, all in a clean, wholesome environment. “I came here sick and crawling from the pain of addiction, but I was desperate to get my life back,” Thurston said. “After some resistance, I accepted help and I accepted Christ into my life because of The Salvation Army—and my life began to change. I had left God for a while, but God did not leave me.” That change was evident, according to ARC Warehouse Operations Manager Douglas Dillon, who saw Thurston’s attitude turn into gratitude as he worked his way up from the warehouse sorting room to intake coordinator. “I saw leadership in Thurston before he saw it in himself,” Douglas said. “He soon realized that his life had meaning and that others cared about him—and when I think about when he first came here, I am so happy to see how far he has come.” Thurston will soon celebrate eight years of sobriety and, in his new role as intake coordinator, he is the first point of contact for others seeking help. “The people in this building saved my life,” Thurston said. “I am humbled that I now get the chance to do the same for someone in pain who may not see that there are second, third, and even fourth chances at life.” —by Salvation Army Rochester Frontline

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RECOV ERY

by ROBERT MITCHELL

As a young altar boy growing up in Camden, N.J., Brian Shields was introduced to alcohol by a Catholic priest. “We would drink the altar wine,” Brian recalls. “That’s what he would do; ply me with alcohol. I remember being drunk and the room spinning. That was my first taste of alcohol. I was also sexually abused for years. “I grew up in an alcoholic family and it wasn’t frowned upon, so by the time I was in the 7th grade, I was drinking and smoking pot. One thing led to another and I ended up doing all the drugs.” Brian grew up in the same neighborhood where the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center now stands in Camden. Today, Brian commonly uses the word grace as he retells his journey from addiction to incarceration to recovery to being named the corps sergeant major (local leader or deacon) at the Kroc Center. “It’s just an awesome life God has provided me through His grace and His mercy,” Brian says. “He has forgiven me for all those things I did.”

TIME BEHIND BARS Brian was in and out of rehabs from the time he was 21. In 2007, he relocated to Florida to get clean from a heroin addiction but ended up getting charged with attempted murder for an incident during a drunken blackout. “I don’t remember exactly what I did,” he said. “I

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beat somebody almost to death. I wound up in serious trouble down there. “I did something horrible. Through the grace of God, He was faithful, and He got me out of it. I did a lot of praying. I said, ‘God if you could just get me out of it, I’ll never touch alcohol again.’” Brian served three years and nine months in prison and 10 years of supervised release. But the first place he went when he got released was to a liquor store. “I went back to drinking right after coming out of prison,” he says. “I swore I would never drink again, but as soon as I got out, I went right back to the bottle. It was a vicious cycle of alcoholism my entire life.” Brian had nowhere else to turn and moved back to Camden to live with his father, who he described as a violent alcoholic. Brian’s grandfather and great–grandfather also struggled with alcohol. “He took me in or I would have been homeless,” Brian says of his father. The reunion didn’t last long and ended on Brian’s 50th birthday when he came home to find his father dead. “He collapsed on the floor and he had an open beer next to him,” Brian says. “I came home from work and that’s the way I found him. I said, ‘I’m not going to die like this.’ The next thing I know, I’m drinking hard liquor, not beer anymore, but hard liquor.

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“When my father passed away, I went into a pretty bad state of depression and I almost drank myself to death.” Brian, while in a drunken stupor, wandered out of his house one day in the winter before passing out. “They found me wearing just a T–shirt and a pair of shorts on a pile of snow,” Brian says. “I was having a nervous breakdown.” Brian, suffering from alcohol withdrawal, spent 31 days on suicide watch in a psych ward before the staff told him about The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) program. “I told them I had faith in God, I just didn’t know anything really about it,” Brian says.

CHRIST BECOMES REAL Brian got a bus ticket to the Trenton, N.J., ARC, where he showed up in February 2014. “I had about 11 cents to my name,” he says. “When I checked in, my possession sheet listed nothing. All I had was the pair of shorts and T–shirt they found me in. They clothed me because I had no clothes. I basically had nothing, but it was at that point that I found I had a relationship with God. “I got saved there. I found God there and got introduced to the Bible and bible studies. They put

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me to work. They gave me my identity back. They have classes and programs. I got an AA sponsor for the first time in my life. I did everything and I made a promise to God I would do everything I could to stay sober this time. I had enough after 50 years like that.” Brian graduated in October and was proud he had finally accomplished something. “When I graduated from the ARC, I held up my graduation certificate,” he said. “I didn’t even graduate high school. I got a GED. I’ve completed nothing in my life, but through the strength of God, He got me through, and I completed it. “There were times I wanted to leave, but I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and I stuck it out. It was a great, great feeling.”

FINDING A NEW FAMILY Upon graduation, Brian was hired as the residential supervisor. However, after hurting his back, the ARC had to let him go and he was on his way back to Camden. “I was struggling with what I was going to do,” Brian recalls. “God had this plan to get me back to Camden. I didn’t know the Trenton area. I was afraid to hang around up there. I got on a bus and headed to Camden and I was planning on being homeless.” However, Major Brian Peabody of the Trenton Corps, where Brian sometimes attended, called Majors Bill and Sue Dunigan and told them about Brian’s situation. The Dunigans, who were doing urban outreach work in Camden at the time, took Brian into their home from March 2015 until June 2016. “I got off the bus and the next thing I knew the Dunigans pulled up and I’m standing there with my three bags,” Brian says. “They took me in, sight unseen. I could hardly walk.” The first time he met Major Sue, she told him, “God has a plan for you. You don’t just end up back in Camden for no reason.”

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FINDING HIS NICHE

A NEW CREATION

Brian says he would see Major Sue sit in a chair each morning and read her Bible and journal. Her devotion had a profound impact on Brian, who started doing the same. “That’s what I do. I devote my day to God,” Brian says. “If I try to start my day without it, sometime during the day it starts to go haywire.” Brian said he drops to his knees in prayer at the beginning and end of each day. “I thank God for today because it’s not very hard for me to remember where my life was,” he said. “It’s not very hard for me to be grateful on any given day.” While living with the Dunigans, Brian also started working and volunteering at the Kroc Center after his back surgery in October 2015. “The Dunigans nursed me through my surgery and I got back on my feet,” Brian said. “I continued on the road and stayed involved in The Salvation Army. I felt like God had used The Salvation Army to save my life and I wanted to give back to them.” Brian also began working with the Dunigans in urban ministry and found he had a kinship with people on the street. “He would pray with these guys and he knew the lingo and related to them,” Major Sue said. “He had been in their shoes and could speak to their needs. He was out there every week showing compassion and having integral conversations with people.”

Meanwhile, Major Bill discipled Brian and the Dunigans watched him grow in his Christian faith. “I have seen miraculous transformation in Brian’s life,” Major Sue said. “I saw him come to us as a hurt, broken, physically and emotionally damaged man. “Brian has a big heart. Now that heart was hurt and angry and broken through years of abuse. He still had a lot of anger inside about his past that he had to deal with. He was on his knees every morning doing his devotions. Now he’s on his knees praying for the people in his corps.” Major Bill said Brian had an immature relationship with God when he first arrived, but he is now a “great man of God” and a trophy of grace. “Brian’s story is one of the power of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit,” Major Bill said. “He just grew leaps and bounds and he continues to grow. Then God started putting his life back together. Anyone who doesn’t believe that God can transform a life should meet Brian Shields.” Brian said the Dunigans remain his “best friends” all these years later. “They showed me what a Christ–like person does and how they live,” Brian said. “It almost brings tears to my eyes what those people did for me. “I didn’t have my own mother and Major Sue became like my mother. They got me through a lot of tough things. God used them in a big, big way. They didn’t

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know me from anything. I don’t know where I’d be today without them picking me up at that train station.”

THE ABUNDANT LIFE Now 57, Brian is married and has improved his relationships with siblings, his son, and grandson. He and his wife, Denise Shields, were even married in the Kroc Center by Major Bill. “I didn’t think anyone would want anything to do with me six years ago,” Brian said of his marriage. Brian also has reconciled with his mother, with whom he previously had no relationship. She donated to The Salvation Army and prayed for him long before her son ended up there. “She said God answered her prayers when she found out I was in the ARC program,” he said. “I now have a wonderful relationship with her. “There are so many things God has restored. He rescued me, He restored me, and provided and sustained me. I have a relationship with all my family. I had no one six years ago. I had no one to call and

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nowhere to go. Here I am in Camden after all these years and my life couldn’t be better through the grace of God. We’re one big happy family today.” Brian, who now teaches Bible studies and is involved in men’s ministries, was asked to be the CSM and the role gives him the ministry outlet he always wanted. “If I were to sit down and write what I would dream of or what I would want my life to be at 57 years old, I wouldn’t have written it with this ending,” Brian says. “It is life beyond anything I could have ever imagined with Christ. The joy and peace that I have in my life is beyond belief. It’s love I never knew. I never knew how to love anyone. God put all those things into my life. “I didn’t know it could be this good. I would have had me having mansions and cars and beachfront homes. I never would have thought I would have a relationship with God and be a corps sergeant major, which just means the world to me. I love my church family. God knew what I needed in my life. He knew I needed The Salvation Army.”

Volume 7 Number 1, 2021


RECOVERY THRIFT STORE FINDS

Freshen up your table for spring

ON A BUDGET Why pay more than you need to? Let your local thrift store offer you a more economical way to show friends and family you care.

CRYSTAL VASE Flowers make the perfect centerpiece and can display your blooms in style with this elegant vase. On the table or somewhere else, there’s no better way to bring natural color and beauty to your setting or room. At 50 cents, this vase was a steal.

BLUE GOBLET You’re likely to find unique glasses at any Salvation Army thrift store. This one will make a great addition to a festive holiday table. Looks great with a serving of milk, and for just 99 cents, your guests will feel like royalty!

PASTEL STONEWARE These durable pieces are great for everyday use and at relaxed gatherings. They’re an excellent value at just $1.99 each. You can find colors to mix, match, and layer to create a fun settings.

FACETED CRYSTAL TUMBLER This light–catching tumbler for just 99 cents adds sparkle to everyday and special occasion settings. The generous size is ideal for serving everything from juice and iced tea to seltzer or just water. The delicate look complements any dinnerware.

SAVINGS THAT SAVES LIVES You’re always guaranteed to save money when shopping in a Salvation Army thrift store, but did you know your purchases help save and change lives? Proceeds fund local Adult Rehabilitation Centers where people who struggle with drugs and alcohol find help and hope. Visit SARehab.org to learn more about the impact of your purchases.

You can find great bargains like these too! Go to ARCstores.org to locate a Salvation Army Family thrift store near you. 27


ALCOHOL IS A GREAT SOLVENT. Effectively dissolves careers, marriages, and families. May be harmful to any relationship.

STOP DISSOLVING. START RESOLVING. WE’RE HERE TO HELP. Call 800-728-7825 or visit SAREHAB.ORG

For adults suffering from alcohol or drug misuse, The Salvation Army provides help and hope through faith–based residential programs to those seeking purpose, meaning, and solutions.


RECOV ERY HIS T ORY

photo courtesy of The Salvation Army Heritage Museum — USA East

Adapting to changing times Rehabilitation has always been the goal of the Salvation Army’s ministry to people who are tempted to misuse substances. From its inception in 1881 when William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, opened shelters in England for the homeless and alcohol abusers, to the 1900s in the United States where men who suffered from similar social and spiritual handicaps collected discarded cardboard and metal scraps to make ends meet, The Army sought ways to help them stabilize their lives, regain their confidence, and grow spiritually. During the great financial depression of the 1930s, the Army’s work continued in the midst of pervasive hopelessness and despair. During the struggle for alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and the violent heroin wars of the 1960s, as well as the scourge of crack cocaine in the 1990s, Salvation Army officers and employees helped beneficiaries continue the fight for personal regeneration, spiritual salvation, and responsible behavior. Down through those tumultuous years, The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) have been there to help navigate the labyrinth of an ever–evolving societal landscape. They have further

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1880s by WARREN L. MAYE

developed the program by providing a staff with more advanced education, additional support group options, and increasing the number and type of educational classes. Work therapy assignments for beneficiaries have also helped men and women find purpose and ultimately transition out of the ARC program into employment in meaningful endeavors. The ARCs have also worked with other organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to provide 12 step programs and self–help support meetings. These activities address the underlying dilemma—coping with the problems of life. The opioid epidemic of the 21th century is the latest substance misuse problem that has wreaked havoc in the United States. As the ARCs again adapt to what is needed to respond to this crisis, men and women in great need of assistance are instead changed and regenerated through a process that includes meaningful productive engagement, food, clothing, shelter, recreation, counseling, and spiritual guidance. As a result, many ARC beneficiaries emerge with a new sense of purpose and are trained to take care of themselves and be successful contributors in the world.

Salvation Army Founder William Booth opens shelters for homeless people who live in the streets of England. Rehabilitation begins for sufferers of alcohol misuse.

1890s The first Thrift Store “Junk Shops” open to support the shelters and industrial homes where salvage operations and warehousing is managed.

1940s Adult Rehabilitation Centers in the United States develop a professional counseling program. A radical initiative called “Service to Man” begins.

1950s The Salvation Army hires professional social workers and psychologists as permanent staffers. Racial desegregation and focused, organized programs help all people rebuild their lives.

1970s Women’s programs open and the first woman administrator is appointed.

1980s The Salvation Army publishes a guide to Thrift Store operations. It describes the stores as a place where “Neighbors may shop with dignity.” 29


LIVING

SPIRITUAL LIFE DEVELOPEMENT

Spiritual Direction 101

by JOANNA POLAREK

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” —JOHN 4:10

In John chapter 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well and engages her in a conversation. His questions prompt her desire to be replenished with a relationship with God, the Living Water. As she contemplates what is “truly good,” she realizes that this connection is the start to knowing Christ. This story is one example in the Bible where a spiritual relationship guides someone to explore, engage, and rest in the presence of God. Perhaps you are familiar with intentional partner relationships such as pastoral care, counseling or accountability. But, are you familiar with spiritual direction? Author Richard Foster says, “Spiritual direction involves a process through which one person helps another person understand what God is doing and saying.” This is much like Jesus and the Samaritan woman as He helped her process what God was doing in her life. At this point you may be asking, “what is spiritual direction?” Spiritual direction is a sacred relationship with a trained spiritual director. Through training and discernment to listen to God, the director accompanies the individual, known as the directee, as he or she navigates their experience and relationship with God. The purpose is to guide a

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person as they listen and connect their true self with what God is stirring from within them. When Jesus asked the Samaritan woman a direct question, she responded with more questions to seek clarity. Jesus guided her thinking about the answer. As she reflected, she discovered that she knew the answers all along. How a spiritual direction session works A spiritual direction session is an intentional and sacred time of meeting in the presence of God in a quiet space, typically for an hour, once a month. Jesus’ meeting with the woman at the well also created a sacred space. The relationship is fostered by noticing, attending, recognizing, growing, and learning how to receive God’s voice, union, and experience in the life of the directee. Spiritual direction is not counseling. It is an experience of being present, listening, praying, and being guided by God. Like counseling, the relationship is confidential, attentive, and helps to explore emotions and responses. In direction, it is with God working in the life of the directee. Spiritual direction is for already mature

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Strengthen your faith through the ABC's of Salvation If you've decided you want more out of life and more of Christ in you, read on.

A

ADMIT YOUR NEED

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." —ROMANS 3:23

B

BELIEVE IN CHRIST

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." — ACTS 16:31

C

COMMIT YOURSELF TO CHRIST

"But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God."

What's next? Being truly sorry for your sins, and through the power of Christ forsaking them, go forward to live for Christ. He will give forgiveness, power, victory, purpose, the Holy Spirit, and life eternal.

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—JOHN 1:12

Christians as well as those who seek deeper, more intimate relationships with God. It is not only for the “happy Christian.” We search for answers to the situations in our lives, our heart’s desires, and the need to hear from God when we cry out. Spiritual direction is a practice that can help find God in the joys of life and in the moments of despair. Consider these questions if you think spiritual direction may be of interest to you.  How would you describe your current walk with the Lord?  How do you feel about being attentive to the presence of the Lord in your life with a director?  A re you aware of God’s voice, stirring or movement in your life?  What do you sense about receiving or resisting what God is doing in your life? Spiritual direction can be a life–giving, fruitful, enriching experience. It is an opportunity to sit in the presence of the Lord with someone who is solely focused on you in prayer. Take time to pray and see if this type of spiritual formation is a practice you would like to take.

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Looking for a spiritual director? Below are a few reliable sites with spiritual directors who have earned their certificate in spiritual direction and can connect you with a director, depending on your preferences. Leadership Transformation Inc. LTI will help you listen, equip you to discern, invite you to act, encourage you to pursue God’s unique will for you, your team, and your ministry. leadershiptransformations.org/selah_find_spiritual_director.htm Grafted Life Ministries supports churches and individuals with resources that help people root their lives in Christ’s transforming love. graftedlife.org/spiritual-direction/find-a-spiritual-director To read about a personal experience with Spiritual Direction, check out the Spiriutal Life Development’s First Series: Spiritual Direction. saconnects.org/?s=spiritual+direction

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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT by HUGO BRAVO

I

Nicolau Sambo, an asylum seeker from Cabinda, volunteers by teaching English to other asylum seekers at the Salvation Army’s church in Portland, Maine.

For more information on the Tools for Life program, contact The Salvation Army Northern New England Divisional Headquarters at (207) 774-6304 or nne.salvationarmy.org/nne/news/tools-for-life.

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n 2019, Nicolau Sambo, his wife Gilvania, and their three children arrived in Washington D.C., as asylum seekers from Cabinda, an African territory governed by Angola. They had left all their friends and possessions behind, but there was something that Nicolau had brought that would serve him well in America: his fluency in five languages, including English. In Cabinda, he had worked in the oil industry and as an ESL teacher, even starting five schools to teach English to Africans that wanted to work in oil like him. From D.C., Nicolau and his family took a bus to a shelter in Portland, Maine, a city known as a destination for asylum seekers. It was there that he met Mary Irace, director of The Salvation Army Portland Corps Tools for Life program, an 11–week course that helps individuals progress towards goals such as independence and job placement. Irace was at the shelter to invite others to the Tools for Life’s English–language classes. Nicolau immediately said he would love to volunteer at the corps as a teacher himself. At the Portland Corps, Irace introduced Nicolau to Mardochee Mbongi, an asylum seeker and Tools for Life participant that had gone from volunteer teacher to corps employee. To Irace’s surprise, the two men shared a connection going back decades. Twenty–one years ago, Mardochee had been one of Nicolau’s English students in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they both attended school. They remembered each other well, and their surprise reunion after years of political turmoil in their home countries brought tears to their eyes. During the summer of 2019, Nicolau and Mardochee were part of the Tools for Life group that welcomed over 400 immigrants to Portland. The influx of people needing help resulted in Portland turning their Expo facility into a makeshift shelter, with food, sleeping cots, and supplies for immigrant families as well as the city’s homeless. Nicolau and his family assisted at the Expo center in between his responsibilities as a teacher and translator for the Portland Corps. Tools for Life also collaborates with the ILAP (Immigrant Legal Advice Program) to provide weekly workshops helping asylum seekers fill out their paperwork and better understand their status. From these classes, Nicolau was able to prepare for his hearing, where he was granted asylum. In August 2020, Nicolau was hired as an ESL teacher, working three days a week at The Salvation Army. “The Salvation Army is my second home; it is where I started my active life in America, and this is where I want to be as it responds to my career path needs,” says Nicolau. “I love what I do, and I want to stick to doing what I do best.”

Volume 7 Number 1, 2021


With so many evils to overcome,

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