You are in: SOUTHERN SPIRIT ARCHIVE » ARCHIVE 2008 » Volume 25, No.17

Volume 25, No.17

Send this page to a friend Email envolope
Southern Spirit Banner

The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

Download .pdf
Download .pdf

Nov. 6 ,2008

Back in Business
New Orleans ARC Rededication after post-Katrina closing

By Dan Childs
Southern Spirit staff

The Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation centers are all about second chances. The lives of the men who go there for help are rocked by cataclysm, but out of the barren destruction, miraculously, new life emerges. 

Like the men it serves, the New Orleans ARC itself received a second chance. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct.18-19, Commissioners Max and Lennie Feener, Southern territorial leaders, traveled to New Orleans to lead the rededication of the ARC. Accompanying them were Majors Larry and Shirley White, ARC commander and special services director. The center had opened its doors and resumed programs Oct. 4.

Getting Fit in

Q&A Jennifer

Texas Brass
visits Fiji

Strong sense
of community
drives soldiers
in Shawnee

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

A little over 100 years ago, Oklahoma was still a U.S. territory. Shawnee was an oil and railroad boom town, and Main Street was lined with saloons and brothels. The scene was reminiscent of typical towns of the Old West. Into this wild and woolly bastion of sin marched a group of Salvation Army soldiers intent on a campaign to close most if not all
of the immoral businesses. Open-air meetings were held in front of the casinos and bar rooms the Salvationists hoped to close. They were routinely met by jeers and rotten fruit.

Their persistence paid off. Tighter laws were eventually enacted and enforced. Main Street was swept clean of such establishments as the city went “dry.”

Other things have changed as well:

A soldier preparation class gets underway for a group of upcoming enrollees at the Shawnee, Okla., Corps.
Oklahoma became a state in 1907, and
OklahomaCityovertook Shawnee as the largest city a few years later.

The Salvation Army, however, remained.
So apparently did this generation of soldiers’
mission to combine worship with a true sense of community.

Diane Collins is the corps sergeant-major
and a soldier of 32 years. She also works at the corps as director of social services. She testifies

that it is awesome to think how God allows her to witness how he changes lives every day.

“Often when I interview someone who needs assistance, they cry as they tell me their story. I consider it an honor to listen and then to pray with them,” Collins said.

“We make sure they know they are also
welcome to worship with us on Sundays and





















New Orleans ARC faced uphill battle to resume ministry
following Katrina

continued from aboveimage

of God. The effort to re-establish the ARC has been a battle against the odds, he said, but through God’s grace paths were found through the obstacles and the center is back in the business of restoring hope to shattered lives.

“This is a place for grace,” Feener said. “It is a place for God’s name and for his work. But this is also a place for his glory. This is God’s place.”

Its rebuilding ministry sodden by the waters that covered 80% of the city after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the city’s ARC was forced to cease operations, along with The Salvation Army’s New Orleans Citadel Corps and other ministries. With the city’s infrastructure in a state of collapse, tens of thousands of the city’s residents dispersed to other cities and states and the ARC’s donor base vanished.

The Citadel Corps eventually reopened, resuming its work in October 2006.

In June 2007, Guy Nickum, formerly an administrator in the ARC Command, was asked to go to New Orleans to oversee the restoration of the ARC program and facility. The challenges he faced were many. The facility itself needed attention: There were nagging problems with mold on the dining room floor, the FamilyStore and part of the warehouse needed new roofing and new paint and furnishings were needed throughout.

“When I first got here, I didn’t have an office, a desk or a chair,” Nickum said. “About all I had was a cell phone.”

Nickum realized that getting the center re-established was going to be a long-term project in which gains would be made gradually and by degrees. But he and two employees of the center got right to work and began rebuilding from scratch. In addition to getting the building in shape, equipment and vehicles needed updating and replacement, and the ARC’s ties with the community had to be re-established.

“Really, we had to re-educate the community about ourselves,” Nickum said. “We made contacts with the folks in the community we associate with regularly, like the drug and alcohol rehab programs that refer people to us, and we had to do an ad campaign to get the word out that we were getting back in business.” When Katrina devastated New Orleans,117 men were in the program. When the center reopened in early October, 13 were in the program. There are fewer than 20 employees now, but Nickum, who has been named the ARC’s administrator, plans to add about 10 more over the coming months.

The Family Store operation is likewise scaled-down. What was once the flagship Family Store is now the sole Family Store operated by the ARC. The store held its grand reopening at 9 a.m. on a recent crisp Saturday morning. Shoppers, many of whom were pre-Katrina customers, lined the walk across the front of the store awaiting the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the opening of the front doors. Many of them greeted and embraced store employees whom they had not seen since before Katrina’s landfall. The center is operating as many as three collection trucks daily, and Nickum plans to increase the number to four in coming weeks. Dropoff donation sites are also being worked into the plan and used automobile sales are projected to resume early next year.
“Once we get a couple of months under our belt, we’ll have a better feel for things,” Nickum said. “Right now, we’re concentrating on filling the center with men. We’ve got our bed count up to 50 now, and we’ll expand

Back to top


Shawnee Corps at work in community
continued from above

throughout the week,” she said. “The corps folks are very open and wonderful to those who join us from our shelter. Look around in our chapel this morning and it may be difficult to tell who belongs to our corps family and who is visiting for the first time.”

Collins explained that a steady stream of visitors
has been coming to the Shawnee Corps through
the efforts of four brigades formed within the corps family. Longtime soldiers are grouped with newcomers and assigned to a brigade which is given regular tasks, such as outdoor evangelism, visitation, youth outings, meeting planning, shelter outreach and food distribution.

“This corps is a working corps,” Collins said. “People have a need to belong, and by putting them to work, we hope they feel they belong to us early on!”

“It’s that the people that serve the food do it through a window on the truck, and it’s more hands-on than some other efforts,” Frank said.
“This is a very direct way to reach the approximately 3,000 homeless people in our city.” They might serve hundreds of meals in an evening.

The four brigades report directly to the corps officers, usually over a Sunday lunch before each group departs to carry out one of their assignments.

The function of each brigade falls in line with the
Four Territorial Priorities (Effective Prayer, Quality
Worship, Sunday school/Discipleship, and Visitation/ Relationships). The reports are so encompassing, they are routinely passed on to Arkansas-Oklahoma DHQ. Ministry updates are also posted on the corps website, which has also served as an evangelistic tool for attracting new members.

“We are organized to the hilt,” said Tony Valentine, a uniformed soldier who serves as one of the brigade leaders. “Each brigade has its strength, be it prayer or visitation or whatever. This concept has proven to be very successful for the growth of our corps.”

The brigades interact with each other and share duties so that no group becomes stagnant, he said.

Most Sunday school classes are led by teams of two teachers, but not just to “fill in” if one is absent. Each “teacher team” works in tandem to present the best lesson possible.

“Mommies & Babies” is another innovative Sunday school class idea. This class has mom and child enjoying the class together until the toddlers are ready to “graduate” to a group on their own.

In addition to normal corps activities, some of the innovative ideas carried out by the soldiers include: a Friday night Christ-centered 12-step program for anyone battling a drug and/or alcohol addiction;
a Saturday evening teen center offering Christian fellowship, refreshments and games; “SAYGO” (Salvation Army Youth Going Out) outreach which includes the Boys & Girls Club members; and “GAP”
(God Answers Prayer), a system that updates praise reports and prayer requests throughout the corps family.

“This serves to exemplify quite clearly the corps at work as it should be,” said Major Kenneth Luyk, AOK divisional commander. “This corps is a worshipping community, loving, supporting and nurturing those in
need by welcoming them into the body of Christ.”

Major Michael Barnhouse, corps officer, added: “The Shawnee Corps soldiery is genuinely concerned with the condition of a person’s soul, and with that person’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“This is very evident in the times spent in prayer and in the amount of personal witness that is shared. Our times of worship, particularly during the holiness meeting, are uplifting and encouraging. The soldiery has taken ownership of the corps mission in every element of program and service,” he said.

Back to top


Fit for The Salvation Army


The Dallas Cowboys have teamed up with The Salvation Army in Arlington, Texas, to create a Fitness Zone for youth. (L-R) Cowboys Andre Gurode, Ken Hamlin, Bradie James, Roy Williams and DeMarcus Ware helped unveil the Fitness Zone. The fitness area, underwritten by Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities, includes Strive fitness equipment which is specifically made for adolescent users. Major Mark Brown (far right) thanked the Cowboys for their contribution and longstanding support.

Back to top

Breaking barriers of language while building
bridges of love

Salvationist Jennifer Hoosier just completed a fouryear stint as an English teacher for university students in Lanzhou, China. Her sojourn as an overseas worker was sponsored in part by her family and many friends within and outside of The Salvation Army. She is the daughter of Majors George and Sherry Hoosier and holds a bachelor of music education degree and a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif.

Major Frank Duracher of the Southern Spirit staff interviewed her recently regarding her experiences as a Christian worker serving so far away from home.

SS: What made you decide to teach in China? Was it something you wanted to do for a long time?

JH: It all came about very quickly, actually. I was the assistant divisional music director in Florida, and I told my parents that I was thinking of career options – among them seminary, youth work or going overseas. In February 2004 a friend gave me a brochure about teaching English in the Far East. I thought that this was something I’d like to do. I filled out an application and by August 2004 I was in China.

SS: Language, of course, is an obvious obstacle. What other challenges did you face in thatculture?

JH: Chinese culture is very different from any other culture I’ve encountered. I’ve been exposed to many Western cultures, but Chinese culture is very “collective.” Here in America we are accustomed to having our own space and privacy. People here understand if you decline an invitation because you are too tired, or there are other things you need to be doing. That’s not O.K. in China.

All teachers live on campus, so we are all available to the students when they need us. So if a student knocks on my door at 9 o’clock at night, that’s O.K. in Chinese culture.

There’s a big difference between “task” and “people” there – we have many tasks and responsibilities, but when someone comes to you for help the expectation is that you must
see them right away. In Chinese culture the person is always more important than the task. To refuse to see them because you are too busy is not well received – it is considered rude and even insulting. I learned to put my privacy aside in order to be culturally sensitive to their needs and expectations.

SS: How were you able or not able to share your witness as a Christian?

JH: It is a misconception to say that religion is illegal in China. It is legal as long as worship is done in a state-registered facility. However, “house churches” are not legal. Also, if you wish to be a member of the Communist Party you must sign a document that states that you have no religious belief. Many claim to be atheists, and there is persecution, but there is a lot of freedom to explore your faith. If a student comes to me and asks me about my
faith, I can share with him/her. It was no secret that I am a Christian.

SS: Do you recall any incidents that you will always cherish?

JH: I remember one day walking with a close friend, whose English name was Shelby. She called me Jie Jie, which means “older sister.” That is a term of affection, friendship and respect.

That assured me that I had made China my home in a certain way. She felt close enough to give me that name, and she called me Jie Jie from then on.

SS: How has your time among the people of China changed you?

JH: I’ve thought about this a lot in coming back to the States. I think the thing that impressed me most over the last four years is that God doesn’t just love
me or people like me. God loves everyone in the world – we are all his sons and daughters.
I got very close to several people, and I want to see them again. I want them to know that they are very special to God and that he loves them.

Texas Brass tunes up on Fiji trip

imageGreeted by the gentle strum of a ukulele, 38 members of Texas’ youth band, Texas Brass, stepped into what seemed like a completely different universe. A world where palm trees replace skyscrapers, where the water shines a brilliant hue of teal and affable natives wave at everyone they pass. On August 4-14, the band had the opportunity to serve the Lord on the beautiful
island of Fiji.

Led by Bandmaster Philip Burn and aided by Major Gordon Daily, the band traveled to many different corps for fellowship and musical ministry.

“My time in Fiji was an absolute blast,” band member Sarah Raymer said. “The Fijian people were so kind and wouldn’t hesitate to wave at us every time we passed.”

In the middle of the week, the band, despite illness, was split into groups and served in three different areas, including a girls home, family shelter and the Raiwai Corps. There the band taught kids music and drama.

“It was great to be at the girls home and see how they live on a daily level,” flugel player Katie Street said. “It’s was a blessing to all of us to see how we can be so different but still have the Lord in common.”

The band gave their musical testimony in many outdoor parks and schools throughout the trip and had the opportunity to talk oneon- one share their witness with the people.

While the band performed and worked most of the time, there was still time left for relaxation. Surrounded by the South Pacific, they relaxed on the bright white sand of an island, snorkeling with colorful fish and kayaking.

“The thing I took away from Fiji was how amazing it is that The Salvation Army is the same,
regardless of the location,” ADMD Jeff Marquis said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m at home in my corps
or if I’m on a tiny island in Fiji, the love of the Lord still shines through the soldiers and the army continues marching on.”





Print version


Enter your search terms below and hit the 'go' button

Site Map Site Map

Find a Center

Enter your zip code to find your nearest Salvation Army



Email Newsletters

Subscribe to our email newsletters.