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Volume 26 No. 6

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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Apr. 17, 2009

LaGrange, Ga., soldiers maintain sense of urgency in mission

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

If there’s something familiar as you walk into the front door of the LaGrange, Ga., Corps building, you’re probably right. The structure is a former fire station for the city – and the significance of that bit of trivia is not lost on the Salvationists worshipping and working there. The chapel is housed in the bay where the fire truck was parked; ready to be deployed.

The two classrooms at the chapel’s south wall are where the firemen were housed while on duty. The larger classroom is where the advisory board meets every month. The small kitchen is now used to cook and prepare food for special events.
“We looked for a pole to slide down on, but there isn’t one since the whole facility is on one floor,” Lieutenant Chris Powell joked.
“There is a real sense of urgency in everything we do,” he said. “The Army’s In what used to serve as a fire truck bay, LaGrange soldiers worship in the renovated corps chapel. history has been a roller-coaster ride here in LaGrange. This is the fourth reopening of the work here since the 1890s.” Powell is referring to three other attempts
to establish a lasting presence there. The first attempt lasted barely into the following year;
the second was in 1913 and ended a few months later; and, the third began in 1928.

The demise of each of the three ventures coincided with a national financial crisis.

Powell and his soldiers are determined that will not happen again. “The endeavor that began in 1928 was successful for a while,” said Margie Hill, a
LaGrange Home League member who is something of a corps historian and keeps a scrapbook of the Army’s work in that town.
“There was a time when the LaGrange Corps was one of the largest corps in the Georgia

Then the Great Depression came.” “It took over 50 years for the Army to keep its promise to return – until the early 1990s,
and the Army’s been here ever since,” Powell continued.
“People in a close-knit town like this don’t forget easily,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for us to establish good relationships, and put out ‘the fires of
resentment’ that linger even to this day – and we are making great progress!”

The Powells know something of emergencyresponder work. Lieutenant Chris spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy, with eight years
aboard three submarines. He was a deputy sheriff in Newton County for five years and
later worked as a first-class volunteer fireman.



in Guyana



Power of words

The Salvation Army and the power of words


County Emergency Management Agency as a radioactive hazards officer. Lieutenant Billie Powell served for 12 years as director of the Army’s service center in Covington, Ga. Before that, she worked as a security officer for four years.

The couple entered training as members of the God’s Fellow Workers session and was commissioned last June. LaGrange is their first appointment. Their two children, Carissa, 14, and Logan, 9, work alongside their parents, as do a growing group of faithful soldiers.

“We now have a base on which to move forward,” said YPSM Lisa Ferrell. “We are drawing children into our Junior Soldiers group and teens into our Corps Cadets brigade.” Her husband, Brian, is the corps sergeant-major. He is quick to welcome newcomers – particularly adults – and encourages the soldiery to get active in
the Army’s community efforts throughout the week.



Cynthia White (see related story), Clarence Lawton, Judith Pancake and Pat Vessel are among corps soldiers and volunteers playing a vital role in rescuing meaningful relationships within the community.

Virginia Crenshaw, 81, is the sole corps member who was around when the Army was last there in the 1930s. She was a cradle roll member, enrolled back in 1929. She still has her tattered certificate to prove it – laminating it for protection in the hopes that the Army would someday return to LaGrange.

“I was so happy the day the Army flag came back to LaGrange,” Crenshaw said. “I prayed for years to see it again here, and now that we have good soldiers and officers in our little fire-station corps, we can do all we can to serve others in Jesus’ precious name!”

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International gathering explores vast potential of video in Army work

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

The Southern Territory recently hosted the inaugural International Salvation Army Video Symposium at the Continuing Education Center at
Evangeline Booth College.

Attending the symposium were delegates from nine territories actively involved in video-making: Australia Eastern, Australia Southern, Canada
and Bermuda, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and all four U.S. territories and National Headquarters. Commissioner Robin Forsyth, international secretary for program resources; Lt. Colonel Charles King, international secretary for communications and editorin-chief; and Lt. Colonel Mike Caffull, undersecretary for program resources, attended from International

Major Mark Brown, Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex commander, was one of the first to pioneer video production within The Salvation Army world. As guest presenter for the keynote session, Brown said the Army cannot afford to merely maintain the status quo. “The Salvation Army was created as a movement, not an organization,” he said. “This means we have to continue to push forward on every front to expand the work and ministry of The Salvation Army. Communication is vital to this.”

Delegates evaluated the effectiveness of Salvation Army video production and assessed the enormous potential of video media in a fast-growing, technologically-advanced world. Experienced program producers shared their ideas for communicating the Army’s mission-focused message through well-chosen stories brought to life through video. Each territory presented a detailed showcase of its expertise and capabilities using the latest technology and demonstrating the Army’s incredible wealth of stories of care and compassion.

Topics discussed included sharing unique footage; webcasting/podcasting; coverage of international disasters in developing countries; education and ministry opportunities.

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Light of God in Guyana


Last month, 11 young adults, two officers and two leaders from around the
Southern Territory traveled to Guyana in South America on a young adult mission
trip. While there, participants worked alongside Salvation Army officers of that
area to paint the men’s rehabilitation center and minister to the women at the
Wortmanville Center. The following are testimonies from a few of the participants
who went on that trip.


Sometimes things happen and we don’t even
come close to understanding them. Last year, as a second-year cadet, my session and I traveled to the beautiful country of Guyana. During my first trip I was moved daily by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I felt the Lord calling me to a ministry overseas, especially in the Caribbean. When I heard that there was a young adult mission trip back to Guyana, I was eager to attend. In the midst of preparations to leave for Guyana, I faced health concerns and a
family death. Through all of those events, however, I knew where God wanted me. My life once again was touched by the people of Guyana. The officers that I knew last year remembered me and they were encouraged to see me again. They don’t even know
how much they encourage me. They helped me fully understand that God will not put more on me than I can bear. Some of the officers are commanding more than one appointment and yet do not complain.

They always have a smile on their faces, and
sometimes they do not receive an allowance. I get annoyed about the “little” things. God is guiding me and has seen me through a lot. He is not done with me yet!

Lt. Laura Bryant, NCV Division

The thing I love most about participating on
the young adult mission trips is that every trip is meaningful in a different way. I always go home having learned something new and having more members added to my Christian family. The thing that was most meaningful for me about this trip was
meeting the men at the men’s rehabilitation center. It was beautiful to hear them talk about their freedom from addictions while giving God all the glory. They never claimed that their addictions were things they defeated on their own. Each one of them was
so proud of his change of lifestyle and was not shy when talking about it. Hearing their triumphs and the joy they had as a result was a blessing that I will never forget.
It was also a blessing to see the faithfulness
and dedication of the officers stationed in Guyana. They each had so much on their plate and showed no hint of complaint or resentfulness. They were such a joy to meet.

Vicki Hastings, Florida Division

I believe the greatest thing for me on this trip was the acceptance through so much diversity. Different areas of the Southern Territory sent young adults of different ages and ethnicities to a foreign land. The light of God shone through each of us. The passage from 1 Corinthians 12 comes to mind. Though everyone involved brought their own uniqueness with them, combined they formed a beautiful body of Christ.
I am so thankful that not only I but those that we came in contact with here were able to see the light of God shining through. To be part of something so special, so beautiful and for others to know we are joyous because of our service to Christ and to
cause them to want the same thing was really meaningful. I thank God for this opportunity and pray that he sees fit to allow me to do something like this again. To everyone involved, “Thank you!”

Greg Kagrise, ALM Division




The trip to Guyana was truly life-changing. It was the first time I have been to another country. The greatest part of the trip was the service we did at the men’s rehabilitation center. Being someone
who used to be an addict, the fellowship with these men was the reason God sent me on this trip. I heard testimony after testimony of the way these men had
changed their lives. Also, being able to share with them my testimony of how my relationship with God delivered me from my addiction was incredible. It was no coincidence that God called me to go on this particular mission trip. God works in so many ways – he really never ceases to amaze me. It feels so good to know that the God of our universe wants to use me to build his Kingdom. We serve a loving and awesome God!

Matt Richardson, NSC Division


What impacted me the most while I was in
Guyana is that God showed me how much of the world had come between us. I was lost in the fact that the plans I had for my future were not where they should have been. While I was in Guyana, I was able to slow down and actually listen and think
about what I am supposed to do. Hearing the guys at the rehabilitation center give their testimonies openly, without caring if we would accept them or not, was unbelievable. God spoke to my heart, urging me to be more open in what I do, not to hide in the corner and watch as opportunities come and go but to seize the moment when he calls and follow
him to and through his good and perfect will.

Jared Graf, NSC Division

The woman whose hand was holding mine
was born in 1896. She was 112 years old, but I could still feel the strength in her fingers as she grasped mine. As we finished singing “Happy Birthday” to
her, she said, “I can’t see you but it’s good to hear your voice. I’ve been waiting for you.” This was our second visit in a week to the women’s home in Georgetown, Guyana. Since the first time I met Matilda I had been marveling at her
life. She’s experience two turns of the century, the age of automobiles, television was invented when she was an adult, dictators came and went, wars were won and lost while she watched quietly. And
now, in an age of high-speed computers, e-mail, instant information and global communication, this saint sat in a second-story bedroom in oppressive heat while an energetic group of young people sang,
spoke to and prayed with her to lighten her burdens, listen to her stories and bless her. How many times has this happened? How many groups, how many songs, prayers, visits has Matilda been a part of? I sat on the floor of her room hearing her say again, “I’ve waited for you, it’s good to hear your voice. I’m blessed because you’re here. I love you.” And I realized
she wasn’t part of my mission trip. I was part of hers.

Captain Tarryl Ray, NSC Division

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Orlando Women’s Auxiliary

Since 1994, The Salvation Army
women’s and children’s shelter in
Orlando, Fla., has given over 1,000
families a safe place to get back on
their feet and onto the path of self sustainability. For the last six years it has received stalwart support from the Orlando Women’s Auxiliary.

“This organization was founded as a means for very active women to channel their energies and resources to support the good work this shelter does day in and day out,” said Major Thelma Birmingham, founder of the Orlando auxiliary. The women’s auxiliary has become the “guardian” of the women’s and children’s shelter, donating hundreds of things to improve the quality of life within its walls, including new beds and mattresses, dining room tables and chairs, new carpet throughout the facility, a security system to protect the women and families and recently a new air-conditioning system when the previous one had failed.

“I can only imagine how difficult it is for any child to be thrust into this situation, by no fault of their own,” said Major Amy Kelly, Orlando Area Command’s director of women’s ministries. “What our women’s auxiliary does is make sure that life here
is as normal and comfortable as it possibly can be.”

“Normal” means providing all the things a child would have in the home, like “trick-or-treating” on Halloween, baskets for Easter and a visit from Santa Claus before his night of work around Christmas. The auxiliary also organizes events such as pizza parties and an annual back-to-school party, where children receive new clothing, shoes and the supplies they need to for school. “It’s amazing the things a person can take for granted, that these children are so thankful for,” Thelma Birmingham said. “Having a pizza delivered is one of those things that these children will just be giddy about.”

The compassion of the women does not end with the children – the auxiliary also provides quarterly full makeovers for the women in the shelter through local high-end boutique Salon Ciseaux to increase their confidence and self-esteem, a drive for personal care products for the women and families and the annual “Spring Fling Fashion Show,” to support shelter operations.

“The Spring Fling Fashion Show has been an annual social event and is in its sixth year,” said Diane Holm, auxiliary vice-president and one of the charter members of the auxiliary. “It has raised over $100,000 that goes directly to helping the women and children who find themselves in this unfortunate situation.”


The Power of Words

General Orsborn

The power behind a person’s words – whether oral or written – is inarguable.

What would the American Revolution have been without Patrick Henry declaring, “Give
me liberty or give me death”? Sir Francis Bacon
spoke about the influence literature has on its readers: “If I might control the literature of a household, I would guarantee the well-being of
the church and state.”

And who can deny the influence of one Southern pastor during the American civil rights movement? The famous “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. memorializes him as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.

Above all, words written by Jesus’ biographers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – carry the greatest weight of all time.

Inspired by the words on the pages of his Bible, the Founder of The Salvation Army inscribed his own legacy on countless generations of Salvationists:

“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, as they
do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end!”

Without Salvationist meetings where words of truth were proclaimed, many unbelievers
may not have surrendered to salvation; adherents may not have enrolled as soldiers; soldiers would scarce have committed to officership; and much of the world may not have found the source of true hope.





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