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Volume 25 No. 20

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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Jan. 21, 2009


The Silver Lining
Devastating hurricanes had revitalizing effect on Louisiana corps

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

Although the media focused on larger cities such as New Orleans and Houston during the devastating hurricane seasons of 2005 and 2008, staggering tolls were felt in Lake Charles and the surrounding parishes of southwestern Louisiana.

“In September 2005 we were inundated with Katrina evacuees, and then a few weeks later Hurricane Rita nearly wiped out Calcasieu and Cameron parishes,” said Captain David Sams, Lake Charles corps officer. “Then in 2008 Hurricane Ike came along and took out about 90% of what was rebuilt down in Cameron.”

Although he acknowledges that not much good can come from disasters, especially two or three, Sams points to a silver lining that continues to bring measurable growth to his corps.

“In the summer of 2005, this corps was not just on ‘life-support’ – it was being wheeled to the morgue,” Sams colorfully remarked.

Many of the soldiers had either quit
or moved away, and the public's support of Salvation Army programs
was nearly non-existent, he said.

Major Frank Duracher
Effective prayer is sought after at the altar by Lake Charles corps members before each worship service.

image image

South celebrates
Holz’s service




Looking back, Looking ahead


The Silver Lining
Devastating hurricanes had revitalizing effect on 
Louisiana corps

Continued from above.

Then Katrina and Rita came through just 20 days apart.

Instead of viewing the situation as insurmountable, Captains David and Bobbie Sams attacked the challenge as though it were a God-sent opportunity. They rallied what soldiers were left around them, implored exsoldiers to return, and slowly added to their numbers as the community watched the excellent spiritual and social services being rendered by the Army around Lake Charles during the past three years.

“We had no corps building, so we began having church services in the dining room of our Center of Hope shelter,” Sams said. “Our soldiers soon caught a renewed pride, and they seemed to recapture their vision of what the Army can be here. In addition, the advisory board worked hard to erect a new corps building.”

By the time that building was dedicated in October 2007 by Commissioner Max Feener, the facility had already become a beehive of worship and service. Soldiers were added to the rolls and 27 warranted and commissioned local officers were put to work – all part of a concentrated emphasis on discipleship.

“Our corps has seen a 150% growth across the board,” said Wes Sonnier, himself one of the newest soldiers. Sonnier met the Army through a newspaper ad (see related story) and now works at the corps as the social worker. He takes advantage of every chance to invite the unchurched to come to the corps.

Greg and Rose Joyner are two other relatively new soldiers, both coming to the Army through the shelter program. They are now uniformed soldiers, and Greg is the corps sergeant-major.

“This is where God wants me to be. I knew I had a calling in my life and I didn’t know what it was. The Lord opened the door for us to be here, and we want only to help disciple others!” CSM Joyner said.

“We as a church never lost hope,” said Nathaniel Meaux, who grew up in the Lake Charles Corps but left his soldiership some years ago before he put his uniform back on a little more than a year ago.

“The Army will always be in Lake Charles because the Lord has a great work for us to do still,” Meaux said.

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Territory celebrates Holz’s contributions
to Southern music

The hand that has led Salvation Army music in the Southern Territory for the last 30 years will soon relinquish the baton. Dr. Richard Holz, territorial
music and music education secretary and bandmaster for the Southern Territorial Band retires Feb. 2 from
the post he has held since 1979.

Nicholas Simmons-Smith, currently the territorial music and publications marketing specialist in the Music Department, has been named to succeed Holz as territorial music secretary.

Holz was honored Jan. 10 with a special concert celebrating his service at the Atlanta Temple Corps. The concert was held during the annual meeting of the Territorial Music Committee consisting of music leaders from across the territory. Special guests for the concert were Bandmaster William Himes of the USA
Central Territory, Salvationist composer James Curnow and B/M Ronald Holz.

The program featured the Southern Territorial Band under the leadership of Holz, and Himes and Curnow, as well as Simmons-Smith, took their turns conducting the band as well. Also contributing to the program were the Southern Territorial Songsters, under the direction of Songster Leader James Anderson, and the Southern Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble, directed by Roberta Simmons-Smith.

Himes conducted the retirement ceremony for Holz and brought a Scripture meditation taken from Psalm 112, which celebrates the servant with a steadfast heart and a deep commitment to the Lord. Himes observed that the Psalm is an apt description of Holz.


(Clockwise from upper left)The Southern Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble performs ‘General William Booth Enters Heaven’; B/M Richard Holz conducts the Southern Territorial Band; B/M William Himes congratulates Holz; Holz is shown with special guests Himes, James Curnow and Ronald Holz; S/L James Anderson leads the Southern Territorial Songsters

Himes conducted the retirement ceremony for
Holz and brought a Scripture meditation taken from Psalm 112, which celebrates the servant with a steadfast heart and a deep commitment to the Lord. Himes observed that the Psalm is an apt description of Holz.

Before coming to the Southern Territory in 1979,
Holz was associate professor of music at South Central Community College in New Haven, Conn. Earlier in his career he taught music at the elementary, middle and high school levels in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Dan Childs



One by One
Making a difference in the life of a child

By Brooke Turbyfill
Southern Spirit staff

Praying kids: Tororo, Uganda

What began as a ministry of adult rehabilitation centers is now a nationwide program: Overseas Child Sponsorship. All four USA territories of The Salvation Army have child sponsorship programs.

The World Services office at National Headquarters communicates to each territory which countries it will sponsor.
The Southern Territory supports children in Salvation Army children’s homes in nations such as Peru, Kenya and Cuba. Out of 738 children in the Southern territorial sponsorship program, 274 are awaiting sponsorship.

In order to sponsor a child, a donor makes a one-year commitment to pay $20 each month. That support aids greatly in providing a child’s food, clothing, school fees and supplies and medical or dental needs, and 100% of the money donated goes to the child. All administrative costs are absorbed by Southern Territorial Headquarters.

Each sponsor receives a photo and short case history of the child he chooses. Captain Joy Robbins, who oversees the South’s OCS program, said some sponsors choose certain kids because they sense some connection to them. Perhaps they have a son or daughter the same age, or they have visited the host country before.

Most sponsors and children communicate by exchanging letters and photos. Anything child-appropriate can be mailed to most host countries, as long as it fits in a flat envelope. If needed, letters are translated.

Nodding to a photo on his desk of the child he sponsors, Territorial Youth Secretary Major Kelly Igleheart said, “Our hope is that relationships are built between the sponsor and the child.”

One territorial employee, Eli Silva, is doing just that – building relationships. He felt connected to the children he sponsors because he understands their needs. Having grown up in Venezuela, he has seen such need firsthand. “It’s amazing that you can do so much with so little,” he said.

Silva has a child of his own and recognizes the economic hardships that many face. “It’s not easy to keep the sponsorship going. There was a time when I wanted to give up.” On the day that Silva decided he was going to end his sponsorship, his decision changed because he received a letter from a little girl he supports. “She was thanking me for helping her, and that was very rewarding.”

If individuals cannot support a child, groups are encouraged to support one. Last year, the Texas Division youth councils Sunday offering was for OCS. Youth gave about $3,000, which was matched by Commissioner Max Feener, territorial commander. All the money went to sponsor children. Adult rehabilitation centers also sponsor children with group donations. If groups can’t commit to a yearly sponsorship, they can make a one-time donation to a particular Salvation Army children’s home. The donation is used for a need or project at that home.

To find out more about sponsorship, contact Lynette Brown in the Youth Department at 404-728-1300, ext. 493 or go to

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Seeing what God sees, moving into2009


Looking back at 2008 brings perspective on what lies ahead. While presidential elections, soaring gas prices and the financial crisis affected the entire territory, these events have not diminished the level at which God works in people’s lives. Across the board, the following ministry reviews of the past year are bound by a common truth: The mission of The Salvation Army hasn’t changed, and the Lord is always faithful.



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