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Volume 25, No. 8

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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May 14, 2008


Comm. Feener | Mr. Childs | Maj. Duracher | Ms. Gotrich

Prayer, evangelism
drawing youth, seniors
together in Hickory, N.C.

 

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff


Captains David and Shirley Chapman listen as Golden Circle Club members share a favorite childhood memory.
Prayer and evangelism are steadily adding to the numbers of youth and seniors in the Hickory, N.C., Corps - and for different reasons.

After serving well over half their career as youth leaders in two divisions, it is not surprising that upon their return to corps work, connecting to children and teens in Hickory is still important to Majors Kent and Melody Davis. Couple that with the simultaneous appointment of Captains David and Shirley Chapman to Hickory as associate officers, and suddenly a ministry among seniors also took on a positive dimension.

The Chapmans soon started the "Golden Circle Club" for seniors 55 and over. That allows the Davises to concentrate on a burgeoning youth program designed for teens and young adults, some already in place and others added almost weekly. In addition, the spiritual welfare of the corps as a whole is paramount for all four officers.

"Prayer is the main emphasis with our work among youth and seniors, with an emphasis on evangelism," said Major Kent Davis. "Hardly a day goes by that we do not see some form of evangelism bearing fruit for our corps. Take, for instance, our Golden Circle Club - that group is feeding other corps programs, while meeting a great need for older adults."

The Chapmans describe the Golden Circle Club as "anything but elaborate."

"We meet during the week and begin each gathering with prayer requests and intense prayer," Captain Shirley Chapman said. "We also do fun things and laugh a lot."

The program is similar to a successful ministry they led in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, the Davises unashamedly target the corps youth by drawing from the Boys & Girls Club and even nearby colleges - Western Carolina and Appalachian State universities, the latter of which their daughter, Meagan, attends.

Continued »
     

Bate helps
celeb -rate
World Services

Q&A:
Brigadier
Gertrude Purdue
Upholding
social
justice

Prayer, evangelism drawing youth, seniors together in Hickory, N.C.
Continued from above.

"We have former camp staff members attending those two schools, and we are involving them in the Hickory Corps," Davis said, adding that many of these students were included in the 22 delegates from Hickory attending the recent NSC Division's youth councils.

Numerical growth among youth and seniors for the corps is proving to be a tremendous encouragement to other areas of the corps. A new sense of urgency for effective prayer and quality praise has taken hold. The Men's Fellowship Club started a regular prayer breakfast, and Bible study groups for both genders and various ages are sprouting.

"We lift people up in prayer. Sometimes we pray for people that we don't know what their need is; but we pray anyway," said Corps Sergeant-Major Janice Heath.

Building the Hickory Corps is a family affair for Heath - her mother, Thelma Jacobs, served for many years as CSM while Janice was growing up.

"This has always been a loving and praying corps," she said. "God is answering prayer in so many ways; like the miraculous recovery of Brigadier Evelyn Sams."

Sams, 85, is no stranger to the Hickory Corps. She and her husband (now deceased), Brigadier Charles Sams, served as corps officers there from 1973-78. They loved the people and the area so much they retired there in 1982. So when a life-threatening health concern arose, the corps family prayer chain went into action (see related story).

Juanita Yount, also 85, is the oldest Hickory soldier and the corps matriarch. She is great- grandmother to three families in the corps, numbering well over 50 members.

"The Lord is blessing our corps so much," Yount said, "and I think our best days are ahead!"

Ruth Mingus is another faithful soldier, and she has the Sunday school perfect attendance pins to prove it. Mingus proudly wears her pins, linked to one another and extending below her waist.

"I love being a part of this corps because the Lord is doing a mighty work here," Mingus said. "I'm proud to be a Salvationist and to wear my uniform for Jesus!"

Windy Bowman is a relatively new soldier who with her husband, Clay, has found a niche in a ministry with the teens and young adults. Windy and Clay were awarded co-Sunday School Teachers of the Year for the NSC Division.

"We are a very close-knit corps, with a lot of prayer, visitation and relationships," Windy Bowman said. "Working with these young people keeps us young, and we hope we're guiding them to take over this corps someday!"


Bates join in celebration of World Services

Colonels John and Valda Bate, whose 41-year career as Salvation Army officers spanned the globe, were featured guests for a World Services weekend extravaganza at Atlanta Temple. Serving just seven years in their home territory (New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga), the Bates recalled memories and incidents from their service in such territories and commands as South America West, Caribbean, Zimbabwe, Spain and South America East. Salvationists and friends of Atlanta Temple enjoyed a number of World Service fund-raising events during the weekend, such as a Mexican dinner, bake sale, silent auction (left), mariachi entertainment and piñatas for the children.


Q&A: Brigadier Gertrude Purdue

Brigadier Gertrude Purdue turns 99 this month, and she is still very active in Salvation Army and community programs around her retirement hometown of Memphis, Tenn. She shared a storied career alongside husband Brigadier Bramwell Purdue (now deceased) until their retirement in 1973. Citing her "tireless service" and a "persistent encourager," Brigadier Gertrude Purdue was admitted into the Order of the Founder - the 12th honoree for the USA Southern Territory. Major Frank Duracher, of the Southern Spirit staff, recently interviewed Purdue.

SS: Your family tree is steeped in Salvation Army history. Tell us about that.

GP: Brigadier and Mrs. C.A. McClellan were my parents and my greatest inspiration. No sacrifice seemed too great for them to make for Jesus. They were wonderful corps officers and were very committed to their people.

I knew at age 14 that I wanted to follow them in service as a Salvation Army officer. When I turned 16 my father allowed me to be in charge of a little outpost of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Corps where we were stationed at the time. My father-in-law, Major William Purdue, knew the Founder. He was from Reading, England, and was a wonderful officer. He was supposed to cross the ocean on the Empress of Ireland, but he missed the boat. Of course, you may know of that tragic sinking in the St. Lawrence River - we lost most of the Canadian Staff Band and many other Salvationists.

SS: I understand you've met some of the Army "greats." Tell us a few.

GP: My parents had Joe the Turk at our corps for a series of revival meetings. He was a very colorful character, and when Major (Eddie) Hobgood impersonates him, he has Joe the Turk down pat!

I also knew General Evangeline Booth, and Commissioner William McIntyre (first Southern territorial commander).

Henry F. Milans was a man reclaimed for Christ through our Men's Social program (now known as the ARC). He was a well-known author of "God At The Scrap Heaps" and was the subject of a biography by Clarence W. Hall, "Out Of The Depths."

When I was a cadet, one of my work assignments was to scrub the marble steps of (a building) at our training college in Chicago. One morning while I was scrubbing, I looked up and there stood Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle!

SS: You served doughnuts to servicemen during World War I?

GP: I was only 9 when America went to war, so I was too young to go to France, of course. But I did know very well two of the women who served there near the frontlines. I served doughnuts to our boys who were still Stateside at Fort Custer near Battle Creek (Michigan). Then during World War II, my husband and I were among the first Salvation Army officers assigned to a USO. What a ministry that was!

Nowadays I volunteer a lot at our V.A. Hospital. I tell them that I lived through six wars, and they all seem amazed. They tell me their stories as well.

SS: What has changed most about the Army you knew as a young officer?

GP: I miss the bonnet! I was always proud to wear it. My first appointment was to the training college in Chicago, and it was right after the St. Valentines Day massacre. Al Capone and John Dillinger were still on the loose and I was scared to death. One night I was driving a group home from a corps meeting, and a large black car pulled alongside us, with four burly men inside. I was sure they were gangsters. One of our lieutenants handed my bonnet to me and I held it up for them to see - and they drove off. I'm convinced the bonnet saved our lives!

SS: What was one of the most significant opportunities for service?

GP: We were area commanders in Memphis when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. We called for a town meeting at our Ben Lear Corps and the public response was so great, our chapel was filled to capacity. We worked hard to help our community come together during that crisis. A series of town meetings grew from that initial one, and from that community effort came MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association), which still operates and does so much good in Memphis today.


Justice group leads session at Georgia youth councils

i58 started in 2006 at the Territorial Youth Institute when about 10 youth who had traveled over the summer as Salvationist Service Corps team members wanted to apply what they had learned about justice issues in their home communities.

One of the group's founding members, Jaime Riefer, said its purpose is to lend support, ideas and resources to anyone interested in fighting injustice. "We don't want to make a program that everyone has to fit into. We want people to be able to come up with ideas of how to change the world, and we want to come alongside and support them."

The group currently has about 250 members, including 40 intercessors, from all over the USA South as well as the Central Territory and from nations such as Canada, Australia, Jamaica and England.

At the 2008 Georgia Division Youth Councils, members of i58 led a breakout session to 25 other young people to discuss the meaning of injustice and ways to get involved. About 10 people signed up to join i58. So far, the group has raised $1,500 to buy cows in Peru and $500 in Florida and Georgia to buy a hut in Uganda.

For more information or to have i58 speak at your corps, contact Jaime Riefer at ififtyeight@hotmail.com or at (813) 389-0526.

Please download the .pdf version of the paper for more stories on Justice.

Back to top.


Going deeper with God: Temptation

Overcoming temptation brings us into a deeper relationship with God. Should we then ask to be tempted? No! Christians can, when tempted, fall - sometimes forever. Jesus said we should pray, "... lead us not into temptation" (Luke 11: 4).

It is helpful to know some things about temptation. All temptation comes from the devil. Whether he comes as a "roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8), or disguised as an "angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14), his goal is to have us doubt God and leave the path of the cross.

However, as Bonhoeffer pointed out, "It is true that Satan has power, but only where God allows it to him. There is consolation for the tempted believer." Without God's permission, the devil cannot tempt us. Satan tempted Job, only because God allowed it (Job 1: 8-12).

Why, then, does God allow temptation? It cannot be that he wants to see us fall. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). But, at times, his love permits temptation. When that happens, God wants us to cling to Christ. In doing so, Satan is overcome and our relationship with Jesus is strengthened. While we are in temptation, we may not always understand the ways of God, or know how much he cares for us, but we can be certain that it is always meant for our good. The apostle Paul assures us that "...God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Satan does not tempt us all in the same way. He comes when we are weakest or overly confident, and strikes where we are most likely to yield. He may tempt us to cheat, lie, steal, become involved in pornography or sin in any way that could lead to our eventual downfall. Yielding, we take our eyes off God and miss his way of escape. There is only one answer to temptation: Flee the tempter and cling to the cross. Relying on our own strength, we fail. On the cross, Jesus overcame Satan. In the cross, we, too, are able to overcome.

William Pearson wrote,
It is the blood that sweeps away
The power of Satan's rod.

The Bible assures us that, as we go deeper with Christ, all temptation can be conquered.


The Army's street

I find the photograph that graces the cover of this issue of the Southern Spirit compelling and remarkable. If you take a moment to study the image and the elements that comprise it, you might see The Salvation Army in microcosm. It's all there.

Lori Miller of the Tidewater Area Command captured the image in Suffolk, in southeastern Virginia, where tornadoes did their destructive work in late April. As you confront the photograph, from front to back, your gaze is drawn to a pile of wreckage in the left foreground. The damage is profound. What is now a pile of trash, or junk, or rubble - call it what you will - was once, not long ago, something of worth and value, something functional and whole. But something happened. Some unspeakable force has swept through, perhaps within the past few hours, and something that yesterday was solid and whole has been shredded and scraped to the curb, where it now spills into the street's very gutter.

Behind the pile, as point of reference, we see immediately what the pile of wreckage was before the catastrophe struck, and we are momentarily comforted to realize that the destruction was not total. The row of houses still stands, stoic and defiant. So life goes on around the destruction, but those remaining homes no doubt have taken a hit as well. Perhaps electrical power has been lost. Maybe there is structural damage that will have to be addressed in the coming days and weeks. Debris is probably scattered about and will need to be removed. The insurance adjusters will come, make their calculations, and the construction crews will follow. The bang of pounding hammers and the sweet fragrance of fresh lumber will fill the air. Life will regain its footing, and its familiar rhythm and pace will return and comfort those who were caught in the storm. But it will take time. Healing has its own timetable, one that is for the greater part non-negotiable, unfolding of its own accord and under its own terms, oblivious to our desires.

Into the desolated streetscape has rolled The Salvation Army. I perceive that the canteen has just now come to a complete stop, but already the vehicle's doors are fully open, and the relief workers are on the sidewalk, seeing to the needs. It seems right, somehow, that the canteen has come to a stop beneath a streetlight, and that all of this is taking place beneath a sky that still holds remnants of the storm but is now clearing and mostly blue. The blue sky seems to whisper the promise of a better tomorrow.

We tend to think of disaster service as just one part of Salvation Army work, alongside men's rehabilitation, feeding and shelter programs and evangelistic outreach. As I take in the image on this cover, though, I realize that most of what this organization does can fairly be called "disaster service." What disaster is greater than a hungry child, or a homeless family, or the hurting and lonely souls who have lost sight of hope and perhaps even their God? Often, like the houses still standing in the image, the damage is not so profound. The destruction is not total, and life goes on, although with a pronounced limp. The Salvation Army is needed there, too, to help pick up the pieces.

This is the street The Salvation Army works. It is a unique and demanding neighborhood that most take care to avoid. At first glance, the scene here is one of destruction. But I see that hope and healing and wholeness are present and will grow stronger. And somewhere in the back of my mind I hear the calland- reponse that is so embraced by the men of the adult rehabilitation centers, real-life veterans of life's storms: "God is good ... all the time!"


Redemption in baseball

There may be "no crying in baseball," but there is redemption.

I was among thousands of fans glued to the television, watching my beloved New York Mets on the verge of losing the 1986 World Series to the Boston Red Sox. It was Game 6, and Boston was leading the series three games to two. Bottom of the ninth, with two outs - all the Red Sox had to do was earn one more out. The "Curse of the Bambino" (Babe Ruth) would finally be over for longsuffering Boston fans.

A friend was on the phone jeering at me during those awful moments, and in my heart I awaited the inevitable. It was the epitome of sports drama.

Then the Mets' Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner. When the ball trickled through Buckner's legs, I couldn't believe my eyes. My Mets scored, won the game, and later the series. What should have been an easy out instead made Buckner a scapegoat for 22 years in "Bean Town" and a hero in the "Big Apple."

But when the 2007 Red Sox received their World Series rings at Fenway Park last month, Buckner was chosen to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The crowd roared their approval, signaling that he was finally forgiven.

Afterward, Buckner admitted to the press that he was fearful of the reception and even considered not showing up. "I prayed about it, and here I am, and I'm glad I came."

Now granted, baseball is just a game - but on life's stage, redemption is more important. The Psalmist advises us to put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption (130:7-NIV).

Even Red Sox fans believe that.


Intercession: May I pray for you?

We are God's children, and his love for his children is certainly beyond description. When we pray for each other, God is pleased that we have expressed our love for those he greatly loves. He delights in our love for each other.

Prayer was designed not only as conversation with God but also as a way of connecting to the Body of Christ as we pray for each other. This is intercession. In fact, no other singular component was more prominent in the prayer life of Christ than intercession. He demonstrated his selflessness and his divine focus through his prayers for others.

When we pray for others, we are never closer to our own Christlikeness. During intercession we take the focus off ourselves and place the prayer power on wholeness for the Body of Christ.

Some biblical perspectives on intercession are outlined in "Journey Into Intercession" by Eric Bolger, and these principles shed light on our task as we stand in the gap for others. He points out how the lives and prayers of biblical characters proved to be significant intervention for others.

Intercession grows in the soil of a deep personal relationship with God. The lives of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, Mary and Paul paint a clear picture of the depth of relationship with God. We never see these people praying to a distant force or impersonal God. God is their trusted companion as well as sovereign Lord. Effective intercession builds on the foundation of divine intimacy.

Effective intercession flows out of a need to bring God glory. When we pray for others we are asking for the fullness of what God intends for their lives. And then God's answers to those prayers serve to show our great need for him, a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy and ultimately brings glory to himself through the answers to our prayers.

Intercession depends on the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the essential element in the ministry of intercession. Paul describes in Romans 8 how the Spirit helps us in our weakness, our inarticulateness, our lack of strength and knowledge of the situation as we intercede. We also live in the context of an unseen world but very real spiritual realm. This is where the Holy Spirit is champion. Therefore, prayer is ultimately the energizing Spirit speaking with God himself.

As you pray for others you place yourself as mediator - you are standing between God and others and asking God to respond to their needs. This is clear in the model of the priest. A calling to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:5-6) that originated with Melchizedek has been extended to us as an invitation from God. Again in 1 Peter 2:9 there is a calling that belongs to all believers to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation, belonging to God. And it does not point to the believer priest as the hero in this scenario - rather, the focus is on God who has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Intercession is a beautiful picture of community, of family, focusing on the needs of others for the strength of the Body. God has initiated this deeply personal relationship with him, and as we fall more in love with him, we fall more in love with others. Nothing could be further from our selfish society than to think of others and pushing aside our own agendas for attention. As we place this attribute of intercession in our lives, we take on the very mantle of the incarnate Christ, living fully in the strength of his Spirit and praying to a holy God. As intercessors we experience the essence of the triune God.

 

 

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