arriving in Jacksonville, N.C., Captains Charles and Kristina Nkanza were faced
with a big decision about the corps youth program - there was none.
"On our first Sunday we had three people in the congregation
and no kids," Captain Charles said. "We both felt that we needed a
youth program, but struggled with whether we should start a program with no
kids or wait until we know of some kids before starting anything."
The young couple decided to at least have something in place so that they
could advertise youth programs - otherwise corps activities for children and
teens might never materialize.
"On the first Thursday
night, Charles, myself, and two other leaders showed up at the corps in our
freshly ironed-on youth t-shirts and waited. That night, no one came,"
said Captain Kristy. "But a family of a single navy mother with three
children began coming to the corps for a couple Sundays, and on the next
Thursday, two of those children came to youth night."
For several Thursdays, those two children were the youth group.
Soon they invited friends from their neighborhood, who in turn brought their
brothers and sisters.
By December 2005, the two original
children comprising the youth group were moved to Virginia - but they left
behind 15 children and teens who were now regularly attending.
"In March, we enrolled the first six junior soldiers at our
annual dinner meeting," she said. "Others have been enrolled since,
including several senior soldiers."
In August, one boy was at home when he
discovered that his 15 year-old brother had committed suicide in their bedroom.
"This is when we really realized how the young people had come to depend
on their church. Everyone in our youth group was deeply affected by this
tragedy," Captain Charles explained.
ministry among these young people and their families, the youth group now
membership now stands at 30. They attend meetings on Sundays and are very
active in League of Mercy. They love to volunteer whenever possible, he
said. Photos, top
left: Captain Charles Nkanza enrolls seven new senior soldiers at
the Jacksonville Corps, reflecting the growth that has also been taking place
in the junior ranks at the corps. Near left:
Youth of the corps participate in a presentation on Easter
"This is an exciting time for the
corps here in Jacksonville," Captain Kristy added. "We now have
Adventure Corps, Sunbeams, Junior Soldiers, Corps Cadets, a youth choir and
other activities," she said. "On Christmas Eve, the youth group will
be offering a cantata during the morning service."
has already expressed an interest in Salvation Army officership. We can clearly
see God working among our young people."Major Frank
Photos, above left:
Enrollments among the youth of the corps have steadily increased the
numbers in the junior ranks over the last year and a half. About 30 youngsters
are active - none were involved in the youth program 18 months ago. Above
right: Captains Charles and Kristina Nkanza stand proudly with seven new
Millhouse, attached to the 1st Battalion 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., is
also a newly-enrolled soldier of The Salvation Army in nearby Jacksonville. His
upcoming redeployment to Iraq in January 2007 will be different, he believes,
now that he is a born-again Christian with a whole new direction in
"I ran away from home, and soon became very angry and bitter against
God," said Millhouse, a petty officer, third class in the U.S. Navy.
"I was into excessive drinking, drugs, partying and writing bad checks
with no money in the bank. My life was a wreck!"
he didn't know it at the time, joining the Navy was one of best decisions
to start getting his act together. "God was using this to prepare me for
His purpose," Millhouse said.
His first taste of war
came when his company was attacked in the Battle of Fallujah. With bombs and
bullets all around, Millhouse survived the encounter. After his tour was over,
he returned stateside, and he and his wife, Lily, were invited to attend church
at the Salvation Army Jacksonville Corps.
Left: Roger Millhouse serves in the U.S. Navy now, but
hopes to someday become an officer in an army fighting a different kind of
"Coming to this corps brought my life
full-circle," he said. "I've surrendered completely to Him, and I
hope to become a Salvation Army officer someday."
first he has another deployment to Iraq.
"This time I
have the most powerful Force in the universe - He will watch my family and take
care of me."
"Right now, God needs me here with
these troops, sharing the gospel, and giving hope to people with it. If Christ
can use someone like me, a jobless drunkard, then He can surely use
Major Frank Duracher