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She didn't approve of me opening the door. I was new to the appointment and wanted to look in each closet to see what it contained. "That is our storage closet. I am the only one that has a key, and only the officers are allowed to go in there with me." I looked at Dawn and said, "I think that I fall in that category." She gave me a look that showed that she had her doubts about the matter.

Looking in the closet, I found shelves filled with every knick-knack known to humanity. The closet was crammed to the ceiling and contained every thing from birdhouse building kits to kazoos.

On one side were cases and cases of new candles still in unopened boxes. Every color and hue, scent and odor, shape and size. "What in the world do we do with all this stuff? "

"We use it for programs and emergency," she answered. Closing the door, I thought, "You have enough candles in there for 10,000 emergencies."

A few months passed and I was locking up the building while the Home League women were waiting in the van for me to drive them home. Suddenly everything in the building and the neighborhood went dark. A power outage, I guessed. As I started the van, an elderly woman said, "I sure hope the power comes on before we get home, I hate going into my house without any lights." Remembering the closet of candles, I found a flashlight underneath the seat and went into the building. Returning to the van, I gave each woman a box of brand new candles. They all were very happy with me and by good fortune, the lights in the town had come back on before I dropped off the first woman.

I am not sure if Dawn had a heart attack, nervous breakdown or a grand mal seizure when I told her we were going to give away the candles at our senior citizens feeding program at lunch.

"We can't do that," she declared. "What if we have an emergency and need them?"

I was about to give in because I thought she might die, then the brown box I was holding flipped open. Inside were hundred of used candles, fat ones from advent services, long, tall, thin ones used for wedding events, small, tallowy ones with cheap paper drip protectors still encircling them from long ago New Year's Eve services. Looking at Dawn, I said, "Why are we hanging onto these?" Of course, her automatic response was, "We might need them for an emergency."

I am not sure if Dawn ever forgave me for what I did the next few weeks. Starting that day with the used candles, I piled them on a table with a sign hanging nearby saying "Free candles."

The candles disappeared in one swoosh of senior citizens. Dawn came and reported to me indignantly that people were taking more candles than they needed. My response was to go in the closet and bring out more candles.

Initially, all the candles would disappear from the table within minutes. After a couple of weeks, the demand for candles slowed considerably. By the end of six weeks, even the most aggressive member of the "I'll get whatever I can get" club was sated of wick and wax. Still remaining in the closet were boxes and boxes of new candles.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). So often, we fail to go to Jesus because we think we have used up His supply of candles. However, in His closet the candles of mercy, grace, love and hope remain, no matter the demand.






FOF Retreat delegates use ‘Basic Training' for warfare preparationA record-setting 110 delegates completed "Basic Training," the weekend theme for the 2006 Territorial Future Officers Fellowship Retreat. The Scripture verse for the retreat was drawn from 2 Samuel 22:35: He trains my hands for battle. Captain Roni Robbins, territorial candidates secretary, chose the "basic training" theme based on the preparation of recruits employed by all five branches of the U.S. military. "In the military, basic training prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional," Robbins said. "It gives service-people the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their duty tour."With that in mind, the retreat schedule helped the prospective candidates prepare for cadetship, service and ministry - with an emphasis on being prepared spiritually.

No complaining

When I met Kathy Whitaker sometime in the early 1980s she was already wheelchair-bound, an ominous forecast of the suffering she would endure because of multiple sclerosis. As we spoke to her I remember thinking how unfair it was that someone that young and vibrant should be so ill.

Of that meeting, I also recall that she wasn't complaining - in fact, I was told that her broad smile was as always.

Her MS continued to be debilitating, and in 1983 Kathy spent her days in a hospital bed setup at home. Her loving husband, Leonard, doted over her for the next 13 bittersweet years. He tells me now that "she never complained."

Often, my wife visited Kathy in her home in Maggie Valley, N.C. Last year Kathy's bed was moved into the living room so she would see the mountain view just outside the picture window. Sometimes her voice was so soft we couldn't understand her. We never saw her without the covers pulled up to her neck, presumably to hide her withering arms and legs. But the smile was still there, and before we left she would offer to pray for us. Despite the pain, I never heard a word of complaint from her lips.

One Saturday morning a few weeks ago, Kathy left her bed for the final time. As she ascended to Glory, she left her illness behind. For her, the words of I Peter 5:10 are finally fulfilled: After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, establish you.

Her limbs are now strong and straight, her voice is clear, and her smile is brighter than ever. Don't worry, she's not complaining - in fact, she's rejoicing!


Mrs. Major Christine Wixson

Mrs. Major Christine Wixson was promoted to Glory Aug. 30, 2006, from Augusta, Ga., where she was receiving hospice care. The service celebrating her life was held at the Augusta Corps, with Majors James and Leisa Hall leading and Commissioner Fred Ruth speaking.

Christine Rachel Snyder was born Dec. 4, 1918, in Erie, Pa., and raised in a Christian home. She was converted in an evangelistic tent meeting at age 12 and became acquainted with The Salvation Army through the Girl Guard program. In March 1940 at youth councils in Oklahoma City she felt God calling her to be an officer. She was married to Ernest John Wixson May 6, 1940, and they entered training in Atlanta and were commissioned as officers in 1942.

Their united service included corps appointments in Lawton, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville and Shawnee, Okla.; Atlanta (Temple) and Augusta, Ga.; and Hagerstown, Md. They commanded Shreveport, La., and also served as divisional youth leaders in the National Capital and Arkansas-Louisiana-Mississippi divisions. Their final appointment was as ALM special services secretary and divisional statistician. They entered honored retirement on March 31, 1981, making their home in Georgia. Christine was preceded in death by her beloved husband Jan. 27, 1983, and their son, Major John Wixson in April 2000.

Christine left a legacy of love, compassion, gentleness, faithfulness and Christ-like character.

Survivors include daughters Barbara J. Ryan and Joyce W. Goings; son David (Debra) Wixson; daughter-in-law Major Patricia Wixson; sisters Pauline Turck, Bernice Helton and Jacqueline (Gene) Payne; and 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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Note of thanks:

The family of Mrs. Major Jeannette Tritton convey their sincerest appreciation and thanks for the many phone calls, cards, e-mails and flowers received during her illness and subsequent promotion to Glory. These expressions brought comfort, inspiration and encouragement to the family during their time of loss.



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