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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Mrs. Major Christine Wixson
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.
/strong>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.