and Danitza Porras direct the Winchester, Va., Hispanic
Hispanic outpost is getting established
in Winchester, Va.
By Major Frank
Southern Spirit staff
The congregation of an Hispanic outpost recently celebrated their
second anniversary as an outreach ministry of the Winchester Corps in northern
Virginia. A festive celebration marked the event, giving thanks to God and
trusting Him for the future.
Álvaro and Danitza
Porras are outpost directors for a thriving congregation of about 70 members,
just over half of which are Salvation Army soldiers. A growing Hispanic
population in Winchester presents an opportunity and a challenge to plant a
church among Spanish-speaking residents. The couple accepted that challenge,
and through prayer, visitation and a constant effort to introduce The Salvation
Army to that population segment, the ministry is bearing fruit for God's
Álvaro and Danitza Porras were Salvationists
in Costa Rica, and soon after they married and immigrated to America, they felt
called to plant churches in Hispanic communities. After much prayer, they were
led to begin in Winchester.
"At our first meeting two
years ago, we had 15 people in attendance. It was a prayer meeting, really, but
from that group our first members emerged and became the core for local
leadership we have today," Álvaro Porras said.
There are other Hispanic churches in the community, but with a
population increase of over 600% over the past five years, pastors are
realizing that there is room for the unique ministry of The Salvation Army for
unchurched families and friends.
"There is a deep trust
among Hispanic pastors in this city," Porras said. "They trust us to
not steal their members, and they are not afraid to send people to us for
social services. If a family is unchurched, we can invite them to our
fellowship. This benefits all branches of the Christian church."
The outpost has steadily grown over the past two years, in part
because of prayer cells and Bible-study groups led by the soldiers in their
homes. The outpost also produces a weekly television program in Spanish,
broadcast on a local cable station. The program is produced with the help of
the soldiers and is always aimed at educating the audience as to what The
Salvation Army is all about.
Danitza Porras, who also works
as a Salvation Army mission specialist for the Winchester Corps, represents The
Salvation Army at city council meetings and community events, further adding to
the visibility of Salvationists in the area. She uses that opportunity to keep
the Army informed about Latino issues and needs.
"Winchester may be a smaller city than, say, Washington,
D.C., or Dallas, but we see that as an advantage for our mission strategy
here," she said. "We have a ‘partnership with Christ' among
other churches and we work very well together."
congregation is anxious to continue making an impact on people's lives for
God's glory and the good of the Army, she said.
Colonel William Crabson and his wife, LaVerne, have led the National
Capital-Virginia Division for nine years.
Crabsons have made the most of long
By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff
In what may be a record
for the Southern Territory for longest tenure as leaders of one division, Lt.
Colonels William and LaVerne Crabson give God the glory for nine years in the
National Capital-Virginia Division. With just two years until their retirement,
the Crabson's appointment may extend to 11 years.
"We've had a unique relationship to this division, going
back to our first staff assignment as divisional youth leaders back in the
1970s. Actually this is our third appointment on this staff," William
Their many years in NCV have given the
Crabsons an advantage in forging lasting friendships for the Army with public
and business leaders, particularly in the Washington metropolitan area.
"If there is a downside, there are few surprises left,"
Crabson mused. "People know my style, mannerisms and expectations.
They've seen me go through it all, so they know what to expect!"
That aside, Crabson said that much has been accomplished in the
division, and similar to a corps officer or pastor being able to see more fruit
the longer he stays in one church, the same is probably true for divisional
"We've made mistakes, but there have
been so many pluses. God has done so much in this division. We are honored to
be a part of it," he said.
Crabson acknowledged that
the Army's system does not necessarily communicate the value of a long
assignment - so any appointment exceeding nine years, including divisional
leaders, is rare.
As an example of this, Crabson remembers
his first corps officers as he grew up in Baltimore Hampden. By coincidence,
(then) Captains Klon and Bert Kitchen served for 11 years in that corps. He
attributes the corps success during that period to the hard work of the
soldiers and the leadership of the Kitchens.
church-growth principles can be applied to leading a division, this may be a
case-in-point. Despite economic challenges and cataclysmic events, such as the
September 11 attack on the Pentagon, Salvationists have risen to the occasion,
he said. The result is a strong division, built on faith and Christ-like
Crabson has three goals for the remaining two years
of his leadership in NCV. The first goal is to implement the East of the River
Initiative (ERI), a different concept for a new corps building in the eastern
area of Washington. Second, conduct a strategic plan for the Army's work in
the National Capital area. Third, he plans to establish an endowment fund to
underwrite operating costs for three signature social services programs: the
Harbor Light Center, the Turning Point program (transitional housing for
women), and the ERI.
Young people get equipped
for spiritual warfare at Atlanta
Atlanta International Corps sponsored a three-night Youth Praise Revival,
featuring speaker Charlie Kae, a youth pastor from Springfield, Mo. Kae's
sermon series was themed "The Silent Skirmish."
youth to know of the battle for their soul," Kae said. "It's a
battle that so many young people are not even aware is going on." The
revival meetings helped youth in illuminating, equipping and instructing the
ways of spiritual warfare.