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Road Trip

By Captain Jim McGee

Southern Spirit columnist

I drove to camp and I drove to camp and I drove to camp. Elizabeth City, N.C., is a great place to live. It is centrally located six hours from divisional headquarters. It is also six hours from Camp Walter Johnson. Being six hours from divisional headquarters is a good thing. Six hours from camp is not such a good thing. For all of you who have dreams of being a camp van driver, here is an itinerary of a recent trip to see if you are camp driver material.

6:00 a.m. Wake up

6:45 a.m. Pick up first campers

6:57 a.m. Pick up second campers; ask one boy where his trombone is. "Isn't it on the van?" he asks. "No, go in your house and get the instrument," I told him. He looked momentarily dazed and then says it must be at the corps building. I thought, we haven't had junior band for two weeks. He's probably not going to burn up junior conservatory with his playing.

7:15 a.m. After two more pickups, we arrive at the corps to get the trombone. Everyone's on the van now, and we pray for traveling mercies, the camp staff, the kids and that Jesus might have a fun part of their life during the week.

7:17 a.m. "If you need to use the bathroom, now is the time, before we leave the parking lot." Three-quarters of the van occupants promptly dismount from the van and try to be the first to the restroom.

7:31 a.m. "Yee-haw, we're on our way," and everyone in the van cheers as we pull out of the corps parking lot.

7:33 a.m. "Captain McGee, I need to use the bathroom really, really bad."

7:42 a.m. "Yee-haw, we're on our way," I shout for the second time as we pull out of the corps parking lot.

7:47 a.m. The girls in the van begin to sing "A Hundred Bottles of Pop on the Wall." Pass one down and pass it around.

8:18 a.m. In case you're wondering, it takes about 20 minutes to sing the whole song through. If you are the van driver, it only seems to take two hours.

8:30 a.m. Stop for breakfast and a bathroom break, not necessarily in that order.

8:55 a.m. Leave McDonald's.

9:00 a.m. "Captain McGee, I need to go to the bathroom."

9:10 a.m. Leave McDonald's.

9:11 a.m. There begins a huge discussion on what should be playing on the van's radio. After 10 minutes of back and forth, the campers vote on the choice. The vote is three for a country station, one for a hip-hop station and two for a rock and roll station. Sensing the need to affirm and instill in their hearts and minds the greatness of American democracy, I tune the radio to 90.3 FM, a classical music station. The outcry is immediate: "That is so unfair." "We took a vote." I answered with cool logic, "Get over it, I am driving, and it's my van." To the territorial headquarters, I know the van really isn't mine, I realize that all property is held in trust as a part of The Salvation Army, a Georgia Corporation. However, it's not you driving the van with six crazed kids.

9:45 a.m. "Captain McGee, I need to go to the bathroom." Stopping just outside of Rocky Mount, N.C., I look at the dashboard clock as the kids run back to the van from the convenience store. We've spent three hours covering the distance we should have otherwise made in two hours. For camp, we are right on time.

Sign up now. If after this brief description you think you have what it takes to be a van driver, contact your corps officer.

I have so much more to say, but I have to go to the bathroom.

The line forms on the right

By Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

Listening to a little Bobby Darin, a phrase from one of his greatest hits flew by, as it had maybe a hundred times before - but this time I noticed.

"Oh, the line forms on the right, babe."

What I propose here is not an argument for a particular political ideology, nor is it a debate on what is considered right or wrong. It's just that Jesus referred to a separation of sheep from goats; the sheep being herded on the right and the goats on the left (Matthew 25:33). In His analogy, the sheep were rewarded and the goats rejected.

The sheep were not rewarded because they are sheep; nor were the goats cast out just because they were goats. Neither is it really because we are on the right hand or on the left. After all, the sheep needed to be gathered somewhere.

Rather, what seems to matter is why we line up the way we do.

Inclusion in the accepted group involves steadfast belief in Christ, obedience to His will and an insatiable desire to put Him above all else. That is called righteousness.

Conversely, what gets us into trouble is the opposite - disbelief, stubbornness and pride. That is called sin.

Only you can know how you measure up. Only you can determine to which group you gravitate. Life is a series of decisions, and often we are left with nothing but consequences. But this is a decision that will determine how you live here and hereafter.

I want to be in the line that forms on the right. Not politically necessarily, and not even in principle. Only in terms of what matters in heaven.



U.S. State Department, Salvation Army team up in humanitarian response project

Major James Allison (standing, at right), National Capital-Virginia divisional secretary, welcomes 11 guests of the U.S. Department of State who visited NCV DHQ as part of their tour with the Institute of International Education and are participating in a study of "Humanitarian Responses to Crises and Disasters." They listened to a presentation by John Berglund, national disaster services coordinator, on The Salvation Army's disaster work. The group also discussed the role of faith-based organizations in times of crises. Members of the delegation were from Afghanistan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Army volunteers help make Graham festival a success in Baltimore

More than 80,000 faithful and seekers of the faith lifted their hands and hearts in praise and worship at the 2006 Franklin Graham Festival in Baltimore. Among them were more than 11,000 volunteers representing 655 area churches, including men, women and youth from the Salvation Army Baltimore Area Command's Boys and Girls Clubs, Booth House shelter and corps community centers.

"This was a year-long partnership between the festival organizers, The Salvation Army and hundreds of area churches," said Pamela Kasibante, the Army's Baltimore area mission specialist. "As one of the more than 600 local churches participating, we had not expected to have a significant role in the festival, but as it turned out, we were blessed to play a pivotal role in not only all pre-event publicity, event day volunteerism and intake and distribution of donated items, but to become an essential part of a continued partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association"

Kasibante and Army volunteers assisted with pre-event flyer and publicity material distribution, served as lay counselors and supervisors and spearheaded the design, solicitation, gate collection, sorting and distribution of more than 650 donated hygiene kits for the homeless donated by event attendees.

Post-event efforts include a three-fold salvation effort by the Army with the Billy Graham Association to reach out to those who attended the conference in search of new or renewed faith. Among the Army's other contributions to the festival was the participation of youth from the Booth House, corps community centers and local Boys and Girls Clubs in a mass youth choir that performed during the weekend's Youth Day.

Kasibante says the Army in Baltimore will continue to partnership with the Graham Association over the next several months through ongoing discipleship workshops and a discovery group to be hosted at the corps and Booth House.

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