The story began with a group of college students from Germany who
came to the U.S. to retrace the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But there
was a breakdown in their travel logistics because they found themselves in
Washington, D.C. , without an adequate place to stay. One student called a
Salvation Army officer he knew in Berlin at 4 a.m. on Sunday. That officer,
Captain Friedl, called Major Jim Garrington in Taiwan. Garrington called his cousin in
Dresden, Germany, who called her aunt, Major Debbie Sjogren, in Milwaukee.
Sjogren called the Harbor Light Center in Washington and caught Major Doug
Browning just as he was leaving his office to go into the morning worship
service. Browning secured rooms at the Harbor Light Center for the students
while they were in D.C. He then called Sjogren in Milwaukee, who called Major
Garrington's cousin in Dresden, who called Captain Friedl in Berlin, who
called the students, who called Major Browning. By 10 a.m. , arrangements had
been made for the Harbor Light to pick up the students to take them to their
lodging, only two miles from where they made their first call.
Couple leaving legal careers to
‘fill their cup' in officership
Southern Spirit staff
Their real-life professions seem to jump out of a scene from the
popular television series "Law & Order." Brad McCullouch is the
assistant district attorney, prosecuting lawbreakers in Greenwood, Miss. Mary
Beth works as a court reporter. They fell in love when they met in a courtroom
about three years ago.
Despite the investments of time and
education into their careers, the McCullouchs are now preparing to walk away
from lucrative professions in order to become Salvation Army officers. They
hope to enter the Evangeline Booth College with the next session of cadets in
"What we do for a living at present is
good and necessary for civilized society," Brad said. "But as a
Christian, I want more. My ‘cup' wasn't filled, until I met The
Brad didn't have to go far to meet
the Army - a canteen was serving food and supplies to his Greenwood neighbors
in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
"My Sunday school
class volunteered to help serve in the canteen one afternoon, but I came away
from that experience profoundly impressed that these Salvationists weren't
there for just a few hours - they were laboring from sunup to sundown, for many
weeks...and in 100-plus-degree heat!"
Brad had been
longing to enter some type of ministry - he just didn't know where.
Reminiscent of William Booth's declaration to Catherine, Brad arrived home
that night and told Mary Beth, "I've found what I want to
Mary Beth's initial reaction was not as keen,
especially as she learned more of the demands of officership.
"I love Jesus, and I love my husband, so I was willing to
follow Brad into this," Mary Beth said. "But I was struggling because
I wasn't sensing my own calling for this."
problem was resolved during the recent Territorial Future Officers Fellowship
Retreat, held at the Evangeline Booth College.
were distributed to the delegates; each stone representing obstacles to
one's calling to ministry. At one point delegates were invited to bring
their stones forward and leave them at the altar. Mary Beth held her stone
Later that afternoon, Mary Beth knelt in the
Talmadge Prayer Room. Through her tears she begged God to give her a sign of
her own calling to ministry as an officer. Just then her eyes went down to the
open Bible in front of her. The verse she spotted was Philippians 4:19 - God
shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ
"That was all I needed. The sense of peace
was overwhelming, as I let go of my fear and pride. I stopped avoiding and
answered my own call," Mary Beth said.
A few minutes
later, Mary Beth approached Captain Roni Robbins and quietly slipped the stone
into Robbins' hand. Nothing needed to be said. The message was clear.
The McCullouchs are absolutely sure that The Salvation Army is
where God wants them to serve. "The Salvation Army is made of
heroes," Brad said. "I want to be a part of a ministry that is bigger
than anything I've known."
Brad still enjoys
watching "Law & Order" - particularly when he loses a tough case.
He feels better when his television counterpart, Jack McCoy, wins a case
"Preaching is a form of argument for
something you sincerely believe. Instead of trying to convict someone of a
crime, I'll be urging people to allow Christ to deliver them from the
punishment they deserve," he said.
When asked if he
thinks he can make an easy transition from being a prosecutor to being an
advocate, Brad thought for a second and said, "Sure, I can do
Love is ...
He might just be the most adorable
kid around. With big brown eyes and a smile that brings joy to the most
desolate heart, Jeremy no doubt will someday be the focus of every girl's
dreams. He is blessed with his mother's beauty and his father's
intelligent but hammy personality, the perfect genetic combination that will
serve him well in the days ahead when he'll need a break or two in a
rough-and-tumble world. Jeremy brings light to our little commune and reminds
me of my own children long since grown. Don't turn your head for more than
a moment - you'll miss the sweetest part of life.
be getting softer and less intimidating in my old age, even grandfatherly, much
to my surprise. Little children seem to like me more now that my hair is gray
and my voice a bit more delicate. It is a kind thing God does, maturing us in
subtle fashion as he prepares us for new roles in life. Still, it was a
surprise when 3-year-old Jeremy climbed into my lap and drifted off peacefully
to sleep. I was visibly moved that such a thing would happen. It's been at
least 10 years since my youngest child even considered going to sleep in my
embrace. I'm sure the friends around us at the time weren't aware of
the emotional warmth I felt at the thought that someone loved me
unconditionally enough to feel safe in my presence. It was a rare and cherished
As wonderful as it feels to be loved and have that
feeling confirmed, how devastating must it be to know nothing of such
affection? We must be aware of the reality of loneliness and sorrow, those
thieves of joy that can be vanquished only by the exercise of tangible love - a
love that manifests itself in the form of legitimate presence. Sometimes it is
not enough to tell the hurting soul they are adored by Jesus. We must be
willing to hold their hand in His name and walk through the darkness together.
This is the central issue. We leave too much of the loving up to God. Sure, God
is love, but God's love in us is stronger still. Besides, are we not
compelled to serve as emissaries of His nature as the practitioners of His
Jesus holds us accountable to the task. He fully
expects us to help Him in the process of healing broken hearts. Indeed, there
will be times when we will be required to share in the anguish of another,
mingling our tears with their own while taking upon ourselves the agony of
bitter circumstances. We are called to do no less than Jesus did. Love by touch
and presence is the tangible commodity of the child of God. It is the destiny
from which flow all other lesser Christian responsibilities.
You know what you should do? Even as you scan this page, you
should assume that someone is waiting for love. For goodness sake, go out and
find them! Run into the streets if you have to and find the lost soul that is
looking specifically for you. They're all around, hurting and desperate,
longing for wholeness, searching for purpose. In Christ, you have the gift!
Give it away and see it return to you in never-ending fashion. This knowledge
of love is my offering to you. I should know - a little child showed me.