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Sunday school and struggle

My wife learned to read in Sunday school. She learned to read so that she would not be embarrassed when they called on her in Sunday school. On a recent Sunday, a young lady in my wife's class told her that the school she was going to was terrible and that she had learned to read while coming to Sunday school. How neat is that?

A teacher in our Sunday school a few years ago was teaching on God's love. The day's lesson was about God's love and concern for us. The class was about to end when a boy asked, "If God love us and protects us, why does God let my stepdad beat on me so bad." With that, he raised his shirt up and showed the teacher the most horrendous bruises you can imagine on his lower back and stomach.

Social Services was called in. The Sunday school teacher struggles to this day with that very simple question asked by a very small fragile child.

I don't think or want for Sunday school to have that kind of a dramatic punch every Sunday to emphasize how the lessons we learn are not about platitudes. But Sunday school should be about how we struggle with God, ourselves and with society in sorting out our relationships here and above.  

I think many of our corps struggle with Sunday school, because they are not really sure why they are having Sunday school to begin with. Sunday school should be a place in which we prepare ourselves, our children and each other to manage the struggle that is life itself. Being prepared for the struggle means arming ourselves with God's word and the encouragement of fellow soldiers in this war.

Maybe Sunday school struggles to flourish because we are meeting for the wrong reasons. Do we have Sunday school to win a divisional contest and see our corps listed in the top 10? Are we having Sunday school because we have always had it? Do we have Sunday school because all the other corps have Sunday school? Are we having Sunday school because we think we should, or are we truly motivated to disciple others and ourselves in the Christian life?

A few years ago in a community we were stationed in, the church adjacent to our corps building decided to participate in their district Sunday school competition. They put out flyers, posters, signs and newsletters announcing the Sunday school campaign. A key strategy in heir effort was the attempt to get people who attended only church to come to Sunday school. Those who attended worship services only were invited by individuals in each of the Sunday school classes to ensure that personal touch.

The campaign was a great success - they doubled the number of people in their Sunday school in just six weeks. But two weeks after the campaign was over, the attendance had dropped back to pre-contest levels. I asked the pastor why the startling success and startling drop off occurred in their Sunday school attendance. His response has stayed with me over the years. "We got them excited about coming to a contest, but we never got them excited about why we have Sunday school."

Invite people to the struggle that is Sunday school. In the process of the struggle, they just may be changed.

Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Genesis 32:28.


Something even


can believe

Does this apply to you?

Perhaps you are among a growing trend these days that has at least some measure of difficulty in believing the most basic Christian concept: that there is a God who loves you and would stop at nothing to win your love in return.

Well, suppose I told you that if you could hold onto one simple truth, would you be willing (later on) to accept the more difficult doctrines by faith, if nothing else? If so, then this may help. I found it to be something that even non-believers can believe in - and it helped me through some of my darkest hours.

There is definitely good and evil in the world. Really, there's no debate about that. Who, then, is controlling these battling forces? The Bible has a name for the evil father of lies; he is known as the devil.

Reason only follows, then, that for God the opposite is true. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (I Corinthians 14:33).

If you can just accept by faith that much; you are halfway there. From that point it is not at all a stretch to believe that the Father of all that is good wants very much to provide a way out for us from this evil mess in which we find ourselves mired. That way is a Savior, and His name is Jesus.

Oh, there is another bit of good news: if you feel what you're read here doesn't apply to can!

Start with the first step, and move on from there. The worst that can happen is that you won't be a non-believer anymore! And that's a good thing.


Mrs. Brigadier Grace Amberger

Mrs. Brigadier Grace Amberger was promoted to Glory Jan. 2, 2007, from a nursing home in Enid, Okla. The funeral service was held at the Dallas Temple Corps with Majors Andrew and Amelia Kelly, divisional staff officers in Oklahoma, and Captains Cameron and Paula Henderson, corps officers in Enid, leading and officiating. Committal was in Restland Cemetary.

Grace Elma Thorn was born Sept. 18, 1909, in Fleetwood, Okla., to Martin and Callie Thorn. She experienced the call to officership at a youth councils in Oklahoma and entered training in Atlanta, from which she was commissioned an officer on June 26, 1928. She served in various corps appointments in Oklahoma and as home officer at Evangeline Booth College. She was later transferred to the Women's Social Services Department, where she served the rest of her single officer career as superintendent in Home and Hospital work in Louisville, Roanoke, Tulsa and San Antonio.

On May 22, 1958, she married Brigadier Louis Amberger, then stationed in the Miami Adult Rehabilitation Center. On May 19, 1959 they retired from active service. Louis was promoted to glory on Jan. 18, 1982.

Grace was a hard worker and ministered faithfully as an active officer for 31. She loved the Army and looked forward to visits to the nursing home from comrade Salvationists.

She is survived by nieces, nephews and other family members. During the past eleven years her niece, Joy Robinson, has been her faithful and devoted caregiver.

Lt. Colonel

Irene Mikles

Lt. Colonel Irene (John) Mikles was promoted to Glory Jan. 5, 2007, from Clearwater, Fla ., after a long illness. The funeral service was held at the Clearwater Corps with Commissioner Willard Evans presiding and Commissioner James Osborne speaking. A service was also held at the Atlanta Temple Corps at which Lt. Colonel David Mikles presided and Commissioner Andrew Miller was the speaker.

Irene Baugh was born Jan. 2, 1928, in Jonesboro, Ark., to Henry and Bertha Baugh and was brought to The Salvation Army by her sister, Moleva, who had become involved through the Girl Guard program. She later lived with her sister at which time the Army programs became a part of her life. After graduating from high school in Greenville, S.C., where she was class valedictorian, she followed the Lord's leading and entered officer training in Atlanta. She was commissioned May 23, 1949.

As a single officer she served at the Home and Hospital in Richmond, Va., and in Tulsa, Okla. She met John Mikles while she was in Oklahoma, and they were married June 18, 1952.

After John was commissioned as an officer, they served as corps officers at the Lakewood Corps in Atlanta. They also served in appointments at Evangeline Booth College and on divisional staffs in National Capital-Virginia, North-South Carolina and Florida. The were divisional leaders in Kentucky-Tennessee, Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi and Texas. Their final appointment prior to retirement on Aug. 31, 1995, was at territorial headquarters, where John served as the assistant chief secretary and Irene as special assistant to the territorial president, women's organizations.

Irene was a beloved leader in The Salvation Army with a passion for Christ. She was known for her sweet demeanor and caring spirit and was devoted to her husband and family.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Lt. Colonel John Mikles; son Major Gordon (Rick) and Connie Mikles; daughter Gail and R.C. Fleeman; daughter Major Leisa and James (Chip) Hall; brothers Henry and Leon Baugh; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.



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