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Volume 25, No. 2

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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Feb 4, 2008

Comm. Feener | Maj. McGee | Maj. Duracher | Ms. Gotrich

Durham Firecrest
makes the
his harvest field

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

Gene Yelverton, blind since 1985, enjoys hearing Scripture shared in his living room by Teddy Beshah during a weekly visit.

Teddy Beshah took a roundabout way to get to where he is today. Born and raised in Ethiopia to a Jewish Orthodox family, he converted to Islam at the age of 10.

“Members of my mother’s family were Muslim, and they brainwashed me well,” Beshah said. “But I ended up in Nairobi, Kenya, where I came under Christian influences – by the time I was
14, I gave my heart to Jesus Christ.”

It was a song that caused Beshah to re-evaluate his beliefs and turn to Christianity. He heard the song for the first time in the church he was invited to visit in Nairobi. The words of the song,
roughly translated from the Amharic language, begin: “I worship this Mighty Lord – the One who is not beaten by any other gods!”

“They are simple words, but to me, on that day, they made a profound impression on me and I wanted to know more about the God whom Christians worship. Also, the tune is an ancient one, and the sound of it moved me deeply,” Beshah said. »Continued


on the
Gulf Coast

The well-
run race
Bessemer, Ala.,
Army expands

New Ministreis Continued:

Now a committed Christian, Beshah wanted nothing else in his life than to spread the gospel. That's when he met The Salvation Army, marching through downtown Nairobi in their resplendent white uniforms to their corps hall.

Beshah's interest in the Army had to be put on hold when his sister, who was his guardian, came to America as a political refugee. Now in America, he joined the Atlanta International Corps and volunteered to be a youth leader and to conduct house-to-house evangelism.

Beshah entered Firecrest training and upon graduation was assigned to Durham, N.C. as the corps Firecrest missioner.

"The neighborhood around the Durham Corps building has become my harvest field," he said. "I know just about everyone living in these blocks around us, and I visit in many of the homes as much as I can."

In each home, Beshah finds a myriad of needs ranging from spiritual counseling to practical assistance like clothing and food.

He presents regular devotions at the Army's Boys & Girls Club, and conducts several Bible study classes and praise services throughout the week. Twice a week he conducts a Bible class among homeless individuals at a nearby shelter.

Beshah volunteers at an elementary school located a block away from the corps. By volunteering, he gets to know the staff and students there and makes a connection for them to come to the corps and the Boys & Girls Club.

He is also working hard to get a prison ministry off the ground. "Many men in the prison system convert to Islam, and because of my Muslim background I feel I could be helpful in redirecting them to Christ," Beshah said.

Beshah's work actually benefits two Salvation Army congregations: the Durham Corps and the Durham Hispanic Ministry.

"Most people we attract to the corps speak English, but those who speak Spanish feel more comfortable worshipping in the Hispanic congregation," he said. "Either way, we win!"

Beshah and his wife, Ariam Kidane, hope to enter the School for Officer Training someday, to prepare for Salvation Army officership.

"So you see," he adds, "I've come a long way, figuratively and literally, from a Muslim boy in Ethiopia!"

Back to top.

Spiritual aspect key ingredient in Katrina recovery

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

Major Alice Tate carries no doubt about God's presence in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. "He's right here among us," she declares.

Tate is the supervisor for Katrina Aid Today-Long Term Recovery and is responsible for shepherding some 400 families devastated by the hurricane and in need of new homes in 11 counties surrounding Hattiesburg, Miss.

"We take a person and we walk them all the way through their recovery needs until they've met every one of them; and if there are needs that we cannot meet, we have a number of partner agencies who might specialize in an area that would be of great help to that individual or family," Tate said.

Tate said that the Army's KAT-LTR program is popular in this south Mississippi city because it is wellorganized, the staff is ever-mindful that each client is devastated and vulnerable and she and her case managers act as advocates for each client.

"One thing I love about this program is that we are able to work toward meeting long-term needs, rather than just the immediate necessities," said Tate, who retired from active officership in 1996. "And to me, that includes a person's spiritual and emotional needs."

About a fourth of her 400 family-clients relocated to Hattiesburg from New Orleans or the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Many of those will not return to their old homes because there is simply nothing left to go back to. The other three-quarters are native to the area and lost most, if not all, of their possessions because of the disaster.

The KAT-LTR program is well-loved and supported in Hattiesburg. This is in part because Tate serves as a pastor and caseworker, according to Tate's corps officer, Major Mark Satterlee.

"When Alice is not working on Katrina Recovery, she is busy here at the corps in many aspects of the ministry - especially with the teens and young adults," Satterlee said.

Tate is corps cadet counselor, Sunday school teacher (teen class), Home League local officer, and faithfully works in the Corps Community Care program.

The well-run race

Bill Goodier claimed a more lofty prize with support
of brother Mark in their running of Hawaii Marathon

By Lt. Colonel William Goodier

When the military transferred my son Mark and his family to Honolulu, my other son, Bill, began making plans to run in the Hawaii Marathon, held each year in Honolulu in connection with Pearl Harbor Day.

Bill has run in more than 15 marathons. He ran one in under 3 hours, 20 minutes and competed twice in the Boston Marathon. After Mark returned from military service in Iraq in October 2007, Bill made plans to enter the Hawaii Marathon Dec. 9. Mark also decided to run, and Mary and I made plans to be there to cheer them on.

I had commented to friends and co-workers that with Bill being a serious marathoner and Mark a first-timer, Bill and Mark would undoubtedly run two very different races. Mark did not have years of training for such an event; he also would be competing on a knee damaged by jarring parachute landings in full combat gear.

The marathon began at 5 a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning. I was surprised when Bill told us he would stay with Mark throughout the race. We watched the 28,000 participants run past Waikiki Beach in the early dawn and later positioned ourselves against the barriers lining the road to the finish line.

After awhile, we saw Bill and Mark approaching, and we cheered as they ran to the finish line, completing the 26.2 mile run together in 4 hours, 36 minutes.

I was proud of Mark for finishing the race. Since the marathon, Bill has told me how he encouraged Mark along the way and stopped and walked with him when Mark's legs felt like lead weights. But Bill said it was difficult to force his body to run at a slower pace. Yet, none of his other races made me as proud. He had thought not of himself but of his brother and stayed by him.

What Bill did was what we as Christians should do for our brothers and sisters around us. Jesus stopped when people needed His help. His service flowed from His love. Lord, let this love flow from us today.

Bessemer, Ala. Army Expands

The Bessemer, Ala., Corps recently enlarged its ranks with the addition of new junior and senior soldiers. The new junior soldiers are (front, L-R) Halee Abbott, Emily Tompkins and Tabitha Abbott. Corps officers Captains Brian and Shannon Tompkins (rear, far left and right) welcomed senior soldiers (L-R) Kimberly Burts, Norma Jean Bearden, Patsy Barnes. Corps Sergeant-Major Peggy Raymond is second from the right.

Back to top.

Go deeper with God: trust

Years ago, Time magazine reported that worried Americans gulped down seven tons of sleeping pills every day. Worry keeps people awake, affects their eating habits, their behavior and their health. It causes some people to die.

As long as we live, there will always be things to fear and trouble us. But Jesus said, " not worry about your life ..." (Matthew 6:29). And Paul wrote, "Do not be anxious about anything ..." (Philippians 4:6).

The cares of this world can choke the Word of God in our lives. Then we worry more and trust less. Failing to trust as we ought, we do not grow in Christ. And not growing in Christ robs us of being a joyful witness. How unfortunate it is when we forget the promise of His Word: "... in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

If we tend to worry, we need to learn to trust Jesus more. Being anxious doesn't help - it injures. This is why Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." (John 14:1).

The world contains a lot of trouble, and some of it is bound to come to you and me. When it does, we should draw near the cross, resting in Christ until our trust is strong in Him.

Brother Lawrence, who testified to arriving at a "habitual sense of God's presence," said, "The trust we put in God honors Him much and draws down great graces."

George Matheson was engaged to be married. Then, one day, he was told by his physician that his sight would soon be gone. He wrote a letter explaining his condition to the woman he dearly loved. She broke off the engagement. He was left with a broken promise and a broken heart. As a Christian, he might have accepted his loss and loneliness with a kind of resigned endurance. But he went beyond that. In faith and trust he turned his sorrow into a song:

"O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee..."

If we would rise above the cares of this life and be salt and light in the world, if we are to go deeper with God, we must trust in Christ daily, receiving His many graces.

Brengle: the way of holiness revisited

I was having Sunday lunch at Commissioner Feener's house when he said to me ... Well, actually, I was at a lunch with Commissioner Feener, while I was in Atlanta when he said to me ... Maybe I was talking to Commissioner Feener before he spoke at a soldiers rally, and he said to me ... In reality, I was sitting in the back of a soldiers rally, and Commissioner Feener said to the crowd that holiness was something that we needed to come back to in The Salvation Army.

I couldn't agree more. There is a hunger not just in The Salvation Army, but throughout the church and even the secular community, for something deeper and more mystical than just showing up for a meeting.

We talk about holiness but seldom take action on it in our lives. But it is God's desire for us that we be holy so that we may experience the deepest and fullest possible relationship with Him.

How do we become holy in a world that lays so many claims upon us? More than 100 years ago, Samuel Logan Brengle wrote a book to help us. In "The Way of Holiness," Brengle names the five parts of having God bless a person with holiness.

Brengle believed that this process was the result of a partnership between God and man. It was futile for a man to claim holiness unless he had prepared and planted the seeds for that to happen. He used the example of a potato farmer who waited for the harvest, but had never bothered to plant the seeds.

"We must see our need of the blessing, and fully to see this need we must be justified."

Can you be half wet and half dry? Those who seek holiness must realize the need to be completely dry, not damp from sin. Brengle uses the expression fully saved, fully aware of the need of God's mercy.

"We must not try to hide the need, but frankly confess it."

How do you hide something from God? It is not possible, for He knows not only every fiber of your being but also every atom. Confessing freely allows God to act freely in your life.

"Believe that the blessing is for you."

Holiness is for the very old who have had all the life sucked out of them. Holiness can't be for me, because I have done terrible things in my life. Holiness isn't for me because my old habits are too ingrained. Nonsense! Holiness is promised to all believers who allow the Holy Spirit wholeheartedly into their lives.

"You must believe it is for you now."

I will start my diet tomorrow, I will quit smoking, but I will taper off instead of quitting cold turkey. Tomorrow is a wonderful place to dwell if you don't wish to succeed. Delaying things keeps them from being accomplished. Crash into holiness NOW; believe holiness is for you.

"Come to Jesus for the blessing with a true heart, holding back nothing."

The great preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote these words in his diary about giving it all over to God. "I have been before God and given myself all that I am and have to him, so that I am not in respect my own, and can claim no right to my self." Edwards' words were powerful when they were written and even more powerful in a me-driven society.

To sum up Brengle's five points of the way of holiness is to break it down by the five needs in your own life. You need to see that you have a need. You need not hide your need. You need to believe that it is for you. You need to believe that the experience is now. You need to believe that it is a total surrender and experience.

Prairie prayer-time

About midway between Dallas and Tyler, Texas, on I-20 heading east, look for a silhouetted cowboy kneeling in prayer near a cross. His trusty horse is close by.

Whoever erected that display obviously wanted to send a simple message to thousands of people passing by each day.

The first time I saw the display, the sun was just coming up over the Texas prairie. It was impressive at dawn's early light, but I imagine that at any time of the day it would catch your attention. In fact, it is striking at night as well, because I noticed when I doubled back to snap a photo of it that it has a string of lights around all three figures (horse, cowboy and cross) so that it can be illuminated.

That particular morning was rather cold, and I began imagining if such a scene were borrowed from real life, from what chores did that cowboy pause to pray? Was it at the end of a long day's work: mending fences, finding a stray calf, or just traveling to/from home?

Was his prayer one of thanksgiving, petition for a loved one, or even for a particular problem he faced? It could even have been all three.

The Bible encourages us to pray, and to do it often. First Thessalonians 5:17 puts it bluntly: Pray without ceasing. For one of the shortest verses in the Bible, it is rich in meaning. A spiritual life without prayer is like denying the physical body of oxygen - you won't last long.

So take some time from your busy day. Get off your horse. The Father has something to say to you.

Sterling silver confession

Not long ago I was given a treasure from my family of a very old spoon made of silver. I understand it went back a few generations, coming from "the old country" with the intricate designs commonly crafted on silver pieces of its time. However, the spoon was black with tarnish, so I needed to clean it without damaging the luster or shape. It was sterling silver with not many alloys in it to strengthen the metal, thus it was also fragile and completely useless without being clean. I did find something to remove the years of blackened layers of neglect. The results were stunning.

I placed it in the drawer with the rest of the flatware and soon found out that it started to show the signs of tarnish once again. So, out came the cleanser and the spoon's beauty was restored. I learned exactly what is required for spoon to keep its brilliance.

I believe this picture clearly illustrates a part of our prayer life that we sometimes neglect - confession. In the prayers of the early church and still present in many worship models is the inclusion of confession during the worship service. These are truly wonderful, intimate words that perhaps have become stale ritual to some but these prayers were never intended to be mere ritual. Though the prayers were recited corporately as a body, they were simply pointing to the need to be clean before a perfect God.

In our world, we do not like to appear in the wrong before anyone - especially those with whom we fellowship at church. We are all good Christian brothers and sisters, praising the Lord with happy hearts, right? But nothing is hidden from God. He knows we are not clean before Him. We commit sin on a constant basis, even if it is the sin of neglect (not loving our neighbor, indifference to injustices, harboring thoughts of envy, jealousy, pride, entitlement, etc.), and soon our excuses for not confessing become a maze of masks we wear in public, trying to "save face" rather than the pure luster of a clean heart and mind before Him and others.

The early church really did make it very simple for us in that it was a part of every time they prayed together - confession was simply included and not always a heart-wrenching display of remorse as we sometimes perceive confession to be. It was a burning desire to simply be in communion with God, getting us into the right alignment of speaking freely to Him in prayer after the assurance of His forgiveness and going forth in new strength not our own.

Sometimes our remorse is very heavy. It is much like the heavily tarnished spoon. Because sin has not been addressed, it has blackened the surface of our heart and clouded the brilliance from our mind. We become jaded and try to be useful to God in this state, but it truly is not a brilliant service. The Word of God will do its bidding and eventually we bow in repentance, being thoroughly washed clean.

But as I learn more of Christ in Scripture, I see more and more how I fall short of His beauty. I am assured that as my sin is being revealed to me each time I confess, He is faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. It is ongoing maintenance before the Lord - as I confess Him as Savior and Lord, I confess any hindrance right away that keeps me from that perfect relationship with Him. He invites us to do that gladly and without hesitation.

As you start this New Year of 2008, may you experience the freedom of confession so that your frequent and confident prayers to the Lord continue to be bright, shining and spotless words of love and power for His purpose.


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