Born Again Couple Swears Off Drugs

Carlos and Edith Rosa used to regularly get high with a neighbor. That arrangement stopped abruptly, however, when the neighbor became a born again believer in Jesus. Little did the Rosas know that soon they, too, would find Christ as Savior and Lord.

“Our neighbor invited Edith to her church, and we had been noticing a change,” Carlos says. “Our friend no longer wanted to get high with us, and it seemed there was something profoundly different about her.”

Just out of curiosity, Edith accepted her friend’s invitation and went to her church. She went several more times and soon gave her heart to the Lord. That’s when Edith invited Carlos to come as well. “I remember telling Edith, ‘If you start to dress with long skirts and no makeup, and talking weird, I’m leaving you,’” he says. “But she reassured me that this was not that type of church, so I went.”

Carlos found that he, too, needed a Savior, and that God had a special plan for his life. He also found that his lifestyle was not what God intended for him. “I accepted the Lord, but I continued to smoke,” Carlos goes on, “but the Holy Spirit started to show me that what I was doing was grieving Him. I was embroiled in a fight between the flesh and the spirit.”

Carlos tried convincing himself that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He even told God that since He had created the marijuana plant, it was natural for Carlos to indulge in it like anything else in God’s creation. “But still, the Holy Spirit showed me that, yes, the Father created everything on this planet, but that marijuana was like the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden!” Carlos tried to reason with God, arguing, “smoking makes me feel happy and relaxed. I work hard, pay my bills and support my family. And besides, I’m not hurting anybody!”

As Carlos studied more of God’s Word and learned how much Christ loves him and wants the best for him, he cried out to God to help him with his addiction, because he was powerless to do it on his own. He also saw that he was indeed hurting himself and his family with his behavior. “I couldn’t stop, so I needed His help. You see, I’d been smoking and drinking since I was 14. I was addicted, and I knew it,” Carlos says.

Someone at church gave Carlos and Edith a pamphlet about an upcoming Christian retreat. They decided to go. “I was kind of scared, knowing I’d be without my ‘medication’ for a whole week,” he recalls.

Edith prayed that the Lord would give Carlos strength and that he wouldn’t get in a foul mood and leave the retreat. Worship services were held each morning and evening, featuring a speaker who brought the message. During the afternoon, the delegates were able to go to a tiny chapel at the mountain’s summit for prayer, Bible reading, and soaking in the beautiful scenery.

“I noticed that by the third day, when I normally got moody when trying to kick the habit on my own, I was so full of joy,” Carlos says. “The Holy Spirit was sustaining me, filling me each day. By the end of the week, I was set free, delivered from 19 years of addiction, and I never went back again!” That was 20 years ago, in 1995.

Today, Carlos and Edith are uniformed soldiers at the Ridgewood Corps in Queens, New York. They are both on fire for Christ, and they have special advice for those who are struggling: “Put your trust and faith in our Heavenly Father, because if He can deliver us, He can do it for you!” Carlos says with a broad smile. “I know that no high any substance can give you is like the ‘Most High!’”

The Legacy of the Booths

William and Catherine Booth were remarkable. When William Booth moved to London at the age of 19 to find work to support his mother and two sisters back in Nottingham, he knew only two people: his sister, Ann, and her husband.

A mutual friend introduced him to Catherine Mumford in London, but Catherine, living with her parents, was leading a rather sheltered life. Their lives would be radically changed as they followed the leading of God and founded The Christian Mission in 1865, which evolved into The Salvation Army 13 years later. At the end of their lives—Catherine in 1890 and William in 1912—untold numbers of people around the earth had either followed the Booths by joining the Army or knew of their impressive work.

This rich legacy shines like a diamond with many facets, but three are prominent.

First, the Booths developed an intentional community—intentional in its doctrines, its mission and even in its appearance. The Army was founded not on their personal authority, but on the authority of the Scriptures that bore witness to the glorious message that “the Word became human” (John 1:14) and made His home among us. The doctrines that flowed from this belief came to life in the Army’s preaching and ministry, often to the least among them. And the power of that redemptive life was lived out in simplicity, demonstrated most evidently in the wearing of the Army uniform as a sign that all of life was sacramental, a visible sign of God’s grace.

Central to the theological life of the Army is the doctrine of holiness of heart and life. This biblical and Wesleyan emphasis on the holiness of the individual as well as the community of the faithful was a legacy from the Booths that witnessed not only to their theological loyalties, but to their vision for the central doctrine of the Scriptures, culminating in Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount to “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Have the same view, the same direction and the same goal as God. Love what God loves and hate what God hates.

This legacy is vital today. Denying the intentionality of the community brings certain death in a pluralistic society. In our world, the only groups that will survive are those that are absolutely committed to their doctrines, mission and identity.

Second, there was clarity of purpose for their Army. All that was said and done was a sign of service to the glorious Kingdom of God established by Christ, whose first sermon gave the clarion call: “The Kingdom of God is is near! Repent of yur sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15). The preaching of the Gospel as well as the giving of a cup of cold water bore witness to that Kingdom, and the Army in its 150th year still proclaims that Gospel in word and in deed. While initially The Christian Mission preaching stations served the people who lived in close proximity, The Salvation Army began to live out loving God and neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40) in several places around the world. William Booth finally organized this growing expression of the Kingdom, first in an article to his followers entitled “Salvation for Both Worlds,” and second in his now famous book entitled In Darkest England and the Way Out.

Since that time, the Army has been committed to serving the Kingdom by loving its neighbors, especially the poor among us. When Salvation Army officers (ministers) are ordained and commissioned to preach and live out the Gospel, they promise “to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable and befriend those who have no friends.” Faithfulness to taking the Gospel to the world, especially to the poor of this world, continues the legacy of the Booths.

A third legacy of the Booths was their sure move into the future. In their day it was not unusual for Christians to believe that they would win the world for Jesus and thus usher in the glorious Kingdom of God in all its fullness. The Booths shared that vision. However, that view of history was unsustainable in the 20th century, a century that began with the unimaginable inhumanity of World War I. That war clearly demonstrated that the world was brutal, and that evil surrounded the church. The 20th century continued to bear witness to sin, godlessness and inhumanity.

Nevertheless, both the hope and the blessed assurance of the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God have never left the Army. The Army moves forward in difficult times and circumstances not on its own strength, but with the declaration that God raised up the Army; God has sustained the Army and the future of its message, mission and ministry are all secure as long as the Army remains faithful to Christ. The Army moves into the future, following God into His future, with great hope in the authority of God for its work. And the Army still believes, as did the Booths, that we are on the march toward the new heaven and the new earth that will be inaugurated with the Second Advent of Christ. This holy optimism bears witness to the legacy of William and Catherine Booth.

The Salvation Army today is grateful indeed for its Founders, but it is careful to make sure that they are seen as the human beings that they were. At the same time, we recognize that both William and Catherine Booth gave themselves to God for the holy purpose of proclaiming His redeeming message to the whole world for the sake of the Kingdom of God. And so, perhaps the greatest legacy of the Booths, after all, is their lives of perfect loyalty to the God who redeemed them and called them to bring an Army of salvation into a world in need of redemption.

A Time to Stand Firm

In interviews with Editor-in-Chief Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee when the Army’s international leaders visited USA National Headquarters this spring, General André Cox discusses the need to stand firm, resist current trends and celebrate what the Army is and can be. Commissioner Sylvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries, adds her thoughts on God’s provision and how the Army needs to support women today.

War Cry: What comforted you most during your recent illness?
André Cox:
I had so many indications from people all over the world that they were regularly praying for me. That was certainly a great comfort. The initial diagnosis came as a complete shock, as it would do to anyone else. You know these things can happen, but you don’t anticipate them personally. Although it’s been a difficult journey with it’s ups and downs for me and for Silvia, we felt that there really was power in prayer and that sustained us. That I had access to good medical care was comforting and I am grateful to the surgeon and doctors who’ve been helping me through this. Even they talk of a remarkable recovery. I can only attribute that to the power of prayer because I am today pain free, under no medication and, apart from regular monitoring, getting on with my life.

WC: How should Salvationists handle the increasing persecution aimed at Christians throughout the world?
AC:
We need to sit down and think very carefully where we place our faith, because sometimes when things are going very well we take things for granted. Perhaps we forget just how dependent we are upon God’s grace every day of our lives. It’s time for Christians to sit down and reflect on those spiritual realities. We need to cling to the promises in Scripture. God has plans for us and we are secure in His hands.

There are quite horrendous stories that are highlighted in the media of Christians being persecuted in the Middle East. They are a reminder that to follow Christ can come at a cost. We need to be aware of where the true value of the Kingdom is. We should cherish the eternal values and the fact that eternal life is promised to us, as these are important in keeping us faithful. It’s not the time to hide our light under a bushel. We’ve got to be ready to stand firm and be counted.

WC: What message do Salvationists most need to hear?
AC:
Everywhere I go, whatever culture, whatever country, even the most economically challenged places, people aspire to possess material things. While we all enjoy the benefits of modern living, we shouldn’t focus our hearts and our minds on material things. We talk about the value of the Kingdom of God but we also are quite happy pursuing material things. There is a danger. In some places society is driving us to being successful, promoting the need for a good education, a good job or the apartment we live in or the amount of money we have. I see that permeating virtually every society and that’s a worrying trend. The seduction of the prosperity gospel that teaches that if we contribute financially to the work of God then automatically we’ll be blessed with material wealth. There is a real danger in that and we should not allow ourselves to be seduced by the passing values of this world.

WC: What excites you the most about the Army reaching its 150th year?
AC:
We’ve got a lot to look forward to this year at the congress in London. I don’t want this to be just an opportunity for us to pat ourselves on the back and rejoice about the great things that we’ve got. This is to be a time when we pause to reflect and thank God for what He’s done in the Army because it’s not us, it’s Him.

There are a lot of things that we can celebrate. Around the world lives are being transformed in all sorts of programs, not only the sophisticated programs of social institutions but through corps. There is the faithful witness of people in so many of our corps who are there to receive people who come with varying needs. People are truly being touched by God’s presence through faithful ministry and corps programs. William Booth, though he may possibly raise his eyebrows at one or two things he sees in the Army today, would be pleased to see that we are still responding and can respond rapidly to human need. We still do it because of our compassion and the love of Christ that compels us to do it. We haven’t moved from that. We need to focus on that; not pat ourselves on the back but celebrate what God is doing in the present. We should also think and listen and create space so that God can show us what He wants to do in the future.

WC: What’s next for The Salvation Army?
AC:
I have a hope and vision for the work in our corps. In this 150th year it is a great opportunity for us to look at what we can be doing to contribute to wider society. It’s not enough to have our buildings available for music rehearsals on a weeknight or maybe for Sunday worship; there are so many other things that we could be doing. One of the things I love in the States are the Kroc Centers I’ve been to where people from the community are welcomed in and connect, perhaps at a very basic or material level. These are places where the doors are open every day! But through this contact they begin a journey of faith.

My hope is that our corps will become agents for delivery of social services in some way so that there is much greater integrated mission. We don’t have a worshipping community and a serving community. We do both. If we only deliver part of the mission in a social institution it’s not The Salvation Army. If we’re only a worshipping community and a corps, then we’re not The Salvation Army. There needs to be a much more integrated approach. I see that as being a signicant way forward for the growth of our corps in the future.

WC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
AC: Boundless will see 16,000 Salvationists gathering from all over the world. I hope that this will be a congress which will have an immediate impact in the spiritual life of the Army. I hope that this one will be a celebration of the wide variety of cultures, uniforms, national costumes. It will just be a foretaste of what Heaven will be, because they shall come from the East, they will come from the West and we shall all sit down in the Kingdom of God. We will have a visual representation of that.

A Time to Build Women Up

War Cry: What sustained you during your husband’s illness?
Sylvia Cox:
We were preparing to go to Finland when we heard the news. As you can imagine it was quite a shock. But the Lord is still very good. The next morning as we were reading the Word together, the passage was in Jeremiah 31, and when I read verse 28, “But now I will watch over you to build you up and make you strong, says the Lord,” it was like if the Lord was speaking directly to us through that verse. When later on I doubted about the future, that Bible verse comforted me. That, coupled with the prayer of people, helped me a lot. We received so many encouraging messages saying that people were praying for us. Between what God gave us at that specific moment and the prayer of people was enough to sustain me during those days.

WC: What concerns you most about women in The Salvation Army?
SC:
For women in general, I am greatly concerned about sexual violence, abuse and domestic violence. I am also concerned about the erosion of family life and the loneliness of some women. In the Army, we are not always successful in connecting with working women, with young women or single parents. We seem to be very comfortable among ourselves and we don’t reach out enough. The opportunities to work with women are there, but we don’t always see them or take advantage of them. Also, we are not sufficiently valuing the contribution of women.

WC: What gives you the most encouragement about women in The Salvation Army?
SC:
When I read or hear the stories of women who found the Lord through the Women’s Ministry I am greatly encouraged. Lately I was reading the annual reports and I was heartened by the accounts about women who have found Christ through our programs. It is also encouraging to see that when we give the opportunity to our women to develop and use their gifts we do see change and transformation in their lives, their families and their communities. Through skills training many women can put food on the table. They can support their families, their children. All this is a great encouragement.

WC: From your worldwide travels, what image or images come to mind?
SC:
The best image which comes to my mind is the rainbow, because it has a lot of different colors. It is a picture of the “One Army.”

In some places the color is vibrant and there is a lot of life. Other places are darker, there’s not so much life; nonetheless it’s still part of the rainbow and when you look at a rainbow with those different shades of color, it’s beautiful.

WC: What’s exciting to you about the Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary?
SC:
There is a lot that excites me about the 150th. First, it is a way to thank the Lord, because He has kept us, blessed us, the Army is still growing, and a lot of miracles still happen. It will also be wonderful to meet people from all around the world, and worship together. We are praying for an outpouring of His Spirit at the congress. So I am looking forward to see what the Lord is going to do and I am waiting with expectation to see how the Lord is going to work in the lives of many people.

WC: What is it that you love so much about this appointment?
SC:
I love to travel and to discover how the Army works in numerous different cultures. It gives me the possibility and privilege to share the Word of God with countless people. I love meeting the women around the world and learning about what they are doing, their joys and challenges. I have discovered scores of marvelous, hardworking women who love and serve the Lord.

My position allows me to have some influence and I am very thankful and humble at this responsibility.

Salvation Army USA Statistical Highlights

Centers of Operation:

1,226 | Corps
   168 | Outposts and Service Centers
   141 | Rehabilitation Centers
     97 | Child Day Care Centers
   332 | Community Centers, Boys/Girls Clubs
     26 | Kroc Centers
     10 | Adult Day Care Centers
   269 | Senior Citizen Centers
   582 | Group Homes/Temporary Housing
     45 | Camps
     88 | Permanent Residences
     24 | Medical Facilities
2,904 | Service Units
1,226 | Thrift Stores

Personnel:

       3,551 | Officers and Auxiliary Captains
     43,605 | Women’s Ministry Members
     13,241 | Men’s Club Members
     58,601 | Advisory Organization Members
3,916,042 | Holiness Meeting Attendance (cumulative)
3,314,208 | Volunteers
   109,579 | Soldiers

People Served:

   208,218 | Summer and Day Campers
2,034,402 | Persons Visited in Institutions
     68,162 | Job Referrals
   289,400 | Correctional Services outreach
   939,853 | Senior Citizens assistance
   148,849 | Substance Abuse
     18,597 | Received Medical Care
   565,742 | Institutional Care provided
     34,024 | Missing Persons inquiries
   952,614 | Salvation Meeting Attendance

Services:

    $2,474,267 | Cash Grants
    56,945,735 | Meals Served
    10,653,958 | Lodgings Supplied
    18,341,107 | Clothes, Furniture, Gifts distributed
  $25,252,632 | Giving to Online Red Kettle
$144,747,769 | Red Kettle Campaign Raised
    16,696,576 | Basic Social Services
        230, 645 | Disaster Assistance
      3,335,284 | Holiday Assistance

Faith of Our Fathers: Stand Up for Faith, Freedom, And Fatherhood

In time for Independence Day, Faith Of Our Fathers will be released to theaters nationwide by Pure Flix (God’s Not Dead) and Samuel Goldwyn Films on July 1. This inspirational and exceptional film commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and it touted as “a story of fatherhood and a journey of brotherhood.”

With the Vietnam War raging in 1969, two young fathers report for duty. One is a man of great faith, while the other is a doubt-filled cynic. A quarter-century later, their sons, Wayne and John Paul (David A.R. White and Kevin Downes), meet as strangers.

Guided by handwritten letters from their fathers from the battlefield, they embark on an unforgettable journey to “The Wall”—the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Along the way they discover that the devastation of war cannot break the love of a father for his son.

Faith Of Our Fathers is a Downes Brothers Production, and also stars Stephen Baldwin, Candace Cameron-Bure, Rebecca St. James, and Si Robertson (who is a Vietnam Veteran, in addition to his recent popularity as “Uncle Si” on television’s Duck Dynasty).

“From Vietnam battlefields to emotional battlefields of today, Faith Of Our Fathers shows the power of faith in God to transform lives,” Producer Bobby Downes says. “Uplifting and encouraging, Faith Of Our Fathers is an important journey—one that brings honor and, hopefully, healing to vets and their families affected by their great sacrifices.”

“So many young men who went to Vietnam never came home,” said Si Robertson. “Hey, they left families behind that never got to know those great guys. This story is about two sons on a road trip to learn about their dads. It’s a story about Vietnam, but it happens in all wars, and I’m proud to be part of a film that helps bring peace to people.”

What Happened to the Hallelujah Lassies?

In 1880, seven young English women traveled from London to New York on the SS Australia. After a three-week journey, they arrived on March 10. These were not the usual immigrants seeking a new life. They were Hallelujah Lassies sent by General William Booth—and accompanied by Commissioner George Scott Railton—to open the work of The Salvation Army in the United States. Each Lassie exemplified the late 19th-century feminist ideal of the “New Woman,” one who left the sphere of domesticity for a life of independence. The Salvation Army offered women the opportunity to be equal to men by leading meetings, guiding people to God and taking control of their own lives.

Walking down the gangplank, they offered a prayer upon stepping on dry land. They stood out in the crowd in their “short black dresses, black coats, black hats with crimson ribbons inscribed with gold letters ‘The Salvation Army.’”

Commissioner Railton arranged an open-air meeting but was unable to find a suitable location, Then Harry Hill, who owned a theater on the corner of Houston and Mulberry Streets in lower Manhattan, approached the new arrivals with an offer to host the meeting. So, after a performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (a panorama), Railton and the Lassies led a meeting with singing, testimonies and prayer. Admission cost 25 cents and Hill had one of the largest takes of the year. He asked Railton to come back every day, but he declined. The crowd was rough but listened politely to the Lassies’ message. The audience had never seen such a group before, and the newspapers reported on the event.

The women were soon split up and sent out to open corps and preach the Gospel. But who went where? Emma Morris, along with Lizzie Pearce (or Pearson) and Annie Shaw were sent to Newark, New Jersey. Railton told them, “Trust in the Lord and go right after them.” The three were terrified to be without Railton but they prayed all day and the opening of Newark was a success. By summer the heat was too much for Morris and she returned home to England, but a few months later she came back to serve again. After 16 years of service, she resigned to marry Mr. Lambert. Where Lizzie and Annie went is unknown.

Clara Price was sent to assist Eliza Shirley in Philadelphia. Clara was originally from the Isle of Wight and came to London as a mother’s helper. She attended an Army meeting held by Captain Allan and was converted. After a year of being a soldier, the captain received a telegram from General Booth asking for volunteers to go to America. Clara raised her hand. She later attributed her boldness to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Clara resigned after a few years of service in Pennsylvania to marry Mr. Dauman.

Alice Coleman and Rachel Evans left no records behind. It is rumored they returned to England after a few months.

And then there was Lieutenant Emma Westbrook, the most famous Lassie. She was born in 1848. When she heard Catherine Booth speak in 1874 she joined the group. She was asked to help out in the Booth household, often caring for Baby Eva (later General Evangeline Booth). Though Eva was not a baby by then, the other children referred to her as Baby. General William Booth selected her for America, and off she went. Emma was the first officer at New York #1. For seven months she served there, holding nightly meetings packed with 800 people at the Grand Union Hall. In 1884 she left the Army briefly to join Thomas Moore’s Army during the Ballington Booth split, but returned in a great reunion in 1889. Commissioner Richard Holz had engineered the successful plan to reunite the splintered Army forces in the United States. Emma continued to open corps and retired in 1920, but raised money by working Tag Days, a unique fundraiser held in New York. Her fondest memory and greatest moment, according to her, was standing with Commander Evangeline Booth in 1930 to see the installation of the memorial plaque in New York, commemorating her arrival 50 years earlier. Emma died in 1933, a true Army pioneer.

Out of the seven Hallelujah Lassies, only one remained an officer, but who knows how the others were influenced by their great adventure? Travel, a new country and lack of experience did not deter them from their faith. They were brave and adventurous and we can remember them as leading the way for all of us. Their pioneering spirit opened doors for many other women, perhaps more than we could ever know.