The National Seminar on Evangelism (NSE) is held every year in early-August. Its venue is the breathtaking countryside of Glen Eyrie, Colorado. As the name implies, NSE is a weeklong format of instruction and practical application for Salvationists from all four USA Territories to utilize to sharpen skills in evangelism.
One would not necessarily think of NSE as a place to find love—but that is exactly what happened to Majors Mike and Cathy Himes, currently stationed as corps officers in Schenectady, New York.
“We met here at NSE 35 years ago,” Mike explains. “Both of us delegates from two different territories.”
Mike was at that time the divisional music director in Pittsburgh and Cathy Litherland was a soldier of the Sedalia, Missouri Corps.
“It was love at first sight—at least for me,” Mike says laughing. “It took her a little bit longer.”
Their fairy tale began early in the week, when walking behind Cathy up a flight of stairs, she dropped a shoe.
“I quickly picked it up and handed it to her, saying, ‘Here’s your shoe, Cinderella!’”
“We were assigned to the same evangelism class and even practiced one-on-one witnessing techniques on each other,” Cathy adds.
By the end of NSE, they had grown close, but still unsure of God’s will for them was, they decided to make a pact.
“Before we all left, Mike and I sat in the Great Hall and promised each other we’d stay in touch. And remember, this was way before cell phones or computers,” she says.
“Yep,” Mike chimes in, “it was all pay phones and letter writing.”
Mike admits the old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and after a month, he drove out to Missouri and asked Cathy to marry him.
She said yes. A year later, they married.
“I had a job (in Pittsburgh) and Cathy was just getting out of school, so after we married she came to Pennsylvania,” Mike says.
A year later the couple moved to Sedalia, and then spent a few years in St Louis.
When asked to serve as Envoys in Ohio, they agreed—soon entering the training college in New York as members of the Followers Of Jesus Session.
“We’ve been Salvation Army Officers now for over 25 years, and have been in four appointments!” Cathy continues.
Mike then lists them as though they were only yesterday: Spring Valley Corps (New York), Divisional Youth Leaders (Western Pennsylvania), Asbury College Student Fellowship Center Directors (Wilmore, Kentucky), and now at Schenectady.
Over the years, Cathy and Mike have returned to NSE—but not at the same time. Cathy taught Child Evangelism and also attended with several of her soldiers. Mike attended with soldiers as well, but it was not until 2016 that they were both assigned as instructors and session facilitators.
And so this iRonic episode of déjà vu came upon this lovely couple as they walked again together through The Castle at Glen Eyrie. They climbed the same staircase where Cathy lost her shoe; and they sat in the same Great Hall where they said goodbye but promised to give love a chance.
“It’s a great feeling to return here with her after all these years,” Mike says.
When asked if he recommended NSE as a place to find love, Mike laughs and asserts, “Sure—what better place to find someone who is like-minded with you about the Lord?”
Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor