USA National Leaders Installed by the Chief of Staff

Under the theme of “Motown on a Mission,” the Eastern Michigan Division hosted the National Advisory Board as well as local Salvationists, advisory board members and friends at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit. With special guests Chief of the Staff and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, a focal point of was the installation of the new USA national leaders, Commissioners David and Sharron Hudson.

In his installation remarks the Chief of the Staff said, “We acknowledge your many years of faithful service. This new appointment is yet another expression of your lifelong covenant. I challenge you to continue to uphold the doctrines of The Salvation Army, to live a lifestyle of integrity, self-discipline and service. Keep before you the winning of souls for the Kingdom. It is who you are. You are to lead with values consistent with the Lordship of Jesus Christ, serve as high examples of genuine Christian experience while providing visionary and practical leadership in the proclamation of the Gospel.” Commissioner Rosalie Peddle prayed God’s blessing on the newly installed leaders.

Prior to the installation, Commissioner Sharron Hudson shared the story of her father’s journey to faith through the Adult Rehabilitation Program in neighboring Flint, Michigan and the impact this had on her as a child through to the present day.  Following the installation, Commissioner David Hudson told the story of the faithful ministry of his corps officers in Portland, Oregon Majors Ron and Marilyn Bawden (see Commissioner Hudson’s inspiring story below). They were greeted with a standing ovation.

—Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee, Editor in Chief and National Literary Secretary

Commissioner David Hudson’s Testimony

The honor and humility that I feel today is only overshadowed by the surprising path that led me to this place. Without going into too many details, I am the son of a functional alcoholic father; functional because he always held a job. However, when he drank, which was most weekends, he physically and emotionally abused my mother and emotionally abused me.  I don’t remember how many times we either ran from him or he left us. The final time was when I was 7 years old. After a series of moves we ended up in Portland, Oregon.

Whenever possible, my mom and I connected with a local Salvation Army corps. After arriving in Portland, Mom called the corps closest to our home and asked if they provided transportation. They regretfully answered no. Undeterred, she called another corps that, unknown to her, was located on the opposite side of town.  Asking the same question, the answer was not only yes, but the corps officer personally provided transportation to whatever corps functions we wanted to attend.

Over the next four years those corps officers drove from north to southeast Portland Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, once a week to Women’s Ministries and to Corps Cadets (youth Bible study).  Understand that neither my mom nor I had much to offer. Mom had no job so her offering was small. She still bore the scars of emotional abuse and I was incredibly shy.  For example, one Sunday my corps officer asked me to come up on the stage and draw a number for lucky seat. I did so because I didn’t want to bring attention to myself. However, after the service, I told him that if he ever did that again, I would never come back to the corps.

I learned the art of going unnoticed because you are not hurt when you are invisible.

Those corps officers showed me what a family could look like. They literally took me under their wings, mentored me and believed in me. I am sure that if anyone was to do a financial analysis on the time and resources that officer spent to bring Mom and me to the corps, it would not have been a good report.  However, if they had not done so I have no idea where I would be today. I can tell you with full confidence that I would not be here today.  I would have never met my wife at the College for Officer Training and our two daughters would never have been born.

To the number crunchers that may have said those multiple trips across Portland were a poor use of Salvation Army resources, I simply ask the question, “How much is a USA National Commander worth?” I am forever in debt to the officers who took time to invest in me, chose to believe in me when not many people would have done so. Those corps officers, my corps officers, are here with us this evening. It brings me great honor present those two very special people: Majors Ron and Marilyn Bawden.

I am one of thousands they touched.

This past summer hundreds of thousands of children entered Salvation Army camps, day camps, Kroc Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and corps community centers. Some are large while others very small. Each of those children have a story, some are very painful. For some the future isn’t bright. However, through the doors of The Salvation Army hope can be found. They can find is someone who cares, who chooses to invest time and belief in them.

“Doing the Most Good” takes many forms. Regardless of the form of service one thing must be consistent: love, acceptance, and a belief that every person matters and has the potential to become more than they are.

I am a living testimony to that fact.

Staring Down the Opioid Crisis

The Indiana Harbor Light Center Helps The Homeless Stand Strong

According to the Department of Justice, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.  More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any year on record and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid.

The President of the United States has now declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.  This designation will offer state and federal agencies more resources to help combat the growing problem.

This National Emergency can be seen all over the United States.  In Indiana, a state hit especially hard by this epidemic, trips to the ER due to drug overdoses increased by nearly 60% in a recent five-year period.

The Salvation Army Indiana Harbor Light Center (HLC) and Majors K. Kendall and Katrina Mathews are on the front lines working to combat the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

According to Indiana Senator Jim Merritt, the HLC is second only to the government in providing services to the addiction community.  The HLC offers the following five-step recovery process:

  • Detoxification
  • Residential Treatment
  • Transitional Housing
  • Outpatient Treatment and
  • Relapse Prevention

In July 2017, 80% of the HLC graduates were clean and sober at the time of discharge and 72% completed the program employed or with an otherwise promising source of income.

These strong results are due, in large part, to the accredited, clinical holistic support received at HLC. Aftercare, with family and community involvement, is another important component crucial to the HLC’S continued success.  The HLC has been successfully aiding addiction recovery since 1949 and boasts an overall 27% success rate.

Victor, a current Residential Assistant at HLC, is one of many success stories.  When he first arrived at HLC, he had been living a life of addiction, violence and incarceration.  He was tired and hopeless. But today he is full of hope and is helping to bring strength and experience to new clients and those in need of support.

Those fighting on the front lines of this epidemic need more support.  Since the opioid crisis has now been declared a National Emergency, much needed funds, support and awareness should be heading to Major Mathews and the HLC.  Major Mathews is hopeful for the future, “The people we help today, we see hope in them when their lives are at a hopeless situation.  We see love when they’re unlovable.  We see joy when there is no joy.  We see optimism even if they’re pessimistic.  We can never lose hope.  That’s what drives us—that tomorrow is a new day.”

Find more stories of recovery from the Indiana Harbor Light Center, its treatments for many addictions, and its residential, transitional and outpatient programs at http://corps.salvationarmyindiana.org/harborlight/

The Salvation Responds to Hurricanes and Other Disasters

As the summer waned and fall began, the world was ravaged by disaster. Hurricanes and floods, fires and earthquakes headed the news. Instead of being overwhelmed, The Salvation Army was at the front of each new catastrophe, handing out hope and warm meals by the thousands.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday night August 25th at 9:45 p.m. The category 4 storm, which brought unprecedented torrential rain, stretched along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to Houston and then inland as far as Austin and San Antonio. With such a large population, there was no mandatory evacuation. Residents were told to wait out the storm where they were.

The flooding was catastrophic, forcing around 39,000 people from their homes, taking the lives of 70 people and dropping nearly 30 inches of rain within 72 hours. A rainfall of 51.88 inches was recorded near Cedar Bayou, Texas—the largest recorded total in the history of the continental U.S.

Rescue of flood victims of Hurricane Harvey.

An elderly woman is helped into a garbage truck as she evacuates from her home in Houston on August 30, 2017, as the fourth largest city in the US battled with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods.

Dry city streets of Houston were transformed into rivers within minutes. People fled to their roofs, some cutting through with hatchets to wave to rescue crews in the air. Tens of thousands of people spent the weekend in shelters. Roads were under water or washed out and basic services like water and electricity were knocked out. The storm left more than 250,000 without power. The Houston convention center was converted into a mass shelter for thousands of displaced people. The Salvation Army provided a field kitchen which served 8,000 meals a day, in addition to sheltering 2,500 survivors of the flood.

Following on Harvey’s heels, Hurricane Irma blew into the Caribbean as a Category 5 in the early morning of September 5th with 185 mph winds, battering an estimated 1.2 million people. With such intense winds, nearly 90 percent of buildings on the islands were destroyed.

Clean-up kits are the first step toward a sense of normalcy after Hurricane Irma blew through the Carribean.

The storm moved from the Caribbean into Florida, making landfall at Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 storm on September 10th. Florida was under one of the largest evacuations in American history as officials advised those in the Keys and others to escape north: over 6.5 million people were under evacuation orders. Because the storm was 650 miles from East to West, it covered the width of the Florida peninsula and went on to impact nine states. Irma is the most intense hurricane to hit the US since Katrina in 2005.

Forecasters downgraded the storm to a Category 2 as it pushed up the mainland through Naples. There were 3.3 million homes and businesses without power, with more than a million of those affected in the Miami area. Damage from the storm is estimated at 172 billion. The Salvation Army deployed 56 canteens to the affected area and distributed over 320,000 meals.

Image of the remains of a house destroyed by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

The remains of a house destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Naguabo, Puerto Rico on October 2, 2017.

In a matter of days after Irma, the Caribbean was again assaulted by a Category 5 storm named Maria. The Army partnered with the Dutch reform church to serve 42,000 meals and snacks, as well as provide food, water, and supply boxes to the poorest communities on the island—serving 3,500 families a day. The Army also teamed up with the Red Cross to supply residents with 13,500 bottles of water.

In the wake of the havoc from these hurricanes, on September 7th an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the south coast of Mexico, causing extensive damage in the Oaxaca state. The Salvation Army was able to send two canteens as well as an officer to help oversee operations. Setting up in a town called Juchitán with 32 other churches, the army provided 21,000 meals a day for two weeks following the disaster.

Salvation Army officer walking through the rubble after earthquake in Mexico.

Earthquakes struck off the south coast of Mexico and in Mexico City.

Then, on September 19th a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City. At least 200 were reported dead. The Army dispatched two canteens and nine officers and cadets in response. and received 17 tons of donations, including food, water, and cleaning products.

As the earth reeled in the aftermath of these storms and quakes, dozens of wildfires raged across the Pacific Northwest and California. The air was filled with opaque smoke and ash. There were widespread forced evacuations and Washington was in a state of emergency. In California, the Army was supporting first responders at the largest fire in LA city history. And in Oregon, the Army was feeding displaced citizens.

Image of Wildfires in California

Wildfires raged across the Pacific Northwest and California.

On top of the fires, the flooding in Bangladesh through the end of August and into September was the most serious the country has seen in 40 years. Over the course of a few hours many parts of the country received the same amount of rain that normally comes in a week of monsoon rains. Over 700,000 homes are either totally or partially destroyed. More than 51,000 people have been relocated to shelters. Over 8 million people have been affected and at least 145 have been killed. The Army has distributed kits with food and survival supplies to 2,200 families and also received funding to start rebuilding houses for those who lost everything in the initial landslide.

Image of Salvation Army officers standing in flood waters with natives of Bangladesh.

Flooding in Bangladesh through the end of August and into September is the most serious the country has seen in 40 years.

Though the toll of each of these disasters is heavy, there is comfort in seeing neighbors, families, strangers, and friends pull together to help each other. From Texas to Florida and Puerto Rico to California, there has been an unprecedented wave of Christian goodness as people reach out to each other in love and compassion. The Salvation Army has played an important role in brining light to the darkest places.

—Jessica Curtis, Editorial Assistant, National Publications

A Modern Day Samuel

You might remember the Sunday School lesson from the Old Testament about a boy named Samuel (I Samuel 3:1-13). God interrupted the young lad’s sleep three times in one night before Samuel was made to realize that God wanted to reveal something astounding to him.

Major Jesse Collins had a similar experience in one of their previous appointments as corps officers in Minnesota. It is an iRony that he has shared countless times to impress upon listeners the importance of giving God the chance to reveal His will for us.

In 1990, Lieutenants Jesse & Kelly Collins were sent to a corps in the Twin Cities area—a corps that had already suffered a schism plummeting the average Sunday morning attendance from 85 to just 13. They knew going in that it would be tough.

“We were broken officers,” Major Jesse says of those first months. “We did everything we knew how to bring people back into the corps, but nothing worked.”

The young couple reached out to community center families as well as families who had received assistance through the corps social ministries office. Not even faithful visitation worked.

No fruit.

“After a couple of months, one Saturday night as I slept, God interrupted my sleep with a clear direction to get up and pray for all the people,” Major Jesse begins to relate. “So I asked God if He meant the nine others that would likely join his family the next morning at church.”

He dutifully prayed for the people who were still coming to the corps, and then he went back to bed. Today, he admits that at the time he was a little bit annoyed.

“I rolled over and went back to sleep. When this happened a second time—and it was now the wee hours of Sunday, a Sunday I would need to preach for—I was getting a bit more irritated.”

Collins “explained” to God that he had to have his sleep, and muttered some short prayer for the nine he expected in church that morning.

“That is when I went back to sleep. Well, I guess He wasn’t done yet. Can you believe God woke me again?”

Now, he reasoned, this is getting frustrating. He rolled over trying to go back to sleep and that is when he heard an all but audible voice say, “Get up and pray for ALL the people!”

“This time I did exactly as I was told and prayed for all of the people, whoever that was,” he says. “But I confess I did it with still a bit of an attitude.”

He was able to sleep the rest of the night without further interruption from Heaven.

“The next morning, we went to Sunday School as usual,” he continues. “There was nothing new. We had four adults in that class, four in the children’s class, and three in the young adult class.”

He adds that he thought nothing of the prayer of the night before. It was all but forgotten. After all, that happened in the middle of the night, and this morning they were busy with the preparations for the worship service.

“When we came out of the Sunday School class, there were more than 30 people milling about in the foyer, apparently looking for where they should go,” he says, still in amazement after all these years.

“When I began to ask why they came one family said they were driving by and decided to stop, while another family said they lived across the street and felt like they needed to ‘check us out’ this morning!”

Every family, moved by the Holy Spirit, had a reason for showing up that morning.

“As I talked to each one, I began to cry openly,” he says. “They had no idea why I was so moved. However, I did.”

God had answered this young couple’s fervent prayer for church growth in their corps. “God really knew what we needed, when we needed it, and He delivered in a big way!”

Over 40 people worshipped that morning, and the corps growth continues.

“Our Heavenly Father still answers prayer and inspires us to this day!”

—Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor in Chief, USA National Publications

Veterans Honored at Coeur d’Alene Kroc, ID

Veterans of all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces were honored and thanked for service rendered for our nation’s freedom. This was the first such event held at The Salvation Army’s Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Some 30 veterans and family members were treated to a morning of activities held on Veterans Day 2017. The heroes were welcomed with coffee and doughnuts, and watched the 1941 war classic, Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper.

After the movie, the floor was opened for the vets to share experiences during their military service, some in combat and others in peacetime. One thread emerged; one of thankfulness for The Salvation Army’s presence making their time overseas “a home away from home.”

“The kindness of Salvation Army people never changed,” remarked Bud Crabbe, who was among thousands of other U.S. Marines who stormed the beach at Iwo Jima in 1945.

“They (the Salvationists) would give us ‘care packages’ containing little things that meant so much us to—toothpaste, a razor, chocolate—things like that,” Mr. Crabbe explained.

Kroc staff members distributed knitted caps, made by Kroc volunteers belonging to a knitting club.

—Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor, USA National Publications

Part Four — The Door of the Sheep

“Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep … I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture’” (John 10:7, 9).

The Apostle John records the remarkable events that unfolded during the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated in Jerusalem six months before Jesus’ death (John 7:14 – 10:21). This feast serves as the setting for three of the eight “I am” proclamations. In the final days of the seven-day feast, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world” (8:12, 9:5), “I am the gate for the sheep” (10:7) and “I am the good shepherd” (10:11,14).

The coming of Jesus was the coming of light into the world—light that inevitably brought judgment. The light of the world exposes the false shepherds of Israel who do not love the sheep. Jesus shines the divine spotlight on the blind guides (Matt. 23:16) who earlier that day threw one of the “sheep” out of the fold (John 9:34).

The picture of the Judean shepherd with his sheep is woven into the language and imagery of the Bible. From the first shepherd—king, David, and from Moses, the great shepherd, to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the shepherd embodied the essentials of authentic leadership. It is therefore not surprising that Jesus frequently used vivid metaphors of sheep and sheep herding in His teaching.

The shepherd continues to be the most familiar figure of the Judean uplands. Judea’s 20-mile-wide central plateau stretches for 35 miles from Bethel to Hebron. While the rough, stony terrain makes farming difficult, it provides an adequate environment for tending sheep.

The shepherd’s life is hard. No flock ever grazed without his watchful guidance. He is never “off duty,” and must constantly watch, guard and nurture his flock. Since grass is invariably sparse, the sheep are bound to wander into dangerous terrain. The ground dips sharply on either side of the central plateau to the desert on the east and the coastal plain on the west. Sheep are constantly in danger of falling into one of the many ravines. Without protecting walls, the sheep require safeguarding from the perilous landscape.

JESUS UNDERSCORED THE
FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH THAT
THROUGH HIM ALONE HIS SHEEP
FIND ACCESS TO GOD.

Besides protecting his sheep from physical danger, the shepherd in biblical times had to guard the flock from wild animals, especially the wolf. In addition, thieves were always ready to steal the sheep. In Jesus’ day and today, a shepherd must possess constant vigilance, fearless courage and patient love.

At the close of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus employs these well-known pastoral images to illustrate His relationship to His followers: “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep”  (10:1-2). The Jewish leaders did not understand the meaning of the story. Jesus plainly applies it to Himself: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep” (10:7).

In the allegory of the good shepherd (10:1-6), Jesus speaks of two types of gates. He uses the word for the “winter” gate in verses two and three. During the cold season, the sheep were kept in communal pens. A strong wooden door protected the sheep at night. Only the appointed guardian had the key to the door.

In verses seven and nine, Jesus chooses a word that describes the “summer” gate—the field sheep pen. Since good feeding grass was scarce in summer, the shepherd constantly led his flock to the best feeding areas, often miles from home. The summer pen was composed of a primitive stone enclosure in an open field. A space in the wall served as the gate. This was the only access to the sheep pen. At night, the shepherd slept across the opening. Sheep could not come in or go out except over his body. Literally, the shepherd was the door.

Jesus changed the word for “door” to underscore the fundamental truth that through Him alone His sheep find access to God. As the Apostle Paul affirmed, “Through Him we have access to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). Jesus opens the way to God.

As the gate to the sheep pen, Jesus provides secure passage for His followers to “come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). To come in and go out un­ molested was the Jewish way of describing an absolutely secure life. The leader of the nation was a person who could bring his people in and out safely (Num. 27:17). The obedient person is blessed when he comes in and blessed when he goes out (Deut. 28:6). The Psalmist is sure that God will keep him in his going out and coming in (Psalm 121:8). With Jesus the pathway to God and from God to service is unmolested.

Jesus concludes with this remarkable statement: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Literally, the phrase “have it to the full” means “to have a superabundance of something.” Jesus’ sheep enjoy a superabundant life. Only His sheep can truly say, “It just does not get better than this!”

Commissioner William W. Francis is a retired officer. He is also the author of The Stones Cry Out (USA Eastern Territory, 1993) and Celebrate the Feasts of the Lord (Crest Books, 1997), and is a frequent contributor to the War Cry and other Salvation Army publications.