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217 Initiative begins in Long Beach this fall

Program emphasizes street evangelism

Inspired by Revolution Hawaii, the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division youth mission program, the Long Beach Citadel Corps is set to kick off its “217 Initiative” in September.

“The program title is taken from James 2:17, which reminds us that faith without works is dead,” said Lincoln Hawk, program director. “The idea is simple: to select a group of active young adult senior soldiers who will be trained in holistic style ministries to serve Long Beach and surrounding communities in outreach and service style ministries.”

According to Corps Officer Captain Moy Hernandez, Jr., the goal is to build relationships with individuals and neighborhoods through acts of kindness and care.

The team will live in Long Beach and spend its days training and preparing for street ministry with an emphasis on reaching entire families, local schools and colleges and connecting them back to the corps. In addition, they will be involved in corps activities in order to help bridge any contacts they may make while on the streets with existing programs.

“What we are trying to do is to not just to create another outreach program but to truly develop a lifestyle of service where not only the participants will be intentional about their evangelism efforts and service to their community, but where other corps members can connect themselves too and put their faith into action as well,” Hawk said.

Long Beach—with a population of nearly 500,000 people in less than a 7-mile radius—is the most diverse population of any California city. In its first year, the 217 Initiative will include local young adults with the goal of expanding to young Salvationists from across the territory.

“We believe that God is once again calling our Army to go out into the street, away from the comfort of our halls and to continue to do the work of an evangelist there,” Hawk said. “We want to ensure that no one will perish but that all may enjoy Christ’s salvation and eternal life with our God in heaven.”

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