A summer of service

Wesstern young dults set to spread across the globe.

For six weeks this summer, 29 young adults, ages 18-25, will represent the Western Territory on five continents, serving the Army in various capacities as part of Service Corps.

The idea for this short-term summer mission program developed in 1966 to provide young Salvationists an opportunity to serve people around the world. This year, teams will travel to South Africa, Spain, Chile, Hong Kong, and the US/Mexico.

“Missions are often associated with going overseas but we cannot forget the strong mission field we have in our backyard as well,” Sparks said. “Missions are everywhere—we don’t want to lose sight of that.”

The small teams focus their service on meeting the needs of a designated location, which can include leading worship services, running day camps and vacation Bible schools, preaching, teaching English, doing community work, conducting outreach activities and completing maintenance projects.

Preparing for summer and beyond
Each team member is responsible for raising $1,500 before June. Upon returning, participants receive a $2,000 educational grant and an additional $1,000 educational grant will be distributed in January to those participants who meet specific requirements within their home corps in the months following summer.

“We are trying to further cement our belief in the importance of corps programming,” Sparks said. “Service Corps doesn’t stop after summer—it’s a training ground for a lifetime commitment of involvement and activity in the corps.

“We want the teams to have a cultural experience and gain a better knowledge of what the Army is doing in all parts of the world and then bring that back to their corps—to get other people excited about missions and about the Army,” Sparks said.

Orientation will begin in June, as team members participate in the commissioning events—connecting with other young adults and running childcare—followed by a week of training before the adventure begins. Teams leave California on June 16.

During their six-week service, each of the teams will be periodically posting stories, experiences and photos on the service corps blog—accessed through or directly at

The 2009 Service Corps team members are as follows:

South Africa –
Vasti Varela (leader)
Maria Bajo
Andrew Fries
Nick Helms
Matthew McQuade
Rachel Vasquez

Spain –
Micael Moore (leader)
Rachel Bailey
Erika Jimenez
Mark Svenson
Francisco Villalpando
Rebecca White

Chile –
Stephanie Villanea (leader)
Joseph Dickinson
Joshua Galima
Danielle Lutcher
Heber Martinez
Jamie Smith

Hong Kong –
Sarah Kalentermidis (leader)
Kaylena Carpentier
Shalini Henry-John
Krystina Macias
Amanda Wennstig
Sarah Wild

US/Mexico –
Brittany Mathews (leader)
Steven Hughes
Bridgette Mendez
Martina Pound
Christian Rodriguez

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