‘Builders’ Begin to Lay Foundation – New Session Of Cadets Welcomed
National and Territorial Leaders officially greet the Builders of the Kingdom
By Robert L. Docter –
With national and territorial leaders, Western Salvationists greeted the Builders of the Kingdom Session of future Salvation Army officers in Los Angeles’ Congress Hall auditorium. Forty-two strong, and evenly divided between men and women, the cadets marched crisply to the stage and were warmly welcomed by the audience and by Commissioner Peter H. Chang, territorial commander.
Territorial Youth Secretary Major Rudy Hedgren introduced the session to the territory and presented them to the College for Officer Training faculty and staff. “They represent the best of the territory and carry with them the seal of God on their efforts,” Hedgren said. Fourteen couples with 25 children comprise the ethnically diverse and mature group. The “Builders” average age is 29. Almost half the session are first generation Salvationists.
The chief secretary, Colonel Dennis Phillips, introduced two cadet couples from the Korean Territory who join the second year session, the Messengers of God’s Love. They are: Cadets Kyung-eun and Sung-joon Ahn and Cadets In-ok and Jong-sun Kim.
In his acceptance of the cadets, Chang amplified the construction metaphor and charged them, first, to have a clear vision of Kingdom building; second, to build according to Biblical specifications with no deviation from that plan; third, to work hard with a sense of urgency; and fourth, to keep building until the task is complete–to be faithful to the end. Commissioner Grace Chang offered a prayer of dedication following the Territorial Commander’s charge.
Following a stirring rendition by the cadet chorus of Ivor Bosanko’s inspiring arrangement of an old James Bateman song, The Day of Victory, Cadet Doreen Freeman of Tustin Ranch and Cadet Antonio Perales of Bakersfield testified. Offering herself as a “Builder,” Freeman stated that God provides and does not ask more of us than we are able to give. Perales described his journey as a youth from Juarez to Bakersfield and his spiritual journey as he met Christ in youth councils in 1987 until he responded to God’s call to officership. “God wanted obedience,” he said, challenged by God to set an example with his life.
Colonel George Church took the opportunity to recognize Brigadier Sarah Jones (R) in the audience who was welcomed as a new cadet in the “Fidelity” session 70 years ago.
In responding to the West’s warm welcome on the occasion of this first visit of the national leaders, Commissioners Robert and Alice Watson, Mrs. Watson described for the new cadets characteristics of Salvationists once identified by the Founder. “We are a praying people, a believing people, a spirit filled people, a witnessing people with an expectation of revival, and a missionary people who give cheerfully,” she quoted. She then read from Nehemiah 2:11-20, the text the National Commander had chosen for the evenings’ message.
Watson spoke on the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall by Nehemiah and his stalwarts. “It is our goal to change lives–to re-build lives. That’s the bottom line for The Salvation Army,” he said. “All of us are builders, and ‘each one should be careful how he builds’. ” (I Cor 3: 10) “Christ’s church is not brick and mortar, but people.”
He then offered the “Nehemiah model” for the restoration of human lives and offered it to the cadets as being worthy of examination. He noted that God works through “one person” and that he is able to heal the broken hearted and restore those in distress. With God as his guide, Nehemiah assessed the problem then moved ahead. He used elements first of responsibility for which there is no substitute. “Come, let us build” he quoted. Second, the model provides elements of resources. “God can make the impossible possible as his miraculous grace works through us.” Third, there is the element of response. God’s solution to the destruction of the wall was to break the heart of one man who then responded. Fourth, he identified the element of reliance and urged to the cadets to rely on God as did Nehemiah. “The God of Heaven will give us success.”
The cadet choir, led by Janette Bosanko and Major Diane O’Brien, moved the audience with Len Balentine’s Just One, and the Tustin Ranch band, directed by Bandmaster Ed Freeman, presented the James Curnow work The Great Salvation War. Major Terry Griffin, CFOT principal offered a benediction.