Called to serve

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Service Corps teams return from overseas with new outlooks.

The Hong Kong Service Corps team

For six weeks this summer, 29 young adults, ages 18-25, represented 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 traveled to South Africa, Spain, Chile, Hong Kong and Hawaii.

Teams focus on meeting the needs in designated locations; this 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.

“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,” said Jim Sparks, Western Territory youth development and leadership director and Service Corps organizer.

Following are reports from each team:

Team Chile served in Puente Alto, San Gregorio and Rancauga. When the group arrived in Rancauga, the weather was cold and rainy. The team feared that local children would not be able to attend the vacation Bible school (VBS). Undaunted, they proceeded with their plans. The first day drew 30 kids and the numbers increased each day.

“We learned to display God’s love and to fully trust in his plans,” said Joshua Galima. “It was an experience of a lifetime.”

Originally slated to travel to Mexico, this team was diverted to Hawaii following Swine Flu reports. In Hawaii, Lieutenants Craig and Anney Summerfield, Hilo Temple corps officers, and Majors George and Florence Rodriguera, Kona corps officers, welcomed them.

“Above all, God showed me that when we put others in front of us, when we forget about ourselves and be last, that is when people really see Jesus in us,” said team member Christian Rodriguez. “That is when our actions speak loudly and that is when people ask who Jesus is.”

Hong Kong
The Hong Kong team reported making friends at the Kam Tin Corps, especially with their translators Michelle and Yoyo, and an English teacher’s family. The local Salvationists welcomed and included the team in everything.

“It was so encouraging to see people living out their lives as examples of Jesus,” said team member Amanda Wennstig. “It challenged me to try and be more like Christ in everything I do.”

South Africa
The team of six arrived in Johannesburg and joined with the “SOS” mission team—11 young people from throughout South Africa. They traveled to Soweto, Venda, Mpumalanga and Lesotho.

“As the enemy worked against us, the Holy Spirit was working in and through us as he broke through strongholds and his light shined through as we’ve never witnessed before,” said Service Corps team member Vasti Varela.

The Spain team conducted street ministry throughout their summer. One person they met, Carlos, is a university graduate, speaks three languages and yet lives on the streets of Mallorca. Carlos told the team he is a Nazi sympathizer, prefers Satanism to Christianity and constantly battles thoughts of dying versus living.

One night Carlos appeared jumpy and nervous, and exhibited signs of paranoia. He said he was worried about his life and the drugs that held him captive. The group prayed for him, unsure if they would ever see him again.

Just before leaving Spain, the team once again encountered Carlos. He told them that on the night they prayed for him, he left to look for drugs but in his search he found a crucifix in the dirt. At that point he felt that God was calling him to “come home.”

“Please pray for Carlos,” requests team member Michael Moore.

Contact your corps or divisional youth director for information about Service Corps in 2010.

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