Come join our Army…
From the desk of…
by Eda Hokom, Major –
Come join our Army. Perhaps an immediate response is, “Why?” What is it about The Salvation Army that still captivates people from all economic, educational, cultural, and social strata? Perhaps one of the reasons is unlimited opportunity for ministry.
As I participated in the Service Corps debriefing during August, I was captivated by their stories. Here were 30 young adults from 18 to late 20s who had shared an unforgettable summer, who had chosen to leave the familiar, to embrace the unknown, to deliberately embark on a life-changing journey. They came from all parts of the Western Territory. Their educational background ranged from high school graduate to master’s degree candidates, to established professionals. Their personalities were a kaleidoscope of differences. They were culturally diverse. Their spiritual experience varied from new Christian to mature believer. Their expectations for the summer were as varied as their personalities. Yet they all chose to be involved in weeks of ministry provided by The Salvation Army. Why?
Is the answer as simple as “They could?” Opportunity was knocking at their door and they opened it not knowing what incredible challenges, surprises, personal growth awaited them. Some oft repeated phrases were: “I learned so much; I did things I didn’t know I could do. It was so hard to leave as I learned to love the kids. I want to do it again. My life has changed. I want to be more involved in ministry. I understood how God used me. I am so privileged and have so much more than others. My values have changed. At times it was really hard, but it was worth it.”
These 30 young adults returned to their homes, tired but rejuvenated, ready to infuse a new sense of enthusiasm into their personal ministry in the corps, their neighborhood, and their community. Some want to lead youth programs, reach out to the homeless, start Bible studies, and find mentors so they can continue their spiritual growth. Some are searching for God’s guidance for the future. But all were eager to continue caring about others, to express their faith in God, to be a part of the lives of others.
The question is: Are we ready to respond to their dreams and desires? As an Army, we have all the systems, the resources, the opportunities to help them turn the world upside down. But will we encourage and support them? Will we listen to their dreams and help focus their energy? Will we stand beside them as they continue to express their joy and hone their newfound skills? I hope so, because that is really what the Army is all about. Retired General John Gowans so eloquently expressed our mission: Save souls, grow saints, and serve suffering humanity—and that is exactly what the Service Corps members did this summer. I’m proud to be a part of an Army that believes in its mission and constantly broadens and enhances its opportunities of service. Perhaps that is why people are still captivated by the Army. Are you willing to join with them, to grow an Army of committed Christians that will “Turn the world upside down”? Will you support and mentor them? Can you personally affirm this song by Commissioner Harry Read?
A soldier on an alien shore,
A soldier true, a soldier who
Will keep the highest aims in view.
God’s soldier goes where sin is found;
Where evil reigns, his battleground;
A cunning foe to overthrow
And strike for truth a telling blow.
God’s soldier has to stand alone,
Accepting burdens not his own,
A lonely work he cannot shirk,
Where dark and deadly dangers lurk.
God’s soldier must courageous be,
And from his duties never flee.
For millions wait, whose need his great,
And he must not God’s plan frustrate.
We’re going to fill, fill, fill the world with glory;
We’re going to smile, smile, smile and not frown
We’re going to sing, sing, sing the gospel story;
We’re going to turn the world upside down.
No. 801 The Salvation Army Song Book