Photo by Raymond Erickson-King

The Western Territory commissions 57

In the expansive Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Western Territorial Chief Secretary Colonel Dave Hudson welcomed attendees June 15 to the commissioning and ordination of the Disciples of the Cross.

“This morning we are on holy ground recognizing these cadets who are offering over their lives to God,” Hudson said.

The class of 2014 includes 57 cadets from various ethnicities, educational backgrounds and ages. Thirty-seven are first generation Salvationists and two are sixth and seventh generation Salvationists. Educationally they are degreed in everything from dentistry to theology. Their average age is 34 and together they represent 16 different ethnicities.

Denmark Territory Colonel Lisbeth Welander delivered a prayer and thanked everyone for coming.

“As we surrender ourselves we ask that you could come by your holy spirit and fill this meeting with your presence,” Welander said.

The cadets delivered The Salvation Army doctrines and their oath as ministers of the gospel and were ordained by territorial leaders Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs.

“We’re grateful to God you’re with us,” Knaggs said.

Commissioner Kay Rader, guest for the weekend with General Paul Rader (Ret.), told the crowd that even though she and her husband have roots in Lexington, Ky., California still feels like home. The Raders served as territorial leaders of the USA Western Territory prior to assuming international leadership in 1994. She said that the cultural diversity present in the Western Territory is a virtual microcosm of the world and they feel understood here, having lived in different countries themselves.

She also implored the cadets to remember where they are ultimately welcomed.

“It’s wonderful to be here and be understood,” Rader said. “Remember to stay close to Jesus; that is where you are truly understood and that is where you will be truly at home.”

Lt. Caleb Montes testified to the audience that he never understood what it meant to be a disciple despite growing up in a Christian home. He said he felt that he was not worthy of it, but later realized he needed to follow Jesus Christ and through that process he was assured of his precious creation.

“This truth set me free from my personal insecurities,” Montes said. “This meant no longer looking back and always moving forward and taking every step in my faith.”

With all the excitement and optimism that Paul Rader said the event brings, he reminded the cadets that there is still great tragedy present in the world. He talked about the ferry that recently capsized in South Korea that killed 226 people, the 200 girls that were kidnapped in Nigeria, the children being trafficked in America and students being shot at our own schools.

He posed a question that he said we should all ask ourselves: “What is God’s response to all this endless suffering?” To this he explained that we look to the cross as a representation as the pain of God, but also one of hope as Jesus died for our sins.

To aid in his illustration he quoted Romans 5:9-10: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Rader explained that the cross is God’s answer.

“In the cross our savior took on our suffering and through him we were healed,” he said. “There is hope from our questioning and despair. The promise of the cross is pardon. The promise of the cross is a promise of a new purpose. We have a world to save for Jesus’s sake. Jesus needs soldiers and officers in this battle.”

Rader and Knaggs closed the morning event by singing “I’ll follow thee” while cadets slowly left the stage, destined for new lives and appointments.

“The general has spoken of the importance of the cross and you now have the opportunity to receive his presence and receive the love of God,” Knaggs said to the crowd. “Let your admission be strong and true.”

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