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Faith fuels Portland events

by Sue Schumann Warner – 



LEE STILES (l) receives the Trailblazer of the Year award from Commissioner Linda Bond as Commissioner W. Todd Bassett looks on.



Faith was the factor that fueled events in Portland, Oregon, the first stop for General John Larsson and Commissioner Freda Larsson, The Salvation Army’s international leaders, on their 10-day visit to the Western Territory.

Accompanied by National Leaders Commissioners W. Todd and Carol Bassett, Western Territorial Commander Commissioner Linda Bond, Chief Secretary Lt. Colonel Donald Bell, Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries Lt. Colonel Debora Bell, and Major Vic Doughty, assistant personnel secretary, the Larssons celebrated the ministry and mission of The Salvation Army throughout the weekend—through powerful preaching, insightful teaching, and warm introductions to the soldiers and officers of the West.

“We’ve been tremendously impressed with the warmth and spontaneity in worship, the strong sense of mission in the territory, and the very clear focus on what the Army is all about,” said Larsson.

More than 435 soldiers and friends enjoyed the weekend’s “Faith Factor,” held on the campus of George Fox University. It was a joint partnership between Cascade Division, under the leadership of Divisional Leaders Majors Kenneth and Jolene Hodder, and the Northwest Division, under the leadership of Divisional Leaders Majors Terry and Linda Griffin, and included a full complement of workshops and activities including a Family Fair, Holiness meeting Saturday night and a Praise meeting Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, the General and Commissioner Larsson addressed the officers from both divisions at Officers’ Councils.

Strengthening Faith

More than 650 Salvationists and friends filled the Bauman Auditorium at George Fox University on Saturday night, where Griffin welcomed the crowd and thanked the Hodders and Cascade divisional staff for hosting the weekend. “We’ve come together for one reason—to celebrate our common faith in Jesus Christ and move forward in relationship with him,” he stated.

Griffin went on to introduce Frontiersman of the Year Lee Stiles, who originated and developed The Salvation Army’s “Famous Doughnut” promotion, stating: “As a result of one man’s vision, our Famous Doughnuts have introduced more people to the good work of The Salvation Army—and raised money for it.” Commissioner Linda Bond presented Stiles with the award and thanked him for his vision and dedication.

Before leading the congregation in the song, Crown Him with Many Crowns, Bond stated: “We’re honored to have our international leaders tour the Western territory—but the greatest honor is to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ; the General would testify to that. We’re here tonight as a community of believers, with Jesus as our Lord.”

The national commander introduced the General and Commissioner Freda Larsson, calling them “a team that has worked together in an incredible way,” and noting “they embody and demonstrate the beauty and essence of real team ministry.”

Commissioner Freda Larsson brought greetings to the enthusiastic crowd and shared from her faith journey. “We belong to an Army that is excited about faith,” she said, as she reported on the vibrant expressions of The Salvation Army they had been privileged to visit this year on all five continents of the world, spending Palm Sunday in Liberia, Easter in Italy, Assention Day in Indonesia, and Pentecost in Mexico. She read from Isaiah 40:27-31 before the General spoke.

The General captivated the audience, encouraging those present to think about how they could grow further in the Lord. Speaking on the verses from Isaiah, he said, “God has a vision of what we can be—soaring, with wings like eagles.” He explained how mother eagles teach their chicks to fly by first pushing them out of the nest and catching them as they fall down through the air; ultimately flying up with them and then letting go….whereby the eaglets learn they can flap their wings and fly on their own.

God stirs us up through the Holy Spirit…pushes us to the edge of the nest, said Larsson. “We are reluctant soarers—God nudges us out of the safety of our nests so we can soar like eagles.”

Following the General’s message, the altar was filled with seekers.

Celebrating youth

Major Kenneth Hodder welcomed Salvationists and friends to Sunday morning’s praise meeting, which celebrated faith and highlighted ministry to youth: 14 new Commissioner’s Sunbeams were recognized, as well as two new lieutenants—Colin and Felicia Pedersen, and 166 new junior and senior soldiers.

Two youths were awarded both the National Commander’s Award and the General’s Award: Daniel Tomko and Connor Thompson; Bassett and Larsson congratulated each as they presented the awards.

Larsson addressed the crowd, speaking from Revelation 3:7-8 and stating: “A great door of opportunity has been set before us as The Salvation Army. We belong to the largest army in the world and the largest force for good.” He admonished Salvationists to live up to the high esteem people have for the Army.

“We must be true to our mission,” he said. “We exist to win people to Jesus Christ.” He also noted that “God speaks to us as individuals—he gives each of us a door of opportunity.” Larsson explained that God needs visionaries and leaders. In an example from his own life, he said “I’m not sure I’d be here if it were not for Juan [John] Magnanat, who took hold of me and shepherded me as a boy in Chile.”

He then pointed out John in the Seattle Temple Band, stating this was the first time in nearly 50 years that he had seen his former bandmaster.

Major Cathryn Russell was executive director for the Faith Factor weekend. Featured groups and performers included: the Festival Chorus; Everet Corps’ Fijian dancers; Seattle Temple Band, under the direction of B/M Stefan Wennstig; Tiffany Nygen; Melanie Tobin; Captain Lani Chamness; Melani Lyons; Pendleton Cloggers; Moore Street Corps Cadets; Captain Candy Stennett, Pendleton Singing Company; and the White Shield Dancers.


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