Cadet brigades minister in the Sierra del Mar and Southern California divisions.
By Erin L. Wikle, Cadet –
The Messengers of Light and the Joyful Intercessors sessions recently spent an autumn weekend in ministry and service, taking what they learned in the classroom at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont to 11 corps and communities throughout the Sierra del Mar Division and parts of the Southern California Division for the Fall Blitz.
Each year, the CFOT cadet body forms small ministry groups–brigades–which collaborate and prepare to minister in corps and public settings. In the weeks leading up to Fall Blitz, each of the 11 brigades liaisoned with officers in the Sierra del Mar and Southern California divisions in preparation for the weekend with a single purpose in mind: to share God’s boundless love.
“Blitz” holds its roots in the German word, blitzkrieg–an intense military campaign intended to bring about a swift victory. With a rich history likened to that of the military, cadets considered their efforts as just that–intense and purposed to bring about swift victory of the expansion of God’s kingdom through varied expressions of love and service.
“I was emotionally touched by a soldier from the San Diego Centre City Corps,” said Cadet Janet Studdard of the In Christ brigade. “She was in a place where I once was, battling addiction, and I loved being able to share my life story with her. She is two years clean and I know the struggle of being early on in recovery, so I encouraged her to reach out and ask for support. I knew it was God’s plan for us to be there that weekend for many people.”
Cadet Faith Hartt, Kingdom Seekers brigade member, recalled the children at the Victor Valley Corps. “[They] fully participated in praise and worship, as well as testimony time, prayer, and the altar call. The kids worshiped without any walls of ego or fear of which adults sometimes struggle to overcome.”
Cadet parents formed the Hallelujah brigade, serving on the home front throughout the weekend. With dual responsibilities, this group also participated in community care ministry, visiting two adult care homes in Torrance and the Siemon Center in South Los Angeles, hosting a harvest festival for youth and their families that over 200 people attended, and assisting at the Long Beach Citadel Corps on Sunday morning.
The Faithful Servants brigade served the Hemet, Calif., community early Saturday morning during a fundraiser hosted by Applebee’s. Later the cadets led games, performed music and served food at Kingdom Fest, a renaissance-themed kids’ event that reached nearly 100 people.
At the El Cajon Corps, the Wakapatu brigade spent their Saturday morning working at the food bank where they packed nutritionally balanced food boxes for later distribution to those in need within the area.
The Sierra del Mar Division held two united meetings hosted by the Hemet Corps and the San Diego Citadel Corps. At each location, inland and coastal corps gathered to celebrate their faith in Christ and hear from cadets through song, scripture, testimony and preaching.
Second-year Cadet Blake Wilson gave the message at the Hemet Corps united meeting, and spoke about the process of being set apart for Christ. “Sanctification through boundless love is a working process for works in progress,” he said.
First-year Cadet Nicholas Helms attended the united meeting at San Diego Citadel. “Through cardboard testimonies, dramatic presentations, singing and spoken word, the Holy Spirit was clearly present in every aspect of our time together,” he said.
CFOT Director of Field Training, Major Nancy Helms-Cox, oversees the practical training of all cadets during their two-year program. She said, “Field experience enables cadets to apply their academic studies directly to missional ministry in the ‘harvest field.’ During assignments such as Fall Blitz, not only are cadets developing and honing skills necessary for Salvation Army officership, they are workers in the field fulfilling God’s kingdom priorities, taking the Good News of his redeeming love and saving grace to all creation–one division at a time, one corps at a time, one person at a time.
Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:37-38 NIV).