General installs Hodders in the West

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DSC_7014-2General André and Commissioner Silvia Cox officially installed the Western Territory’s new territorial leaders, Commissioners Kenneth and Jolene Hodder, at the Tustin Ranch Corps in Southern California on Jan. 7.
The Hodders, Territorial Commander and Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, respectively, return to the West after 11 years of international service at International Headquarters and two terms in Kenya.
“Born and raised in the West as children of officer parents—fifth and sixth generation Salvationists—they are uniquely qualified to lead this territory forward in achieving all that God has in store for the West,” the General said. “The covenant they signed years ago has taken them on a journey. All the things they have witnessed have enriched their lives and, and by God’s grace, he has placed them home in the West for a purpose.”
Most recently, the Hodders led the Kenya West Territory, which in 2016 opened a new corps every nine days and grew its ranks by 9,000 new soldiers, Cox said. “These are leaders who expect growth, so the West will march and the miracles will come as well,” he said.
Jolene Hodder addressed the capacity crowd of over 700 people.
“I look out at you and I see Sunday school teachers of mine, my babysitter, camp counselors, training college staff, bosses, advisory board members from our first corps, people who have prayed me through many things in my officership and who have supported us while we were on international service,” Hodder said. “Many of you know the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ What I truly believe is that it takes the body of Christ to produce a leader.
“We couldn’t be happier to be working with you,” she said. “We’re going to make a great team.”
Commissioned in 1988 at the College for Officer Training at Crestmont, the Hodders served in corps and divisional appointments, and as coordinators for the International Millennial Congress, before being appointed overseas in 2006.
As Chief of the Staff, André Cox installed the Hodders in Kenya West and as General, installed the pair in the USA West.
DSC_7003-2“It’s wonderful to feel that this is right and feel the sense of welcome for the Hodders,” Cox said, urging attendees to pray for the new leaders. “Let us remember we are but stewards of the things which God entrusts to us. We have the potential to be so much more, to see the world transform—if we are about our father’s business.”
Kenneth Hodder’s father, Commissioner Kenneth L. Hodder, read from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 in a King James Version that belonged to his father. He presented it as a gift to his son before Hodder gave the message.
In the passage, Hodder said, Paul confesses his own weakness and acknowledges his humanity. He is not saying he is frightened or intimidated by what the authorities or others might think of him, nor that he lacks an intellectual grasp of what the gospel is all about.
“Paul is in awe of the might and power and majesty of the God he serves, overwhelmed by the irrefutable truth, unimaginable scope and depths of soul cleansing power of the gospel he has pledged himself,” Hodder said. “He had become virtually everything he intended to be…yet he was a man who knew he had to submit himself to God…He confessed that he didn’t understand all of the details about how the gospel works, just that he knows that it does.”
Finally, Hodder said, we learn from Paul that “recognition of the might of God and understanding of our own limitations in the face of him is not only natural and important, it is in fact essential to the proclamation of the gospel…Paul’s fundamental message, then, is humility.
“In Christ, God can open closed doors. He can reclaim the lost. Liberate the cursed and the possessed. In Christ, God can change the unchangeable,” Hodder said. “That boils down to a very simple fact for you and me…you and I are involved in a work that is so great, it must fail unless God is in it. The good news, however, is that he is.”
Hodder asked those gathered that “As we begin our work together, let us recommit ourselves as individuals, as a territory, as an Army, to Christ and his purposes. May we bring all that we are—as weak and fallible as we are—to him for him to use,” he said. “Don’t worry about the results…rely on the same simple promise that Christ made to the apostle Paul: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor. 12:9a).”
The meeting featured music by the Western Territory Staff Band, the Tustin Ranch Songsters, and the Surround the City praise team.
During the closing song, “O Boundless Salvation,” the General spontaneously picked up and began waving The Salvation Army flag. Hodder followed suit with the territorial flag, and was joined by the divisional leaders.
“The strength of our Army does not lie in education, skills or ability, in public relations, financial resources, buildings, or relevant social programs,” Hodder said. “The power and strength of our Army lies slowly in the depth of our commitment to the gospel itself. It’s not about you; it’s not about me. It’s not even about us. It’s about Christ and him crucified.”

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