Couple witnesses Army’s work in the Pacific Islands.
Taking to the high seas and tackling the elements, Colonels William and Susan Harfoot, Western Territory chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries, respectively, visited the farthest reaches of the territory in September. Accompanying them were Major Edward Hill, Hawaiian and Pacific Islands divisional leader, and Major Jeff Martin, divisional secretary for program. As they visited corps and outposts, they witnessed the growth and strength of The Salvation Army in the Pacific islands—enrolling dozens of new soldiers along the way.
Harfoot noted the “effectiveness and maturity of spiritual leadership among the Marshallese and Micronesian captains, auxiliary captains, and envoys,” and he said, “We were proud to meet local grown Salvation Army leaders willing to sacrifice and invest themselves in the spiritual work of their commands.”
On the island of Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Harfoots led officers’ councils, with the theme “Equipped to Serve,” for 30 officers and ministry leaders from the RMI and from the island states of Chuuk and Pohnpei of the Federated States of Micronesia. Along with the preaching and teaching of Harfoot and continuing education on the Old Testament provided by RMI Coordinators Captains Bob and Jill Stein, the delegates also examined disaster preparedness.
Braving the rain and waves in a small boat, Harfoot, Hill and Martin traveled to the Arno Atoll, where the Army outpost is made entirely of local materials. Cooper Silk and his wife Alwina lead the ministry here.
On the Majuro Atoll, they enjoyed Sunday worship at the Rita Corps (led by A/Captains Katsuo and Rebecca Katjang) in the morning and at Laura Corps (led by A/Captains Hittai and Maryrose Silk) in the evening.
Hill commented on the dedication of the Army leaders in the islands: “Many of the officers and ministry leaders in the RMI and Micronesia work under very isolated and primitive conditions. I am always amazed by both the sacrificial spirit and the joyful spirit that mark their ministry. It is an encouragement and challenge to me.”
On Pohnpei, the Kolonia Corps and the Madolenihmw outpost are thriving under the leadership of A/Captains Taylor and Senelyn Santos. During soldier enrollments (junior and senior), the junior soldiers quoted the entire pledge in perfect English.
Besides developing the corps and the outpost, the Santoses have cultivated a number of prospective candidates who may some day attend the College for Officer Training at Crestmont to become Salvation Army officers.
On the island of Chuuk, Colonels Harfoot enrolled 42 junior and senior soldiers, presented by Captains Hermes and Rufina Otis. Many were proudly wearing uniforms donated in recent months by soldiers of the Western Territory. Hill noted that the need continues for used uniforms in good condition.
Remarkably, Hill had enrolled more than 50 soldiers in late May during a previous visit, for a total of nearly 100 new soldiers enrolled in one corps alone during a four-month period!
Captains Tom and Christi Taylor, Guam corps officers, led the Harfoots, Hill and Martin on a tour of their facilities, where they met some of the employees and soldiers. The Salvation Army here is gearing up for huge increases in the number of U.S. military servicemen deployed in Guam due to the closing of U.S. military bases in Okinawa.
“The corps is growing dramatically, social services are being expanded and made available throughout the island, and improved services for those suffering from chemical addiction are now available at the newly built Light House Recovery Center,” said Hill.
While a threatening typhoon and other inclement weather caused the cancellation of the Harfoots’ trip to Saipan, The Salvation Army provided significant disaster services to the people there. Wayne and Anne Gillespie (in charge) provided hundreds of meals and other expressions of practical and spiritual help to families and individuals displaced by a series of typhoons during recent weeks.
Harfoot summed up the experience: “Sue and I were privileged to visit the international component of the Western Territory, which has been encouraged and nurtured now for over 20 years. We enjoyed the lively experience of faith in Christ and the solid expression of Salvationism in the islands.
“Another encouraging observation was the presence of many teens and young adults. In all the corps we visited we observed enthusiastic teens and young adult leaders, willing to stand for Christ and ready to take their place in the ministry of the Army.
It was our honor to enroll over 60 new soldiers and to meet this wonderful part of our exciting territory.”