Learn, listen, lead
From the desk of…
by Donald Bell, Lt. Colonel –
Six years after arriving in this appointment, Debi and I will soon leave to take up new appointments in the New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga Territory. We have conducted reviews, participated in special meetings, dedicated buildings, enrolled soldiers, and had the honor of participating in youth councils in every command in the territory. Reflecting back on my first New Frontier article, we have listened to officers, soldiers, employees, and friends of the Army. We have learned much, and it has been a pleasure to serve and lead this large and diverse Western Territory.
As we leave, I encourage each of you to continue to Listen: Listen to the Lord. We are greatly encouraged by the active involvement of so many in the 24/7 prayer activity of the Western Territory. Many corps have signed up for a week of prayer. At every youth event we have participated in during the last two years, an opportunity has existed to pray around the clock. Testimonies are similar in each event. People were concerned at first whether they could pray for an hour, yet found that they often wanted more time with the Lord, and the hour passed far quicker than they thought.
We have listened to the divisional leaders and officers of this great territory. We continue to be a culturally diverse and growing arm of the Christian church. We have enjoyed the great crowds of soldiers in the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. What a joy to participate in the outpost openings in a new country for The Salvation Army world, Saipan, and to witness a few hundred people at the dedication of the outpost in Arno—yes that’s hundreds at an outpost! The Army is one of the largest churches in the vast area of Micronesia, an island (or should I say, atoll nation) that covers a larger geographic area than the continental United States.
We have listened to our friends in the North as well, participating in two Alaska Congresses where both my wife and I were adopted. What a privilege to be a part of a greater family! Many of you may not know that my maternal grandmother was born on the Cherokee Indian reservation, so we felt right at home celebrating the good news of Christ with the Tlingit and Haida Indian clans in Southeast Alaska.
There has been much to Learn as well. Wikipedia defines learning as the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom.
We have learned much from the young people of this territory. We have learned of the commitment of our young people, at Boot Camps and at the Aggressive Christianity Conference held in San Francisco. Our young people are anxious to learn how to equip themselves to be a fighting force for Jesus Christ. They are anxious to be trained so they can return to their communities and effectively recruit their families, friends, and total strangers to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We have seen small sessions of cadets in the last few years, but the list of those expressing interest in full-time service as officers has grown to over 530 in the last three years. Waldon Scott wrote in Discipleship Journal that learning is based on three important attitudes…openness, enthusiasm, and application. That is what Aggressive Christianity, Boot Camps, and youth councils have been about. Our young people are challenging each of us to learn more about the power of the Holy Spirit and to grow a bigger Army. Our Lord does not want a small church.
It has been a pleasure to be a spiritual leader. Becky Brodin in “Five Habits Of Highly Effective Leaders,”(Discipleship Journal, July/Aug 1993) indicates that effective leaders tolerate diversity, develop people, make decisions, welcome feedback, and care about people. It has been a joy to serve you and care about you, and we look forward in the days ahead to serving our Lord in the New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga Territory.
Although we have visited and ministered in over 25 countries in North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, this will be our first opportunity to serve people in the South Pacific and East Asia Zone. We covet your prayers and go with assurance that God has chosen this appointment for us, and that He goes before us to prepare the way.
I encourage each of you to pray for your leaders, many of whom will be moving this summer. May we each live our lives so that others will see Jesus in us.