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Life lines ‘Extreme Corps Makeover’

By Ian Robinson, Major

I am man enough to admit that I cry at the finale of “Extreme Home Makeover.”

When Ty yells, “Move that bus!” and I watch the faces of the families as they witness the transformation of their run-down, dysfunctional mess of a home to a modern, glittering palace, the tears begin to form. Then, as they walk from room to room, the squeals of the children and the emotional responses of their parents and the team turn my tears into a river. Come on, I know you cry, too!

The ARAMARK Corporation’s Uniform Division has transformed many Salvation Army corps and programs over the past five years. Most recently it was Glendale’s (Calif.) turn, and when we showed up we found over 100 ARAMARK staff and volunteers from City Year scurrying around painting, decorating, hammering, building and finishing the corridors, offices, food pantry and gymnasium.

And what a difference they made! There is no other way to describe it than as an “Extreme Corps Makeover.” From the murals on the gym walls to the solid wooden shelving in the food pantry, these dedicated volunteers brought energy and vitality to Glendale, and we are extremely (pun intended) grateful to them. We truly thank God for partners such as ARAMARK. Incidentally, they also play a major role in the L.A. Red Shield Center’s annual Thanksgiving meal where over 2,000 people receive a wonderful dinner and entertainment at the L.A. Convention Center.

Of course, Christmas always reminds me of the ultimate extreme home makeover. When Jesus entered this world it was to a smelly, dirty stable with a manger for his bed and cattle as witnesses. Talk about a run-down, dysfunctional mess. But after his death and resurrection he ascended to a heavenly home that is beyond our wildest imagination. And his Word promises that one day we will go there to be with him. No matter where you live now, it is a slum compared with our heavenly home. Just read the real estate description in Revelation 21 and see how it compares with your place. That is extreme.

The Christmas story also brought about another extreme home makeover. Because of Christ’s amazing sacrifice, when we put our faith in him we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Bible says, We are the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16). It also says we become new creations, living, walking and talking representations of Jesus Christ on earth. From sinners to saints.

If you are in the L.A. area, I invite you to celebrate your extreme makeover with us Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Carpenter Center for Performing Arts on the campus of Long Beach State University. The Southern California Division is presenting “Night of Wonder,” an evening of carols, Bible readings and music with a message from General John Larsson (Ret). The cost is only $10 and participants include the massed songsters of Long Beach Citadel, Pasadena Tabernacle, Torrance and Tustin Ranch corps, the divisional brass band, Torrance singing company and vocalist Marianna Kleeman from the Whittier Corps.

Bring a friend who needs an extreme spiritual makeover. I will see you there; I’ll be the one with tears in my eyes.

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