Marshall Islands trains leaders
Students from Rita and Laura corps train to be corps leaders.
Fifteen Marshall Islands Salvation Army soldiers recently completed a six-week training course at The Salvation Army Leadership Training Center in Majuro. The students, all active soldiers from the Rita and Laura corps, were recommended by their corps officers.
“Six weeks is not enough training, but it’s like opening a door into ministry,” Leadership Training Center Director Major Judy Bennett said. “The hope is that they will return to their corps, assisting their corps officers with renewed energy, excitement, vision and insight into The Salvation Army, as God’s instrument to bless the world.”
Classes took place five days a week, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and included Salvation Army History, Soldiership, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Preaching, Domestic Violence, Protecting the Mission, Program Reporting, and Finance and Budget.
Bennett said purpose of the training is to prepare a group of people to become better workers in their corps and possible ministry leaders who would serve as Salvation Army pastors in the outer islands. The course takes place once a year in Majuro.
“In the Marshall Islands, there is an understanding that a corps must have many leaders, preachers and workers assisting the corps officers to do the The Salvation Army work,” Bennett said.
Several students had jobs or were already attending school, so they had to arrange their personal schedules—making a real commitment to show up for all the classes. The Laura group had to travel an hour each way, every day.
The compressed time frame of the classes had an unexpected effect, according to Bennett. One student said the biblical survey classes seemed like a movie unfolding; the short time frame made it easier to see the movement of God’s story through the Bible—starting with creation and Abraham, going to the divided kingdom, until the time of the New Testament with Jesus’ story and the rise of the church. In addition, students reported the compressed time frame made it easy to go back and forth between the Bible and Salvation Army doctrines, history and programs, seeing how everything fits together.
Several students with limited English skills felt they were falling behind, but they persevered. Instructors encouraged students to help each other after class. And the students prayed, fervently. Bennett said God responded.
In tears on the final day of class, both Belina Apo and Jolynn Branis said that they struggled in the beginning because their English skills were weak.
“Now, with God’s help, we have a better grasp of God’s story and the mission of The Salvation Army,” they said.
When word spread to corps members of what the students were learning, Rita Corps Young Adult Leader, Zebdy Zebdy asked if the Old Testament Survey class could be taught in his corps. His request was granted.
Completing this year’s training were: Joe and Jolynn Branis, Will and Cathleen Alfred, Raston and Jewel Lanwa, Braney and Jennier Lanwa, Zebty and Trisha Zebty, Heverly and Hezlynne Makroro, Angelina Mathusla, and Casper and Belina Apo.