Marshalls Describe First-Year Experience

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By Paul Jennings – 

While dreams are vital to accomplishing goals, the means to fulfilling them lie in the here in now–in the moment.

Lieutenants Robert and Donna Marshall are Salvation Army officers who know how to live in the moment. Newly commissioned last June, they are the corps officers at the Compton, Calif., corps. In many ways, they have their life and a wealth of opportunities still ahead of them, but they are focused on the task at hand.

That task involves finding out exactly what their roles are going to be, both in the church and the community. The need for vision and leadership in both is great.

As young officers and a married couple with children, the Marshall’s biggest concern when they arrived at Compton was in getting used to life as new officers.That concern is now their greatest joy as they sense the people of the corps really share their vision for the corps and community.

The city of Compton does have its problems. It has a reputation for gang activity and racial tension, but this doesn’t deter John and Donna. “Our vision for The Salvation Army in Compton is to bring out the potential in the community. We see the city as an untapped resource, a gold mine that has not been discovered,” Lt. Donna Marshall said.

Compton had better hold on, because the Marshalls have some big plans for it. “When people think of Compton, we want them to think of The Salvation Army making an impact as a church in the entire community,” she added.

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, but it’s also firmly grounded in reality–or in other words, real effort.

There can’t be a better way to impact a community than closing down a street and throwing a party, which is exactly what the Marshalls plan to do. In tune with the needs of the community, the corps is planning on holding a vacation Bible school the week following Easter, during school break, which will culminate in a two-day street carnival.

“We want the community to know we love them,” Lt. Robert Marshall said.

And The Salvation Army will tell the community exactly how much it is loved when the Compton Corps holds a day of appreciation for its supporters and donors called “A Taste of Compton and Lynwood.” Local restaurants will provide their house specialties and 300-500 supporters of the Army will be on hand to sample them.

“The Army needs to meet the people in the community who regularly support us. This will accomplish that, and also give us an opportunity to make our needs for the coming year known,” Donna said.

Moving toward the completion of their first year as Salvation Army officers, the Marshalls have maintained the vigor and excitement necessary to see some of their goals accomplished. And with a measure of style and creativity, they are pushing their vision forward, creating new goals and fulfilling new dreams.




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