The Salvation Army in Modesto, Calif., is bursting at the seams with opportunities for women of all ages to grow spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.
Cooperating and coordinating, the Red Shield Center, under the leadership of Lts. Richard and Tammy Larson and the Citadel Corps, led by Captains Joe and Shawn Posillico, offer two distinctively different Home League programs and seven Women’s Ministry programs.
The Citadel Home League, where members average 70 years in age, enjoys crafts, fellowship and service. The Red Shield Home League, on the other hand, is more mobile, and enjoys trips, fellowship, learning new things, and trying the unusual. They average about 55 years of age. In Modesto, the needs of both are met through creative programming and planning.
The Red Shield offers several different exercise programs. Water exercise is during the morning hours to reach stay at home moms and the older adult population with various health problems, while water aerobics meets three times a week and caters to the working force and younger women. All the exercise programs are conducted to Christian praise and worship music and offer much more than physical exercise.
Both the Citadel and Red Shield offer programs for women who struggle with the daily pressures of life and are undisciplined in their eating habits. Through education, discipline, prayer, and Bible study women recommit themselves and their unhealthy eating choices to the Lord with the goal of becoming a healthier person so they can better serve him.
Four Bible study groups range from topical studies such as “Parenting Teenagers” to book series. Two are held at the Citadel and the Red Shield while the other two are held at a rest home and at Laura’s House, a program administered by Catholic charities, with The Salvation Army providing the spiritual component. At Laura’s House, young mothers and children get away from their ‘real’ world long enough to heal and deal with their addictions. Every week, the women join in a Bible study. Most of these women have never read the Bible before, and many others haven’t read it lately. They immediately begin to ask questions. “What do you mean, God loves people like me? I don’t even love me!” And so begins the introduction to the Great Redeemer, Healer and King.
“The Women’s Group and Bible Study means everything to me,” said Virginia Pfankuchen. “It’s put a new spark in my life. Before I attended I didn’t know anyone, or have any real friends, but since attending I’ve got a whole new group of people who love me, and would help me out whenever I need help. I’ve learned about the Bible in a way I can understand, and now realize how important it is to study it regularly. The love I’ve found means more to me than words can tell.”
“Another wonderful aspect of our Women’s Ministries is that we have the opportunity to reach out to older teens and younger women,” said Captain Shawn Posillico. “Many times, due to school schedules, church schedules, and work schedules we often lose a whole generation of girls. They’re too old–not chronologically, but emotionally–for the Girl Guard program, and too young for the traditional Home League. So, at the Red Shield our newest Women’s Ministry program meets once a month for an entire Sunday immediately following church.”
Posillico reports that God has worked in the hearts of many hard core women through the Army’s ministry at Laura’s House. “There have been transformations that would shock the world, and for sure their own families. ‘Cindy’ (not her real name) and Captain Shawn Posillico went to visit her sister in jail, who had been picked up for possession of drugs. Her sister was so amazed at the changes she saw in ‘Cindy’ that she broke down and cried, asking what she could do to be so “healthy and happy”? Right there in the visiting cube at the jail, ‘Cindy’ told her sister about Jesus and his awesome love for her. The next week arrangements were made for her to be admitted to the nearest ARC women’s program.”