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Multicultural ‘Impact’

impactDelegates meet to celebrate the Army’s diversity

By Maryuli Darby – 

Recently, 115 delegates from throughout the Western Territory entered the San Jose (Calif.) Temple Corps for IMPACT, an event celebrating diversity in The Salvation Army. Regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age or language, all united in one voice to praise his name.

The event integrated diverse worship representations—including youth dancers, traditional cultural dances (Mexican, Filipino, Chinese) and bilingual praise and worship.

Special guests, Captains Stephen and Sujung Na from the Houston International Corps, spoke of intercultural ministry, evangelism, prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit and missional ministry. They challenged delegates to get to know their communities in order to grow the church biblically by following Jesus’ example and mandate to preach to all nations.

Delegates could participate in ministry outreach activities, including a visit to The Salvation Army’s Emmanuel House—a homeless shelter and public feeding center—an open air meeting at the park, and community visitations to distribute flyers and invite neighbors to join the various ministries taking place at San Jose Temple Corps.

Captain Maria Romero, a Golden State mobile ministries officer, said, “It’s the Holy Spirit who touches the heart of the people.”

Sujung Na shared the importance of having an open heart and a dream of kingdom culture.

“There will always be challenges, roadblocks, a refusal to embrace change, but we should take challenges as a motivator to move forward,” she said. “It’s important to think outside the box and break down barriers so we can go and make disciples of all nations, right where we are, by embracing all people in and through the local church. We cannot wait inside our church buildings for people to come. As diverse as our country has become, we cannot be selective and choose a specific people group based on demographics, culture or language from within our community in which to reach out.”

The Nas shared how they got to know their community and its needs and started a ministry with an after-school program and English as a Second Language classes. Today, Houston International Corps represents the diversity of its community with church members speaking 16 different languages representative of 24 nationalities.

The Golden State Division intercultural ministry training seed was first planted five years ago when Major Stacy Birks, Golden State divisional secretary for mission development, met Sujung Na at a women’s conference. Since then, three different groups of officers from Golden State visited Houston International Corps to observe and learn from its thriving intercultural ministry.

Captains Eric and Jasiel Tumale, San Jose Temple corps officers were among the officers that attended one such visit and as a result, helped coordinate IMPACT so local officers could observe the vision of the Houston International Corps.

“We want to greet and reach out to the community, whoever that might be, and to have a corps that reflects our multiethnic and socioeconomic diverse community,” Jasiel Tumale said.

 

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