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On lieutenantship

Sharper Focus

by Lawrence Shiroma, Major –

This past autumn the Principal of the College for Officer Training, Major Donald Hostetler, called the cadets and staff together to announce that International Headquarters has decided to reinstate the rank of lieutenant. Cadets of the God’s Fellow Workers Session will be commissioned, not with the rank of captain as they were anticipating, but with the rank of lieutenant. Allow me to share some thoughts regarding this change.

Are lieutenants considered less than captains or majors? No. A new lieutenant is a fully ordained minister and is afforded all the rights and privileges of a Salvation Army officer. To become a lieutenant in the Army today is an exciting adventure, for the needs are great and the challenges many.

Why the decision to change the rank upon Commissioning 2008? God has a mighty plan for God’s Fellow Workers, else he would not have chosen them, among all the sessions to once again receive the lieutenant’s rank.

Will the reinstated rank of lieutenant affect others officers? Yes. I believe it will help to rekindle the fires of devotion in the hearts of us “older” officers as we reflect upon our time as lieutenants

This announcement also triggered some memories from my days as a lieutenant. I would like to share an article from the August 22, 1981 issue of The War Cry.

“One night during my senior year of high school, I pointed a rifle at my chest and pulled the trigger. The shot shattered the stillness of the evening. I cried out for my mom. My parents rushed into the bedroom and saw the blood flowing from my wound. Dad hurriedly drove me to the hospital and mom was at my side with tears in her eyes praying, “Dear God, please help Larry, please help him to stay alive.”

I stayed in the hospital for two weeks with a collapsed lung. The .22-caliber bullet went completely through my left chest, above the heart. The medical insurance investigator asked me what happened. “It was an accident,” I lied. “I was cleaning my rifle and it went off.”

I was afraid to admit that it was no accident. I had shot myself intentionally. My mind was filled with confusion, bitterness and frustration. I was ashamed and living in darkness. I had no thoughts about a living Savior who could help me in my troubles.

Ten years after my attempted suicide, by the grace of God, the prayers of my family were answered and I began to believe in Jesus Christ. At The Salvation Army San Francisco Citadel Corps, a kindly retired officer, Colonel William McHarg, led me to the mercy seat, the place of prayer, where I confessed my sins before God and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Perhaps someone reading this may be struggling with inner turmoil and discouragement. You may be thought of as “weird” or “mentally unstable” as I was. You may be living in a world that no one understands, and feel utterly rejected and alone. My friend, I want to tell you that there is a God who loves you. He is Jesus the Messiah, the friend for the outcast and for the sinner. He says to you, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).


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