People Count! – A Mission2000 Program

People Count

I would like to tell you about a soldier who has taken under her wing three ladies and gives many hours a week to minister to them. The first lady is handicapped and lives a considerable distance from my soldier’s house. At least twice a week and sometimes more, she picks up this lady for grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments, and she brings her to Home League because that is one day she really looks forward to. She helped the lady move recently and is there at this lady’s beck and call, even taking her dogs to the vet.

The second lady is a very lonely person whose marriage is not really good and has few if any friends. My soldier picks her up every Tuesday and they spend the day in various activities. It is literally this lady’s one bright moment weekly.

The third lady contacted my soldier, telling her of her family’s plight. There had been a falling out with this lady’s mother, who lived in California. They hadn’t spoken in years. The rest of the family had nothing to do with their sister either. However, this lady received word that her mother was sick unto death and she felt she needed to make things right with her mother before she died. My soldier offered to drive her to California and go with her to the hospital. Things were made right with the mother, and about a month later, word came that her mother had died. She couldn’t go to the funeral because she had received word too late.

Then, to her surprise, word came that there would be a reading of the will, and my soldier again drove back to California with her, so she could be there during the reading of the will. There has been a real Christ-like witness with our soldier in the life of this friend.

I should also tell you that my People Count! list included the husband of a young mother of five girls, who died from cancer just before Christmas. Her husband, an ex-senior soldier, was having a rough time with his wife so sick. I couldn’t seem to be of any help to him because he would distance himself from me. One day I called him and asked if we could have breakfast together. To my surprise, he agreed. That morning, the barriers were broken and for the first time I sensed he had released his wife into the arms of Jesus. From that moment on, when I visited and until the day she died, we would talk about where she was going. I still wasn’t sure what direction he would go when she passed on.

The day came when she left us, and with his help, we planned a very different memorial. It was an actual Christmas celebration. Well, here is the good news: he is now in charge of the Worship Ensemble, and three of his teenage daughters also participate. He sings solos for us! He also told me I could reinstate him again as a Senior soldier.

To God be the glory, and it is my prayer that even greater stories may come out of this ministry!

Name and Address Withheld

B.J. answered an advertised room for rent owned by one of the soldiers of the corps. He was looking for a drug-free, clean, and Christian environment. He moved in and immediately he was on the People Count! card of the soldier-landlord. She invited him to come to the corps. He felt at home and enjoyed the fellowship and started to get involved.

The landlord moved to another city, and B.J. also moved to another apartment as part of his new job responsibilities. Today, B.J. is our Volunteer Transportation Sergeant and is soon to be enrolled as a soldier. Name and Address Withheld

Bill and Sally were only sending their children to The Salvation Army for years. Their names were included by several of the corps members in their People Count! card. An intensive effort was made to invite them. During a recent local parade, they volunteered to be responsible for the corps float, and they did a great job with the assistance of the soldiery. Today, they are studying for soldiership and happy to be involved with the corps.

Name and Address Withheld

A house was targeted for repair next to the corps officer’s quarters. The elderly gentleman had acquaintances with previous corps officers over the years. Because of an act of kindness, today he is a soldier and invited his wife to attend the Centennial Celebration. We’re looking towards continued fellowship and involvement in corps activities.

Name and Address Withheld

The day after I attended Commissioner Chang’s “Town Meeting” on People Count! in Lakewood, Colo., I was given the privilege of showing kindness to someone.

I left the Silvercrest office to go and make a bank deposit and stop at the post office. I had checked the oil in my car earlier and saw that it was down a quart. I decided to stop and buy oil while I was on an errand. As I was putting the oil in my car, a young man walked over to me. He had been “under the hood” of a very large and very old car. He said, “You’re from The Salvation Army, aren’t you?” To which I replied, “Yes.” (I was in uniform.)

The young man asked me about gas vouchers. By this time, the young lady with him had come over to my car, too. I told them they should call the downtown Salvation Army office before going down there. I told them I did not think they gave gas vouchers any more.

In the course of all this, he told me that his mom had suffered a heart attack and that they were trying to get to Indiana. I proceeded to give them the best advice I could. They walked back over to their car. I turned and followed them to give the downtown phone number to the girl.

When I went over to them, the young man handed me a tract. He said his church gave these out. I glanced at it just enough to see that it had Scripture verses on it as I walked back to my car.

As I closed the hood of my car and turned to throw the oil container away, the Lord said to me, “You buy them some gas.” Probably for the first time in my Christian walk of nearly 11 years, the Lord did not have to speak to me twice.

I walked over and started asking the young man about the condition of the car. It didn’t look too good to me. He said he was just replacing some hoses and that it ran fine. I told him, “I think the Lord wants me to fill your gas tank.”

I made arrangements to meet them at a nearby gas station when I got through with my errands. When I came back there they were waiting for me. The girl was smiling shyly at me. She asked what they should do. I told her to pull up to the pump and fill the car with gas and that I would go in and pay for it.

As she started to fill the tank, the man said he had something he wanted me to read. He pulled a piece of folded up tablet paper out of his wallet. On it, written in pencil, was his testimony about receiving Christ as Savior. It was very short, but deeply touching. After I read it, I went in to pay for the gas.

When I came out the young man called me over and said he had something he wanted to give me. He handed me a snapshot of their wedding day. He had written their names, Clarence and Audrey Watkins, on the back.

I thanked him and told him that the photograph would help me to remember to pray for them. I told him my name and asked that they remember me in prayer also. I assured them that God would get them where they needed to go. When I said goodbye, I felt that they had blessed me far more than I had them.

I praise God for allowing me this encounter. This young couple truly made my day. I’m so thankful that I was given the opportunity to show kindness in His name.

Laurel Vance
Denver Red Shield Corps

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