Ready, willing and real

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Prospective candidates experience weekend at Crestmont.

Delegates from Hawaii attend the Future Officers Fellowship at Crestmont.

In February, 162 delegates from around the Western Territory gathered at the College for Officer Training at Crestmont for the 2009 Future Officers Fellowship (FOF) retreat, with the theme “Ready, willing and real.”

Captains John and Pam Brackenbury, conference organizers, greeted delegates.

The delegates were prepared to investigate the ins and outs of training at Crestmont, to listen for God’s voice of affirmation, and to determine if they were ready and willing to pursue his call. Captain Osei Stewart, divisional youth and candidates secretary for the Sierra del Mar Division, wrote the theme song for the weekend, “Here am I.”

Here am I, Lord; I’m ready, willing, real;
All of my life I’ll serve you.
Touch my lips; make me clean and whole again.
My eyes have seen the King.

Lt. Colonel Dave Hudson, territorial secretary for personnel, brought the keynote message. He commented, “It was encouraging to see so many young people with a heart for mission and a desire to be in God’s will.”

Friday evening, Territorial Youth Secretary Major Ivan Wild spoke about being ready. Reflecting on the delegates’ responses, Wild said: “I was encouraged to see the passion and desire in so many people to serve as Salvation Army officers. There were representatives from different generations, cultures and ethnicity—all with the goal of serving Jesus.”

On Saturday, Major Keilah Toy, Pasadena Tabernacle corps officer, encouraged the delegates to be willing to hear and obey the call of God, and Major Stephen Smith, training principal, challenged them to be real in their relationships and ministry.

“What a thrill it was to see so many quality and committed people interested in officership,” said Smith.

Delegates Matthew and Vanessa Jensen were enthused about the retreat. “Meeting my session mates has truly made me excited about being an officer in training,” said Vanessa.

Added Matt: “We saw tremendous unity and fellowship, as well as confirmation of a lifetime of service for the future leaders of this great Army.”

In his message on Sunday morning Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers challenged the delegates to live out the commitments made that weekend. He shared a vision God had given him of 100 cadets in the training college by the time he retired. He believes the vision and believes that God is right on schedule with that vision. Recent residential improvements and additions at Crestmont demonstrate that the college is also on schedule with the vision, ready and willing to accommodate its fulfillment.

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