Red Shield ‘family’ welcomes new soldiers
BY CAPTAIN RONALEE FENRICH
The Anaheim Red Shield Corps recently welcomed two new junior and two new senior soldiers into our church family. While the number four may seem small, each of these new soldiers came into our fellowship in a special way–proving when Army soldiers reach out, people come in.
After purchasing a former YMCA facility, the Anaheim Red Shield opened its doors for the first time in 1996. Many of the YMCA’s patrons continued to use the facility, particularly senior citizens, who participated in the swim therapy classes. When we put flyers out inviting people to our church services, Barbara became curious. She attended for the first time in 1997, and has only missed a handful of Sundays since. She faithfully joins us for prayer every Sunday morning before Sunday school, and now is a soldier as well as a prayer warrior!
Alex joined our after-school program in 1997, and attended our vacation Bible school that September. On the final day, all were invited to church on Sunday. Alex came. Although no one else in his family accompanied him, Alex continued to attend Sunday school almost every week. Now, Alex is not only a junior soldier, but his mother, brother and sister are attending church with him! His mother has become an assistant Sunday school teacher, a nursery worker, and is interested in becoming a soldier, too.
Bob was enrolled as a senior soldier in 1997. When he moved to a new senior apartment complex, he became friends with a resident named Lee. Lee suffered a stroke several years ago, lost the use of the left side of her body, and is confined to a wheelchair. She was sure she didn’t have much to offer and nowhere to truly “belong.” Then, Bob invited her to church at The Salvation Army. Immediately, Lee found she was welcomed, accepted, loved and valued. She became a soldier this fall. She now acts as our “telephone visitation sergeant.”
Greg was an ARC beneficiary when he was invited to church. Eager to rebuild his life, he began by renewing his relationship with his young daughter, Tesla. As Greg continued to become more involved in the corps, he began bringing Tesla regularly. After graduating from the ARC, Greg was enrolled as a soldier and is now our men’s fellowship soldier. As soon as Tesla was old enough, she became a committed junior soldier.
In this era of mega churches, four members may not seem impressive–until you consider how each was miraculously changed and renewed through Christ. The Anaheim Red Shield has seen that when the people of God reach out, God’s people are brought in.