Senior and junior soldiers
Sixty-six new junior and senior soldiers filled the stage at Santa Ana Temple Corps.
On Sunday, September 26, with every appearance of a Commissioning service, 36 senior soldiers entered the Santa Ana Temple Corps’ morning meeting wearing new uniforms and with flags in their epaulettes. Gathering in the foyer prior to the meeting they spoke, with tears in their eyes, about the importance of this event. Sobering words to the new divisional leaders, Majors Paul and Carol Seiler, who attended the event, and realized that this was no “routine” soldier enrollment.
The music of the Santa Ana band marched the soldiers down the aisle where they saluted the flag and took their places on the platform. The enrollment marked a process of recruits’ classes and senior soldier preparation classes that covered from 18 to 24 months. Each new soldier had a story that showed the power of God’s impact on his or her life. Talk about a “salvation” Army—this one is on the move.
The corps officers, Captains Oscar and Edith Tippol, and a host of local leaders who had been part of the teaching and guiding, watched with pride as each soldier received their framed Articles of War. The whole congregation listened breathlessly as the doctrines were recited by memory, some in English and some in Spanish.
Next, 30 junior soldiers were enrolled, with the same rapt attention from family and friends. The pride could also be seen in the special luncheon held afterwards for the new soldiers and their families.
But the dramatic moments in the meeting did not stop with the enrollment. Afterwards, the new soldiers took their places in the aisles of the sanctuary, and the call for the next wave of recruits was made. Twenty-four recruits in the class came forward. Then, Tippol made an appeal for the replacements to fill the chairs. Who would be the next soldiers? Who would join classes for the next 18 months? The platform was filled and overflowing. Then the question, who needs to seek salvation or holiness? and the altar was filled with those responding to God’s moving in the service.
The meaning of this day is not just in the ceremonies or the volume of people, but in the life and vibrancy of the timeless message of the gospel, and in the fruit of faithful work of evangelism and discipleship on the part of officers and soldiers in the Santa Ana Temple Corps. May each of us take heart and be encouraged for harvest in the fields in which we are placed.