By Captain Ken Hood –
On Super Bowl Sunday, the Southern California Division launched a “Praise the Lord” series of meetings. Featured speakers were Commissioners Alex and Ingeborg Hughes. Hughes is currently the international secretary for the Americas and Caribbean and Mrs. Hughes serves as secretary for women’s organizations for the Americas and Caribbean. Both officers greeted the crowd of more than 700 soldiers, adherents, and friends in English and Spanish.
The meeting showcased an international program, with groups and individuals from English, Hispanic, Korean, Laotian, Chinese, and Recovery corps. Though diverse, the groups united in their objective: to praise the Lord. Following a prelude by the Divisional Youth Band, the Los Angeles Central Worship Team led the crowd in praise, singing in both English and Spanish. The Los Angeles Korean Corps Songsters blessed those assembled with their singing, followed by prayers in English and Laotian.
CSM Robert Ingram of the Los Angeles Lighthouse Corps gave his testimony, as did participants from the recent territorial youth gathering, “Extreme–Beyond the Call.”
Whittier Laotian Dancers provided an exotic lead-in to Hughes’ message. Scripture read by Commissioner Ingeborg Hughes, Luke 19:9-10, from the story of Zaccheus, set the tone: “Today Salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”
Hughes commented on the talent presented by saying, “What variety, what diversity, and what unity, for in Christ we are all united. God loved us. He loves us, and he will continue to love us.” Referring to the Scripture, he pointed out that Zaccheus was a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He didn’t have this citizenship by birth, examination or position, but by the love of Jesus Christ.
Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef led the altar call. Referring to the Super Bowl, which had just ended, Van Cleef remarked that while one team went home happy and the losers left disappointed, the Lord has no losers on his side.
As the congregation sang, “There is Power,” the altar was soon filled to overflowing with those who would have his power in their lives. The evening finished with a rousing version of “I’ll Go in the Strength of the Lord,” marking the end of the Commissioners’ five-day swing through the Southern California and Sierra Del Mar Divisions. Continuing on their tour, the Hughes plan to visit Mexico and Cuba to view the work of The Salvation Army.
Ingeborg Hughes was born in Bolivia to officer parents and both have served in Mexico and South America almost exclusively since 1967.