Social Justice—the people “Staying on the Wall—Testimony”

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By Jessyca Elgart, Major

The first time I was approached to participate in prostitution I was 14.

A “friend” told me it was an easy way to make $50 and would give me something to do while I hung out until the place where I was staying re-opened. This wasn’t the first time I had run away from home, but it was the first time I didn’t run to my grandparents’ house. This time, the cops picked me up and took me to a “safe place”—a group home. When you show up at a group home with the cops, other kids automatically “respect” you. But the reality was that I was very innocent on the inside. I just looked and acted tough.

Looking back now I don’t think I turned down the offer because I knew it was wrong and would lead to a life of destruction. I think I said no because I was scared that I wouldn’t know how or that I wouldn’t be good at it. Praise God for my insecurity!

The second time I was 17 and I flat out refused. In fact, I told the youth services hotline lady that if they didn’t take me in I would have to be a prostitute and it would be her fault. I got into another group home that day. Praise God for manipulative guilt trips!

More social challenges followed. I found myself once again at the prey of some people who meant to “turn me out.” That same week I met The Salvation Army. By this time I was 18 and living in a city-run women’s homeless shelter. I was living with adults. I was very much the young new fish in the pond and I was terrified inside. I just wanted to be wanted; I wanted to belong. I wanted to be loved.

Had I not met The Salvation Army that week, I could have ended up in the hands of someone who forced me into prostitution. I could have been a victim of human trafficking. But instead it was the wonderful people of the Sacramento Citadel Corps who loved me in Christ. I was welcomed when I walked through the doors into a Home League meeting that just happened to be a potluck, and I was hungry. I was invited to Bible study, which also involved food. (Remember, I was homeless and food was expensive.)

I was treated like I belonged. I was prayed for. I was encouraged. I was loved. I was saved. No one from the corps offered me a job or a place to live—nor did I ask, but they prayed for me and with me as I worked to end my homelessness.

In my current appointment as assistant territorial social service secretary, I find myself researching and sharing many social justice challenges and resources. It occurs to me that had it not been for the prayerful intercession and outward expression of Christlikeness from the people in that Bible study, I may have ended up a victim.

Praise God for people of prayer!

And thank you.

Social Justice or Social Service?

Social Justice or Social Service?

By Lawrence Shiroma, Major The numbers tell part of the story—The Salvation Army

Promoted to glory

Promoted to glory

Major Harold B

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