Southwest Soldiers’ Rally caps NAOC 2016
The Phoenix South Mountain Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center hosted a Divisional Soldiers’ Rally with The Salvation Army’s territorial, national, and international leaders in attendance to conclude the 2016 National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC).
General André Cox enrolled a total of 100 junior soldiers, senior soldiers and adherents, just a short trek from the Phoenix Convention Center, where over 2,500 Salvationists, employees and advisory board members convened for NAOC last week.
The Southwest Gospel Ensemble and Western Territorial Staff Band opened the event as General André and Commissioner Silvia Cox entered the stage. Lt. Colonel Shawn Posillico, divisional director of women’s ministries, welcomed those in attendance and led in singing “Oh Boundless Salvation.”
Western Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs shared his admiration for the national and international leaders, and thanked everyone for coming to support the enrollment of the new soldiers and adherents.
A video compilation of testimonies titled “Why I’m a Salvation Army Soldier” offered a glimpse into the hearts and minds of many Salvationists, as one respondent shared, “Being a Salvationist means spreading God’s Word no matter where you go.”
General Cox then took to the stage to enroll the adherents and soldiers, reminding attendees that they, too, have play a role in the enrollment.
“You have a responsibility. You are not just sitting here as spectators,” he said. “You need to pray for these children…for my brothers and sisters who are taking this step today, I pray that they feel welcomed—not just in The Salvation Army, but in your presence Lord.”
Commissioner Cox delivered read Exodus 4:1, explaining that the passage demonstrates man’s reluctance to trust God, and his tendency to instead make excuses for not doing so, as Moses did. She implored the crowd to go out and testify on the Lord’s behalf for “God is awesome. God will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need to change. Let us pray, let us believe and God will do his part,” she said.
Nick Piezonka, a senior soldier at the Las Vegas Citadel Corps, shared his testimony in a video, a fitting follow to Commissioner Cox’s call to action. After living a life of “functional” alcoholism until his mid-40s, he was introduced to crystal meth. His drug use landed him in jail for eight years, which he called “a blessing.”
“Jail is where I learned to pray, where I learned to forget about the material things of the world,” he said.
Following the congregational song, “Be Thou My Vision” led by Lt. Colonel Judy Smith, divisional secretary for program, General Cox urged the audience to listen more intently to what God is planning for us.
“After 150 years, could it be that we’ve become a little sophisticated, a little satisfied, a little comfortable?…Could it be that God gets angry with The Salvation Army in the 21st century?,” he asked. “Through his presence, he grants us the grace to still be standing. We can go through the furnace and still be standing.
“We try to ignore God’s call on our lives,” he said. “But what is God calling you to do when it comes to loving, living, saving the lost?”
Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs, Western territorial president of women’s ministries, led in singing “I’ll go in the Strength of the Lord” and Colonel Doug Riley, chief secretary, delivered the closing prayer and benediction.