The Fight – WYI ’07
Delegates spend a week exploring social injustice, praying 24/7, and taking to the streets.
by Carmen Magdaleno –
You could almost hear the voice of William Booth proclaiming the theme of Western Youth Institute (WYI) 2007—“I’ll fight”—spurring the 222 delegates and staff to take action to remedy the social injustices in our world.
In his morning sessions, Captain Terry Masango, Renton, Wash. corps officer, lit a fire within the delegation, challenging them to not be “dry bones,” but instead an army marching in power to fight the devil: “America hear the voice of God; Salvation Army hear the voice and stop messing around. Soldiers rise and fight—God is tired of laziness.”
Prayer was a big part of WYI as delegates took part in the 24/7 prayer room. Young adults prayed around the clock, actively demonstrating how prayer is an integral part of our Christian walk. Participants were able to express themselves in different forms, through writing in a book, molding clay, placing prayer requests on a world map, and writing on paper-covered walls. The walls quickly filled with prayers, Scripture verses and quotes as delegates poured out their hearts. “It was great to see young adults not only embrace prayer, but also share how it has affected their lives,” said Jackie Raihl of the Las Vegas, Nev. corps.
One evening program consisted of a night of prayer, where several stations guided delegates in different forms of prayer. One station, the “I’ll fight” room, stood out. As they entered a darkened room, delegates received a candle to light their way through a maze of suspended pictures, each depicting a particular social injustice. You could sense the Lord in that room, as you heard the crying—and almost heard the breaking hearts—of others as they prayed.
The Lord’s presence through prayer at WYI continued to fuel the flame lit by Captain Masango.
On Saturday, delegates invaded the streets of San Francisco for outreach. Groups spread throughout the city, ministering through activities for children at parks, feeding the homeless, and holding prayer walks and open airs. The daily “Extreme Outreach” opportunities also gave some delegates another experience prior to Saturday’s outreach, opening their eyes to some of society’s injustices.
“I had never seen anything in my life that can come close to what I saw and experienced in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco,” said Bud Dickinson of the Phoenix (Ariz.) Citadel Corps. “It was like going on service corps and visiting five different countries all within eight square blocks. You saw the pain and suffering as you spoke with people, but you could also see some hope.”
On the streets of San Francisco, delegates came fact to face with alcoholism, drug addiction, prostitution and poverty, and were reminded that these problems are not confined to one location, but are worldwide.
William Booth’s “I’ll fight” speech, which greeted the delegates upon arrival, were the very words that they took away with them as they left WYI to return to their corps, homes, families, and a dying world, to rejoin the fight to change their communities for the better. As Lincoln Hawk, Long Beach Citadel Corps youth pastor, said prior to introducing the week’s theme song that he wrote based on Booth’s famous speech, “Let’s make this our prayer, and take this high, and when the feeling goes away pray we still have the passion to go out and fight.”
May the speech of our Founder continue to fan the fire within us to fight the good fight!
Visit YouTube at https://youtube.com/watch?v=PyVtDJ5wgJY to view a music video of Lincoln Hawk’s song.