Tustin Ranch equips soldiers for service

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Southern California Division

by Darlene Palermo – 

Pam White shares a story with preschoolers at The Creator’s Corner.

Nestled in the foothills of Orange County the Tustin Ranch Corps, under the leadership of Corps Officers Majors Lee and Michele Lescano, has many soldiers involved in caring ministries.

On Sunday mornings, League of Mercy Director Frank LaMagna casually recruits folks for service. More than 60 faithful servants go out in teams to several of the 32 nursing homes, rehab facilities, and hospitals LOM serves—interacting with more than 3,000 individuals monthly. Dan and Letisia St. Marseille are comforters to hurting people. As Dan plays his saxophone and visits with residents, it is clear that he has personally learned much about compassion. Dan also teaches at the Pioneer School of Music.

Shirley Landmesser leaves work early on Mondays so she can assist in intake at the Hospitality House, the Army’s homeless shelter in Santa Ana. Shirley is often joined by Nora Lamkin, another soldier. Michael Williams has come full circle. Formerly a client, he now volunteers twice a week.

A variety of ministries
Major Michele Lescano shares her gift of teaching with women in weekly Bible studies at Tustin Ranch and in the home of one of the soldiers.

Every Monday evening John Lamkin heads for the Anaheim Adult Rehabilitation Center, where he teaches a group of men. At the same time, Denese Trebilcox leads a Bible study with the women in that facility. Denese’s husband, Jim, volunteers 40 hours each week as chaplain at the ARC; as a result of these caring ministries, seven of the eight new soldiers at Tustin Ranch were women and men from the ARC!

Back on campus, more than 110 children are enrolled in the preschool, The Creator’s Corner. Betty Linstead has been the director of the state-licensed preschool since its inception three years ago. Pam White is assistant director, and Gaye Almond and Christine Schenk team up to guide the youngsters through many facets of early childhood education. Teacher Jennifer Lescano includes the required daily curriculum in Bible teaching in her lesson plans.

Music links to service
“Mr. David” (David Dunford) teaches music to the preschoolers in unconventional ways, using bells, sticks, and egg shakers. As director of the corps’ Pioneer School of Music (founded in 2003) David takes the school’s mission to “educate talented musicians so that they may achieve the highest artistic standards,” seriously.

As bandmaster for over 30 years, Ed Freeman has a vision to share the ministry of music with other churches and Army corps. In October 2005, the Anaheim Unified School District honored Bob Anthony as Teacher of the Year. A trumpeter in the corps’ band, Bob is the band director at Anaheim High School. Jennifer Stickland (a songster and accompanist) spent last year in Malawi, serving with The Salvation Army.

Regularly traveling to India to train and assist native workers for the past several years, Dick Davenport also leads a construction team to Alaska each year.

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