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West Service Corps Spans World

By Kevin White – 

The Territorial Youth and Candidates’ Department has announced the 1997 Summer Service Corps Teams. Thirty six young adults ranging in age from 17 to 27, divided into six teams, will be representing the Western Territory as it once again reaches out to share the good news of Jesus Christ through a ministry of service.

The teams will be presented at this year’s Victory Congress during the “Celebration of Service” on Sunday afternoon, June 8. On the following Tuesday, members will gather for three days of focused orientation as they prepare their hearts, minds and bodies for their summer missions. They will depart for their destinations on the weekend of June 13-15 and will return for debriefing August 3 through 6.

Each team will be involved in various activities and programs, ranging from children’s camps to adult Bible studies, open air meetings to food service programs and many other special events.

The Alaskan team under the leadership of Scott Harkless will be serving among The Salvation Army’s southeastern corps.They will be traveling into Juneau, Angoon, Haines, Kake, Petersburg and Wrangell. Team members include: Ruth Ebel, Joe Hall, Raybecca Heiselman and Lisa Coppenger.

The Pacific Islands team will be spending their summer in the Marshall Islands working at the Rita, Laura and Ebeye corps. Two members of the team (to be announced) will also be sharing in a special camping program in Guam, under the leadership of Captains David and Linda Harmon. Jennifer Henson is the team leader with members including: Martha Martinez, Melissa Slack, Delores Murray and Serina McAfee.

Julie McDougald will provide leadership for the team serving in Jamaica. Team members Shyla Heiselman, Soshana Begonia, Craig Summerfield, Aimee Souders and Nicole Luschenaut will spend their summer ministering throughout the Kingston area and at local corps, as well as conducting several youth camps. The Jamaica team will be working with Majors Neil and Beth Saunders (Western Territory) who are currently serving in that command.

St. Petersburg, Russia will be the assignment for this years’ Russian team under the leadership of Rhonda Saunders. Team members Matt Gillies, Steve Strickland, Kathy Boswell, Aimee Gaines and Adrianna Bradley will be involved with many aspects of corps program activities. Majors Wesley and Ruth Sundin (Western Territory) will be hosting the team in St. Petersburg.

Purnell Rance, Edwin Garcia, Lisa Ann Oliveros and Christy Kamalo are team members of the Los Angeles Inner-City team. This team will be focusing on many of the social programs that the Army operates in the Los Angeles area, as well as activities at many of the inner-city corps. Jeff Flagg will be the team’s leader.

This year will mark an historic event, as eight members of the Asian American Corps in San Francisco will comprise a team that will be serving in China. Through the continued work of Lt. Colonel Check Yee (R), the Army has just opened an office in China, which has been a process that has covered the last nine years. A few service corps teams from other territories have conducted short-term missions in China; however, this will be the first from the Western Territory.

As there is some difficulty in organizing “typical” ministry activities and programs, the team’s focus in China will be very service oriented. For instance, the team will be assisting in the teaching of English and music at local high schools, sharing about life in America, etc. They will be participating in carpentry projects and assisting in the “Gathering of the Harvest” – helping the local workers in the fields.

The team will also be serving in Hong Kong: conducting evangelistic meetings, youth fellowships and various day camp programs. Seven of the eight team members speak Chinese fluently.

Team members include: Michelle Wong (leader), Karen Lee (assistant leader), Suzy Huynh, Judi Mao, Cindy Mao, Eliza Gee, Ken Diep and Jarret Chin.

Another aspect making this team so unique is its joint sponsorship by Territorial and Divisional Headquarters and the Asian American Corps in San Francisco. This has come about from opportunities shared and developed by Yee, Captains Ron and Keilah Toy (Asian American Corps) and Lt. Colonel Jerry Gaines, divisional commander, Golden State Division.

Major Rudy Hedgren, territorial youth and candidates’ secretary states, “We are very excited at the wonderful opportunities of service available this year through our service corps program. It is our hope and prayer that through their experiences, members will see a broader vision of a world in need. That they will see an international Salvation Army that ministers and cares at every level. That they will catch a glimpse of God’s calling and will in their life, and at the same time, be drawn closer to him.”

Please keep these young adults in your thoughts and prayers as they represent the Western Territory, but more importantly, as they give of themselves to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in a meaningful and practical way.

You can do your part!

If you would like to lend your support to the Service Corps program, donations may be sent to The Salvation Army Territorial Youth and Candidates’ Department, 30840 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275.

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