West welcomes 52 cadets

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CadetDemosFor Monica Kyle, it was love that drew her into The Salvation Army.

“When I walked through the doors of The Army, I was shown a Christ-like love in the corps members and the corps officers,” she said. “I saw the way you loved each other and how you even loved complete strangers.  I saw love in the way each child was taken care of in the corps youth programs.  I saw how you welcomed me into your homes, although we had just met, and how quickly I grew to be a part of your family.”

On Sept. 13, Kyle was one of 52 people welcomed as cadets in the Western Territory from 31 corps across all 10 divisions. Forty of the 52 session members are first-generation Salvationists.

“You taught me to love like you, with a Christ-like love,” Kyle said in her testimony to attendees in the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts. “This Christ-like love created a desire and a calling to be a corps officer.”

Over the next two years, the Messengers of Light session of cadets will train to be officers in The Salvation Army at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont in Ranch Palos Verdes, Calif.

“We welcome you as Salvationists who have knelt at the mercy seat,” Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs said in his charge to the new cadets. “Your willingness to serve God today is an encouragement to our hearts and brings hope to our souls…I want you to remember that with every ray of light and in every darkness that you see, I want you to remember that you are messengers of light.”

Be it the light of a computer or phone, or one around a campfire, inside the refrigerator or in the sky, Knaggs urged the session to remember that they are “indeed the light of the world.”

To illustrate the way light exposes, CFOT Principal Major Tim Foley gave the message without house lights, shining various lights throughout the venue.

“Light exposes what we want seen and what we don’t want seen,” Foley said. “Some people don’t like the light. The light is there, but they’re a little afraid of it because light exposes… People don’t like light because it means they might have to change. And that’s tough.”

God did not send The Salvation Army to condemn the world, Foley said. “He sent us to bring light, but it can’t happen if we carry hate in our heart for our neighbor…,” he said. “Walking in the light frees us to love, to be kind. We need more kindness, and it starts in the household of faith.”

The Messengers of Light sang two songs with the second-year Heralds of Grace session, “I’ll Be A Light” and “Then the Light,” and the Western Territorial Youth Band (BM Richard Opina) provided music throughout the meeting.

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