Why I’m glad to be a Salvation Army soldier

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From the desk of…

by William Harfoot, Lt. Colonel –

Sue and I continue to enjoy getting to know the Western Territory. Everywhere we go we are not only warmly welcomed, but we have observed significant service to people. In December we visited Seattle. There we were introduced to several ministries where officers and employees serve with grace and lives are changed. We saw a vital and effective ARC ministry, which serves men and women seeking to overcome addiction. In fact, we walked in on a group of about 40 men watching Sunday afternoon football. They were a very enthusiastic bunch and happy to be in the safe fellowship of the Army. We also met many of the soldiers of the area at a united Christmas meeting held at the Seattle Temple Corps. Many of the soldiers and officers participated in a joy-filled meeting. Good things are happening in the Northwest Division.

Every day Salvation Army officers, employees, soldiers and volunteers are making a difference in the world. While in the context of the world the Army is a relatively small organization, our influence and service is important and effective in the lives of many. We are happy and proud to be part of The Salvation Army, and we are honored to join this territory.

If I were not a Salvation Army soldier, I would want to join. Why would I want to be a soldier? I would want to be a soldier because the Soldier’s Covenant both expresses the desire of my soul and inspires my relationship with God. If you are not familiar with the Soldier’s Covenant it is a document worth reading. Soldiers are not just believers—they are men and women deeply and strongly pledged to God and God’s purposes for good and grace in the world.

I would want to join the Army and be a soldier because the Army is action oriented. Life in The Salvation Army is not dull. On Saturdays I enjoy listening to National Public Radio and in particular the Prairie Home Companion program. On this, often humorous, program Garrison Keiller describes his hometown, Lake Wobegon. In Lake Wobegon the local Roman Catholic parish is known as “Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility.” I have often thought the local corps in Lake Wobegon would be the “Corps of Perpetual Activity.” Salvation Army soldiers are active Christians, and I like that. God has gifted Salvation Army soldiers with the ability to get things done.

I would want to be a Salvation Army soldier because the Army gives soldiers great opportunities for service. Opportunity for service and leadership is not restricted to officers (clergy), nor to those with special backgrounds. If you like music, social work, sports, disaster services, teaching, and a long list of other interests, there is opportunity with The Salvation Army.

I would want to be a Salvation Army soldier because The Salvation Army represents a unique international fellowship. I grew up in a modest, working class neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. We were a very ordinary family in a very ordinary neighborhood. Sixty years later, because of Christ and The Salvation Army, Sue and I have friends around the world. Our friendships are also a spiritual bond with men and women on every continent. We have had opportunity to visit some of those friends. I have had fellowship in the home of a Salvationist friend in Brazzaville, Congo, and in November we visited Captains Daniel and Anya Henderson in Estonia. While the places are interesting, the amazing thing to me is the spiritual fellowship with new friends in places half way around the world. I am grateful for the fellowship of the Army, and I am very glad to be a Salvation Army soldier.

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