Yakima’s National Salvation Army Week
Yakima, Wash., corps hosts former Harlem Globetrotter Seth Franco.
by Thomas Morrow, Major –
The Yakima, Wash., corps, led by Majors Thomas and Crystal Morrow, observed Salvation Army Week with events featuring former Harlem Globetrotter Seth Franco. The festivities touched the lives of over 3,000 people.
Franco, who played for the Court Jesters and the Harlem Wizards, now travels using his basketball routine as a platform to share the love of Jesus.
The week’s activities began with Yakima’s 53rd annual Senior Shut-in Dinner for nursing home residents. Majors Bud and Cheryl Fuqua provided the music and message.
On May 10, corps members attended Saturday Night Live, a local YMCA program. Franco shared his testimony with over 200 young people and staff. The corps also participated in the National Postal Workers food drive and a fundraiser concert for youth programs at the corps, featuring musician Joanne Sargent.
Franco, with his wife Sarah and daughter Jade, joined the Sunday morning services on Mother’s Day. Seth delivered a unique basketball-handling message; afterwards several people accepted or recommitted their lives to Christ. A community barbecue followed the service. Over 150 people attended, including Lt. Colonels Harold and Joann Brodin, Northwest divisional leaders.
On Monday, we accompanied Seth to several locations as he shared his testimony on the air at a local radio station, at St. Paul’s Catholic grade school, at St. Joseph Marquette School, and with high-risk teens at the YMCA. His message always revolved around what Christ can do in your life, the need for parent/teacher guidance, and the understanding that life is more than basketball.
Tuesday morning began with Seth teaching basketball tricks to three talk show hosts in a sound booth at a local radio studio. They all were able to spin the basketball on one finger—once Seth placed it there. At the annual Civic Luncheon, a fundraiser for summer day camp, Seth gave a superb performance along with his testimony to the 300-person audience.
Pauline Hunter, a long-time youth worker in Yakima, was also honored. That afternoon, Seth spoke to over 100 children and staff at the Southeast Community Center. After his testimony, he played ball with the kids. We then met with several pastors and a local TV newsman to pray, and ended the day with an advisory board barbecue.
On Wednesday, we again visited local schools. At West Valley Middle School, basketball player Levryl Wilson, from the Army’s Tacoma team, joined in Seth’s presentation to 800 students. To help Seth dunk the ball, Levryl simply lifted him up. At Wilson Middle School, Seth led assemblies for eighth grade and then sixth grade. An evening service that night at the First Presbyterian Church included many young local basketball players. Over 20 of them stood to receive Christ.
Following every appearance, Seth dutifully signed autographs and wrote in Psalm 23:1 with the request, each time, that the child read it. He noticeably gave the same attention to the last child in line as the first—an incredible example to these kids of Christ’s love for each one of them.