Centenarian Salvation Army soldier celebrated in Raleigh, N.C.

Centenarian Salvation Army soldier celebrated in Raleigh, N.C.

By: Major Frank Duracher

Bessie Emory, 100, was recently honored with a birthday celebration following the Sunday worship service at the Raleigh International Corps. “Miss Bessie,” as she is known by literally hundreds of the “kids” she mentored over the years, was surprised to see some of them in attendance who made the trip just to honor her.

Bessie was converted on March 31, 1935 and enrolled as a Senior Soldier 18 months later on Oct. 4, 1936. Her leadership as a local officer began almost immediately, influencing an innumerable line of young people in Raleigh. These children and teens grew up to become successful homemakers, business leaders, advisory board members, Salvation Army soldiers and officers.

“She was always a loving leader,” recalls Brenda Perry, one of Miss Bessie’s many Sunbeams and Girl Guards through the years. “I learned so much from her.” 

“As a local officer in The Salvation Army, she was always here at the corps,” says Lillie DeBerry Anderson, a member of The Salvation Army’s Rocky Mount Advisory Board. “She was a staple in this corps for many decades and encouraged all of us.”

Lib Tiller, another longtime soldier of the Raleigh Corps, agrees, adding, “Bessie was so faithful as a role model—which was and still is so very important for young people.” 

Taking in all the fuss, Miss Bessie could only think about the family, friends, and fellow Salvationists she knew since her service to the Lord began in the 1930s. 

“Its hard to put all this together,” Miss Bessie says. “I’m thinking about all the changes—good and bad—over the years. And I’m thinking about the blessings I’ve received, and I’m thankful to God for everything!”

Source: southernspiritonline.org

TMI 2021: Final Concert

TMI 2021: Final Concert

Beginning on Monday, July 26, dozens of talented musicians and artists assembled at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas. After a week of extensive worship, study and fellowship that also included a soloist recital and a mid-week “preview” concert, delegates performed and offered their talents to the Lord in the institute’s final concert on Sunday evening.

Visual arts, brass band, worship team, theater and dance majors were represented in ensemble form. In addition, awards and scholarships were distributed to delegates who excelled during the week.

The full concert can be viewed below.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

TMI 2021: Preview Concert

TMI 2021: Preview Concert

The 2021 Territorial Music Institute reached its halfway point on Thursday, with musicians and artists from across the Southeastern United States convening at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle for a week of worship, ministry and learning. After a rousing recital from soloists on Wednesday, the institute’s major ensembles — including brass band, visual arts, theater, worship team and dance — performed on Thursday evening.

Video of the midweek “preview” concert can be seen below.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

Inaugural ‘Kettle-Con’ helps The Salvation Army prepare for Christmas campaign in Texas

Inaugural ‘Kettle-Con’ helps The Salvation Army prepare for Christmas campaign in Texas

By: Philip Burn

Preparations for The Salvation Army’s 2021 Christmas campaign are already well underway in Texas. Salvation Army officers, staff, and volunteers attended the inaugural Kettle-Con event on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Kettle-Con, themed after the infamous San Diego Comic Convention (Comic-Con), is a virtual training and informational event for every Salvation Army unit in the state of Texas, focusing on all topics related to Christmas fundraising. The first day of webinars included four sessions.

The sessions, ranging from 60 to 75 minutes in length were titled: All Things Angel Tree Epic Marketing & Promotion Tips, Register to Ring, and Super Ideas. Sessions were led by The Salvation Army’s development department staff with presentations from officers, staff, external vendors and volunteers. 

“We have planned Kettle-Con webinars for July, August, and September, each with four topics to choose from,” said Jennifer Lane, The Salvation Army’s corporate relations and development manager for Texas. “Each session is being recorded and posted to an internal website. All presentations, collateral materials, contacts, and links related to each topic will be available on that website. We’re off to a great start and look forward to the next Kettle-Con sessions on Aug. 18.”

More than 180 people attended the first Kettle-Con sessions that included door prizes for those who pre-registered, a chat function active throughout the session, and time for Q&A. Future Kettle-Con sessions are scheduled for Aug. 18, and Sept. 15, and session topics such as Red Kettle Challenge, Ringers & Volunteers, Kettle Logistics in illogical Situations, Creating Community Super Stars, and more will be covered.

“Our hope and prayer is that Kettle-Con will help further the mission of The Salvation Army in Texas and expand Christmas fundraising opportunities and engagement by sharing resources and ideas with our peers across Texas,” said Lane.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

TMI 2021: Solo Night

TMI 2021: Solo Night

Musicians and artists from across The Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territory are gathering at Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas for a week-long institute in late July. On Wednesday, July 28, a selection of delegates performed solos to showcase their considerable talents and direct praise to God for the gifts he bestows.

The participants, in concert order, are as follows:

  • The Oakes Septet — ‘On Green Dolphin Street’
  • Andrew Morris — Cornet solo: ‘Centerpiece’
  • Abigail Snelson — Vocal solo: ‘Speechless’
  • Jacob Mitchell — Tuba solo: ‘Celestial Morn’
  • Bailey Lind — Visual Arts: ‘Flourishing in Grace’
  • Chase Farrell — Trombone solo: ‘Home on the Range’
  • Dakota Meeks — Vocal solo: ‘Love Like This’
  • Jonathan Frelix — Violin solo: ‘Symphony Espagnole Op. 21’
  • Talitha Barrington — Ballet solo: ‘La Sylphide Prelude Variation’
  • Matthew Burn — Cornet solo: ‘Song of Exultation’

The full video can be seen below.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

The best nickel ever spent

The best nickel ever spent

By: Major Frank Duracher

How much would you give, in cash, for a child to be won to Jesus? A million dollars? A thousand? A hundred?

How about just a nickel.

That is how much it took for Dewayne to take interest in learning scripture verses, which eventually led to his salvation. Because of that nickel, Dewayne’s testimony became the rest of a Salvation Army story.

Go back with me to Lawton, Okla. in the early 1950s. Dewayne and his family lived in a humble home near downtown. The family did not have much, so there were times when they sought and received assistance from the local Salvation Army corps.

Dewayne’s mother worked hard at home to take care of the struggling family. Making ends meet seemed impossible at times. Dewayne’s father was an alcoholic, that that did not help matters. When Dewayne’s father died, things went from bad to worse. His mother married again, but by now the ten yar-old boy had a stepfather who was a bootlegger.

The stepfather, Henry, took the boy under his wing—hoping to make him an eventual partner in the outlawed business. There were many times when Dewayne and his stepfather crossed state lines into Texas to procure alcohol, transporting it illegally into the dry counties of southwestern Oklahoma. To do this, they often had to take the dusty backroads to avoid the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Dewayne even remembers the secret hiding place where dozens of bottles of liquor were stored right there in the family home.

“We had some loose boards under the carpet, in the floor beneath the console television,” Dewayne recalls today with a sheepish grin. “The police knew my stepfather well — knew he had the stuff stashed away somewhere on the premises, but they never discovered that secret hiding place!”

“There was even a fifth of whiskey laid in the roof gutter which was hidden from view of anyone on the ground,” he adds with astonishment.

Such was the legacy planned for an innocent boy — a future partner in crime, a life dangerously close to the oblivion of sin… were it not for a nickel.

Before too long, Dewayne was invited by a friend to Sunday School at The Salvation Army Lawton Corps. Captain and Mrs. Lonnie Knight were the corps officers, and it was Captain Lonnie’s idea to offer a nickel every Sunday to anyone in the Junior Boys’ Class who would learn the scripture verse for that lesson.

Recite the verse by memory; get a nickel.

It sounded good to Dewayne. Back then, a nickel still went pretty far, and he was a bright boy. He easily committed the verse to memory and received his shiny new nickel. In fact, he received many nickels over the course of months of Sunday School that followed.

“I credit that first nickel with keeping me attending Sunday School at The Salvation Army, and changing the course of my life,” Dewayne now testifies. “With an alcoholic father, I might have become an alcoholic myself. And with a stepfather ‘training’ me to a life of bootlegging, I surely would have ended up in prison before too long!”

But because of Christ and The Salvation Army, that did not happen, thank God. Instead, little Dewayne followed the allure of a single nickel, which would soon lead him to a new name written down in Glory.

Not to mention a lifetime of service to thousands throughout his adult life. For you see, Dewayne became intensely interested in memorizing scripture for his own edification. He got involved in music, corps cadets, and other activities at the corps. And not long after giving his heart to Jesus, Dewayne felt the call to officership in The Salvation Army.

It has been a career shared by Dewayne and his wife, Milly, for over 40 years. Along the way, their children grew up to love The Salvation Army; some of them becoming Salvation Army officers themselves, still serving today.

Until now, we only knew this lad as Dewayne, a poor Oklahoma boy going the wrong way. But we can all thank God for that first nickel, and the man that boy became… Major Glenn Dewayne Fite.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

The Salvation Army receives generous water donation from VOSS in preparation for disaster response

The Salvation Army receives generous water donation from VOSS in preparation for disaster response

By: Donald Felice

VOSS has donated 100,000 bottles of its iconic water to The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services in advance of the 2021 hurricane season.

VOSS, a company founded in Norway and known for its unique bottle design, recognizes the profound need for clean, pure water as a vital component for healthy living. A stated part of its mission is to help provide clean drinking water during times of crisis to those who need it most. In the past year, VOSS has proudly donated and delivered over one million bottles of water around the globe.

The donation, delivered to The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services operation in Georgia, will retain 20,000 bottles for local disaster response in 2021. The balance of the Voss donation will be shared with the Texas, Florida, and Arkansas-Oklahoma divisions to strategically store the water in helping to expedite disaster response this year.

This generous contribution also comes at a perfect time, as the National Weather Service predicts a highly active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

“We are very grateful to Voss Water for their generous donation to The Salvation Army,” said Lanita Lloyd, emergency disaster services director for The Salvation Army in Georgia. “Their kindness will go a long way to provide help and hope for people in their time of need.”

In 2020, VOSS donated more than 5,000 bottles of water to The Salvation Army of Georgia Emergency Disaster Services. The water was utilized in Georgia disaster responses throughout the year, including recent tornado response affecting Polk, Coweta, Heard, and Fayette counties in the state. VOSS also sent the Georgia Division seven cases of their Vitamin D water to sample for possible future donations.

Donald Felice is the director of communications for The Salvation Army’s Georgia Division.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

The Salvation Army embraces senior community with family dynamic in Jackson, Mississippi

The Salvation Army embraces senior community with family dynamic in Jackson, Mississippi

By: Karyn Lewis

In Jackson, Mississippi, The Salvation Army hosts a year-round program for senior citizens, inviting community members over 65 years old to meet for ministry, arts and crafts, and the chance to socialize. The program, which runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, offers several activities including health and nutrition classes, daily devotions, community gym, and workout classes.

In addition, representatives from local companies come to speak with seniors, keeping them abreast about life skills local happenings in Jackson. Senior visitors end the day with snacks and/or lunch, and they also have opportunities to participate in Salvation Army programs to share their talents.

“This program was designed for seniors. We take field trips, host programs, and many other activities,” said Nita Humphrey, community center director at The Salvation Army’s Jackson corps. “Right now, we have a partnership with Comcast, so we’re able to provide internet essentials to our seniors. We have a virtual session coming up where we will do our first Zoom session with the seniors to try to help them better navigate the computer and get them to be more comfortable.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have not been able to have the program on-site, so I’ve been checking on seniors to see if they need anything,” Humphrey added. “We also do biweekly devotional conference calls to help with their spiritual growth. We have made it where we are available. They have my cell. Some of them call and need immediate assistance. Anything that they need, we are there to make sure that they are taken care of during this time.”

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how the program operates, but The Salvation Army and members of the program have stayed in touch throughout the past year in hopes of maintaining a sense of community. A few members of the program have been hospitalized, or placed in nursing homes, so Humphrey and local Salvation Army officers go to them to provide community care. They also take items that the seniors may need and attend funerals when members pass away, illuminating the close bonds that are formed. Humphrey contacts families on behalf of The Salvation Army to see if they need anything.

“We do the best that we can to make sure that we are there for them,” Humphrey said. “And making sure they’re okay throughout their daily lives.”

Building Community

Ms. Inez Rushing is one of the seniors who keeps in touch with members of the program.

“I’ve spoken with everyone individually,” Rushing said. “They tell me they miss The Salvation Army and wish we were back. Being unable to meet with our group or family members has been really hard on us.”

“We’ve stayed creative and keep in touch with each other. This is the reason we’re part of the Senior Citizens Program; to meet and form a community within our age group.”

One of the initiatives missed by many attendees during the pandemic was in-person devotions and gym class. One of the seniors uses her local Kroger to work out. She uses a buggy for support and walks around the entire store for exercise. Other members have taken to walking around their homes and yards as their source of physical activity.

“The Salvation Army has helped me a lot,” said Edna Rhodes, a member of the senior citizens program. “First thing in the mornings, we’d have devotion, prayer, and scripture reading. I like doing that. Sometimes we have a guest speaker and other times we have a chance to go to the gym. That helps strengthen my lungs because I have certain respiratory issues. Everything is organized. We have lunch after our activities, and we have recognized birthdays every three months. I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in planning the Christmas program, which I enjoy a lot.”

Combatting isolation

Many seniors spent their quarantine with family to avoid complete isolation. One member has an 82-year-old aunt who she’s taking care of during the pandemic. She’s able to assist her aunt, and her aunt keeps her company. The senior citizens program in Jackson hosted a weekly devotion throughout the pandemic to ensure seniors don’t feel completely isolated or forgotten.

“We’re all retired, and most of us don’t have many places to go,” said Rushing. “I’ve missed gathering; talking to each other. I miss the food.”

“We’re anxious to return,” Rushing added. “We’ve kept in touch. We’ve shared phone numbers and have a great line of communication. We call ourselves The Salvation Army senior citizens family.”

The Seniors resumed meeting in person in early 2021, to the delight of many. Health and safety protocols are in place, including social distancing and mask requirements.

(Shared from the blog of The Salvation Army Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi Division.)

Source: southernspiritonline.org

‘Love Atlanta’ volunteers leave lasting impression through partnership with The Salvation Army

‘Love Atlanta’ volunteers leave lasting impression through partnership with The Salvation Army

By: Brad Rowland

The stated mission of Love Atlanta, an outreach of Passion City Church, is to inspire and mobilize people toward a lifestyle of service, all while changing the landscape of Atlanta through generosity. With that focus and an overarching desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus, a multi-year partnership with The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta has emerged, leaving a considerable imprint on many in the metropolitan area.

In 2021, Love Atlanta kicked off its week of service with a celebration at Passion City Church on Sunday, June 20, with projects in the works from June 21-26. Altogether, 270 projects were completed across the city, with more than 10,000 volunteer hours deployed. While The Salvation Army was not the only partner involved in the initiative, more than 280 volunteer shifts were coordinated with service at several Salvation Army locations.

Love Atlanta first coordinates through Passion City Church, setting up projects and then providing a sign-up apparatus for volunteers to claim shifts of their choice. From there, each shift has an on-site coordinator through Love Atlanta, working directly with Salvation Army units, and that ensures that the work is managed with an eye toward making an optimal impact.

This year, Love Atlanta volunteers helped in the kitchen at The Salvation Army’s Metro Atlanta Red Shield Services Emergency and Transitional Housing Facility, preparing and serving food throughout the week. Elsewhere, individuals contributed to Vacation Bible School in multiple settings, including Red Shield, Atlanta Temple Corps and Atlanta’s Adult Rehabilitation Center. Engaged volunteers also aided in service in Cobb County by helping with an ongoing day camp at The Salvation Army’s Marietta Corps, assisted with day center operations at the Atlanta Temple Corps, and helped with community outreach efforts in both Jonesboro and Doraville.

“One of the things Love Atlanta focused on in 2021 was projects that can be sustainable throughout the year, not just work that can be focused in a day-of scenario,” said Donna Roper, volunteer coordinator for The Salvation Army in Metro Atlanta. “They were really trying to focus on projects that can be ongoing, and they can return to with volunteers at different times. In some ways, it is an introduction to create volunteerism and encourage that spirit through what is a mentality of giving back. It’s a clear message for Love Atlanta and Passion City.”

In addition to the impression made in communities during this week of intentional service, several Love Atlanta volunteers have developed long-lasting relationships with The Salvation Army after making their first point of contact through the volunteer partnership. Plans will begin in the near future through the lens of 2022 and beyond, but the passion and vibrance of the volunteers undeniably leaves a profound influence on individuals, young and old, throughout the Atlanta area.

“They are so passionate and energetic,” Roper said. “I’ve seen it with all of their volunteers. They come in excited about the mission and about volunteering and being there. I look forward to it each year because of that passion. It’s a lot of fun, and I always feel confident that the work will be great and have an impact.”

Source: southernspiritonline.org

‘Operation Kokonut’ helps The Salvation Army bring joy to children in Macon, Georgia

‘Operation Kokonut’ helps The Salvation Army bring joy to children in Macon, Georgia

By: Jennifer McNaughton

When 9-year-old Kayla Hedden and her mother, Angela, walked into The Salvation Army of Georgia’s headquarters office on a Wednesday morning, they carried two oversized boxes of hand-made stuffed animals and had smiles from ear to ear. Kayla’s Miss Georgia sash was draped proudly across her torso, and she was eager to hand off the stuffed animals – knowing that they’d bring joy to children somewhere in Georgia.

Although this was the first time they had come to The Salvation Army to donate stuffed animals, this was hardly the first time Kayla and Angela had done this type of delivery before; The Salvation Army was simply one stop out of many.

For the last two years, Kayla and Angela have teamed up to bring “Operation Koconut” to life – a heartfelt initiative where they design, stuff, and distribute stuffed animals to comfort children in need. In that time, they have created over 150 stuffed animals and delivered them to sick children in hospitals. It has also been a prominent part of Kayla’s beauty pageant community service platform, and there are plans for it to grow on a much larger scale in the future.

Each stuffed animal – or “koconut” as Kayla calls them – is completely unique in design. As of now, all the koconuts are shaped like dogs, but no two patterns are the same.

“All of the koconut patterns and ribbons are unique on purpose,” said Kayla. “Because every child is unique, they should have something that reflects that.”

The idea came about after Kayla spent some time in the hospital herself and took comfort in her stuffed animal monkey whose name is Koconut.

“When I was in the hospital and volunteers would drop off gifts and games, it would make me feel so much better,” said Kayla. “Even when I was feeling horrible, those little things brightened up my day and made me realize that people cared about me.”

Since hospitals had been the primary recipient of Operation Koconut for the last few years, Kayla and Angela recently decided to branch out to include other organizations that helped children in need – organizations like The Salvation Army.

“I had this strong feeling – something that I can only describe as a calling – that we needed to expand Operation Koconut’s reach to include The Salvation Army,” said Angela. “When I think of The Salvation Army, the words ‘God’s work’ immediately comes to mind, and that’s why I’ve always liked this organization.”

The donations from Kayla and Angela’s visit were sent to The Salvation Army of Macon, Ga., where they were gifted to children in its emergency shelter. In a time of chaos, uncertainty, and confusion, those children – similar to Kayla – will realize that they are cared for too.

“Thoughtful donations like these truly make a difference in a child’s life,” said Major Rebekah Poole, the presiding officer for The Salvation Army in Macon. “Years from now, these children will look back on this difficult time in their life and remember the joy that this donation brought them. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t even begin to describe how grateful we are for our donors’ generosity.”

Jennifer McNaughton is the communications specialist for The Salvation Army’s Georgia Division and this story was originally published here.

Source: southernspiritonline.org