Program Inspiration: Valentine’s Bake & Craft Sale

The Alexandria, Virginia Home League began preparations on February 4th for their Valentine’s Day Bake Sale.  The ladies are raising funds for the Mexico Children’s Home that they support each year and are using their baking skills and creativity this Valentine’s Day to do so.   Along with a wide variety of seasonal baked goods, they have prepared Twinkie cakes dressed as the wildly popular yellow Minions from the movie, “Despicable Me”.  The label on the cakes read “You’re One in a MINION”.  Other items sure to be best sellers are the Star Wars themed Tic Tacs, with labels such as “You R2 Cute”, “Yoda One For Me”, “Ewok My World”, and “Come to the Heart Side”.  In addition to sweets, the ladies have prepared Flower Bouquets using vintage Salvation Army songbook pages.  They have taken pages of the most beloved songs and created beautiful keepsakes to display for years to come!  The sale will take place following our Holiness Meeting on Sunday, February 14th.  This is our first Valentine’s Bake Sale, but the ladies were so excited with their finished products, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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Sarasota Officer Volunteers for Nonprofit Leadership Training at Local College

When the Sarasota, Florida, Center of Hope was developing its policies on homeless care last year, Major Ethan Frizzell, area commander, enlisted the help of local college students. Through a volunteer position he has taken at New College, Major Frizzell was able to incorporate the development of homeless care policy into the course curriculum for the Nonprofit Leadership course he teaches.

“Last year one of the classes worked on a project with us. It was called the Community Leadership dialogues; it’s very similar to community engagement and community policy making – like what you do in international communities,” said Major Frizzell.

He began the volunteer teaching position in August 2015 and sees it as a means of giving back to the community that has so generously been involved with the Center of Hope. “This is my way of giving back to our community for very active young people,” he said.

In his course syllabus, Major Frizzell said the course would “explore how leadership can instigate greater social effect by using the resources of traditional social services and extending the strengths through nonprofit leadership. The course will examine the difference between adaptive leadership and technical management within nonprofits.”

During the first half of the course, students talk about tools and frameworks, everything from risk assessments to how to develop a portfolio, and the second half of the course, each student chooses a local nonprofit to review in fieldwork.

Major Frizzell said that some of the nonprofits they reviewed were organizations that The Salvation Army has known about and even partnered with in the past; others, however, were unknown to him, and he said that learning with the students has developed a higher level of collaboration in the community. While he’s the first to say that his responsibilities in officership come first, the experience of volunteering his time to teach community college students has helped him hone his communication skills.

“I walk the staff through these processes anyway, but it’s very helpful to get the feedback in the coursework of the students. How are they hearing what I’m teaching? That’s very relevant when you have a staff that’s growing as quickly as ours,” said Major Frizzell.

Using an adaptive leadership approach, students are looking at a host of concepts such as mission, vision, theory of change and using tools to observe and interpret what they see in a particular cultural context. “In order to create change within the culture, which is most significant, how do you listen? So we’re teaching them how to listen very actively and when you do that, then you interpret what you’re hearing very actively.”

He said the coursework has also been a good testimony; it’s helped him see how the community appreciates what The Salvation Army stands for and does.

We Need Each Other To Do This Work

By Jillian Penhale

Current statistics estimate that there are 27 million people enslaved today. In my city of Tampa, Florida there are over 50 strip clubs, over 70 brothels posing as massage parlors, hundreds of women who are trafficked on the street, and thousands who are being trafficked online. How does one person, one organization, or one mission make a measurable impact when these numbers are so large?

ONE doesn’t.

While there is very obvious merit to intentional ministry from one person to another, making a kingdom impact one person at a time – I am talking about impacting communities and taking down an evil industry. To do that, we NEED each other – we NEED the body of Christ to come together. We can’t do it by ourselves. Praise the Lord that there are ministries rising up all over the world to address the injustice of human trafficking! For those of us who are engaging in the fight against this particular brand of evil in our cities, I believe our first question should be, “Who else is here with me? Who is engaging in this work, and what are they doing?”

My first step into this fight was starting a club ministry with a small group of like-minded young salvationists. We felt God calling us to build relationships with women where they were, with the intention of letting them know that they are seen and cared for by a Father who loves them. It truly was a beautiful time of ministry in my life, taking bold steps that I hadn’t taken before. BUT, we went in blindly. Little did we know that there were already about 3 other club ministries working in our city at that time – and not only were we doing the same work in the same city, but because I didn’t check to see who else was doing this type of work we were actually reaching some of the same clubs, meaning there were other clubs remaining unreached by the church. After learning there were other ministries in our city, we were able to partner and become a network of ministries. And now, about 10 ministries work together to reach over 40 clubs in Tampa and St. Petersburg alone. That is an impact! Not only do we collaborate in this way, but one of leaders also gathers us regularly to pray and encourage each other, a showcase of the beauty of partnership.

I now serve as the Executive Director of a small organization called Created which has served in the Tampa area for 8 years, reaching out to women who have been sexually exploited in our city and offering a community of love and support as they pursue healing and recovery. We could not do the work that we do without our community partners. One clear example of this is providing emergency housing to women who are ready to leave the industry. Created has a house than can only provide 6 beds to women in our community, but there are many women contacting us for help and services. After seeing this need we were able to reach out to shelters in our area, including The Salvation Army, and see to it that women are able to stay in a safe place until they are able to either receive a bed at our house, or obtain their own housing.

This doesn’t mean that we would partner with just any agency that provides housing – you have to be strategic when engaging partners and ensure that their heartbeat is similar to yours. For example, we can’t partner with a group that does not believe in women empowerment – because that is a HUGE part of our mission. As a ministry/nonprofit leader every decision should come back to the question – does this help achieve our mission?

The definition of collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something”. When we bring our gifts and callings together we produce mighty and imaginative things for the kingdom. Together, we can fight and wage war on the injustices happening in our cities.

Jillian Penhale is the Executive Director of Created Ministries in Tampa, FL. 

My Calling – Lt. Amber Morris

I was born and raised in south Georgia and entered training from Griffin, Georgia, but God had to send me all the way to Beaumont, Texas, to reveal to me my calling to become a Salvation Army officer. I was born into a very close-knit family that loves the Lord. My upbringing, however, did not protect me from situations I would find myself in and the choices I would have to make in life.

In early 2006 I discovered that the man who I thought loved me had been cheating on me, and while it was an unhealthy relationship, I was hurt by it and so I turned to my friends for support. The friends I had chosen were the kind of people I knew I needed to stay away from, but I chose to embrace them. The things I chose to spend my time doing are not things I am proud of. I found comfort in things like alcohol and sex. After a relatively short, but no less destructive, stint living a life completely void of God, I found myself staring death in the face.

In 2006 I was hospitalized with double pneumonia. The doctors were not very hopeful of my recovery. I was placed in ICU and my family waited. It was at this point that I was introduced to The Salvation Army. An officer at DHQ offered my mom a job she had interviewed for as a service center director. She told him she couldn’t accept the offer then due to the dire situation we were facing. The officer said the job was hers and he would hold it for her because he believed it was a God-ordained position for her. He called daily to pray with my family and I eventually got better. My mom took the job, and I went to assist her. In doing that I ended up working at Camp Grandview.

God grabbed hold of me that summer of 2007, and I grabbed hold of him and refused to let go. I saw who I had been, but more importantly I saw who I could become. And that is what I longed for. I was surrounded with new friends who loved and encouraged me. Through the incredible ways of God, I ended up assisting at the Griffin Corps for the same officer who befriended my family when he could have just accepted my mom’s no. I was able to see the Army in all that it does, and I knew this is where God called me to be. It was when I went to Texas for disaster relief that I truly understood that God was calling me. He placed people in my life on that disaster team who helped me realize my true potential. He revealed to me that I would one day have red on my shoulders and that I would serve him the rest of my life.

God also helped me see the positive influence I could have on those around me. He has challenged me to be the kind of person who never meets a stranger, who has a word of encouragement for everyone and who is willing to risk themselves for others. And to think, I get to spend the rest of my life doing this for God as a Salvation Army officer, because … I am a Friend of Christ.

Applications Open for Olympic Mission Teams

Mission teams are being assembled to engage in outreach and sports ministry alongside the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. Applicants have just over two months to complete their registration to be part of The Salvation Army’s ministry at the first Olympics to be held in South America. Millions of spectators are expected to travel to Brazil, where The Salvation Army has been at work since 1922.

Major Dan Ford, a Southern officer, is the divisional commander in Rio. He speaks warmly of local Salvationists’ profound desire to serve on mission teams while their city is in the spotlight of the world’s media.

“It’s not so much what they are going to do, but the fact that they are prepared to do something,” Major Ford said. “In particular, we’re aware of estimates that up to 40,000 sex workers will ply their trade in Rio during the event. Salvationists here have a real heart for those trapped in the sex trade, and are campaigning against human trafficking.” An initiative in the suburb of Niterói is already ministering to local women engaged in prostitution, offering non-judgmental counselling, refreshments and care packages.

The Salvation Army is also recruiting volunteer team members from around the world. In partnership with Brazilian para-church movement Braços Abertos (Open Arms), these teams are being brought together by Lt. Colonel David Bowles, Europe Zone sports ministry coordinator. He aims to build on similar initiatives undertaken in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup and in the UK during the London 2012 Games.

Several of The Salvation Army’s corps and centers in Rio are already using sport and other forms of recreation as a way to cement meaningful relationships in the community.

Two delegations of international volunteers will be needed to bolster the local team. Block A runs Aug. 3-13 with Block B following Aug. 13-23. Prospective volunteers are encouraged to visit the international sports ministry website at sar.my/rio2016 to find out more about the financial, practical and spiritual commitments required. The deadline for receiving applications is Feb. 29 2016.