An unexpected and miraculous ministry opportunity in Atlanta

By: Chris Priest

We all know and value the tremendous work accomplished by officers and staff of The Salvation Army through the year, but we don’t always realize the amazing ministry opportunities that come their way. Here is a firsthand account that I recently witnessed.

While in a business meeting with Major Mike Vincent, Adult Rehabilitation Center administrator for Atlanta, Ga., I was able to feast my eyes on a miraculous ministry opportunity taking place at the center. So let’s begin by calling this beneficiary brother, “Jim,” for the sake of what I am about to share.

His story is similar to many who enter the doors of the ARC — a world full of hate, addiction, and torment with very little chance of survival. Jim is a professional musician and earned his money playing the piano and singing all around the world.

“I fell into the trap of accepting alcohol from fans and supporters of my music,” said Jim. “And before long… my life was in a mess.”

Upon entering the ARC in Atlanta, Jim quickly established himself as part of the praise and worship team at the chapel services on Sundays and through the week. Major Vincent shared that Jim never fails to bless his heart and soul every time Jim plays and sings. What a witness! Jim re-found the Lord at the ARC and is well into his complete recovery from addiction.

I’m setting the stage here because, unknown to me or Major Vincent while we are talking business, Jim’s parents drop in to the center on their way home to the other side of the state. The desk receptionist then called Major Vincent and informed him there are visitors in the lobby (parents of Jim) and would love to meet him! I readily agree and seconds later Jim, his mom and dad (both elderly), enter the office.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. Everyone was wearing a mask, and you could have band practice in Major Vincent’s office! So there was plenty of room, and we were socially distanced!

Major Vincent spoke highly of Jim, his ongoing recovery, and especially his music talents that bless him and so many others. You can tell the parents are very proud, while thanking Major Vincent for all The Salvation Army is doing to rehabilitate Jim.

His Mom even says “I didn’t understand why “Jim” got into such a mess, he is by far the sensible one in our family!” Then Major Vincent turns to both parents and says to each of them, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?” Wow! If there is a poignant moment when The Salvation Army’s true colors and motivation comes through, it was then! They both acknowledged their faith and I could tell they were in some ways surprised by the question, but eager to share their answers.

Major Vincent then prays a beautiful prayer lifting all three and their extended family to the Lord for protection.

I urge all who read this to never be afraid of asking that question. ”Is Jesus Christ your personal savior?”

There is beauty in the name of Jesus,
Passing time can ne’er extol;
All the splendor of its clear unfolding
Will eternal years enroll.

In my heart there dwells a song of purest beauty,
Blissful as an echo of the angel-choir must be;
Jesus is the wondrous theme its notes are weaving,
Dearest name of names to me.

There’s salvation in the name of Jesus;
Trusting in his name alone
We shall find ourselves at last presented
Faultless at his Father’s throne.

There is comfort in the name of Jesus;
Comrade, faint amid the strife,
E’en as dew upon the spirit falling,
Jesus is the word of life.

There is rapture in the name of Jesus,
Joy that bears the soul above,
All the wealth of Heaven to earth restoring,
Name of all-redeeming love.