Cadets Welcomed with Words of Encouragement, Challenge
By: David Ibata
Led by General André Cox, speakers at the Cadets’ Welcome for the Messengers of Compassion session brought encouragement and – mindful of the devastating hurricane in Texas and another bearing down on Florida – words of challenge to meet the crises to come.
General Cox, The Salvation Army’s international leader, brought the message, “Holding Fast,” to the Sept. 8 ceremony for the 24 new cadets of the Southern Territory at Atlanta Temple Corps.
“When you think of the many hundreds or thousands or millions of people on the roads at this moment, fleeing a storm that is fast approaching – people who have perhaps spent their lifetimes to put together the material things they think they need for their lives – who knows what they’re going to find when they can finally go home again?” the General said.
“We need to be serious about our calling because there will be many people who need us. We are not living in times of peace. … Your life of service will often resemble a war zone. Paul does not minimize the struggle and the harsh reality of the fight, but he doesn’t complain about the hardships. He simply says, and he repeats this to Timothy, you then be strong in the grace of Christ.”
The journey ahead is long, and one must start “with a great faith you can go out and change the world.” It’s important to have stamina because the race isn’t a sprint, nor a marathon, but “an ultra-marathon.” And, “you can’t do it in your own strength.”
“How many of us rely on our own abilities and intelligence and think we can wing it? If we try to do it without the help of God, we will fail.” Recalling his visit earlier that week to Texas, General Cox said, “I’ve seen people in the last 48 hours who are experiencing the power of the Lord. It’s the only thing sustaining them in this fight.”
Never forget the victory has already been won by Christ, the general said. He quoted the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:38): “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depths – nor hurricanes – nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Cadet Victor Estudiante brought a message to his fellow cadets during the Presentation of the Session Flag.
“Compassion is passion with hands,” Cadet Estudiante said. “We have been called to go, to jump into action to bring compassion to the multitudes, to spread compassion to a lost and dying world. The responsibility is great, but the need is greater. I must ask, is it in us, session, soldiers, officers, mighty Army around the world? In the words of Catherine Booth, you have been sent here for others; the world is waiting for you. And by the grace of God, we have the potential to change it.”
Territorial Sergeant Major John Reeves gave the Word of Challenge, and some practical advice: Deal with the larger things first, rather than getting tied up with the smaller things; and make time for God, your congregation and yourself.
Devote time to God every day for Scripture reading and prayer. “We also need you to make time for us soldiers, adherents, new congregants and sheep,” TSM Reeves said. And, “when you can, don’t be afraid to take rest when you need it, so you can be your best physically, spiritually and emotional, so you can be the best for us.”
The cadets’ welcome Friday evening included the retirement service for Commissioners Don and Debi Bell, part of the 730 Weekend in Atlanta. Reflecting on a life of service that has taken them around the world, Commissioner Don advised the cadets to “just trust Jesus. He’s going to take you to places you never expected to go.”