Fit for Mission: Potomac Powered Up
By: Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
From seashore to mountains, over 600 gathered to meet at the Fit for Mission Conference hosted by the Potomac Division. Held at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center on the weekend of September 23-25, it was the first time that all ages have gathered in the newly formed Potomac Division. Although not the purpose of the weekend, the call for unity between the two former divisions was frequently expressed and from all appearances, was enthusiastically embraced.
Special guests for the weekend included Jeniffer Dake and TSM Jeremy Rowland. The divisional music and creative arts programs, heartfelt testimonies and fervent prayers filled the spirited and exciting programs throughout the weekend.
Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer, supported by the Potomac Division staff, gave inspiring leadership. In his opening remarks, Lt. Colonel Allan challenged, “Together we come as one to do business with the Lord in our God-given mission.” Then outlining the mission priorities, he concluded by calling for the Potomac Division to “be marked by prayer and holiness.” TSM Rowland offered a prayer of dedication for the division and its mission.
Jeniffer Dake, in her characteristic fashion, captured the imaginations of those gathered. “Am I slow to speak, to anger, swift to listen? When anger comes first, I am not spiritually fit. When I am hurt, I need to stay in place where I am and be healed but not fester. God is not discouraged by our hurt or discouragement. He wants us to come to Him, to make the final move.” As happened throughout the weekend at the end of each meeting, people crowded the front to find salvation, to rededicate themselves, to pray for themselves and each other.
On Saturday morning, Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer brought a stirring message based on the story of Hezekiah who was told by the prophet Isaiah to put his house in order before he died. Although Hezekiah was granted a reprieve, the long-term results had tragic results. “Hezekiah did not respond to the kindness that God had shown him. His heart became proud. When told his foolish acts would affect future generations, his attitude was, ‘As long as I’m okay.’ His son, Manasseh, was the most wicked king in the entire history of Judah. Instead of pouring himself into his son, Hezekiah lived for himself.
“What about our future generations in our personal lives and in our corps? What we do has consequences far beyond ourselves now. We need to commit to God by beginning at home. But it is not enough for us to walk with God. Our children, our grandchildren need to walk with Him. It is not enough that you have enjoyed the blessings of God. You must tell them about the wonders God has brought into your life. We need to cry for mercy that our house may be in order.”
The remaining hours of Saturday morning and into the afternoon were spent in a series of evangelism workshops and family recreational activities.
Saturday night began with a great time featuring The Brain Show, far more funny than it was a competition. High spirits continued as individuals were recognized for their witness and leadership where they served. These included:
Johnny Smith (Huntington, WV): Although struggling to form words, Johnny has the heart of an evangelist. The sixteen-year-old has a bold witness at school, the corps and community where he proudly wears his uniform and seeks to bring people to Christ.
Reginald and Belinda Johnson (Baltimore Temple): Serving as soldiers at the corps for over 25 years, the Johnsons have demonstrated a passion for the less fortunate. Ms. Belinda has a transportation ministry, helping people with numerous needs. Mr. Reggie readily shares Bibles with the homeless or anyone else he finds does not own one. He coordinates the corps feeding program called Mobile Cornbread Café Street Feeding Ministry. The couple take their ministry of caring and hope to those who have camped out in abandoned row houses.
Abi Burns (Richmond Citadel): Pouring herself into the youth of the corps, Abi teaches music while sharing the love of Jesus. Her radiant witness not only makes an impact on the lives of others but also serves as an example to other people.
Hilda Nzuwah (Sherman Ave. Washington DC): Known as a prayer warrior, Hilda is a third generation Salvationist who is constantly at work around the corps helping whomever and wherever she can.
Rosario Flores (Sherman Ave. Washington DC): Joining the corps five years ago, Rosario shares the gospel boldly yet lovingly. She joined her husband and children in becoming soldiers in March 2022 and now proudly wears her uniform. Busy working around the corps, she also actively invites others to join the corps.
Following recognition of these individuals, those present were invited to put a light on a huge map of the division that was by the platform, signaling the division’s determination to light the world where they live across the Potomac.
In preparation for the final session on Sunday morning, each chair hosted a copy of the “Soldier’s Covenant,” as well as the books Called to be a Soldier and Day by Day. With a spirit of consecration, the meeting brought all into the holy presence of God. With his final message of the weekend, Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer said, “The condition of our present age is one of crisis: in government, the church and the world. We need the presence of God to guide and protect us. Our greatest need is for the presence of God. Our greatest fear in The Salvation Army should not be an attack in the media or a drop in our finances but the fear that God may have removed Himself from us.
“We cannot be impatient, seeking other gods when God doesn’t move fast enough for us. We need to have the courage to break away from anything that separates us from God. Because if we do not, we cannot have the glory of God among us. God came to be near us in Jesus Christ. And so we must draw near to Him and refuse to go where He is not leading.”
Again, the response of those attending was immediate and wholehearted. The weekend came to a conclusion as the praise band led the singing of Evangeline Booth’s song, reworked and reimagined by Marty Mikles and Phil Laeger:
The world for God! The world for God!
I give my heart! I’ll do my part!
The world for God! The world for God!
I’ll give my heart, I will do my part.