‘Rise’ to victory: 2019 Youth Councils
Majors Steve and Wendy Morris, Captain Amber Morris, and Lieutenant Christmas Hargrove welcomed 212 delegates and leaders to Camp Hidden Lake for the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi Division Youth Councils, March 8-10. Guests for the weekend were Commissioners Willis and Barbara Howell and Captains Dan and Sarah Nelson. In keeping with the 2019 Youth Councils theme, “RISE,” over the course of several days, Captain Wendy Morris shared the message, “Rise Against Destruction”; Captain Sarah Nelson, “Rise to Wisdom”; Lieutenant Hargrove, “Rise to Forgiveness”; Major Steve Morris, “Rise Against Shame”; and Commissioner Willis Howell bringing the final challenge Sunday, “Can You Rise?” Among the activities: Friday night fun with food, trampolines and a “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course; a performance by Christian rap artist AHA Gazelle; Saturday presentations of awards and Levels 1 and 2 Corps Cadet certificates and six Corps Cadet graduates; and an outing to the Sky Zone Trampoline Park and a Saturday night “Color Wars” contest with delegates completing challenges as teams, and ending at the ball field for an explosion of color. All weekend long, the altar was lined with young people seeking Jesus. Fifteen affirmed a call to local leadership, and 10 acknowledged a call to officership.
Majors Lewis and Jaqulyn Reckline and Captains Nick and Fallyn Garrison welcomed 270 delegates and leaders to Camp Heart O’ Hills on April 12-14 for Arkansas-Oklahoma Youth Councils 2019. Guests were Lt. Colonels Eddie and Kathy Hobgood, Captains Dan and Sarah Nelson, and Cadets Michael and Amanda Cain. Friday evening, keynoter Captain Nick Garrison taught about the strength and courage God gave Joshua – the same strength and courage available to each of us. Saturday morning brought awards and the Corps Cadet graduation, with 26 Level 1 Certificates and four Level 2 certificates presented and nine Corps Cadets graduated. Lt. Colonels Eddie (“Joe the Turk”) and Kathy Hobgood challenged delegates about their continued faithfulness as young Salvationists. Saturday evening brought a keynote talk by Captain Sarah Nelson on the character of Joshua: He trusted in God and understood it is HE who supplies the victory. At Sunday morning worship, Lt. Colonel Eddie Hobgood shared how each of us will face a “Jordan” that God will empower us to cross — but it requires our faith and obedience. The colonel challenged everyone to imagine the distance from their chair to the altar as their “Jordan.” Many responded by coming forward.
Captains Matt and Jamie Satterlee welcomed 561 delegates to the 2019 youth councils March 22-24 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida, to reflect about the power of Jesus Christ and within us in order to rise, despite the circumstances. Friday evening, Grant Partrick shared from Matthew 16, where Jesus asks: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” “What about you?” Patrick asked. Saturday evening, a Rise worship experience used music, dance, drama and the spoken word to reveal our struggles: Loneliness, early pregnancy, violence, bullying and the quest for beauty. Sunday, Captain Valentina Cantu and Captain Jamie Satterlee led Corps Cadet graduation. Captains Israel and Claudia Roseno, using an analogy of a mouse trap, asked all wanting to become officers to step forward; many did. Commissioner Willis Howell spoke of letting go of our earthly weights so we can rise up with Jesus. He concluded with Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Lt. Colonels William and Debra Mockabee and Captains Matt and Rebecca Trayler welcomed 320 delegates and leaders to Epworth by the Sea in St. Simons Island for Georgia Youth Councils, March 29-31. Jovanie Smith hosted pre-show games, joined by guests Lt. Colonels Eddie and Kathy Hobgood, Captain Valentina Cantu and Cadet Trey King. Special speaker Steve Carter brought the message each day. Making the youth councils theme RISE into an acronym, he gave each letter a meaning:
• R — Redemption: Many of us feel discouraged, lonely and anxious, but what Christ has done has set us free.
• I — Identity: Remember who you are; 1 Peter 2:9 says we are a chosen people. “Eagles don’t fly with pigeons.”
• S — Sprit: It’s a gift from the Lord. It sanctifies us and makes us wholly holy.
• E — Engage: Put these three elements together and engage the culture.
At Saturday morning’s Corps Cadet graduation and awards session, 23 received a Level I certificate, three received a Level II certificate, and 11 graduated the program. Sunday, when Captain Missy Romack led the call to officership, 18 delegates came forward.
“Bold and Courageous” bracelets, handed out to 368 delegates of the Kentucky-Tennessee Paradise Division as they arrived for the Friday night opening session of youth councils 2019, reflected the theme of the March 29-31 event, especially the “rising above” messages brought by special speaker Ryan Leak. The councils, led by Majors Jim and Linda Arrowood, divisional leaders, and Captains Matt and Danielle Cunningham, took place at the Park Vista Doubletree in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Special guests were Leak and candidates’ and associate candidates’ secretaries Captains Israel and Claudia Roseno. “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Leak asked in his message, “Rise Above Failure.” Saturday brought chorus, timbrel, drama, dance and band performances; awards including 15 Corps Cadet Level 1 certificates and six Level 2 certificates; a visit to Gatlinburg; and more messages from Leak – “Rise Above Comparison” and “Rising Above Your Past.” Sunday morning saw delegates in full uniforms for worship, Leak speaking on “Rising Above Offenses,” and the graduation of seven Corps Cadets. A call to officership by Captains Roseno saw 27 individuals stepping forward.
In the Canaan Valley in Parson, West Virginia, 236 delegates plus leaders gathered April 5-7 for youth councils 2019. Special Guests included Steve Carter, Lt. Colonels Jim and Karol Seiler, and Captains Israel and Claudia Roseno. Every session began with a “Masked Singer” competition. No one knew the singer’s identify behind the mask and costume of the Shark, Dinosaur, Unicorn and Parrot. In the final round, the Shark (Lieutenant Chris Raymer) won. Throughout the weekend, the Call to Mission and Call to Officership were emphasized. Highlights and testimonies focused on one’s “calling,” with testimonies from Majors Ann and Art Penhale and Cadet Rachel Pruitt. Carter powerfully challenged the youth through the word RISE – Redemption, Identity, Spirit, and Ethic – by studying the story of Joshua. At Saturday’s Corps Cadet graduation, two Level 1 Certificates and 11 Level 2 Certificates were awarded. A special treat, a video message from General Brian Peddle, was presented for the eight Corps Cadet graduates. The general called each by name, congratulated them, and encouraged them in their Christian walk. Sunday morning, Captain Jonathan Howell invited youth to surrender their hearts to Jesus and seek his strength; many came to the altar.
Lt. Colonels Mark and Carolee Israel, Captains Samuel and Christine Kim, and Captain Jervonne Hinton welcomed 320 delegates and leaders to the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, March 15-17, for National Capital Virginia Youth Councils 2019. Guests were Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer, Captain Claudia Roseno and Captain Valentina Cantu, and the special speaker, former NFL player Shawn Harper. Friday night’s opening games were followed by a video introduction – intruders at Camp Happyland! – to Captains Kim, the new divisional youth leaders. Harper preached a message of salvation and asked delegates to come forward if they wanted Jesus to be their source of power; the altar was flooded. Saturday began with Corps Cadet graduation and awards. Harper reminded delegates they are world changers, children of God and leaders who need to be strong and courageous. That evening, Harper spoke on the theme, “Do Not Be Afraid.” Again, delegates flooded the altar, obedient to the command, “Go and tell.” Sunday morning, Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer delivered the Word: Turn your eyes away from the crisis and know God is in control.
North and South Carolina
Young people and leaders of the North and South Carolina Division gathered at Camp Walter Johnson on March 29. Hosted by Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey and led by Captains Jimmy and Lacy Parrish, youth councils was supported by Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer and Captains Dan and Sarah Nelson. Friday evening, Captains Parrish challenged the delegates with a message from Joshua 1:9: “God sees leadership in you! He uses ordinary people to reach people.” Fun activities included a “Clash of the Clans” Friday night, and a cardboard box-car derby Saturday morning. Guest speaker Ketric Newell brought two messages, driving home the promise of God to be with Joshua wherever he went. “Somehow the world knocks out our ability to believe,” Newell said, “but Jesus wants to do things WITH you.” Then, everyone changed into dress attire for Corps Cadet graduation. Twenty-five were awarded Level One certificates, and eight received Level Two certificates. Eight graduated the program. Lt. Colonel Fiona Hofer challenged Corps Cadets to be salt and light in the world. Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer brought the message Sunday morning: “When you follow God, you no longer walk by logic, you walk by faith. He is with you. Rise up and cross your Jordan!”
Young people and leaders of the Texas Division gathered at Camp Hoblitzelle on April 5 for their youth councils weekend. Hosted by Lt. Colonels Ronnie and Sharon Raymer and led by Captains Bill and Stephanie Mockabee, the councils was supported by Colonel Susan Bukiewicz and Captains Dan Nelson from territorial headquarters. Also joining them were Texas Cadets Roger and Lindsey Galabeas from Evangeline Booth College. Special guest speaker for the weekend was Ryan Leak. Set against the backdrop of an 80’s theme, the weekend included four main sessions, a color run around camp, a masquerade award night, “Areopagus” discussion forums, and time to hang out with friends at camp. The “Rise” theme was seen in each main session with a specific way to rise: rise above failure; rise about limitations; rise above distractions; and rise above comparison. Of significant importance to the weekend were the discussion groups that took place during or at the end of each session. In these times, corps groups gathered together and discussed the message that was shared and how it applied to their lives. They also had time to pray together.