Texas brings its families ‘Home’ for a weekend of food, fellowship
By: Philip Burn
Salvationists from all corners of the Lone Star State gathered at Camp Hoblitzelle for the Texas Division Family Camp, Aug. 24-26. “Home Sweet Home” was the theme for the weekend and more than 800 people attended, enjoying a great time of fellowship and food, learning and worship. Guests for the weekend included Commissioners Willis and Barbara Howell, Majors Tim and Cheryl Gilliam of Fort Myers, Florida, and Captains Jonathan and Amanda Raymer of Gastonia, North Carolina.
The weekend was planned with the whole family in mind, including worship and activities for all ages. The main sessions adhered to the weekend theme: Home Is Where the Heart Is (Friday); There’s No Place Like Home (Saturday); and Home Where I Belong (Sunday). Friday night included the dramatic presentation “The Prodigal” by special guest Jason Hildebrand and music from the praise band complete with a guest performance from Commissioner Willis Howell on the banjo. “Hometown Hero” videos recognizing outstanding work and commitment of selected soldiers from the Texas Division were spotlighted throughout the weekend.
Saturday is typically a day to spend with family, and Family Camp was no different. A family picnic took place on Saturday morning complete with musical performances by the Texas Divisional Band along with individual and group performances by various music and arts groups. This was accompanied by a Home Missions Market with lots of goodies and Texas crafts available for purchase. Lt. Colonels Ronnie and Sharon Raymer, Texas divisional leaders, joined in the outdoor, picnic spirit, with Lt. Colonel Ronnie taking a plunge in the dunk tank!
Eight breakout sessions on Saturday afternoon tackled practical issues in small group settings. Sessions included Home Alone (for empty nesters), Home Improvement (for the non-handy), Home Invasion (survival techniques for parents raising teenagers) and several other equally engaging and helpful topics. Christian comedian Jason Earls took center stage on Saturday evening and was a big hit, bringing humor and laughter to many familiar family situations and issues.
Sunday morning worship included the installation of Adam Savala (Waxahachie) as the new divisional corps sergeant major, following the faithful service of DCSM Rudy Zapata (Lubbock). Commissioner Howell’s message reminded the division why we are a Salvation Army and challenged everyone to keep focus on our primary mission, to save souls.
Philip Burn is the communications director for the Texas Division.