By Major Frank
Southern Spirit staff
In an age when words like jihad, Hezbollah and holy war emblazon
each day's headlines, over 1,200 delegates to the 55th Southern Bible
Conference learned that "Our Spiritual Warfare" is not only a real
and continuing conflict, but that the victory promised in the Bible is assured
as part of God's plan for mankind.
Dr. William Ury,
Majors John and Anne Read, Commissioner Max Feener and Commissioner Israel
Gaither were this year's instructors - each taking a different tact in
examining biblical precepts of spiritual warfare.
on how Jesus dealt with spiritual warfare in the Gospel of Mark while preparing
His disciples for their continuing role after Pentecost. Majors Read followed
with their five-session study, with intriguing titles like "War of the
Worlds," "War Lord" and "Army of God." Feener spoke on
two aspects of "Our Spiritual Warfare" - hearing the battle call and
being fully prepared. The National Commander rounded out the week's
featured speakers, citing rules for engagement in this "Kingdom
"Keep Calvary always in mind,"
Gaither said. "Don't forget where you received your first victory, and
that Christ won it for you!"
Calling spiritual warfare
both a defensive and offensive action, Gaither warned that Christians in the
world today must expect an aggressive response from the enemy.
"I'm not concerned about the death of The Salvation Army
- this mission will not go away. Just read the end of this book: We win!"
This is Great Commission time in America, Gaither
added. "The spiritual battles in America reflect the cultural wars all
around us. Those issues are not the bottom line; this war is really a spiritual
In keeping with the territory's ongoing
preparation for Kingdom warfare, two events were added to this year's
conference to fittingly bring the climax. On Saturday evening, the Feeners were
officially installed as Southern territorial leaders by Commissioners Israel
and Eva Gaither (see Sept. 5 issue of Southern Spirit for report).
On Sunday morning, the newest session of cadets was
welcomed by the territory. God's Fellow Workers began their two-year
training experience with a hearty exposure of what it's like to be a part
of an Army preparing itself for a spiritual battle amid an increasingly hostile
challenge demanded Army's best effort
Looking back at The Salvation Army's
disaster relief response in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the
massive work, still underway across the nation, easily stands out as the
largest project in this organization's history.
horrific as the multiple-disaster events were, the ongoing work performed by
thousands of Army staff and volunteers seems to be proving this to be "our
finest hour," in the words of Major John Jordan, community relations and
"This is the largest natural
disaster in the history of America," Jordan said. "With Katrina and
Rita, we are still dealing with an affected area that is about 400 miles wide,
and roughly about 400 miles inland."
On top of that, 35
named storms in the Atlantic basin during the 2005 hurricane season tested the
Army's ability to respond, he said.
remember most from a THQ perspective, there was a total involvement of everyone
on the building," Jordan said. "The gravity of this event quickly
carried throughout the territory. Officers, soldiers, employees and volunteers
responded each in their own way to help alleviate the suffering and aid in the
enormous process of rebuilding."
territorial disaster services coordinator, added that Salvation Army personnel
and resources were sent from the other three USA territories, as well as Canada
"I came to work here in early 2001, and
within a few months we were faced with 9-11," Jellets said. "I
thought at the time, Nothing could be bigger than this. A few hurricane seasons
later, four storms tore through Florida, and again I thought the same
"Now that we are still dealing with Katrina and
Rita, and will be for some years to come - it's hard to imagine anything
bigger ahead. In fact, I don't want to think about it," he said.
Jellets said that the Army's disaster service efforts are
ongoing, especially along the Mississippi gulf coast, south Louisiana
(including the New Orleans area) and the east Texas coastline. In addition,
Salvation Army corps continue to minister to evacuees literally all over the
Jordan and Jellets agree that several benefits
resulted during this ensuing year.
"We did a lot of
things right," Jordan said of the Army's relief and recovery efforts
during this ensuing year. "First, we didn't panic. Second, we placed
the right people in the right places, reflecting the universality of The
Salvation Army which came into play. Third, our work with other volunteer
agencies has been outstanding and enhanced."
partnership with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization is nothing
less than outstanding, he said. In addition, all Salvation Army canteens are
now equipped with GPS monitors, making an enormous difference in our ability to
deploy personnel and equipment to where they need to go.
"We see disaster service for what it is: ministry,"
Jordan said. "It is not a part of ministry, or a certain kind of ministry
- it is ministry in its own right. We are there as Christ Incarnate among
people who are suffering."
The Salvation Army has made
the transition from emergency disaster relief and response to community-based
long term recovery, with services that vary depending on the need of the
"The Army has forged a variety of
partnerships, some of our partnerships with NGO's and FBO's
(non-governmental and faith-based organizations) have been long term and
somewhat traditional, such as our relationship with the Southern
Baptists," said Kevin Tomson-Hooper, territorial social services
Due to the complexity of the social
services continuum of care the Army has implemented in the recovery phase, new
partnerships have been established in order to provide the broadest spectrum of
service delivery. These new partnerships are with Habitat for Humanity, with a
focus on supporting 1,000 households toward home ownership opportunities,
"Plus, we have developed a
partnership with the National Business Service Alliance, with a goal to provide
5,000 individuals with skill certification training to enhance their job
skills. We are a member of the Katrina Aid Today National Case Management
Program with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, through which The
Salvation Army will provide 13,000 households with intensive case management
support on their road to recovery throughout the gulf coast and across the
The goal is to continue seeking out the best
approach to home reconstruction and new home construction with the intent being
to maximize the generosity of the public who continues to support Salvation
Army recovery programs.
"As we look toward the future
we will be able to strengthen and enhance our preparedness as a result of
forming new partnerships that has increased our organizational capacity to
maximize our ability to blend our disaster relief efforts with long term social
service recovery programs," he said.