A Weekend of Memories

Scrap3The Scrapbook Retreat began on Thursday evening for 136 delegates plus staff with devotions led by special guest, Major Melody McClure. Lt. Betty Price and Captain NaKisha Carr kept the beats going for Scrapping until the wee hours of the morning.  Spa Service was available as well as signups for skill classes.

Skill classes included Power Layout, Beginner Scrapbooking / Cards, 2 page layout-intermediate, Faith – home décor, candle decorating, mini albums and more!

It was only fitting the World Day of Prayer would be celebrated during the AOK Division’s Scrapbook Retreat held March 6-9 at Camp Heart O’Hills.  Devotions were led by special guest, Major Melody McClure, where she asked everyone to think about – who is their Master?  Following devotions, everyone was provided an opportunity to meditate and pray.  Additional officers including Lt. Chelsea Sebo, Major Tina McBride, Lt. Teresa Biddix and Lt. Angela Sadler led a powerful prayer time, with beautiful scripture as well as an encouragement to have all in the room to pray out loud.

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On Saturday evening, Major Melody McClure talked about transformation into Holiness.  She explained that we are all called to be like Jesus, and that conforming doesn’t mean you have to give up yourself – you can still love the Lord.  He just asks us to be like Him.  Holiness is about masterful living and living by God’s standard.  Major Melody asked everyone to pray “Lord just make me like you.”

On Sunday, the Holiness Meeting was full of praise, prayer, and the pursuit of holiness.  Major Wendy Morris, Director of Women’s Ministries, asked the ladies to participate in one more crafting project.  Each lady was provided with letters to spell out “Holiness.” The ladies then spelled out the word vertically on the paper provided for their last craft. They were to fill out each line with the way the planned to put feet and action to what holy living looks like to each. A square with scripture (Romans 8:28:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose) was provided for their project as well.

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The final challenge to the ladies as they finished a wonderful and blessed weekend:  “Take as much time and care in creating our relationship with the Lord as we do with our crafts.”

(story and photos by Cindy Fuller)

Northwest Arkansas 2014 Annual Banquet a Success

NWABanquet3The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas held its 2014 Annual Banquet on Tuesday, gathering over 400 donors, volunteers, advisory board members and supporters for an evening of celebration and inspiration.

An hour before the program began, attendees were invited to a meet and greet reception with the area officers and distinguished guests. During the time of fellowship, a silent auction took place where autographed sports and movie memorabilia were available to bid on.

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The event opened with KNWA anchor and emcee Marissa Kargas who introduced a trio of videos that told the story of clients who had been helped directly by The Salvation Army’s Northwest Arkansas Area Command. The subjects of the videos, who were in attendance, were recognized and greeted by a chorus of applause.

Headlining the Annual Banquet was special guest speaker Charlotte Jones Anderson, National Advisory Board Chairman. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Charlotte Jones Anderson went on to become the Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys. Her role with the Cowboys allowed her to introduce a groundbreaking approach to fund-raising through the Army’s Red Kettle program with the annual Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff Halftime Show each Thanksgiving. Through the Halftime Show, the Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army partner together to present a nationally recognized musical entertainer who preforms a show that pivots around the Red Kettle theme. Since the launch of the Red Kettle Kickoff Halftime Show in 1997, the Red Kettle has raised over 1.8 billion dollars.

NWABanquet1As Charlotte Jones Anderson addressed the audience, she spoke on the longstanding partnership of integrity and trust between the Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army. As she chairs the National Advisory Board, Anderson continually speaks to audiences about the need for helping hands, not only during Christmas, but all year long. As her speech came to a close, Anderson appealed to the people of Northwest Arkansas to get involved with The Salvation Army, adding that “compassion is not a spectator sport, everyone has to play.”

NWABanquet4Bringing the event to a close was the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year and Business Partner of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year Award was given posthumous to a Wilbert Barbian who had volunteered 40 or more hours for over eight consecutive years. The Business Partner of the Year Award was presented to Tyson Foods, who has supported The Salvation Army in Northwest Arkansas for over 20 years.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Northwest Arkansas Area Command, visit them online at http://salvationarmyaok.org/nwarkansas

Lawton Serves “The Holy City”

APRIL 15, 2014 – LAWTON, OKLAHOMA (photos by Kahealani Dingle)

LawtonHoly3Deep in the heart of a wildlife refuge lies a replica of Israel, designed to look as it did in Biblical times, called The Holy City of the Wichitas. Its façade is made of worn bricks. The backdrop is the Wichita Mountains. Though it is isolated off of the edge of town, tens of thousands of visitors travel to sit on the side of the mountain to witness an annual Easter Pageant that takes place within the Holy City’s stage. The Pageant tells the story of Jesus, and has been a popular attraction since 1939.

Patrons who attend the play have the option to eat at food vendor trucks that set up on the side of the viewing area, but the cast and crew of the pageant are often left to find food of their own before or after show time. To solve this, the Holy City’s Producers reached out to The Salvation Army of Lawton to see if they would be willing to bring a canteen out to the site, exclusively for the actors and crew members participating in the event.

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Lt. Israel Roseno, Corps Officer in Lawton, gladly accepted the request.

Loaded with hot dogs and beverages, Lt. Roseno drove The Salvation Army Canteen into the Wichita Mountains and arrived to a hungry cast of over 200 people. Alongside him, volunteers from the corps quickly prepped the meals to begin the four hour dinner service, where over 300 hot dogs and 230 drinks were served to the Pageant’s actors and staff free of charge.

In the Bible, Jesus said that ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last’, and the actor who portrayed Jesus in the Pageant made sure that the entire cast was served their meals before stepping into the final place in line.

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The Salvation Army of Lawton will also be serving the Holy City of the Wichitas Easter Pageant at its final performance on April 19th.

For more information on The Salvation Army of Lawton, visit http://www.salvationarmylawton.org

Live Right! A-OK 2014 Youth Councils

 

AOKYC143In a ‘world gone wrong’, over 300 young people from the Arkansas and Oklahoma Division had the opportunity to hear teachings on how to ‘Live Right’ and what that means and looks like in their lives during the 2014 Youth Councils.

Youth Councils, an annual event, gives the opportunity for youth ages 13 and up from the Division to spend a weekend at Camp Heart O’ Hills. During the course of the three day conference, delegates attend keynotes sessions with contemporary art elements, attend special breakout sessions that cover a wide variety of topics, and also enjoy a time of fun and fellowship. The ultimate goal of Youth Councils is to bring delegates into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Special guest Steve Carter, Director of Evangelism at Willow Creek Community Church, presented the gospel to the young people of the AOK Division each day of the weekend retreat. Inspired by the 2014 theme ‘Live Right’, Carter spoke the wisdom and truth of the Gospel, and the delegates held on to each word that was delivered during the keynotes.

AOKYC142Also taking place during the weekend was the Corps Cadet Certificate Ceremony and Graduation. Twenty-one Level 1 Certificates and twelve Level 2 Certificates were presented on Saturday morning, followed by the graduation of six Corps Cadets who were each given a Bible along with their diploma.

The newly appointed Territorial Commander to the USA Southern Territory, Commissioner Don Bell, made his first visit to Camp Heart O’ Hills during the AOK Youth Councils. While serving in many leadership capacities during the weekend, Commissioner Bell delivered a keynote to the delegates following the Corps Cadet ceremonies, encouraging the youth of the Division to ‘Live Right’.AOKYC141

Other highlights from the weekend included a concert by hip-hop artist Andy Mineo, house music from DJ Promote, and a Saturday night block party that included complimentary food trucks, inflatable games and even a foam pit dance party.

For more information on the Arkansas & Oklahoma Youth Department, visit them on Facebook.

Topping Out Hope Celebration

April 9th, 2014 – Oklahoma City, OK

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The sound of cheers and party horns filled the air Wednesday morning as the Central Oklahoma Area Command celebrated the placing of the final beam at the new Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope. The state-of-the-art, 50,000square foot facility has been under construction since June of 2013, and is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2014.

Area Command employees, advisory board members and the general public were in attendance for the ‘Topping Out Hope Celebration” ceremony. Upon arrival, everyone was invited to write a message of hope and place their signature on the steel crossbeam. The program opened as Captain Carlyle Gargis, Central Oklahoma Area Commander, welcomed the crowd who had gathered, followed by words of hope and inspiration from Advisory Board Member Hans Herman Thun III.

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The Center of Hope will be a new building complex placing major Salvation Army programs and services together for a one-stop location to provide comprehensive family, community, and social services. This beautiful 26-acre, campus-like setting  provides for future expansion and growth. The Center of Hope will include designated space for social services; emergency shelters for men, women and children; food pantry; community outreach and an administrative center for The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command.

At the conclusion of the event, Jeff Lara, Director of Operations & Programs, led a tour of the Center of Hope construction site, which offered a first-look to the Area Command employees into their new office complex. On hand for the tour was Arkansas-Oklahoma Divisional Commander, Major Steve Morris, who offered his congratulations and approval of the great work that was being accomplished at the construction site.

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For more information on the Oklahoma City Center of Hope, visit the Central Oklahoma Area Command online at www.salvationarmyokcac.org

Continuing to Serve in Camden, AR

The El Dorado Salvation Army continues to respond in Camden, Arkansas after severe weather impacted the region on Thursday evening.    Power outages continue with street lights and stop lights out in the entire area causing danger to drivers and residents in the impacted area.   The City estimates power should be restored by late Sunday evening.

Reports estimate 13 homes were destroyed, five homes received major damage with the high school sustaining tremendous damage.   Teachers, students, members of the baseball and football teams are just a sample of the persons receiving meals and hydration from The Salvation Army.

Captain NaKisha Carr, El Dorado Corps Officer, reports there is a tremendous team effort at work this weekend.   The Salvation Army’s Youth Councils are being held at Camp Heart O’Hills in Tahlequah taking part of the El Dorado staff.   In the meantime, numerous employees, key volunteers, and soldiers from the El Dorado Corps (church) are helping to keep the daily operations going in El Dorado while 24 hour around the clock disaster response continues in Camden.

shot of canteensThe El Dorado Salvation Army is extremely grateful to Pine Bluff Salvation Army for the loan of their larger mobile feeding unit.   With both the El Dorado and Pine Bluff canteens available, the Pine Bluff canteen is now parked at thecorner of Cash and California providing service 24 hours a day.   Hot meals are being served three times a day with a special feeding after midnight to the service providers working around the clock to restore electricity to the area.   The El Dorado unit is roving in the affected areas beginning approximately 6 AM until 6 PM so as to adhere to the enforced curfew.

Incidentally, emergency disaster response training was held at Camp Heart O’Hills a couple of weeks ago.   Captain Carr reports three of the four who attended the training are actively using the skills and lessons learned during the recent training.

Over 400 meals, drinks and snacks have been served in addition to 200 sack lunches.  The Salvation Army will continue to provide food and hydration as long as there is a need.