If it happens at the West Pittston, Pa., Corps, the chances are the husband and wife team of Liz and Chris Winborn are somehow involved.
Lieutenant Gavin Yeatts, the corps officer in West Pittston, said the Winborns run the children’s ministry, teen events, and a bread & pastry program. Chris also cooks all of the food for the corps programs.
“They are both extremely hard workers and help the corps to run smoothly,” Yeatts says. “I’m excited because their ministry, both as individuals and as a married couple, helps many people. They have dedicated their lives to this corps.”
Liz, the program assistant at the corps, and Chris, a volunteer, met at the Wilkes–Barre, Pa., Corps 12 years ago. Liz was a volunteer and sang at the corps; Chris began volunteering as the audio–visual equipment technician.
“We started singing together and then we got married,” Chris says with a laugh.
Chris, a native of Louisiana, struggled with alcohol and drugs and came through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) program.
“I went to other rehabs in the past, but nothing stuck,” Chris said. “It didn’t hit me like it should, I guess. I think I needed that strict living for it to hit home. The ARC is an awesome program.”
Liz, who was raised in The Salvation Army in Wilkes–Barre and has always loved kids, decided to leave her factory job 11 years ago and become the program assistant in West Pittston.
“It involved a lot of praying by the both of us,” Liz said. “We were engaged and getting ready to get married and we prayed about it because I had another job. It’s through God that we are here.”
The couple’s involvement is a witness to Hayley, their teenaged daughter, who is active in the corps and in the Army’s Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division’s (PENDEL) Brass Band.
“We wanted to bring our daughter up seeing what service looks like,” Chris said. “Our daughter sees people helping and she knows it’s the right thing to do. We know there’s a need there. I’ve always been good in the kitchen and I love to cook. My wife is all about the kids. She’s always loved kids. All of the kids love her—all of them.”
The corps offers the Orange Sunday school and Club 3:16 on Monday nights along with music and art. The couple is also involved in summer day camp.
“That’s a great program because some kids don’t know God. We do a devotional with them and teach them,” Liz said. “I just have a big heart for kids.”
Chris said the work is challenging, but the rewards outweigh everything.
“It’s great to see the look in their eyes when these kids change. You see everything they do and how they change in Christ,” he said. “Some of the kids, they amaze me every time I see them. It makes me feel good to know I’m helping to make a difference in their lives.”
It’s also clear that prayer permeates everything the couple does.
“All the time, we rely on God through prayer,” Liz said. “Sometimes I feel like giving up, but God upholds me.”
Chris said that sometimes he stops and prays in the car for a few minutes to listen for God’s voice.
“I do nothing before I pray,” he says. “I’ve made mistakes in my life. I pray a lot. I want to give God a chance to let me know what He wants me to know.
“Christ keeps me going. Sometimes I literally have to pray minute to minute, but now Christ sustains me through everything. I was always about me and what I could do. It took me a long time to realize I can’t do anything without God.”
Chris said that prayer has confirmed that he and his wife are where God wants them.
“When you have a calling, you know it,” he said. “When God wants you to know, you know. God has told us to do this. He opens up all these doors. He mows the path for you.
“You don’t know what you’re going to do and then you see this is where He led us. We would never think to do the things that we do here on our own.”
by Robert Mitchell