Eighty ‘Joyful Intercessors’ Welcomed
“God is waiting for you. In that right moment, and in the fullness of time, He is going to move on you.”
The USA Eastern Territory recently celebrated the arrival of 80 new cadets to its College for Officer Training (CFOT) as part of “Impact 150,” a cadet recruitment initiative that had been underway since November 2014.
At that time, Commissioner Barry C. Swanson, territorial commander, made it clear that he was counting on every Salvationist to make a significant impact on the Salvation Army’s future. “God has placed upon my heart a burden to pray for 100 new cadets to join the Joyful Intercessors session of 2015,” he said. “With the number of cadets and spouses currently at CFOT, this would represent a total of 150 cadets in preparation for officership.”
On September 11, 2015, that impact was richly apparent during a public Welcome to Cadets meeting at Centennial Memorial Temple in New York City. On that historic night, the new cadets ceremoniously and with great fanfare marched enthusiastically into the Temple and took their place on the platform beside the Messengers of Light session.
“We thank you, Commissioners Swanson, for your vision, said Colonel William A. Bamford III, chief secretary. “God will bless us in a marvelous way. We present to you and to God this wonderful session!”
Bamford also gave thanks to Majors Laura E. and Thomas M. Lyle, associate candidates’ secretary and candidates’ department secretary, for their tireless efforts and effective recruitment campaign.
Bamford reminded everyone how, 14 years ago, a similar session found itself responding to the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11. “And many of you are right here in this room,” he said. To honor the Americans who lost their lives on that fateful day, Bamford invoked several minutes of prayerful silence.
‘Lord of all’
“Jesus Christ is Lord of the nations!” proclaimed Colonel Janet Munn, the newly–appointed CFOT principal. Munn, who recently returned to the USA Eastern Territory after having served for eight years in Europe and Australia, prayed purposefully and passionately for this racially, ethnically, nationally, and linguistically diverse cadet body. “Jesus Christ is Lord of Haiti, Colombia, Jamaica, Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Spain, St. Thomas & the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States,” she said. “We may speak and act differently, but we are one. We’re from so many nations, but we’re one session.” Quoting the book of Romans from the Message, Munn concluded, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer!”
‘The original joyful intercessor’
“What is a ‘Joyful Intercessor’ anyway?” asked Commissioner Barry Swanson rhetorically. The answer came through the Territorial Arts Ministries (TAM) team, who dramatically and literally put a spotlight on Simeon, a Bible character whom the Apostle Luke described as deeply religious, devout, quiet, patient, and holy.
Said Swanson, “Simeon was who he needed to be, when he needed to be it, and where he needed to be.” Although theologians consider Simeon an obscure and minor person, Swanson said that Simeon’s sensitivity to God’s leading and his deep knowledge of Scripture made his appearance on the biblical timeline both relevant and purposeful.
Swanson said of the man who had waited for that moment when he would look into the infant face of Christ, “Simeon was the prophetic link between the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament realities.” Swanson said that, at the right moment, in the fullness of time, God revealed to a seemingly insignificant person his role on the stage of history. Indeed, when Simeon’s life’s purpose was fulfilled, he sang out to the Lord.
Commissioner Swanson’s message offered a personal word of encouragement to everyone who wondered where his or her life fitted into God’s plan. “We have no idea how, but God is orchestrating the events of our lives,” he said.
The ‘weight’ of this flag
When Commissioner E. Sue Swanson, territorial president of women’s ministries, solemnly presented the session flag, she said to the flagbearer, “I give its full weight to you, of living up to the standard and leading the session, as well as leading other people who will follow in your train.” Her words came slowly and carefully. “Lead joyfully. And lead with the power of the Holy Spirit!”
Cadet Yuco Hall, who hails from the Harlem Temple Corps, took the flag in his hands. He had been born in New York’s notorious “Hell’s Kitchen” and, some years ago, felt the weight of his call to officership.
“But at the time, I wasn’t ready to let go of my lifestyle,” he had said during a farewell sermon at the corps. “I was afraid to try and I didn’t want to do what the Lord was calling me to do.”
Then one day, a series of events changed his perspective forever. A dear uncle passed away. He had taught Yuco as a young boy to play chess during a three–year stay in the Dominican Republic. At the same time of his uncle’s death, Yuco lost a close friend. And then he lost his job.
A seemingly defeated Yuco returned home to live with family. “This was a difficult time for me. I felt so depressed,” he said. However during this time, he finally learned to trust God’s plan for his life. “That’s when He began to see me through,” remembers Yuco.
The birth of a nephew also helped renew Yuco’s faith. No more excuses, he promised himself. Today, as he took the flag firmly into his white–gloved hands, he also accepted the “weight” to which Commissioner Swanson had so purposefully alluded. He carried the flag carefully, placed it in its brass stand, and adjusted its soft red, yellow, and blue folds. Then he straightened its golden tassel, stepped back, and snapped a Salvation Army salute.
by Warren L. Maye