Majors Hickman: International Insights

by Colonel Richard Munn

Salvation Army officers understand that an appointment may one day come that will take them beyond anything they have ever imagined or anticipated. Such was the case four years ago with Majors Evan and Suzanne Hickman, long-serving and deeply connected USA East officers, who amid the global pandemic were appointed to International Headquarters to serve in very specific and technical roles.

In addition to the demands of new roles, the Hickmans have had to negotiate a change in culture and face separation from family across time zones. It is simultaneously demanding and rewarding.

SAconnects took the chance to catch up with Evan and Suzanne recently to give you, our readers, the story behind the story:

How long have you been commissioned officers, and where have you served in that time?

Suzanne: We’ve been commissioned together for over 30 years, though I was a single officer for five years before our marriage. We served as corps officers in a range of locations from Southwest Ohio and Massachusetts, then youth work in New Jersey and Territorial Headquarters, then serving on Divisional Headquarters staff in Greater New York, and as divisional leaders in Northeast Ohio, before our appointment to IHQ in 2020.

What are your current responsibilities?

Suzanne: I serve as the international institutional care and services coordinator for children. I have also had the privilege of serving on the European Social Service Network and am learning how things operate throughout Europe and their various models of meeting the needs of people.

Evan: My role as IHQ property secretary and data protection officer enables me to serve as a support to the international secretary for business. I have the privilege of serving with a great team and help oversee the almost 300 properties that IHQ owns. I also oversee the facilities maintenance, IHQ security, Café 101, and reception teams. All of these responsibilities have allowed me to learn and have opened my eyes wide as to what God is doing and what still can be done for the mission of the international Salvation Army. It’s an honor to serve in this capacity.

How has the total experience impacted you both so far?

Suzanne: I am forever changed from my experience at IHQ. I’ve been privileged to help plan and participate in the International Symposium on Human Sexuality, which was held in 2022 in Singapore. Wow! What an experience to be with people from every territory in our Army world to have conversations related to this topic. To work with the expertise present in the International Development Section has also impacted me in a greater understanding of what goes into not only mission but sustainability and strategic planning for the future of our Army.

Evan: The total experience has impacted me tremendously. We arrived during the heart of COVID-19 and to see how God protected the world and provided and is providing through it all has been a testimony of the fact that God never fails. To be alongside such great people who have served many years and love the mission of the worldwide Salvation Army is humbling and yet so rewarding.

What are some of the new insights you are gaining?

Suzanne: I’ve learned so much working with those at IHQ as well as around the Army world. Part of my role involves traveling to various territories and seeing the residential care that is taking place for both children and elderly. I’ve seen firsthand what World Services is able to support, as part of my role is technical support of projects funded by IHQ.

Meeting the officers, soldiers, employees, and residents has been an amazing opportunity. I thoroughly enjoy working alongside the territories in some very difficult situations related to governments, finances, and poverty like I’ve never experienced before.

The Salvation Army currently has 270 residential care sites for children—children’s homes, treatment centers, mother and baby homes, boarding schools, youth hostels, etc.—with approximately 46,000 children. We’re working hard to make sure our residential care sites are operating at a safe and appropriate standard of care as well as working to be financially efficient.

Evan: I’m gaining new insights on what God is doing and what still can yet be done to serve suffering humanity and grow saints here in our building, and around the world. All possible because of people giving for World Services efforts. Every penny makes a difference, and thanks to the USA East for their ongoing World Services efforts. I am also even more challenged to do my part to carry out the goals of General Buckingham because Jesus is still the answer for our world today—and The Salvation Army has a huge part to play in getting souls saved, soldiers and candidates made for His glory.

Do you have any concluding words of encouragement or counsel for our readers?

Suzanne: I’d encourage readers to share the stories of the incredible work that is happening around the world and not to look at World Services as an obligation but as an extension of ministry and love for God and His people. I’d also encourage people to consider serving overseas to learn, to share, and to support colleagues with the work that God has entrusted to us.

Evan: I want to thank the readers for all they do to help The Salvation Army not just at home but around the world. I want to challenge people to dig deep in God’s Word, to strive to be holy as He is holy, and to be battle-ready, for there is no discharge in this salvation war until God calls us home. Lastly, I believe we all need to be reminded to love our God with all we have and love others as God has called us to love and to be people of joy, as the world needs more joy today.

Thank you, Evan and Suzanne. Our prayer is that this will continue to be a rich and fulfilling season for you both, to the betterment of our Army and the Kingdom of God. You can be sure that SAconnects and the USA East are cheering you on.