A Holy Weekend
Several months ago, an invitation was sent out to all soldiers of the USA Eastern Territory to attend the Holiness Institute for Soldiers with the theme of “Sanctify Us by Your Word.” Thirty-nine soldiers, including myself, responded to the invitation. We made our way to Crestview Conference Center at Territorial Headquarters on October 1. Like many, I came with a heart of anticipation, a mind for knowledge, and a seeking spirit.
From orientation on, the schedule of the institute was filled with learning, worship and fellowship opportunities. On the first evening, we gathered for dinner and were greeted by Commissioners Swanson. They greeted each of us with a handshake and words of encouragement. Their example of practical holiness was well received. These small gestures spoke deeply to each of us. We are grateful to the Commissioners for their example, leadership and spiritual guidance in the USA Eastern Territory.
We ended the day with Worship and the Word, where Major Donald Hostetler simply reminded the delegates that we are “A Holy, Chosen people” and that we are not here by default but by God’s choosing. This message drove me, as a seeker, to continually go deeper in my relationship with God.
The following days of the Institute were filled with morning and evening worship, led by Major Donna Peterson who invited us to worship and adore Christ intimately. We ended the day with Envoys Stephen and Sharon Bussey demonstrating innovative ways to worship in holiness knowing we are in the presence of God.
The classroom presentations were very interactive and provided the delegates with biblical and doctrinal theology and a historical perspective of what holiness is and how we are to live in this world today. We were led by Majors Donald and Arvilla Hostetler, Majors Kellus and Marcia Vanover, and Captain Cindy Lou Drummond, who shared with us from their own roads toward holiness what they have learned and experienced over their years.
A personal highlight for me was the presentation of Captain Drummond on Holiness, Body, Mind, and Soul. In the Captain’s teaching, she shared with us that the physical matters just as much as the spiritual in our holiness journey. She reminded us to be physically fit, mentally alert, and spiritual sound to be the most effective servants for the Kingdom. The other highlight for me was the small group ministry; a gathering of people with a common thread, lending support, spiritual knowledge and encouragement and fellowship.
On Sunday, we were greeted by the sunshine after 3 days of rain, wind and cold temperatures. Entering into worship, there was a quiet spirit among his people. Prayers were lifted up and the anticipation of being, once again, in the presence of the King was first and foremost in our minds. We gathered in his presence, we feasted at the table, and we responded to his call. We were commissioned to go back to our corps and “Lead, Live and Love a Holy Life”. I would encourage any and all soldiers of the USA Eastern Territory to first search your heart, pray for guidance, read about holiness and then fill out an application to attend this amazing conference in 2016.
(Written by Holiness Institute delegate Bruce Hall.)