MagazineOn File

the first step on a journey

The San Juan, P.R. Corps concluded its Friday night celebration of General André Cox’s first visit to Puerto Rico by blessing 30 new soldiers from various corps on the island.


‘We are welcoming you into the family,’ says General André Cox to the 30 newest soldiers in Puerto Rico.

“I believe this is the first step on a journey, and it will be exciting to see what God has planned for each one of you,” said General Cox.

“It’s almost like being in a baseball stadium, but instead of being in the crowd watching the game, you are now being asked to be a player on our team. We are welcoming you into the family.”

Some of the new soldiers were graduates of The Salvation Army’s San Juan Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) program. The General acknowledged their unique path to becoming soldiers, and reminded them that, despite any struggle, God will be with them through every step.

“I know some of you have encountered difficulties and disappointments, but the love of God has never stopped seeking you. You are all unique, and if you continue to place your trust in the Lord, I can guarantee that your future is bright.

“I will pray for you, pray that God will use you, and I receive each of you as soldiers of the Army in camaraderie under the ‘Blood & Fire.’

“Sometimes when we look at the world, we despair and we forget that His Kingdom is growing. To see each of you wanting to be soldiers and make a commitment is a sign of God’s love and grace. God is still calling, God is still reaching out to us,” said the General.

Among the new soldiers was Lexir Diaz, a 7–year old junior soldier from the Fajardo Corps. He stood next to the General as he addressed the congregation. The General took special notice of Lexir, the youngest soldier in the group, and said to him, “Who knows? You may very well be a future General of The Salvation Army!” Loud cheers erupted from the audience.

“Future General, but maybe not the next General—I can’t wait that long!” General Cox said, smiling.

Lieutenant Marlene Diaz is Lexir’s mother and corps officer of the Fajardo Corps. She said that, for months, Lexir had looked forward to becoming a junior soldier.

“When I heard that Lexir would have this opportunity with the General, I immediately thought, This is something that he [Lexir] will look back on for the rest of his life,” said Diaz. “It will have an enormous impact on his future.”

by Hugo Bravo