The Chattanooga Salvation Army Welcomes New “Soldiers”
Mike was homeless, not because of an addiction, but because of depression and despair. “I used to come in…grab a bite to eat and warm up with a cup of coffee…(it was) a place to rest a couple of hours…” But The Salvation Army 614 Corps at 800 McCallie Avenue offered more than a respite; it offers the Men’s Life Development Program.
“I entered (the) 614 Corps program, and it gave me time to heal and learn new life skills…it was my decision to use them, and I did.” So, Mike has a job and a home of his own, and this past Sunday he enrolled as a new as a Soldier.
Those who join the membership of a Salvation Army Corps, or church, are known as Soldiers. Enrollment is their public commitment to God as they join their Salvation Army Corps and promise to serve there.
Soldiers are brothers and sisters in God’s Army. “I agree with (General) Booth’s dreams, legacy, decisions…(and) want to be (among) Christ’s Army of Soldiers,” declares Mike. As a new Soldier, he continues, he will faithfully “bring the good news of Jesus Christ our Savior to the people.”
For Roger, his life had become one of everyday use of drugs and alcohol. He was estranged from his family and finally got to the point at which he asked God “to take me out of this life.” God’s answer came in the form of a retired Salvation Army officer who directed Roger to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Atlanta. He graduated, came home to Chattanooga and was accepted into the 614 Corps’ Men’s Program. His life continued to change for the better, but he says it best.
“If it wasn’t for the ARC and the 614 programs, I would most likely be dead now. Not only am I clean and sober…I have grown as a Christian and learned valuable lessons along the way—humility being #1. I have gained trust back from my family, and I now have an awesome relationship with my daughter. God is continuing to right all the wrong that I have caused in my life.” He has a job and a permanent home, and Roger, as he puts it, is now becoming “a soldier/servant.”
He was also enrolled this past Sunday to be a new Soldier because, “…I want to help others the way The Salvation Army has helped me. I want to serve God and God wants me to serve others…by lending a hand, by being a listener, by being someone they can count on. By helping people find their way…”
Mike would no doubt agree with Roger that “…there is a better way through Christ.” That’s why they are Soldiers in Arms on the frontlines combating homelessness and hopelessness.
Six new soldiers—all of whom have gone through the Men’s program—joined The Salvation Army 614 Corps this past Sunday at 10:00 AM. The 614 Corps’ ReCreate Café outreach to the homeless at 800 McCallie Avenue offers coffee and snacks and fellowship, as well as showers, lockers, mail boxes and a computer lab every weekday. Karaoke, by the way, is every Wednesday beginning at 1:00 PM.
Isaiah 61:4 speaks of God’s desire that his people take the lead in rebuilding, restoring and renewing the plans, hopes and future of those in the ‘desolate’ inner cities.