Thursday, March 30, 2006

Visited States

I got this idea off of a friends blog. Thanks Steve Howard! It is an interesting exercise. I like to travel and see the beautiful country we live in.

Some thoughts on this. I have only been primarily in the eastern territory. The exception to this is a few road trips to Florida. As far as Michigan goes, I really didn't visit there in the true sense of the word. I had a layover on a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2000. We had to catch a puddle jumper for a ride across Lake Erie to visit the parents.

I visited Illinois twice, both on Army business. Once as a member of the Pendel Brass in 1993, and then the following year as a delegate to the National Forum. I have been to the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman), Mexico, Canada and Mexico, but that is the limit of my international travel. We were supposed to visit Belize, but someone on our ship had a heart attack and that changed those plans!

Where would I like to go? I definitely want to visit California, Hawaii, Alaska and the Grand Canyon. Europe would be a neat place to visit, and if things ever settle down, I would love to get to the Holy Land.

Where have you been, and where would you like to go?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Final Spring Campaign Report and Reflections

Well that's it! The cadets are home and things are settling back to normal in Norwich. Today we journeyed to the mountain top. Sunday School began with a united meeting. The cadets pulled out all of their creativity in planning a great Sunday School. The kids and adults had a good time.

After a brief "intermission" the Holiness meeting commenced. A very well planned meeting touched all in attendance. There were old hymns, contemporary choruses, drama, children's five, and testimonies shared. It was a true holiness meeting. Cadet David Childs brought forth the Word. He spoke from Romans chapter 14 on unity. The topic stirred my spirit, and I am sure I speak for the entire congregation. After a time of presentations, the cadets presented Elaine and I some gifts, we of course presented a gift to the brigade. Much to the joy of Elaine and I, we were presented with SFOT jackets! The same ones I bragged about in my Spring Campaign report #1 entry. Thanks Don, Renee, Dave, Stephanie, Daryl, Erika, Kipp, Rickie, Heather and Jun. You were a true blessing to all of us in Norwich. My son won't know what to do when we go to the corps tomorrow and Jun isn't there!

In reflecting on the campaign, I have to say that much has changed at the SFOT in the 10 years since I entered, but change is good. The cadets came armed with the necessary technological gadgets to reach people of the 21st century. They had awesome power point presentations, MP3 players, electronic keyboards, and other things I am sure that I didn't catch or don't know what they are. They even all had cell phones! When I was a cadet no one, not even staff officers had cell phones. Oh, I said it, "when I was a cadet." I must be transitioning to an old officer! Only kidding.

Much can be said about the SFOT and it often becomes a hot topic for field officers. After having just been at the Mission and Ministries Forum where the forum topic was the SFOT and Continuing Education, I feel safe to say that we are training officers in a positive manner and that they are being properly trained for the field. Can some things be changed? Sure, but things will always require change. We live in a changing world, and as The Salvation Army of the 21st century we have to adapt and change to reach this dying world. I dare say William Booth would have it no other way.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spring Campaign Report #5

Saturday was a little bit of a slower day. As I mentioned last night the cadets went door to door on their own in one of the housing projects. They were joined by two kids from the corps who lived there. After a relaxing day we made our way to the Norwich Ice Rink for a youth rally.

What a great night it was! 161 youth and adults were present and most went ice skating, including a large percentage of our divisional staff. I knew we were in trouble when the divisional commander was lacing up his skates! A short Sunday School style devotional was presented by the cadets, and then we were ready to skate!

Many of the kids that came were from inner city Hartford and Bridgeport. I dare say that most of them have never been on the ice before. They had a blast! Pizza and soda was served as people were hungry. It was a great rally. I mentioned to the DYS that this might be something to schedule a couple of times a year. It was different and fun.

Tomorrow is our final day with the cadets. I am anticipating a great Sunday School and Holiness Meeting. My prayer is that we have been travelling all week to the mountain top and that tomorrow will be that mountain top experience.

More to come.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring Campaign Report #4

TGIF Thank goodness its friday, or better yet, as Tony Campolo says, "Its Friday, but Sunday's a coming." Friday was a great day in Norwich. By now, you know the drill in the morning. Lunch was prepared by one of our new hispanic families. Last evening, Cadet Daryl Calhoun convinced the ladies to cook him some real mexican tacos, and you know what, they agreed! Elaine took the ladies shopping following last nights meeting, and we picked up the tacos this morning prior to lunch.

Following Lunch, we went to do some Community Care Ministries, aka League of Mercy. It was a great meeting and many of the cadets shared that although we went to minister to the residents, they in turn ministered to us. One man who lost his legs said, "I don't have legs, but I still praise the Lord, what else should I do?, I can't complain, it won't get me anywhere."

After a quick time of relaxation at our quarters. The cadets put their feet up in the recliners, and were entertained by Jay as he showed off all of his movies and convinced them to watch an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard with him. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Next stop was the childrens open air that was to be done on Sandy Lane. Just as we pulled in, the rain was falling steadily and we took what kids were picked up to corps for the activities that were to be done at the open air site. Tomorrow, the cadets will finish the open air by doing the door to door evangelism that was scheduled for today. They truly are troopers. They volunteered to do this on their time off.

Following a baked ziti dinner, we loaded the vans for New London, where the cadets had a chance to compete against the New London Bible Bowl team. I won't share the results, but I will share that it was a landslide. It was all in good fun and everyone were good sports.

It's Friday, but Sunday's a coming...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring Campaign Report #3

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, God decides to show up in a huge way! Today began with devotions led by yours truly. Preparation time then commenced. The cadets came armed with a full array of all of the latest technological gadgetry. LCD projectors, MP3 players, keyboards with AC/DC capabilities. Each morning there is final fine tuning for the days programs. First on the day's docket was an Open Air.

We have not yet done an Open Air meeting in Norwich. We were glad we did one today. A couple of the cadets went down to the soup kitchen to invite people to Franklin Square for the Open Air Meeting. Many accepted the invitation. All in all, there were 23 people in attendance, and many of them expressed interest in coming to the corps on Sunday.

Following a quick lunch, we then broke up into two teams for corps pastoral visitation. We visited two families and enjoyed fellowship with them.

This evening was a Corps Family Night. We started the evenings festivities with a ham dinner, and side dishes provided by corps families. Following dinner we made the trek upstairs to the chapel for a time of fellowship and fun including a Bible based Family Feud game show on MS Powerpoint. I was especially proud of my daughter Samantha who was a contestant.

The Lord is truly beginning to show us things here in Norwich. Norwich is perhaps the most culturally diverse small city, outside of New York in the eastern territory. This is due to the influx of immigrants who come to work in the casinos that border our city. I read in our local paper that there are 23 languages represented in the Norwich School District.

Well, to get to the point of the story...2 more hispanic familes came to the corps tonight! We knew they were coming in advance and made arrangement to borrow the translation equipment from DHQ. All told there were 50 in attendance and only the 9 cadets were not from Norwich. The cadets were teasing me that we will need a bus. Been there and done that in Sanford! I think if we expand, it will just be another van, but that is a long way off.

I will say that when we were approached by Major Bamford about hosting a brigade of cadets, I was nervous that we would have poor attendance. Well once again, we put our trust in the Lord and He hasn't let us down. This week just keeps getting better and better. I am convinced without a shadow of doubt that Sunday He will totally blow us away!

I can't wait! The anticipation is killing me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spring Campaign Report #2

Day Two was yet another good day with the cadets. We started the day with a time of devotions and preparation time. Following lunch, we proceeded to a nursing home for some Community Care Ministries, aka League of Mercy. Forty three were in attendance for a great time of fellowship and visitation.

After a delicious turkey dinner, we had an evangelistic meeting. There were all the ingredients for a great meeting, brass music, good singing, a timbrel drill, and a dramatic reading. Cadet Kip Allen brought forth the Word in a "sermon drama" as Nicodemus. He told the story of Nicodemus from a first person point of view. We share some laughs, but the Holy Spirit did His work. Two people came forward, God was glorified. The final song was Victory in Jesus. Truer words could not be said!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Campaign Report #1

The cadets arrived today in full force. They stepped out of their van with their sharp jackets and neatly pressed uniforms. The jackets were nice! I wish we had those jackets when I was a cadet, they are very sharp.

After unloading all of their gear, we went on a quick tour of the building. The questions were asked as to what rooms could be used for the specific programs they had planned. After some rehersals and set up, we had a time of prayer, then it was off to Comfort Suites to get checked in.

It was supper time, and time for the Supper Club to begin. The food was ready, and the kids were all there. Chicken Nuggets, mashed potatoes, chips, cookies and juice were the menu. The bellies were filled, and it was time to have Sonday's Cool in the chapel. Sixty seven were in attendance. New London, and Hartford Temple joined us for the evening. Majors Bamford, Captain Richard Lopez joined us from Divisional Headquarters.

Following the Sonday's Cool meeting, 3 of the cadets, the first year contingent, came along with me to Kiwanis. President Toni let the cadets share a little bit about the School, and some turned their sharing into testimonies. I was blessed as I am sure my fellow Kiwanians were as well.

Tomorrow we will do some League of Mercy, or shall I say Community Care Ministries. We will have a great evangelistic meeting in the evening. I am very encouraged initially with the group we have. They seem eager to work and eager to assist.

As promised, I will update each evening with victory reports from each day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

M & M III Reflections

I was reading my blogs last evening and I noticed that I promised last week that I would comment on the Mission and Ministries Forum that Elaine and I attended last week.

We arrived at Ladore to a balmy 55 degrees. We were given our room keys, made a few re-acquaintences, and then went to our first meeting. The guest for the week was Bill Thrall, a founding member of the Leadership Catalyst based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Bill was not new to Elaine and I. We heard him speak at Northern New England Officers Advance (aka Retreat) in 2005. Bill is a great speaker. He is easy to listen to, and that makes his presentations that much more powerful. Bill spoke on Trust and how as leaders it is important to trust. I will say that his presentation was more meaningful for me the first time around. Perhaps this was due to his presentation being primarily geared for people who are known to each other. This enhanced the small group dynamic. It was difficult to share in the small groups with people I met that day.

The first evening, the TAM (Territorial Arts Ministries) performed the musical Marching Along. This musical took a journey through Salvation Army history and some of our notorious "heroes of the faith." It was very well done. It reminded me of a production on a cruise ship. That is meant as a compliment! It was short, yet very much to the point, and was a very moving production. The TAM performed excellently. I was most impressed with the fact that they were able to "nail" the accents as well as they did. British accents, turkish accents, run of the mill american accents, and of course, tough as nails New York accent. Good work TAM. I have a new respect for you and your ministry.

The week was packed full of sessions and the forum. I was moved by Tuesday evening's meeting. It was great to "get to know" the territorial leadership on a more personal level. We laughed, we cried, it was a full range of emotions. I came away from that saying to my wife that the territory will truly miss Colonels Knaggs. They will be taking up appointments in Australia East effective July 1st. They are real people and they will be missed. Lt. Colonel Tito Paredes also shared a humorous story about trying to sign up for corps cadets. He ended up becoming an accepted candidate! Great stuff!

If I had to rate this conference I would rate the sessions a B, and the evening events an A. Bill Thrall was great, but as I shared earlier, his presentation was slightly watered down due to the repetitive nature, and the lack of a small group dynamic. We left Ladore with snow on the ground, and a temperature that read 33 degrees in the Toyota.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cadets to Invade Norwich

This week we will be hosting a brigade of cadets from the School for Officer Training. Brigade 2 under the leadership of Major Donald and Captain Renee Lance will be coming to Norwich on Tuesday. This brings back a lot of memories! Major Don lived down the street from us for a year. I used to see him almost everyday leaving for work as I walked to the bus stop. Captain Renee Lance was the camp nurse my 3 years as a staff member at Ladore. The two final years, I was the camp driver and knew all of the nurses well as I was their "runner" for med runs, taking kids to doctor, hospital, etc. There were also a few Dunkin Donuts runs thrown in there as well!

We have plenty of exciting programs planned for the cadets that include the standard meetings as well as a family night, Bible Bowl Scrimmage and a Youth Rally at the Norwich Ice Rink!

We are looking forward to the Brigade coming, and I hope to keep the blog updated each evening to share the great things that God will do through their ministry!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Return to Ladore

Tomorrow, Elaine and I will make the trek across I-84 and travel to Ladore. Ladore has always had a special place in my heart. I remember going there as a child with my grandparents, then as a camper, and ultimately as a staff member.

It truly is a special place. As a staff member, I can recall spending my first night in my cabin in Oneida villiage. The creaks, the groans, and the glow in the dark paint on the door. It was a spooky summer! I think I heard some type of rodent scampering on the rafters many a night. Great memories, some printable, others perhaps not so printable!

This time we have been invited to attend the Mission and Ministries Forum. It is a forum where officers have a chance to dialogue with the territorial leadership. The schedule is heavy, but I am sure we will have a great time. The only drawback is the lack of entertainment in the rooms. You know the tv, just the bed and a few walls! Please note this clip taken from the Ladore website.

There are no televisions or phones in the rooms, however, public phones are accessible and provided in each facility. Please don't expect T-1 Internet connections or the latest in hi-tech gadgetry. Rather, your experience at Ladore is centered on a simplistic and fundamental methodology to life - a back to basics approach within the evangelical elements of the universal Christian church cloaked within nature's beauty and serenity.

My laptop will make the trip with us as will a few of our favorite DVD's to enjoy on it prior to retiring for the evening. Hopefully the Verizon Cell service is good!

I will be sure to post an update. Criminals take note, the grandparents are as I type this traversing the NYS Thruway in the Odyssey and will be in town to watch the kids and dog, so breaking in is not an option.

Here is the link for Ladore.