Cadets ‘blitz’ California

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Annual fall event takes cadets out of the classroom into the field.

By Brian Qualls, Cadet –

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Band of Believers, Cadets Shelby Hanauer and Stephanie Simmons, performing in a skit at Sacramento’s Transitional Living Program’s Fall Festival

After spending several weeks in classes considering how to love people, the cadets at The Salvation Army College for Officer Training at Crestmont took off in their respective brigades to communities across California. Fall Blitz weekend was not just an opportunity to serve but a reconfirmation of our calling as officers-in-training. Each of us experienced God’s presence and love in unique and meaningful ways, filling us with joy and hope for our futures as Salvation Army officers.

“We [the Koa Brigade] were called to serve in San Jose during Fall Blitz,” Cadet Cassandra Amezquita said. “We planned and prepared…and still each time God takes my breath away as we minister to his people. Every smile, every lesson, every prayer confirms the calling that has been placed on my life to be a Salvation Army officer.”

Cadets Victoria Hartt and Jeremy Alexander commented on God’s timing.

“He [God] orchestrates events,” Hartt said. “Us meeting strangers that we can pray with and share his Good News to; it is certainly never a coincidence.”

Alexander noted that “we can make our plans, but God will direct our paths. If he wants to save even one person, he can move an entire brigade from one location to another. We the Amplify Brigade have seen him do it.”

Cadet Jon Tollerud witnessed hope where he served.

“Lodi is a community built on hope,” he said. “They have hope for each other and hope in God. I was able to witness God working in the lives of those there and in my brigade. When you allow yourself to be a vessel of Christ, the results are powerful—a bit scary, but powerful!

Cadet Jen Liggett also addressed the hope that Christ brings.

“As a brigade last weekend, we encountered a hurting community that was hungry for the grace and redemption that Jesus Christ provides,” she said. “In the midst of impossible situations, we were able to encourage hope, and provide a fun, family atmosphere.  This experience fanned the flame of our deep desire to pursue God’s calling on our lives, and minister to his beloved children, especially the lost and the broken.”

Cadet Jamie Stokes felt the impact of The Salvation Army’s rehabilitation ministry.

“The one thing that really touched my heart was seeing all the alumni at the ARC [Adult Rehabilitation Center] alumni banquet come together and circle around the ones who were just new in their recovery journey,” she said. “You could just see the love of God through these men and women who supported the new men… Hearing them say they couldn’t have done it without God will always be something I will hold close to my heart.”

The lasting imprint of this weekend is God using us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our brigades participated in many opportunities within The Salvation Army, from handbag auctions to ARC dinners, bell-ringing to Sunday morning services. It was an honor to come alongside God’s people, serving and worshipping with them. These experiences will continue to shape and mold us into the leaders and Christ-followers God has called us to be.

Cadet Stephanie Simmons witnessed what happens when Jesus works in people’s lives.

“It is humbling and inspiring to work alongside other Band of Believers who love Jesus, not just within my brigade but with people in the community of Sacramento,” she said. “ Many do not realize this, but when you look at them they shine Jesus and it is very contagious and such a blessing!”

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