Together again: Ambassadors of Holiness Session meets

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Lt. Mark Cyr

Lt. Mark Cyr

Prior to becoming captains, session meets for fifth year Territorial Officers’ Institute.

By Mark Cyr, Lt. – 

On the verge of becoming Salvation Army captains, the five-year lieutenants return to the College for Officer Training at Crestmont for the fifth year Territorial Officers’ Institute (TOI). Lt. Mark Cyr, corps officer with his wife Leslie in Carson City, Nev., reports on his experience at this year’s gathering.

I was uncomfortable as we entered the Garden Room at the College for Officer Training for the Ambassadors of Holiness Session’s first meeting and meal together as five-year lieutenants at the Territorial Officers’ Institute. Odd how comfortable we were just a few years ago and yet here we are now; it almost seemed like we were walking into a room full of strangers. I have always been good at putting on the façade of confidence so I walked on in and greeted my session mates.

Lt. Leilani Armendariz shared a similar feeling in her testimony. Since our time together in training, we have been out in the field for almost five years—growing in spirit, learning the lessons that the training college cannot teach.

The warm greetings of old friends drove the discomfort away. We ate together, worshiped together, and prayed together. Majors Jeff and Eloisa Martin, territorial education secretary and assistant secretary for personnel, respectively, greeted us, and Majors Harry and Marina Lacey, pastoral care officers, ministered to us. David Hodge, founder of Anchor Training and Leadership Development was also there. My wife, Leslie, and I were the last ones to leave the Garden Room that night.

As a session, we spent the next two days together, sharing devotions and prayer and participating in Hodge’s “Take Courage” seminar. During this time, we saw the reality of four and a half years of ministry in the field.

The cadets that left this college as officers a few years ago encouraged us with their stories of overcoming ministry struggles and gaining hard-earned wisdom. Lt. Caleb Fankhauser spoke of his new understanding of Matthew 10:14. To “shake the dust from your feet” is not so much about forgetting the people that reject you, but instead forgetting about the rejections. We all will have rejections—don’t dwell on them; focus on the successes.

During his seminar, Hodge made a statement that is the opposite of the way we often think. We tend to see “significance” the way the world sees it: by someone’s position or money; however, the heavenly perspective is different.

“Only God determines what is and isn’t significant, and only one act reveals what is significant,” Hodge said.

We, the Ambassadors of Holiness and all those that faithfully carry out their calling to serve loyally and proclaim the salvation message against the tide of culture, make the decision each day to move forward whether it is popular or not. In the end, God will find that this faithfulness is significant. That is enough.

TOI concluded after Jeff Martin’s lesson, “Leadership Principles from an Encounter with a Nobody.” Sharing a story from his and his wife’s ministry in the Philippines, he reemphasized the importance of valuing others by God’s standards, and not the world’s.

TOI turned out to be well worth taking some time away from our ministry in Carson City. I spent time with friends, received encouragement from godly leaders and left CFOT refreshed by the experience.

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