Flourishing Story: My Testimony

By Major Erica Yang
Federal Way, WA – Northwest Division

Note: Recently Major Rutendo Masango interviewed Major Erica Yang. This is her testimony.

When do you become a Christian?

I was born into a Christian family. My parents were Salvation Army officers in South Korea. I was dedicated to the Lord as a baby at The Salvation Army corps in Seoul. I accepted Jesus in my heart as a little child from Sunday school. At the age of 18, I committed my heart to the Lord. I was ordained and commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in the Western Territory on June 18, 2002.

Tell about your family.

My parents are the best examples of faithfulness. As active officers, they did their best to serve others in God’s name. Growing up, we had family worship time at 9 pm in the evening. We sang hymns, read the Scriptures, prayed and my father shared the Bible message. Even in her retirement, my mother continues to be a prayer warrior. People always ask her to pray for them.

How are you growing in the Lord?

I am growing in the Lord through many prayers by our church members, family members, and fellow Salvation Army officers. Prayer is powerful in my life.
I also take time to read the Bible, study God’s word, pray, and take a quiet time for daily devotional time. I also take time to rest and enjoy the Lord’s presence.

What does the word “flourish” mean to you?

I googled the Christian meaning for the word, flourish and it says, “Flourishing life gives peace, blessings, maturity that reveal God’s loving purpose for people to experience the very best form of life.” Hallelujah!

The word flourish to me means that God is working in my life and helping me grow. It also means growing together as the church family. The Federal Way Corps members are very faithful and dedicated to the Lord. It gives synergy for each other to grow and spiritually flourish as the church family.

How are you currently flourishing in your life?

I am currently flourishing in my life through the help of the Holy Spirit. My mind and heart are closer to God. My life has become simpler and easier because I know God is in control. When I empty myself and trust the Lord, God helps me to flourish.

Share about what God is currently teaching you.

God is teaching me to “Be still.” This means I do not have to worry about anything. I do not have any struggles in my heart. God is also teaching me that He is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” He never changes.

Share about the Federal Way Youth

The Federal Way youth are a blessing to me. They are hungry for God’s Word, they are attentive, they want to be involved in the corps, they volunteer, they want to work at Camp. They are truly a blessing from the Lord.

The Youth recently received the leadership training by Captains Pavlakis from the Youth Department, here in the Northwest Division.  I noticed that it helped with their spiritual maturity. The leadership training helped them to take more ownership of the corps.  I recommend every Corps provide leadership training for both youth and adults. 

 Our youth Praise and Worship team recently participated in the Territorial Encore Final Competition during Commissioning at The Salvation Army Tustin Ranch Corps. 

They showed commitment and dedication as they practiced their songs.  Even though they did not win, to them that did not matter. They were blessed to be able to take part in the competition.

 The youth are mature enough to enjoy the real purpose of participating and praising God with fellow God’s young people.  Some of them are interested in joining the mission work of The Salvation Army, working at the Camp, and becoming Salvation Army officers in the future.

 I truly appreciate all our spiritually mature adults at the church who continually support and pray for our young people. The corps is also blessed to have fantastic youth workers, Jesse Hodges, Farnaz Nisha, and Debra Doty who pour daily into these kids.   

Share about the Federal Way Women’s and Men’s Ministries

Our women’s and men’s groups are serving God in many ways. Our Corps members are a multi-cultural group. It started as a Laotian ministry, and now we have people from various multi-cultural backgrounds.
One would think the corps would have trouble communicating, but not the Federal Way Corps. Even though we have many different languages and cultures represented, we have not had trouble understanding each other. This is truly a blessing.

Some of our church members have vegetable gardens at home. They always share the vegetables with the Corps members. They also bring the vegetables to our Corps food pantry to give to the needy people in the community.

Prayer is huge part of the Federal Way Corps. We operate a 24-hour prayer line. We are connected to the 24-hour prayer group via on Facebook messenger. We also take prayer requests from Social Services, or through telephone calls. We share the prayer requests, and actively pray for everyone who asks to pray.
Both women’s and men’s groups meet once a week to study the words of God. The women’s ministries puts together a quarterly food auction to raise money for the World Services.

Men’s ministries is also busy. They take care of the Corps building needs, and do small projects, to keep the corps building in good shape. The men also do Community Care Ministries which includes visitations and phone calls. They also volunteer for kettles during our busy time of the year at Christmas.

Our women’s and men’s group members come every Tuesday and Thursday for the sewing club to make shopping bags and aprons. These are auctioned quarterly at the World Services Auction. Our bags and aprons have become very popular, as people from various places ask to purchase our shopping bags and aprons. We have already mailed shopping bags to Alaska and Los Angeles and received donations. We even have people from New Zealand asking to purchase the aprons! The sewing group also make blankets to give to the homeless through Social Service.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Yes, I have many Bible verses I love, including Psalm 62: 6 which says: “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

God is my only rock, my salvation, and my fortress. I will not be shaken by this world.
As a young person, before maturing spiritually, I was shaken easily. Now, I know that God is my Father, who is in control. God is the creator of this entire universe, and He created us to be His children. There’s nothing to be afraid of and be shaken by in this world.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about doing everything I do in God’s name. I love people and want to share the love of God with anyone I meet in any place.

At present, I love our church members at the Federal Way Corps. They are all God’s beautiful people, and I feel blessed to serve at this amazing corps.

I am also passionate about the homeless ministry, social justice, and helping those dealing with depression and mental illness. There are many homeless people and mentally challenged people in our society. I pray for them and provide necessary items for them (for example, clothing, food) and share the message of God.

December 2022 Flourish Newsletter

December is a busy month and it is easy to get so busy doing all the activities of Christmas that we miss out on the reason we celebrate in the first place. This month’s issue will help you slow down and flourish even when life is busy.

May we make time to slow down, and to savor our Savior during this busy season.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5

Download this month’s issue:

Need previous issues of the FLOURISH Newsletter? https://usw-womensministries.org/november-2022-flourish-newsletter/

Previous issues of the Inspire Newsletter are still available on our website: https://usw-womensministries.org/september-2022-inspire-newsletter/

The Christmas Story – Better Than Any Hallmark Movie

By Major Beth Desplancke

In the middle of October one of my yearly holiday tradition begins. Before Halloween even hits the calendar, the Hallmark channel starts its “Countdown to Christmas” airing romantic holiday movies 24/7 until the New Year. Despite the busyness of the season, I make sure to fit lots of Hallmark Christmas movie viewing into the schedule. I note the new Christmas movie air dates and try to fit in one “live” Christmas viewing a week; yes, that means sitting still for 2 hours at a time. I set my DVR to record those movies I can’t watch at the time they air (and yes, I might be still viewing Christmas movies until almost March).

Perhaps I love a good Christmas romance because my husband and I started dating in December over 25 years ago. Perhaps I love them because they are fun, whimsical and simply help me relax. I think the real reason I enjoy them is because they all basically boil down to the search for hope. In case you aren’t familiar with the Hallmark Christmas movie genre, let me share with you the basic premise (and yes, once you’ve seen one or two, you really have seen them all). The main character is usually unhappy, unsatisfied or unfulfilled in their life. During Christmas, something causes them to step away from their ordinary life, to leave the big city to go to a small town, to set aside their daily schedule and experience Christmas fun, and in the process, they find the love of their life. And yes, they always end with a kiss.

Well, the real Christmas story is so much better than any Hallmark movie!

In the beginning when God created the world, everything was perfect. He created man and woman and they lived in a garden, naked and unashamed. They walked and talked with God. In this garden of perfection there was one and only one rule – one tree out of all the trees in this garden that they weren’t to eat from, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The enemy, the devil, tempted them and twisted God’s word, and then woman ate from the tree and then gave the fruit to her husband, and he also ate. Immediately they were aware of their nakedness, ashamed, afraid and hid. Instead of walking with God and conversing with Him, they were hiding from Him.

At that moment, sin entered the world and has caused separation between God and us ever since. God said there would be pain and suffering due to their sin, but at the same time He gave the first promise of Savior in Genesis 3:15. He told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” From that point on, God’s people have been waiting for the promised One who would crush the enemy’s head.

In Genesis 12 God calls Abram out to be His people. God promises that Abram (later renamed Abraham) Abraham would be a great nation and his nation will be a blessing, and declares, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (v. 3b). Abraham’s descendants become the nation of Israel, and throughout the Old Testament God promised the Messiah would come from Abraham’s line.

The Old Testament ends with the word curse or destruction (depending on what translation you are using; Malachi 4:6). Throughout the Old Testament, prophets spoke of the coming Promised Messiah. And then, between the Old and New Testaments there are 400 years of silence – God sends no new messenger or prophet. God’s people are still under the curse and waiting for the Promised Messiah.

Talk about a hopeless situation. It appears that things will never get better. And then the Gospel of Matthew begins the New Testament with the words telling of the birth of the promised messiah. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is pregnant, and what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. The angel gives this message: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:22). Into a hopeless world, hope is born. God’s people are still under the curse of sin, but finally the Savior has come.

Jesus, our Savior came to bring the hope of salvation. When sin entered the world back in the garden of Eden, it created a distance between us and God. In the garden, innocent animals paid the price for Adam and Eve’s sin – an animal died so that God could clothe Adam and Eve with garments of skin. Centuries later, God sent His Son, Jesus, with the sole purpose of being the Savior of the world. He came to earth as a baby, a grew up to be a man, lived a sinless life, and gave Himself willingly to die on the cross for our sins. Why? John 3:16-17 tells us: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

The Christmas story is a love story. The Christmas story is a story of hope – there is a possibility for a better life. The Christmas story is a story for everyone. In Luke chapter 2, angels appeared to shepherds heralding the announcement of Christ’s birth: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).

My prayer is that you will know the hope that comes at Christmas through Jesus, our Savior.