She Leads…As a Team Player

By Becky Luke
Women’s Ministries Secretary – Kroc Corps, Honolulu HI

As a child, I always wanted to be the leader. Whether it be on the school playground playing follow the leader, a team captain on the field or even a leader on a special project. It gave me great joy to be able to lead. But not knowing how to be an effective leader does pose a challenge.

On the school playground, I would gather a bunch of kids together, elect myself as leader and begin dictating what we were going to do. Not once did I stop to ask anyone what they wanted or if they had any ideas. I was six and didn’t know what leadership was other than telling people what to do. I didn’t notice the facial expressions or whispers from my frustrated and irritated followers if I got upset when things didn’t go my way. I had a goal in mind but didn’t know how to communicate it. At this point, being a bossy leader was not fun. I soon found myself standing alone at recess while everyone else were having fun just running around playing a simple game of tag.

As I got older, my social interactions definitely improved. I was liked by my teammates, always encouraging and good at the game. When I was chosen to be team captain by my coach, I was excited and congratulated by my teammates. They were happy for me and I was ready to lead my team. Until……. It was game time. I thought that being a leader was leading my team to victory. But didn’t know that victory wasn’t defined as winning the game. When the game started, I lost myself. I was not being encouraging or motivating and the trust and respect I once received from my teammates was gone. I yelled from the sidelines, made disappointing noises and flailed my arms in the air when a ball was missed or opportunity to score was wasted. As our players came off the field for a break, you could see the frustration and irritation on their faces. No one spoke to me. After the game, my coach pulled me aside and explained to me what I did wrong on that particular day. Knowing I had failed embarrassed me. But I sucked it up and owned up to my failure. It was awkward at the next practice as I stood in front of the team and apologized for my actions.

Once I started working, I was starting to recognize characteristics of an effective leader. Dictating and yelling was not an effective way to lead. I was given a great opportunity to build a team to work on a special project. I felt I was ready to take on leadership. Excited and eager to begin, I gathered the best of the best and built an amazing team. We worked together to brainstorm ideas and suggestions. Everyone had a voice. After all, these people were the best of the best. Everything was going well. The team was making great progress. Goals set forth by the team were being met. Then, issues began to arise with the production. Afraid that the project wasn’t going to finish on time, I began to panic. Knowing I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, I asked everyone to stay late. The work needed to get done. Not once did I consider obligations the team may have had outside of work. Morale went down. Progress slowed. Project wasn’t completed on time.

These were times in my life where my leadership capacity differed. Looking back, I see progress in my ability to lead but I still didn’t meet the mark. Through the examples set before me, along with leadership trainings, I realized that building great relationships, honesty, accepting candid feedback, valuing the strengths of others, leading by example, being transparent, showing respect for others, good communication, positivity and so much more are all part of what makes a great leader. You must also be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. When you figure out what those are, own it and work on it with God’s help.

In times of failure and defeat, I turn to Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success, to give me comfort and encouragement. I know God is always there to help me in these hard times and has always been faithful.

July 2022 Inspire Newsletter

For the month of July we are focusing on how hope is like an anchor.

We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19a

In this Inspire Newsletter you will find clever anchor craft ideas, an encouraging word, and monthly Bible trivia questions about seafarers in the Bible.

As always, we include inspirational ideas from Women’s Ministries around the USA Western Territory to inspire you and your Women’s Ministries Group to try something new.

“Hope is called the anchor of the soul because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ I wish that such-and-such would take place rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.” R.C. Sproul

Download this month’s newsletter:

Need previous issues of the INSPIRE Newsletter?  They can be found at the following links: June 2022,  May 2022April 2022March 2022, February 2022, January 2022December 2021, November 2021October 2021September 2021August 2021July 2021June 2021May 2021, April 2021March 2021February 2021, January 2021 December 2020November 2020October 2020September 2020August 2020July 2020June 2020May 2020April 2020March 2020February 2020January 2020December 2019November 2019October 2019October 2018-September 2019

July 2022 Craft: Suncatchers

By Becky Luke
Corps Program Coordinator
Ray & Joan Kroc Center, HI – Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division

Supplies Needed:

  • Coloring pages printed on basic white printer paper. Picture needs to fit in the mason jar lid. If your coloring pages are too large for the mason jar lid, custom print at a lower percentage.
  • Mason jar lids (wide or regular mouth)
  • Any type of oil – this is the element to make your coloring page translucent
  • Cotton balls
  • Scissors
  • Twine or Ribbon
  • Glue – Tacky Glue
  • Paper towel – to protect work area and absorb excess oil

Instructions:

  1. Color your coloring page using watercolor paints, markers or any other material you choose.
  2. Once colored, use a cotton ball to apply oil to your art. Make sure to cover all the paper. You don’t have to drench the paper, just cover completely. Dab excess oil up with a paper towel or tissue and allow to dry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Using the mason jar lid, trace a circle around the art and then cut the circle, inside the line so the art fits inside the mason lid.
  4. Apply a little bit of glue inside the lid and place the art in the lid, art side facing outward.
  5. Wrap twine around the lid, tie a knot to hold in place. Leave at least 4″ of twice and tie a knot at the top so you can hang your sun catcher.

Download printable instructions of this craft.

She Leads… By Including All

By Major Nancy Helms
Spiritual Care Director – College for Officer Training

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2: 3-7

Some of the greatest lessons on leadership have been passed on to me from my son Cameron, who has special needs. Cam was born with profound deafness, cerebral palsy and cognitive delays – none of which have stopped him from achieving mammoth milestones throughout his life journey. I was recently taking a walk with Cam, and about halfway through our walk we ran into one of his martial arts friends and mentors on her way to class (we live on the grounds of the campus his class is on). I totally spaced out and forgot it was karate night (insert facepalm to the forehead). In my brain I’m going back and forth – “should I run ¾ of a mile home, get his stuff and meet up with him to get him changed, or just forget it?” I knew he would be devastated if he missed his class, so I decided to hurry home and retrieve his gear.

Much to my surprise, Cam walked in the door of our house right behind me. No joke, that’s the fastest ¾ mile he has walked in a very long time. He was sweating profusely, and we still had to get him dressed. It takes me quite a while just to get his gloves on, as his left hand has little dexterity, and as soon as I get one finger in, another pops out; but together we made it happen.

I wish I could transport all of you to his class that night so that you too, could see the greatest lesson on leadership I have ever witnessed. His instructor had him demonstrate for the rest of the group some of the moves they had been working on – a solo, so to speak. The instructor also had Cam come up in front of everyone and proceeded to have him lead the group in tandem with him, which empowered Cam beyond what you can imagine. Cam was a step behind in his moves and somewhat clumsy compared to most, which is to be expected with someone that has cognitive and physical delays; but he nailed the moves in his time and with his individual ability. The best part was when the entire class, children and adults, cheered with passion, while giving Cam the American Sign Language applause (hands raised in the air and waving). As I watched from my parked care, tears welled up. I thought to myself, “this is Church and leadership at its best – teaching, encouraging, loving, equipping and including.”

“This is Church and leadership at its best – teaching, encouraging, loving, equipping and including.”

Major Nancy Helms
Cameron Helms and Cadet David Culley (who will be commissioned as a Lt. in The Salvation Army June 5, 2022)

I went to bed thanking God for those in Cam’s life who have noticed him, invited him and included him – those who have recognized his abilities, rather than his disabilities – those who have realized that Cam, too, can lead and influence others. I thanked him for his martial arts buddies, who take turns coming alongside Cam on Monday and Thursday nights, sacrificing their personal training to focus on him. Then again, when we take time to teach and serve others, perhaps we are gaining skills and growing as leaders in ways could never imagine.

For just a moment that night, Cam was a leader – he had a place at the table where he belonged 100 percent. It was powerful experience for this mom to witness. I know without a doubt it is a moment in time he will tuck away in his heart and mind for years to come. He will feel empowered from the memory and encouraged from those around him who cheered him on. When I thanked his instructor for his part in nurturing Cam, he said, “When my life plan was to own a martial arts school, I planned to have a special needs inclusion program for students exactly like Cameron. It’s funny how God reworks our dreams to be better than we could have imagined them ourselves.” His instructor is now training to become a minister of the gospel in The Salvation Army, and I have the privilege of partnering in ministry with him.

“When my life plan was to own a martial arts school, I planned to have a special needs inclusion program for students exactly like Cameron. It’s funny how God reworks our dreams to be better than we could have imagined them ourselves.”

Cadet David Culley

This experience reminded me of how Jesus often led, making every individual feel as if they belonged and had a seat of influence. One of my favorite books is, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was well known in the academic world, having been a professor at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. He left his notoriety to serve in a home filled with disabled individuals. He said, “Their liking or disliking of me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then…These broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self – the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things – and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments…I am convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love.” That is the epitome of a servant leader!

I’m so glad I decided to hurry home and get Cam dressed for martial arts that night. It’s one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. Not only did I get to see Cam lead; I also saw a great example from Cam’s leader, as well as those around him, on how to lead from a posture of humility – allowing the student to become the teacher. It was a humbling moment and a teaching moment, for sure.

June 2022 Inspire Newsletter

It’s summer time! This month’s newsletter focuses on the ocean. If you aren’t blessed enough to be able to visit a beach in person, you can make some beach inspired crafts to brighten your home. Enjoy some Bible trivia about bodies of water mentioned in the Bible, and be reminded about the fact God is greater and mightier than the ocean.

Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. Psalm 89:8-9

Download this month’s newsletter:

Need previous issues of the INSPIRE Newsletter?  They can be found at the following links: May 2022, April 2022March 2022, February 2022, January 2022December 2021, November 2021October 2021September 2021August 2021July 2021June 2021May 2021, April 2021March 2021February 2021, January 2021 December 2020November 2020October 2020September 2020August 2020July 2020June 2020May 2020April 2020March 2020February 2020January 2020December 2019November 2019October 2019October 2018-September 2019

September 2022 Game: Jeopardy – Back to School Edition

By Major Rachel Gallop
Denver, CO Adult Rehabilitation Center

Instead of a craft this month, have fun in your Women’s Ministries with this animated (including sound) Jeopardy game (in PowerPoint).

Categories include: History, Science, Bible, Music Appreciation, American Literature, and The Salvation Army.

Have fun recalling facts you may have learned in the past as well as, perhaps, learning new information.

Download the PowerPoint Game (250mb)

June 2022 Craft: Sea Glass Ideas

By Major Nancy Helms
Spiritual Care Director – College for Officer Training

Any of the ideas below can easily be made from sea glass/pottery.  If you can’t get to the beach to find your own, you can purchase it in bulk at a good price online.  It might be faux, but that’s okay. Make sure to look for smooth pieces that aren’t too big.  If you want to be exact with the technical pieces like the cross or hummingbird, you can tape a template to the other side of the glass and then remove it once pieces are glued in place.  Really, you can make anything you want with a good template.  For the song and notes, I just glued pieces onto a scrap block of wood I previously sanded down.  My manger scene is made with sea pottery, but you can use glass, too.

For pictures you will need:

  • Small frame (purchase at Joanne Fabrics or Michaels)
  • Sea glass
  • E 6000 glue
  • Or a block of scrap wood
  • Windex and small cotton device to remove excess glue

I also enjoy creating temporary sea glass stackers. I find it to be good spiritual therapy. I pray for myself and others as I place each piece in the stack. It reminds me of the body of Christ, and how we all fit together to form God’s Church.

If you aren’t crafty, but like coastal décor, it’s fun just to collect glass and place it in jars, vases, bowls, etc., to place around the house.

Sometimes, I will take a piece like this, that has a little groove and rub it between my fingers while I ponder God’s amazing grace and deep ocean of love for me.

Note: Check out this month’s Bible study, Transformed Treasures, and this month’s devotional, Sea Glass and Souls, that coordinates with this craft.

Program Resource: Red Flags and Responses

By Jacqui Larsson, Territorial Social Justice Ministries Director
Territorial Social Justice Department

Human Trafficking is an evil that happens all around us, but as we pray for God to open our eyes to see those being held captive in our own communities, it is vital that we are able to see the signs, recognize the red flags, but also understand the best ways to respond! It is very common for those being held in trafficking situations not to identify as victims – they will often feel that this was their choice, or their mistake, and although this may have been their only option – it was their chosen survival journey. Pimps and traffickers will make the men, women, and children they are trafficking believe that this situation is their best option, that if they escape then they will be worse off with nowhere to go, and no one to “take care of them”. Victims/survivors are made to feel unworthy, that they owe a huge debt to their traffickers, and if they try to leave, they are often “punished” physically, but also made to feel that they can’t return home as they are doing nothing more than letting their loved ones down. It is a lose, lose situation but if we, the responders, are uninformed and enter the situation with an intent to “rescue” the person being trafficked, we can sometimes do more harm than good, for example, we should not try to persuade the person being trafficked to leave their current situation, and if we give them resources there and then, we may in fact be putting them in more danger.

We need to ask questions, such as:

  • What is your job like?
  • Can you leave your situation/job if you want to?
  • Are there rules at your job? What happens if someone doesn’t follow the rules?
  • Has anyone harmed (or threatened to harm) you or your family in order to make you do something that you did not want to do?
  • Has anyone threatened to call the police/immigration on you in order to make you do something you did not want to do?
  • Are you allowed to talk to people outside of your home/job?
  • Have you ever exchanged sex for something of value?
  • Do you have an ID? Does someone else hold your ID?
  • Do you have control over the money you earn?
  • Is anyone forcing or pressuring you to do anything you do not want to do?
  • Do you feel safe where you are living?
  • Can you come and go as you please?

Please check out this snap-shot resource with helpful tips about red flags, how the survivors may feel, things to avoid, ways in which to respond according to whether they want help at this time/how old they are, and the National Hotline information.

For more information, to arrange a training session, or find out how you can get involved in this Fight for Freedom, please contact your Territorial Social Justice Ministries Director, Jacqui Larsson. www.SAJustice.US

Note: Check out the following items on our website that coordinates with this resource: To Be Seen By God Bible Study, Eyes Wide Open Devotional, and Lights Shining in the Darkness Craft.

August 2022 Craft: Lights Shining in the Darkness

By Jacqui Larsson, Territorial Social Justice Ministries Director
Territorial Social Justice Department

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40

Basic Idea:
Men, women, and children who are caught in trafficking situations are imprisoned, bound, tied to the person who has them in their grip, oppressing them from the freedoms God would want each of us to experience. We are surrounded by people in need, we see the hungry and destitute people on the streets, those who are sick and suffering, but we are often blind to the world of human trafficking as, although it happens all around us, it happens in the shadows, in places of darkness, and increasingly on the internet behind closed doors. Just as God saw Hagar in the desert and appeared to her, offering comfort, and calling her by name, and just as Jesus saw the outcasts in society and crossed boundaries to talk to them and offer love and healing, so we are called to open our eyes and see the hurting world around us. May we look in the darkness and see those in need as we shine God’s love into the shadows of despair.

The rubber bands, twine, string, or yarn in this craft represent the imprisonment of those trapped in human trafficking. The act of cutting these from the jars, represents what God can do through us, “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:7). The light placed inside the vase/jar, represents His healing and restoration – creating a new life of beauty. The light shining through the vase represents the love of God, like rays of sun, shining into the darkness.

Pray silently through each step of the craft you will be making. Think about those who are suffering. Pray that wherever they are, they may find freedom and healing. Pray that God would open our eyes to see those around us who are hurting, and that we would be his hands and feet for the trafficking victims and survivors hidden in the darkness!

Supplies:

  • Vases or Jars – various sizes (places to buy: Dollar Store, Walmart, TSA Family Stores)
  • Straight Razor to remove stickers from the bottom (optional)
  • Something to create lines on the vases – various thicknesses of ⦁ rubber bands, twine, string, or yarn (maybe not too thin)
  • Scissors
  • Krylon/Montana Cans Spray Paint in the color of your choice
  • Gloves (optional – if you don’t like getting paint all over your hands and nails)
  • Tea Lights

Instructions:

I have to start by saying that I am not a “crafty” person, in fact I think this is the first time in my life that I have sat down by myself and created a craft in my spare time – so if I can do this craft…anyone can 12 There were moments of frustration for me as a “crafting newbie” (my blue paint did not cooperate) but as I put this together I intentionally used the time to pray for those caught in trafficking, and the moments of messiness reminded me that life is messy and the journey of a trafficking survivor is often filled with twists, turns and challenges! I hope you enjoy the process as much as I did!

  1. Use a straight razor and scrape off any price tags and remove any sticky residue with soap and sponge, giving it a good cleaning overall.
  2. Tightly wrap the rubber bands, twine, yarn, etc. around the vases/jars – far apart or close together. Feel free to overlap them, leaving a cute criss-cross look.

(If using yarn or string, tape the ends on the underside or the inside so they stay in place.  Don’t place the tape on the outside of the jar where you will be painting.)

  1. Cover an area in newspaper so you’re ready to paint! Spray one coat for a more sheer, frosted look. Spray more coats for a more opaque look, but paint each coat lightly, waiting 5-10 minutes in between. Let dry. (My blue spray pain was a different brand and did not work well, so I covered it in gold which gave an “interesting” two-tone effect).
  2. After the paint is fully dry cut the rubber bands, twine, etc., off.

My rubber bands were very tight so when I cut them, they “pinged off” and I had to go back and remove some of the paint, but it came away from the glass easily. The blue/gold paint left a slightly jagged line (because of the paint layering), but looked beautiful when the tea light was lit.

  1. Place tea lights inside. And…enjoy the beautiful rays of light shining into the darkness! So pretty!

Chorus Suggestion:
To be like Jesus!
To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, 
In every thought and deed,
This is my aim, my creed; 
To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, 
His Spirit helping me,
Like him I’ll be.

(Song #328, The Salvation Army Songbook 2016 North American Edition)

Enjoy your beautiful vases! I hope that every time you light yours you will remember those trapped in human trafficking, spend a little time in prayer for them, and seek God to guide you in ways you can make a difference in their lives.

Download printable directions for this craft:

Note: Check out this month’s Bible Study, To Be Seen By God, and this month’s devotional, Eyes Wide Open, that coordinates with this craft. Also check out the resource Red Flags and Responses.

She Leads… From Behind

By Major Noelle Nelson
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Golden State Division

When I think of a leader, I picture a confident and commanding presence. A bold individual who rallies a team toward unity and victory. Someone who instills a sense of strength and calm amongst the troops. A highly organized ‘someone’ who is not afraid to be up in the front. What I do not envision is someone who works behind the scenes, say, struggling to pull off a stage play while simultaneously stapling ripped costumes back together (because who has time to stitch??), tossing random snacks to the kids, and frantically attempting to find an electrician who can repair the stage lights RIGHT NOW! I envision that person and think, “Nope, that is NOT a leader. That is a chicken with her head cut off.” That last example may be a bit extreme, but you get the idea. I think we probably all have pretty much the same general thoughts on what we believe makes a good leader, and what does not.

My fondest childhood memories are of summers spent camping and hiking through Yosemite National Park and Tuolumne Meadows. Each year my sister and I couldn’t wait to get back to trail-hiking at our favorite spots with Ranger Laura Lemons. Who was Ranger Laura Lemons? I dare say she was the best hiking guide this side of the country! At least my sister and I were convinced of this. At the appointed time each afternoon my parents dropped us off and handed us over into the capable hands of Ranger Laura Lemons. Ranger Laura would gather all the children together and have us sit on the ground. After a brief introduction she would quiz us on what she taught us the previous day: What birds live here during the summer? What plant life is alive and well? What are the sparkly rocks called? (My sister and I always scored 100%.) Then we would all follow in a straight line behind Ranger Laura as she led us on the most glorious trail hikes. Up the side of the mountain, down through the meadow, and across the tiny brook we would go, soaking up the beauty of nature and all the amazing details Ranger Laura shared with us. And, no matter how complicated the trail, we never, ever got lost. Ranger Laura Lemons was a superb leader. We would return to our parents with tales to tell of our fabulous day, and singing the praises of Ranger Laura Lemons.

About 30 years later, on a family camping trip with our parents to the same location, my sister and I had high hopes of reminiscing and showing our own children the very spot where those magical hikes took place. As we approached a ragged little clearing under a scraggy tree my mom announced, “Well girls, this is it!” My dad added, “And it hasn’t changed a bit!” WHAT!?!? Where were the rolling, golden meadows of mountain grass? The long, carved-out trails?? The bubbling brook??? This did not match my memory! I told my parents they must be wrong. They laughed, declaring my young mind must have just ‘saw’ it that way.

Fortunately, my memories of Ranger Laura Lemons held true. Mom and Dad both agreed that Ranger Laura was incredible. The masterful way she held the attention of the kids was a beauty to behold. She truly loved nature and loved to share her knowledge with children. I asked, “So what did she do after taking all of us on those long hikes?” I imagined she probably worked in the main Rangers’ Station and lead strenuous hikes through the mountains. Nope. As it turns out, our fearless ‘leader’ was nothing more than a part-time Junior-Ranger-in-training. Every day she would take little kids (five or six of us, not 25) on short 15-minute (not all day) ‘walks’ (not long hikes) within a cordoned off (not wild and free) area. And that’s all she did, for a few hours each day, for her job. She wasn’t even a ‘full’ Ranger! Wow. This was not the amazing ‘leader’ I remembered. I shared my shock and disappointment with my folks. My mom wisely replied, “That didn’t make Ranger Laura any less of a leader. You girls had wonderful adventures with her! And kids can be very difficult to lead.” I couldn’t argue that.

It gave me something to really think about. Perhaps a leader doesn’t need to be on the front-lines to make a difference. The truth is that there are some great leaders who are behind the scenes. Being up front where we can be seen may feel more glorious, but it’s not the end-all in leadership. Think of the people who have influenced or impacted your life in positive ways. Fair to say many of them were just everyday people who influenced you and impacted your life because they loved you, believed in you, and inspired you to be your best. They saw you how Jesus sees you. These regular folks sound less like ‘leaders’ and more like servants, right? Jesus showed throughout his own life that leaders come in all shapes and sizes, with varying abilities and levels of importance. But the ones who made the biggest difference weren’t constantly focused on being in the ‘big chair.’ The true, life-changing leaders were passionate about others seeing their value and worth in God’s Kingdom. Even if it meant doing it from behind the scenes in a less-than-impressive venue.

We read in Matthew 20:26 & 28, “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant… For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

There’s no shame in leading from the front. But if that’s not where you’re at, think on this: Christ did a lot of life-changing things from humble places. What an honor it is to realize that you, too, can influence and impact lives, even ‘from behind.’ And from that viewpoint, leading ‘from behind’ can hold some pretty fantastic possibilities.