Meet me in St. Louis

The following was contributed by Marcia Larson, Salvation Army National Advisory Board Member. Marcia attended The Salvation Army’s NAB meeting in St. Louis September 15-17, 2011 and blogged about her experience thereafter. Her reflections on the trip are below.

Click Here to read her blog.

I felt a little bit like Saul Thursday morning at the NAB induction. Not Saul chasing after David. But early Saul.

The Saul who at the beginning of 1 Samuel is tapped by God to step up to leadership and responds, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?

Later, Saul runs over and hides in the luggage (chapter 18).

I didn’t hide in my suitcase Thursday morning but was tempted; because it is a tremendous privilege and honor to serve on the Salvation Army NAB with people who possess years of professional experience, spiritual maturity that only comes from life experiences, and years / even generations of commitment to the Army.

It is humbling to be asked. And as Mark Abels likes to remind me, “I’m not old.” Not very experienced. And yet you’ve welcomed a 32-year-old single woman so warmly and lovingly to your ranks. Thank you.

The Salvation Army brings a cup of cold water…in Jesus’ name. And you don’t forget the “in Jesus’ name” part. While on a mission project in Tanzania last month I held an orphan whose mother tried to sell her to be offered up for human sacrifice.  As I held Rehema, I immediately began to think of all the diapers, clothes, shoes, schooling costs, and physical need. And then the Holy Spirit stopped me. “Those are good things Marcia, important things, but what’s the best thing? What’s the everlasting thing?”

What we bring to orphans like Rehema, what the Army brings to the hurting around the world is not just physical sustenance. Because buildings fall down. Clothes wear out.

What the Army brings first and foremost is what 1 Peter 1:3 & 4 calls “ the living hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an inheritance that does perish, spoil, or fade.”

The past three days in St. Louis brought new friends, new issues to think about, new experiences into my life. I ate fried pickles. Smiled for all of Marlene’s pictures. Taught Sally how to “tweet,” talked with Jim Nordstrom about customer service, learned about Kenya from Commissioner Roberts, worshipped at the Gateway Center, stayed in a room the size of my NY apartment, drank lots of coffee, and even had a marriage proposal.

Coming back to NY, it’s back to The Wall Street Journal – bringing news to the world.

But going forward I’ll now be serving on committees of the NAB that bring the Good News of the Gospel. The best news.

Thank you for this opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission through the work of The Salvation Army as we do the most good, for the Most High.

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