Champions of the Mission: Cadets Answer Their Calling

Aug 18, 2023 | by Brad Rowland

Champions of the Mission: Cadets Answer Their Calling

By: Brad Rowland

The Champions of the Mission session of cadets arrived at Evangeline Booth College this summer for a two-year period of intensive training in preparation for becoming officers of The Salvation Army. On Saturday, August 12, the session received its public welcome at the conclusion of the 2023 Southern Territorial Bible Conference.

"What a privilege it is for us to be able to celebrate the arrival of this new session of cadets while we're wrapping up a great week of Bible Conference," Colonel Deborah Sedlar, chief secretary, said at the outset of the welcome. "It's as if we're asking God to put the finishing touches on an already wonderful week. This meeting is about worshiping our great and mighty God in joyous celebration. Celebration for all that has taken place this week, and celebration of this next session of cadets."

The session of 18 cadets includes 11 first-generation Salvationists from across the USA Southern Territory. The session name is shared across the Salvation Army world, forming a long-lasting bond, and Cadet Jeremy Warf received the session flag from Commissioner Kelly Igleheart, territorial commander, and Major Anthony Juliana, president and principal of Evangeline Booth College, for its first public posting.

A meaningful time of prayer, led by Commissioner Donna Igleheart, set a powerful tone for the evening with a focus on both the Champions of the Mission session and for God's will across the Southern Territory.

"God has brought us here to welcome, to celebrate, to consecrate the Champions of the Mission session," said Commissioner Donna Igleheart. "We do not know entirely all that went into making this day possible, but we do know that God has brought this new session here. He made a way, even when the hurdles seemed too great to overcome. We thank Him for His faithfulness."

An offertory was collected for the Nigeria Territory, and the Southern Territorial Youth Band performed before, during, and after the welcome session. In addition, the Evangeline Booth College cadets and staff ministered in music, with Commissioner Kelly Igleheart delivering a poignant message.

The centerpiece was Acts 9 and the story of Saul's conversion, though he intentionally spotlighted Ananias. He referred to Ananias as a "reluctant champion of the mission" and placed that in the context of modern-day Christianity. "You can't underestimate the ministry of an Ananias," he said.

Commissioner Igleheart commended positive influences and mentors in his own life, challenging the incoming session and all in attendance to do the same. "These people will never win the ‘others' award," he said. "Most will never win the order of the founder. But they were the founders of my faith. I know that you can count many Ananias's in your life."

"You don't need anything special," Commissioner Igleheart said. "You just need a strong relationship with Jesus. That's how Saul becomes Paul, and that's all you need… You will take up your cross and His holy armor and march on."

Commissioner Igleheart thanked the Champions of the Mission for "saying yes" and following God's will, also laying the groundwork of a challenge, reminding the cadets of what lies ahead and what their mission encompasses.

"The people in your first corps are going to be your people," Commissioner Igleheart said. "You're going to love them. You're going to disciple them. They will, in turn, love you. Those aren't only your people. It's the people who live on the fringes. It's the people who are stuck in the bars. It's the people who have been trafficked. Those are our people. If you want the Kingdom of God to grow and your Army to grow, you have to see the community as your parish."

Cadets of the Champions of the Mission session stood and proclaimed their collective zeal for the future, readiness to surrender and pray, engagement with missional priority, and responsibility for equipping, growing, empowering, and discipling the present and future of The Salvation Army. Their closing words resounded with their commitment to the next two years and beyond.

"We will remember our mission to meet human need in Christ's name without discrimination," the cadets declared. "We are not alone in this mission. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Their legacy is proof of God's faithfulness. We have the ability to see into a future where we all serve under our Blood and Fire banner of God's transformation. Each of us can be an influence of transformation right where God has placed us—in our home, our corps, and our world. May God be glorified as we serve Him through our calling. We are Champions of the Mission."

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