Officers Enriching the Local Mission

Jul 12, 2022

The Salvation Army is uniquely emboldened by the officers who carry out the historic mission in local communities like yours. These officers develop and grow their leadership alongside the communities they serve. Together, they are blessed to be able to share the Lord's work and those in need are able to connect with The Salvation Army directly. As officers serve in different locations, they takeaway skills and understanding which guide their work to serve more people and be more like Jesus. Below are a few stories from some of the very special officers who are beginning this journey here in Central Illinois and Iowa. Read their first-hand accounts of how they discovered The Salvation Army was the path for them.

Breaking the Generational Curse

Lieutenant LaToya Surratt - Kankakee IL Corps

I grew up not knowing my parents and living with extended family members and in foster homes. Life was hard. I suffered physical and mental abuse. In the last foster home, I learned to get high, sell drugs and steal. Four kids later, my lifestyle landed me in jail, then prison. Upon release, I longed for a better life and moved to a different state to find it. Instead, it eluded my grasp as I experienced homelessness. Eventually, I had a place to live and began to attend worship at the Minneapolis   Parkview, Minn., Corps. Hearing God’s Word preached, I became aware of who God is. I attended family camp, then women’s ministries and Bible study. Step-by-step I drew closer to God until I was living committed to Him. I was enrolled as a soldier and became involved in ministry. I finally found the better life for which I’d been longing by being reconciled to God. The generational curse in my family has been broken. I no longer crave alcohol, drugs or all the material things I had desperately wanted earlier in life. I no longer worry about what others think about me but am comfortable with who I am, knowing I am enough in Him and that He has my back. As an officer, I want to help others find a better life, and eternal life, which comes from being made right with God through Christ Jesus.

*Written by Major Christine Poff for the Central Connection




Coming To Terms

Lieutenant Lucas Gantner - Muscatine IA Corps

          Reconciliation is challenging for me because it implies someone has done wrong and needs to apologize to make the relationship right again. I didn’t feel like that with       God. I grew up with both my parents in the military. We moved a lot—talk about foreshadowing—and in every location we tried out a different church, but we never could get into it. Early on, I knew I wanted to help people in the medical field and join the military like my parents. I attended community college with plans to transfer to a Physician Assistant program at a state university and join the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in preparation for being an officer in the U.S. Army. I was a good person and generally was accepted by everyone. I did not feel I needed to apologize to God. As I completed the last semester for my associate’s degree, my Uncle John asked me to assist him and Aunt Tracy in their first “Red Kettle Campaign” at the Omaha Kroc Center. I found myself helping people not only physically but spiritually. I moved to Omaha soon after that and went to worship every Sunday. God laid on my heart that despite how good I thought I was I did not meet His standard. I reconciled myself to that realization and gave my life to Christ, then quickly became a soldier. In an irony orchestrated by God, I didn’t join the U.S. Army but am in the (Salvation) Army now.

*Written by Lt. Lucas Gantner for the Central Connection

Please join us in welcoming Lts. LaToya and Lucas - as well as all of the new officers and their families who are coming into local communities ready to serve The Salvation Army's mission. You can help the new leadership at your local Salvation Army by volunteer, joining Worship services or simply by making yourself available as a new neighbor. Visit in person or follow online to stay up to date with all of the officers who are eager to meet with your community!


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