The College for Officer Training (CFOT) this fall has introduced training in Spanish. It is a significant step by the Central Territory to reduce the language barrier for training as a Salvation Army officer in the Midwest.
“We are excited about the opportunities for ministry that this allows. It is about expanding God’s Kingdom,” said Colonel Steven Howard, chief secretary and chairman of the Spanish Track Task Force.
Cadets in this plan will take some important courses, such as Bible and doctrine, in Spanish which will allow them to engage in these subjects in their “heart language.” In cooperation with the Eastern Territory College for Officer Training, some of these courses will be offered on a video platform. Cadets will attend other courses in English with translation to ensure crucial information is conveyed and will be engaged in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Having several officers who are fluent in Spanish on the CFOT staff will help facilitate the process.
While learning primarily in Spanish, the cadets will be developing English language skills which will be vital for their work as officers. Also there are many locations where it would be advantageous to have a bilingual officer.
In the “Messengers of the Kingdom” session (2018-2020), four cadets will be taking classes in Spanish. Each took the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to establish a baseline of their English proficiency and so it could be determined how to best advocate for them so they could fully participate and engage in the training program.
All of the first-year cadets in the new plan for Spanish speakers have entered training from the Kansas and Western Missouri Division.
Cadets Ramon Cebrian Cebrian and Elisaine Sanchez Garcet are natives of Cuba. After emigrating to the U.S. seeking a better life for his family, Ramon found Christ at the Dodge City, Kan., Corps. He then encouraged his wife, Elisaine, to find a corps in Cuba. She did and was enrolled as a soldier in 2014. They received God’s call to officership after being reunited in Kansas.
Cadets Gunther Briceno Sanchez and Francis Ramos were church leaders in Venezuela. They met The Salvation Army while visiting relatives in Chicago, Ill. When deciding to pursue fulltime Christian ministry, they moved to the U.S. and settled in Kansas where they began attending the Salina Corps and received their call to officership.