by Colonel Steve Howard
One summer many years ago, in a land far, far away…Okay, it wasn’t that far away, and I’m not going to tell you how long ago because that would give away my age. Anyway, I was a 15-year-old working at Camp Swoneky near Cincinnati, Ohio. As I stood at the window overlooking my domain—the kitchen sink where I was charged with removing food and grease from the pots and pans—there was much to see. It was a wonderful summer, not because I had the opportunity to have my hands in dishwater three times a day but because of what I saw out the window, or more properly, who I saw. From my vantage point at the sink I saw a beautiful teenage girl with long blonde hair. I’ll skip the exciting details and jump to the end to let you know that seven years later we were married. Now that blonde is Colonel Janice Howard.
I only saw that beautiful blonde because I was looking around my surroundings. I was taking it all in. I was interacting with people. It changed my life and hers, too. My point is when you’re going about your business you should keep your eyes open for opportunities—opportunities to interact with people, opportunities to get to know them, opportunities to make a difference in their lives.
One of the things we have been challenged with in the Central Territory is mission integration. We have hundreds—even thousands—of people coming through our doors every day, but how do we interact with them? Do we see the possibilities of change in their lives? Do we see the spiritual needs they have? Do we look for an opportunity to share how Jesus has changed our lives and the difference He can mean to them?
As you’re involved at your corps or center, have you taken time to look around to see the people with whom you can interact? Maybe it is parents with children attending character-building programs or Pathway of Hope participants. It could be thrift store customers or people being served at a disaster. What are your opportunities? Are you actively engaged in mission integration? Perhaps from the vantage point of a kitchen or just outside the gym? Those many years ago, looking around made a tremendous difference…and I’m still washing dishes today!