by Major Beverly Best
In 2015, the Kansas City Citadel, Kan., Corps began the Hope Works Corps Integration project with the goal of strengthening our ministry impact. We believed that integration of all our ministries would better address people’s complex life challenges by ensuring holistic and individualized support. The project came at just the right time as the corps had experienced significant losses in its social service and spiritual ministries, and new life was desperately needed.
The corps began to look for opportunities to link soldiers, employees and volunteers to our social service ministries, and link program participants with the corps’ other programs. The corps has a variety of ministries on campus including transitional housing for veterans, homeless with special needs and inmates reentering society, as well as hosting an on-site drug and alcohol program.
We introduced a series of new outreaches with Pathway of Hope participants, permanent supportive housing clients and New Beginnings seniors in mind. They included free pizza and movie nights, holiday dinners and backyard vacation Bible schools with meals served from the canteen.
The corps also began practicing “in-reach” to the residents on campus through invitations to worship, Bible classes and fellowship opportunities throughout the week. In the past couple of years, the corps has added a concentration in discipleship, offering an eight-week course teaching the basics of Christianity which includes Salvation Army doctrines and 12 Steps to Recovery.
The Kansas City Citadel Corps is not traditional, but each Sunday you will hear amazing stories of God breaking the chains of sin and bringing restoration and hope to His people.
For instance, Angela Cannizzaro, corps administrative assistant, began attending the corps when she helped at the corps on a Sunday when the corps officers were out of town. She’s now a soldier who shares her history of domestic abuse, including a forced abortion, bringing compassion and hope to many women who have experienced similar pain. Angela teaches adult Sunday school and discipleship to residents living on campus.
Lois Uziel, a sweet-spirited woman with deep Bible knowledge, started attending the corps and women’s ministries. You’d never guess she has a “woman at the well” story. Married five times and a survivor of domestic violence, Lois suffered a tragic loss when her son was shot and killed in front of her. She now shares how God’s love brought her healing and she’s forgiven the person responsible. Lois teaches the faith and recovery classes offered to program residents.
Keatheranne Robinson endured years of rejection, abuse, addiction and forced human trafficking as a child. One day, while crying out to God in a jail cell, she heard the Lord say, “Keatheranne, I’m not through with you yet.” She committed her life to God and actively shares her testimony with others, spreading the hope of Jesus.
Kacie Cop, a young woman once addicted to drugs, was a resident in our program and now is a regular corps attendee and youth assistant. While she was in treatment, she asked the corps to pray for her mom, Cynthia, to come to church. Cynthia now comes to worship regularly with several grandchildren in tow. Their lives have been changed as well as that of Kacie who concluded, “Rehab is great. NA is great. But rehab could not save me; NA couldn’t save me. Jesus saved me. Jesus set me free!”