Ministry is growing at the Elkhart, Ind., Corps, where Lts. Katy and Wayne Benedict have been working steadily since their appointment in 2020 to expand the reach of The Salvation Army in the community. Caring for their neighbors’ needs during and beyond the pandemic, building corps programs and making concentrated efforts toward reaching the Hispanic community for Christ have all yielded positive results.
One of the programs that has been particularly important since the beginning of the pandemic is Mobile Manna, which provides a monthly delivery of food and supplies to older adults who are homebound.
“It’s our goal that nobody goes hungry,” said Lt. Katy. “In the last few months, groceries have gotten more expensive. A lot of people get government help, but they can’t get out to shop, so we provide what we can—rice, cereal, canned goods, frozen meats and other necessities like shampoo upon request.”
To reach individuals and families in the Hispanic community looking for connection, the lieutenants began attending neighborhood fiestas, developing and distributing Spanish language fliers for programs and including multicultural elements to worship services. These efforts have resulted in new connections being made and strides toward program growth, particularly in women’s and children’s ministries.
For example, Olga Figueroa, the corps newest women’s ministries member, hails from Puerto Rico and has found a church home in The Salvation Army. She volunteers regularly to assist with various activities and projects at the corps. Others from the Hispanic community also have shown interest and are beginning to attend.
“I am preaching the gospel in any language I can,” said Lt. Katy. “We are praying for church growth and unity.”
One of the corps’ efforts included hosting a celebration for Hispanic Heritage month to draw interest from the surrounding neighborhood and offer an educational opportunity for corps members. Utilizing materials provided by the territorial intercultural ministries department, the Sunday morning worship service focused on the topics of unity and community and included elements in both English and Spanish. The service was followed by a meal featuring traditional Hispanic foods and educational exhibits.
“The event was very well-received,” concluded Lt. Katy. “We are looking forward to making more connections and growing our church community.”