by Major Glen Caddy
The Western Michigan/Northern Indiana (WMNI) Homecoming: Family Reunion was a bittersweet time for soldiers and officers. More than 300 people enjoyed the day, anchored by celebrating the efforts of the music campers in the morning and a family worship and candidates’ farewell at the end of the day. The moments between were filled with opportunities to connect with friends we had not seen in a while and chances to make new ones. Little Pine Island Camp hosted the day.
In keeping with the family focus and personality of the WMNI Division, the event featured typical camp activities such as swimming, boating and fishing, as well as other activities like archery and tomahawk throwing. Bounce houses, face painting, caricature artists, a hymn sing and a photo booth added to the family friendly excitement of the day.
The celebration presented an opportunity to say “see you later” to officers moving out of the new divisions as well as candidates headed to the College for Officer Training. There was great joy in dedicating and sending four candidates, whose roots are in the WMNI Division, to be part of the 2022-2024 “Defenders of Justice” session. They join a long list of current and retired officers who answered God’s call, having their start in WMNI.
Music played an important role in the celebration. Campers from the final WMNI Music Camp were featured in the first session. Awards were given for accomplishments in both group and individual categories. The divisional band and a divisional worship team supported the closing session. An afternoon hymn sing delighted those looking for more traditional opportunities for worship.
The final worship session focused on God’s faithfulness as shown through the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua. The key encouragements were found in the realization that God, who was to the people of Israel as they followed Moses, would be with them as they followed Joshua. God’s admonition to Joshua, and ultimately His people, was to be strong, take courage and be faithful in following all He had said and would say to them.
With these promises and admonitions in mind, corps groups and family groups joined in prayer circles and committed themselves, their families and their corps to following God faithfully. There was recognition that it is through God’s power and leading that continued growth will follow with the transition taking place under Project Advance.
The meeting ended with the anthem “O Church, Arise,” a stirring call to faithful following and a reliance on the promises of God. This faithful following is in the DNA of WMNI Salvationists and so will remain as they become part of the Great Lakes and the Indiana divisions. As the homecoming concluded, officers and soldiers returned to their places of worship, work and ministry with a renewed confidence in God’s provision for the future.
“I’m looking forward to what new and exciting things are to come in the Great Lakes Division,” said Soldier Kay Dafoe, women’s ministries secretary and nursery team leader at the Traverse City, Mich., Corps.