ray kinder hope for the future

 

Love and acceptance helps Florida man reconnect with hope

Just a few months ago, Ray Kinder could not imagine being clean, being out of jail, being hopeful. When you look at him today, you could not, for one minute, imagine him being anything but.

Ray grew up in a church-going family, but all was not right. His father was a career criminal, coming and going from prison. When his father was not in jail, he was abusing his mother and modeling the alcoholic lifestyle. He eventually ended up with a life sentence for armed robbery. People would speak over Ray that he would be just like his dad. It had its effects.

Ray was in juvenile detention 12 times. He got addicted to drugs in middle school and continued to make bad choices for the next two and a half decades. Kinder was in jail, some maximum-security ones, 23 times. Each jail time was just a pause from his crack addiction, and the pause button would be reset when he got out.

“My reality was too hard to take,” he said. “I knew how much pain I was causing my mom, my family. It just pushed me deeper into addiction. It was the loneliest, most isolating, tumultuous nightmare. I was just a zombie that didn’t care about anything. I stepped off the cliff into hopelessness.”

Last year, while out on bond, Ray went to visit his aunt. He was totally out of his mind, high and incoherent. His aunt called the police, who took him to a local addiction recovery program. While there, he learned of The Salvation Army. He was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and he was willing to give The Salvation Army a try.

When Ryan from The Salvation Army, came to pick him up a few days later, Kinder’s brain told him not to get on the bus. He said something, maybe God, pushed him to get on the bus.

Ryan told him everything was going to be OK, this was a new beginning for him, and he was going to find his purpose and a plan. Ryan was his first exposure to the love and acceptance that he was about to receive.

During December, Ray volunteered to help pick up Angel Tree gifts and said he “overdosed on the love” that was shown to him at each location. He also realized that at The Salvation Army, he was surrounded by people who truly understood him and his addiction. He was also among other people who were just like him. He “was not as unique as (he) thought. They showed me there was a way out I could never see before. There is a reason they call this the Center of Hope; I do have hope now.”

Kinder is taking things one day at a time. He remarked that “The Salvation Army gave me my hope back; it saved my life. If God can do this for someone like me, he can do this for anyone.” Kinder is protective of the “precious and valuable gift he has been given and is not going to give it up.”

The biggest challenge for Ray now is employment. He will commence soon and is praying someone will give him a chance.

His advice in the meantime for others like him: “If you think for one second that your life is gone and you’ve tried everything else in life, but it never worked for you, there is a place, and the name of this place is The Salvation Army. If you are truly ready to live, give this place a try.”

national doughnut donut day

On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate the goodness that is donuts. But did you know that National Donut Day actually has its roots in doing good?

The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and to commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies,” who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

In 1917, The Salvation Army began a mission to provide spiritual and emotional support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. About 250 volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts near the front lines where they could give soldiers clothes, supplies and, of course, baked goods.

Despite discovering that serving baked goods would be difficult considering the conditions of the huts and the limited rations, two officers – Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance – began frying donuts in a small pan. These tasty treats boosted morale and won the hearts of many soldiers.

Donut Lassie Girl WWI 3

 

Nicknamed “Donut Lassies,” the women who served donuts to troops are often credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when the troops (nicknamed “Doughboys”) returned home from war.

The donut now serves as a symbol of the comfort that The Salvation Army provides to those in need through its many social services programs. The Salvation Army still serves donuts, in addition to warm meals and hydration, to those in need during times of disaster.

National Donut Day is held annually on the first Friday in June, and The Salvation Army celebrates the work of the original Donut Lassies by delivering donuts to those in need and to donut lovers across the country.

The original recipe from the front lines:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tub lard

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
  • Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the donuts gradually. Turn the donuts slowly several times.
  • When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy!

Emergency Disaster Services

The Salvation Army began offering assistance to disaster survivors after a major hurricane hit Galveston, Texas in September 1900, destroying the coastal city and killing thousands of people. At the request of The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Commissioner Frederick Booth-Tucker, officers from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help feed and shelter thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed emotional and spiritual support.

Since then, The Salvation Army has responded to natural disasters, transportation accidents, civil unrest situations, and terrorist attacks. By providing beverages, meals and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors, The Salvation Army strives to bring hope and healing to people who find themselves in the midst of extremely difficult situations.

While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and special needs, Salvation Army disaster relief efforts focus on seven core services. These services may be modified based on the magnitude of the disaster and adapted to meet the specific needs of individual survivors.

Training

The first step in being ready to respond to an emergency is training. In partnership with other agencies, The Salvation Army’s disaster training program offers a variety of courses designed to help individuals and communities prepare for emergency events and become trained disaster volunteers.

Food Service

When disaster strikes, one of the first signs that help is on the way is often the arrival of a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit, offering meals, snacks and drinks to rescue workers and survivors.

Emotional and Spiritual Care

Motivated by Christian faith, The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors.

Emergency Communications

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) includes a worldwide network of volunteer amateur radio operators and other communications specialists, who may be mobilized to transmit emergency information during a disaster event.

Disaster Social Services

After a family has lost everything in a disaster, The Salvation Army is there to provide emergency assistance to help meet survivors’ most urgent needs for food, clothing, shelter and medical services.

Donations Management

The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in responsibly collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. The Salvation Army encourages cash donations as the best and most flexible way to help and solicits only those in-kind donations that can be effectively received and efficiently distributed.

Recovery

The Salvation Army supports long-term disaster recovery operations with flexible programming that is adaptable to the unique needs of individual communities.

Find out more, including how to volunteer with The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, by visiting SalArmyEDS.org.

Original Article

Heidi & Jeremy
disaster relief

Heidi and Jeremy Wardell in front of the scorched trees on their property in Black Forest, Colorado.

In the summer of 2013, the Black Forest fire burned 14,280 acres and destroyed more than 500 homes on its way to becoming the most destructive fire in Colorado state history.

On June 11, Heidi and Jeremy Wardell evacuated their “dream home” in Black Forest, taking the valuables they could gather in the 40 minutes fire officials gave them to get out.

While staying at a hotel nearby, they checked the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department website for the list of homes declared a total loss. For two days, their home wasn’t on the list. It was safe and they were thankful.

While watching a news conference about the fire on June 13, Jeremy refreshed his browser and there it was; their home was on the list.

He was devastated but Heidi was in denial about what it all meant. She tried to make the best of it, thinking instead about what she wanted in a new house. Maybe she could finally get the crown moldings she’d been wanting.

The couple met with representatives from their insurance company who confirmed that records showed the home was a total loss. They began to prepare for what seemed inevitable.

Ten days after it began, firefighters finally got control of the blaze. And about three weeks after that, people started returning to their neighborhoods to see what was left of their homes and belongings. Heidi and Jeremy were in the last phase of people permitted to go back in.

When they arrived, their house was still there: it was the only one in the whole neighborhood. Everything around them was scorched, right up to their driveway.

heidi and jeremy

The ground and trees were scorched up to the driveway in front of the Wardell’s home.

“The neighbors’ trees even looked like charred pencils but most of ours were still there,” said Heidi.

For Heidi, seeing their house and trees standing was like the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in chapter three of the book of Daniel. As the story goes, three men were thrown into a furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to renounce their faith and bow down to the king.

But the king saw the three men walking around in the fire, untouched by the flames. He also saw a fourth; God himself — the one who spared them.

disaster relief

Later Heidi and Jeremy learned that firefighters had dug a trench around their home and tossed their propane tanks up the hill and away from the house to keep them from exploding and setting their property ablaze. The National Guard had even patrolled the neighborhood to keep looters from helping themselves to what remained.

“It was a miracle,” says Heidi. “I don’t know why God spared our home but we’re so grateful. This experience has made everything seem so much more precious and showed us that life can also be unstable. We can look back and remember that when everything seemed out of control God was — and still is — taking care of us no matter what we encounter in the future.”

When they returned to their neighborhood, The Salvation Army had set up nearby to offer their assistance, which included helping residents sift through the ashes on their property to find any possessions that might be left.

That day, The Salvation Army volunteers put their arms around Heidi and Jeremy, gave them hugs, and welcomed them home. They also gave them a clean up kit so they could get to work clearing the layer of ash that covered everything in their home.

“It was simple but the emotional and practical support meant so much,” says Heidi. “It was such a pivotal moment in our lives and we’ll never forget it.”

The whole experience changed the Wardells. One of the things from those days that reminds them of God’s grace is the damage assessment form they found tacked to their front door when they got home.

disaster relief

The form had four options:
— No obvious damage
— Cosmetic damage
— Limited structural damage
— Substantial structural damage DO NOT ENTER

The box next to ‘no obvious damage’ is checked. The form is now framed and positioned in the living room as a lasting reminder, complete with Heidi’s notes: “evacuated: June 11, 2013, total loss list: June 13, 2013, saved by God”

Heidi says they had no idea that The Salvation Army would be there to care for them when they returned but they’re so glad we were.

As always, it’s our calling — and pleasure — to stand with people when times are tough.

Find out more about The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services.

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell was once so addicted to crack cocaine that his three drug dealers ran an intervention and refused to sell to him.

“I went up and down the streets of Minneapolis and couldn’t buy anywhere,” Lindell recalls. “I had been up for 14 straight days.

“One of my dealers said to me, ‘You’ve been telling us MyPillow is just a platform for a much bigger purpose for God and that you were going to come back and help us all someday when you quit. Well, we’re not going to let you die on us.’”

Lindell didn’t die and eventually pulled his life together after dedicating it to Christ. Today, he runs one of the world’s most successful companies and is a self–made millionaire who helps former addicts like himself. He believes The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) are a model for the world in battling addiction (see A Model for the World below).

Lindell’s own battle began in 1982. He used cocaine then, but by the late 1990s, he was into crack.

“I was a cocaine addict, a very functioning addict, for 20 years,” Lindell says.

Lindell, whose parents divorced when he was seven, developed a “spirit of rejection” and “unworthiness.”

“I was shy and wouldn’t talk to people,” he said. “That followed me throughout my life. You can’t get rejected if you don’t talk to people. My addiction masked my rejection and feeling unworthy.”

Lindell would later develop a popular infomercial for his famous MyPillow. However, the producer of his first campaign texted someone and predicted it was going to be a disaster.

Overcoming the past

“I couldn’t talk,” Lindell said. “I was very shy. Even when I was on drugs, I couldn’t talk to people. I lived in Las Vegas for two months and never met a soul.

“I couldn’t talk to anyone. When I owned a bar, my worst nightmare was that somebody would come in while no one else was in there and I would be sober. When that happened, I would just wait on them and say, ‘Let me know if you need anything else.’ I think a lot of addicts have that fear of rejection. Addictions mask pains. They also mask inner fears.”

Lindell developed MyPillow in the early 2000s and had communicated well enough to make the company somewhat of a success, but his drug problems persisted.

The year 2008 was the beginning of his turnaround. The intervention by his drug dealers occurred in the spring. In December, a friend and former crack partner announced that he had found Christ and had been clean for three years.

“I could relate to him,” Lindell said. “I had all kinds of questions for him. That relationship planted a bunch more seeds.”

However, Lindell knew the window was rapidly closing if he wanted to take the company to the next level. On January 16, 2009, he said a prayer.

“I said, ‘God, I want to wake up in the morning and never have the desire again for crack, for cocaine, for alcohol, for anything.’ It wasn’t a complete surrender. It was more of a transformation,” Lindell says. “I woke up the next morning and thought I was going to have the weight of the world on my shoulders, which was why I was addicted in the first place, but it was a peaceful feeling and all the desires were gone.”

Two months later, Lindell went to an outpatient clinic and told his counselor of his plans for a book and to use MyPillow as a platform for God. The counselor went home and told his wife, “I think [Lindell is] still on drugs.”

“Everything I told him that day has come to fruition,” Lindell says.

Lindell’s self–published book, What are the Odds? comes out this year.

It’s a relationship

Lindell says his girlfriend, Kendra, whom he met in 2014, changed his life by challenging him to have a personal relationship with Christ.

“I would say, ‘Well, I believe in God.’ But it was different with her,” Lindell says. “I was watching her, and I said, ‘Wow, I want what she has.’ I didn’t have that relationship with Jesus that she did.”

In 2017, Lindell attended a spiritual retreat where he found that relationship.

“I went in there with the hope I would get what Kendra had, this relationship with Jesus,” Lindell said. “I totally surrendered. It was the most amazing thing for me. Since that time, I can now talk about Jesus Christ in the same way I used to talk about a pillow. I talk about it with the same passion.”

Kendra also urged Lindell to remain in prayer and study his Bible. Then he began to see miracles.

When MyPillow needed $30,000 to stay afloat, he miraculously found last-minute investors.

When he needed $300,000 to film his first infomercial, he, his family, and friends cobbled together the money.

“I used to only pray when I was in trouble or for God to get me out of this situation or that,” Lindell says. “Now, I am proactive in my prayers, I’m staying in the Word, praying, having the Holy Spirit, and being led by Him.

“Every day I’m reading the Bible and journaling and praying. I’m in prayer groups. During the day, any decisions I make, I pray about them at MyPillow.”

When you see Lindell on one of his late–night infomercials, you can’t help but notice the large cross around his neck.

Crack house to White House

In 2016, Lindell attended the National Prayer Breakfast and was picked to pray with Dr. Ben Carson, then a candidate for president.

That same year, Lindell had a dream he was in the same room with Donald Trump, as president. Soon, Lindell received an invitation to visit Trump Tower to talk about MyPillow. A year later, Lindell received another invitation, this time to the White House’s “Made in America” summit. Trump, now president, requested that Lindell sit next to him.

“All of my friends who have quit crack said, ‘This has to be a miracle. This has to be Jesus. There’s no way this crack addict from Minnesota could be sitting in the White House next to the president.’ For me, these miracles kept happening,” Lindell said.

Last year, Lindell was invited to Pulse, an event for young Christians at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. He led 50,000 people in prayer.

“That wasn’t me,” Lindell says. “That was all Jesus.

“It’s one thing to go to church or to pray when things are bad, but to have that relationship with Jesus, that’s where it’s at. That’s what changes everything.”

by Robert Mitchell

A Model for the World

Mike Lindell has donated thousands of his MyPillow creations to bell–ringers and homeless clients of The Salvation Army in Minneapolis, Minn., which he calls home.

Lindell, a former drug addict who formed the Lindell Foundation and the Lindell Recovery Network, is a strong believer in the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs).

“I heard about all The Salvation Army does with addiction and I was absolutely blown away,” Lindell said. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It’s the most amazing program I’ve ever heard of. They are doing so much that I know would match up with changing this country.

“It was an education and I was excited because a lot of the stuff that works in addiction, The Salvation Army is already doing based on Jesus. I’ve talked to people in the field and done my own due diligence and I think they’re the best in the country.”

Lindell said addicts often come out of traditional treatment centers “with more shame than when you went in,” but the faith-based centers get results and help change lives.

“You get out of those secular places and you’re a ticking time bomb waiting to relapse because you don’t have what I believe The Salvation Army gives a person, and that’s an amazing platform of faith and training in life,” Lindell says. “It’s almost like you’re an apprentice while you’re in there getting your life back together.

“You’re coming out with a foundation and mentors. The Salvation Army’s centers should be the model for every center in the world.”

Lindell is such a believer that he sometimes sends his employees to a Salvation Army ARC. “I can usually tell what drugs they’re on,” he said. “I talk to them directly and we get them help.”

Lindell runs MyPillow more like a ministry than a business. The company doesn’t have a traditional human resources department. All the employees have his direct phone number.

“We do not have traditional human resource problems,” Lindell said. “If there is a deviation in behavior, we get them help. Our employees tell on each other to get help. We basically become a big help center.”

For example, when one employee uncharacteristically started showing up late for work, Lindell quickly found out why.

“He was walking 14 miles to work. So, I bought him a car,” Lindell said.

If employees lose a loved one, they can take as much time as they need to grieve, and Lindell pays them. He also pays when they go to rehab with The Salvation Army or another facility.

Find out more about The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers.

Original Article

by Eliana Park

Among all the fears out there, one sticks out as one of the greatest in this generation: the fear of missing out or FOMO. Is it one of yours?

The fear of missing out on people to meet, places to travel to, events to attend, likes to generate.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the FOMO on the simple things. I’ve been thinking about whether this optimistic approach to soaking in the best of what life has to offer is over-complicating what life has to really offer—the bare, unfiltered, uncurated life.

Cooking meals for loved ones. Sitting quietly in the morning under the forming sky and being content with the clouds hovering above. Taking time to do things well, without haste. Doing things not for the sake of it being the most efficient way to do it—doing things that might require a time or distance commitment for things that are worth it.

And where did all of this stem from? I believe we have many voices fighting for our attention, telling us that we ought to, or that we could, or that we should, or that we owe it to him or her or the world to do whatever big and wonderful thing it is. But, who said that wonderful things are only in the big things?

Let’s go back to the very beginning. What is it that we ought to or could or should do? I think we often forget that it means loving God and loving others well. And doesn’t that look like a million different, wonderful ways? It’s a simple call to our lives that get muddled and stretched into something so un-simple. We un-simplify this simple call to our lives because we focus on the details of what it looks like rather than what it loves like.

Did you know The Salvation Army is a church? To join us for Sunday worship services, weekly Bible studies, and more, click here to find your nearest location.

Original article

Unemployed, on probation, and without transportation, Hannah and her new baby came into The Salvation Army’s transitional housing program to avoid being homeless.

Over the course of eight months, The Salvation Army’s case managers helped Hannah find employment, obtain stable childcare, pay probation fees, file for child support, and pay past-due utility bills. Though her criminal record was an obstacle, she was also able to secure permanent housing for her and her daughter.

The next step on Hannah’s road to independence was to enroll in The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative, which helps families break the cycle of generational poverty through extensive, long-term case management. Hannah was able to maintain housing and was eventually promoted to weekend manager at her job.

After a year and a half of making progress, Hannah’s live-in boyfriend began using drugs. The situation escalated to the point he locked her out of the home and changed the locks, leaving her and her young daughter homeless once again. The doors of The Salvation Army were still open for Hannah when she returned.

Back on track with her case managers, Hannah obtained a vehicle and began researching how to return to school. She was accepted into a Business Management and Analysis program at her local technical college. After being approved for a Family Self-Sufficiency grant to help her afford tuition, she began taking classes just two months after returning to The Salvation Army.

With the help of case managers, and Hannah’s hard work and determination, she and her daughter moved out of transitional housing into a permanent home three months later.

Hannah attended classes six hours a day and only worked on the weekends to help maintain excellent grades. One of her classes introduced her to insurance management, and the rest is history. After completing school, she immediately reached out to a local college to continue her education to receive an Associate’s Degree in Risk Management and Insurance Services.

Hannah is still employed at her same job and has received several salary raises. Her flexible work hours help her balance school and taking care of her daughter. She recently renewed her lease for the second year and is well on her way to creating a bright future for her and her daughter.

Thank you for helping young mothers like Hannah find hope again.

 

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the first National Salvation Army Week in 1954, he noted, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of brotherhood.”

65 years later, National Salvation Army Week continues to serve as a reminder to Americans to give freely of themselves and to join us in upholding our five core values:

  • PASSIONATE | The Salvation Army’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination. We believe Christ changes lives. This faith gives us a motivation that goes beyond simply doing good. We have a passion for doing the most good for body, soul, and spirit.
  • COMPASSIONATE | Caring for the poor. Feeding the hungry. Sheltering the homeless. Clothing the naked. Loving the unlovable. Befriending the friendless.
  • UPLIFTING | William Booth (Founder of The Salvation Army) once said, “The Salvation Army is a place of hope. When every other light is extinguished, and every other star has gone down, this one gleam shines steadily and clearly out in the darkened sky: ‘If I could only get to The Salvation Army, they will do something for me.'”
  • BRAVE | People who serve in The Salvation Army routinely go into places others prefer to avoid: impoverished neighborhoods, jails and prisons, hospital rooms and nursing homes, gatherings of alcoholics and drug addicts, and the immediate scene of natural disasters.
  • TRUSTWORTHY | To those who want to positively affect their world, The Salvation Army is the charity that maximizes their contributes by using 83 cents of every dollar donated to provide direct services to the less.

Taking place this year May 13-19, the week is just one opportunity for The Salvation Army to thank the volunteers and donors who have made us one of the world’s largest and most-trusted charities.

Without the help of countless donors and more than 3 million volunteers, The Salvation Army couldn’t serve 23 million people in need each year across the United States.

National Salvation Army Week is also a time for new volunteers and donors to join our important mission. Not only for the greater good, but because the upcoming summer months are our most challenging season when giving decreases, but the need for The Salvation Army’s services increases.

Thank you for helping The Salvation Army serve men, women, and children in need in your community.

Much like its sister commands across the territory, the country and the world, the Miami, Florida, Area Command of The Salvation Army strives to serve its community in a variety of ways. That includes the operation of the Red Shield Lodge, with 256 beds housing individuals seeking to transition into financial independence and reintegrate as working citizens of the community.

With an eye toward that ultimate goal, a new Health Resource Center was dedicated on March 29. In concert with a new chapel for the Hialeah Corps and a full renovation to the lodge itself, the new unit includes specialized medical equipment and a partnership with Camillus Health Concern and the Health Foundation of South Florida.

“We started with this dream,” said Captain Enrique Azuaje, area commander. “How we can enlarge our social service program so that our residents and clients can feel recognized and feel that we are able to continue supporting them in different ways.
Seeing people in an entire perspective, in the soul, in the mind, and also in the physical, in the body. And sometimes people need that kind of support, specifically health support.”

Presently, the Health Resource Center is a part-time unit, with plans to move into a different part of the shelter itself when renovations are fully completed. That move stems from a desire to provide optimal privacy and accommodations to those needing medical services, given the presence of the “Here’s Hope” wing dedicated to serving residents with significant health challenges. Prior to the integration of the HRC, it was often a challenge for medical personnel to arrive in timely fashion to assist these individuals, and the on-site presence of top-shelf equipment and those equipped to operate it will make a tremendous impact.

“This facility has been remodeled, remade, refurbished, refinished, renewed, restored, redeemed for the purposes of doing the same thing in the lives of our guests, of our residents, I love that word. Because that’s what they are,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Luyk, divisional commander.

The lodge renovation also includes remodeled common areas and updated client rooms and social services areas. Plans are in the works for continued expansion, including a playground for youth, but the upgrades already in place are significant and, through it all, the focus remains on the greater goal of providing hope.

“These welcoming surroundings will continue to be a refuge and a place where healing and hope are shepherded,” said Lt. Colonel Luyk. “We dedicate this center to the work of the King, where healing will take place, where hope will be offered, where encouragement will be shared, where compassion will be expressed, and where lives will be transformed through the power of the gospel in his honor and his glory, Amen.”