Hope & Honor
General André Cox became The Salvation Army’s first serving General to visit the U.S. Territory of Guam when he and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) travelled to the island this fall. Guam has been part of the USA Western Territory since 1992.
Following officers councils, the international leaders toured some of the island’s historical sites and several Salvation Army facilities. They started with a visit to the Asan Bay Overlook, a memorial to those that lost their lives or suffered atrocities during World War II. Its memorial wall lists the names of 1,880 US servicemen who died defending Guam against Japanese attack in 1941 and the names of those who died retaking the island in 1944. It also features the names of 1,170 Guamanians who died and 14,721 who suffered atrocities of war from 1941–1944.
In his remarks, General Cox said, “As we gaze at the beauty of this place it is hard to imagine what a battlefield was raging out there. When I think of the many, many names recorded here, I am moved at the thought of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. They were for the most part, teens or young adults in their early twenties.
It is a reminder for us as well that God in reaching out to us paid a tremendous price for our salvation. Freedom comes at a cost. Whether it is young lives who fight for their country; whether it is God reaching out to humanity, a price must be paid.”
Following his remarks and a prayer by Commissioner Silvia Cox see below, the (then) territorial leaders, Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs, joined the General and Commissioner Cox at the Overlook’s upper level for a wreath laying ceremony.
The General and Commissioner Cox later met with local personnel and visited the local corps (church), which hosts weekly worship services and an array of other programming. There, they were greeted by children in the corps saying, “hafa adai” (“hello” in the Chamorro language spoken by the indigenous people of Guam). Afterwards, a youth band performed several songs, including “This Little Light of Mine.”
The Salvation Army also operates a nearby family services center, which helps people facing financial crises, eviction or homelessness, and the Lighthouse Recovery Center (LRC), which hosts a six-month program to help men transition from homelessness, addiction or incarceration to self-sufficiency. During a tour of the LRC, Commissioner James Knaggs prayed with the international leaders and a group of LRC residents.
Later that night, The Salvation Army hosted the “Hope and Honor” Gala at the Dusit Thani Hotel’s Grand Ballroom to recognize some of the most dedicated supporters of The Salvation Army’s work in Guam. Honorees included: KUAM (Guam’s local television station), University of Guam professor Dr. Michael A. Griffin and Guam Memorial Park. The USA Western Territorial Staff Songsters led worship with the Guam Territorial Band, a local non-Salvation Army band, with whom it was a privilege to share.
Captains Tom and Kim Stambaugh, corps officers, are casting a vision for the future that includes mobile case management facility that will allow the Army to reach those in more remote places who are normally not able to access vital services. It is their hope to have evangelistic opportunities as well, but the corps is their main focus. With a small but growing flock, the Army in Guam has a bright future. Each week, up to 40 teens gather for fellowship and worship while visitors find themselves enveloped in a family atmosphere.
At the end of the event, The General reflected on the visit and challenged leaders to continue and expand their work in the area. He noted that even in a place of such natural beauty as Guam, “there are many people in society here who are suffering.” Guam, he said, is a microcosm of the Army’s global mission field, which extends across international boundaries and waters. “It’s great to lead an Army that really is mobilized to bring change and transformation throughout the world,” he concluded.
Commissioner Silvia Cox’s Prayer at Guam’s Asan Bay Outlook
"God, our Father, as on this day we look back and remember those who died in time of war, so we look around and remember with compassion those who still suffer as the result of war: the bereaved, the lonely, the disabled and the mentally ill. We give thanks this day, O Lord, for all that makes our common life blessed, for peace and freedom that we enjoy and for the opportunity that is ours for building a better society for generations to come. We remember with pride and gratitude all those who fought and died to make this possible. And we pray that the memory of their sacrifice may inspire us to seek Your Kingdom and to do Your will for the world in our day for Jesus Christ, our Lord. For we pray this in Your name. Amen."