to view pictures from the trip)
On May 31st
2012, the Bermuda Divisional Band travelled to Chicago, Illinois for five days to minister to the Metropolitan Division in the U.S. Central Territory. Our hosts for the trip were Captains Keith and Michelle Graham and the Chicago Midway Corps.
God used the band to minister in many different ways including...
- Providing opportunities to share about God and answer questions about The Salvation Army, whilst travelling through various airports in uniform;
- Sharing meals and daily devotions with each other;
- Ministering at The Salvation Army Donut Day Kick-Off, outside in downtown Chicago, in freezing cold weather (as far as this Bermudian is concerned!).
The next day the band was warmed by the midday sun as well as the Holy Spirit as they shared in the Open Air during a thrift sale at Norridge Citadel. After lunch, they toured the USA Central Territorial Headquarters and the new Chicago Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. This was a real eye opener. It was great to see the different aspects of Salvation Army ministry.
One unexpected memorable happenstance was being involved in a highway accident, when the band’s vehicle was cut off by a lady on a cell phone. Our driver swerved but hit the rear of the van in front of us causing damage to our vehicle. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. The van however, did not fare as well and had to be retired.
God was, and is always good and he showed up for us many times. He protected all of the bandmembers in the accident, which could have been much worse. What Satan intended to be a disaster was turned into an opportunity for the band to witness, develop relationships and remarkably, the band still made the service at the Harbour Light in a timely fashion. Despite the ordeal, the band shared testimonies and played extremely well. The Spirit powerfully moved during the service.
At the service the band played a new arrangement by one of its members, Sheldon Fox II, of William Himes’ famous chorus “God in You, God in Me.” It was written as a tribute to Bandmaster Himes for his faithful service to music ministry in The Salvation Army, and its playing was made all the more meaningful because Bandmaster Himes was himself present in the congregation.
On Sunday morning, the band led the morning worship service at Chicago Midway Corps, while Captain Keith shared the Word. After fellowshipping with the soldiers for lunch the band kicked off the afternoon with a march of witness in the neighboring area, followed by a Praise service with members of the Metropolitan Division. After the service, the Divisional Commander gave a heartfelt thanks to our band for sharing in such a creative and Spirit-led way.
During the trip, some of the band members were taken over by illness but God proved that He is the great Healer. Some members also experienced financial challenges but, God made a way for all who were available to travel. Throughout the trip, God was faithful.
This was my first overseas ministry trip with the Salvation Army and I found it very exciting. I learned that it is so gratifying being obedient, serving the Lord and making people happy. I grew as a Christian in several ways. All the preparations drew me closer to God. My relationship with my wife and other bandspersons grew as well. My musicianship also improved, as we had practiced until our lips were sore! While I know we blessed others through our ministry, I felt that I got more than I gave!
Steve Bean attends the West End Community Church of the Salvation Army in Bermuda. He currently plays 2nd cornet in the Bermuda Divisional Band.