14 May, 2011

The Faith Entry: Wherever I Travel, There's God 1995-2004 Side and Random Notes

The majority of the decade of my heavy church attendance was with The Salvation Army Asian American Corps. I attended there from approximately May 1995 through the Summer of 2001. From 2001 through 2005 I visited there on a semi-regular basis. I just want to emphasize on my spiritual life during those year in regards to traveling outside of the SF Bay Area.

I stated that traveling to Salvation Army sponsored events meant that we were expected to be at a Salvation Army meeting on the corresponding Sunday. Even on the weekend where our men's study group decided to do a weekend retreat on a rented houseboat, we had our own worship service held on the boat. Our group facilitator gave the message.

Another event during the summer held by The Salvation Army is Commissioning Weekend. That was the graduation weekend for those who were graduating from The Salvation Army's Officer's Training School. I believe they received an Associates of Arts degree in practical ministries or something of that nature. The commissioner of the territory would then assign the newly graduated officers (New Lieutenants) to their "posts," ie the corps where they're going to pastor and lead. 9/10 they're normally serving in the capacity of "assistant corps officer." They would have to be doing exceptionally well at the training college in order to be assigned as an actual corps officership. Anyways, for the trainees going into their 2nd year of Officers Training, their summertime isn't a break, it's normally the time where they're assigned to lead the Service Corps teams. Hence why the Service Corps must meet in Southern California.

In 1996 a year before I participated in the 1997 China Service Corps team, a group of friends from the Asian American Corps were selected to serve in the Service Corps for that summer. They were to meet at the Commissioning Weekend which was held in Orange County. For my then girlfriend Janice and myself, that meant a roadtrip to Southern Cal. That entire weekend was more Salvation Army meetings and events that we cared to remember.

As for the following year for our '97 China Service Corps team, were we required to be at Commissioning Weekend? No we weren't. That's because it was a special year called the Salvation Army Western Territory Congress. It was basically Commissioning Weekend but in addition to the Territory Commissioner present, the General was there too. (The General is to The Salvation Army as the Pope is to the Catholic Church)

The following two years in 98 and 99 consisted of road trips to Southern Cal for the Commissioning weekend. At that point I was no longer with Janice. Also, the group I drove down with weren't as interested in staying around for The Salvation Army events as before. In fact we created a little controversy with our local corps when we decided to spend our Sunday that weekend (both years) at Evergreen Church. 99 was even more different for myself as I spent the entire summer in L.A doing an actor's intensive, so I remained down there while everyone return to the Bay afterwards. The Sundays during that summer of 99 was spent at Evergreen.

In 2000 I repeated the summer actor's intensive in L.A. I was seeing someone in the L.A. area who had a very strict mother who insisted that her and I attend our Sunday church service at their family church which was the San Fernando Valley Alliance Church. Small world that my aunt and her family whom I hardly had contact with growing up were attending there.

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