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January 3, 2021 1:02 am
As we begin this series- looking back at some of the most memorable and powerful interviews we’ve had over the years, we begin with an interview from December 2017. Charles and Shirley White joined us to share their personal testimonies and the origin of the ministry they started, The Angel Tree.
Series: The Highlight Reel
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life. Welcome back to words of life and happy new year. I'm Cheryl with my cohost Bernie day and it's a pleasure to be with you. Happy new year everyone. First you want to think Col. Eddie Hobgood for joining us for the Christmas series again. That was so cool to be able to share the same series in both English and Spanish. We hope it was a blessing to you during the Christmas season today were starting off the new year by looking back at some of the most memorable and powerful testimonies and interviews that we've had over the past few years.
This nine week series is going to feature guests who spoke on topics ranging from mental health to parenting, grief, addiction, and much more.
It's a privilege to be a part of something like this because we get to meet some people that are doing work from all over the Salvation Army world. This will be a great look back at some of those interviews, honestly without some of these people I don't know that the Salvation Army would have such a big footprint in the communities that we serve absolutely.
It's great to be able to partner with experts in their field to give us some insight and guidance on these different topics yet and it's a privilege to serve in any capacity with this radio program are so many people behind the scenes, but Cheryl and I were just comparing stories in preparation for this, and she was at an event and someone recognized her as a voice from the series and that's so crazy. We thank God for that opportunity. If anything good comes of it.
We give him all of the credit and the glory, then a man Fisher since Christmas was just a little over a week ago. We want to start off the series with an extended version of our interview with Angel tree creators Col. Charlie and Shirley white.
Charlie and Shirley were my first bosses when I moved to Atlanta and their wonderful people. You could not ask for more authentic Christian people than they now Col. Charlie has gone to glory East what the Salvation Army calls promoted to glory.
These given his ultimate reward, and that but we are thankful for them.
And if you're ever in the states of Kentucky or Tennessee. You must try to visit Salvation Army There because they had such a great influence on the purchase of property where kids that might not otherwise get a chance to go to summer camp can calm and just enjoy the scenery and the peacefulness of nature and be introduced to Jesus in a whole new way. Absolutely, they certainly are a blessing to the Army so we hope you enjoy this episode and we look forward to being with you next week on my what a privilege to have Col. Charles and Shirley white with this welcome to wonderful words of life.
Guys like you Bernie were delighted to be here with you today. Tell us a little bit about how you came to the Salvation Army.
Well I came was child after my parents were members of the Salvation Army and has adopted me about two weeks after that adoption, they carried me to the Salvation Army and as some folks say I was drugged as a child I was dragged to the Salvation Army every meeting every opportunity and basically grew up as a young person involved in youth activities and later felt the call to authorship and after reading this beautiful woman beside me here.
We married and went to Salvation Army training school here in Atlanta 1965 and then after two years of training we had the appointments for 45 years while in the Salvation Army, and we continue today to serving in the Army and we are grateful for Col. Shirley.
What's your Salvation Army store started attending Savage Mary when I was three years old, so that was about the same time that he came on the scene had no clue that connection to him. Many years later that her family had not gone to the Salvation Army before back to some relatives that went there and invited us to come is just been a joy during school years would come home from school and immediately take off to the Sally Army and it's been a great experience of the I happen to know that while you are in a particular appointment in Virginia, you guys started a program that has become near and dear to the Salvation Army. Can you tell us a little bit about the Angel tree program sure the 1979. My wife and I had been in Lynchburg Virginia for it was our third Christmas and we obviously did the normal Christmas activities. Army does providing food boxes of toys to retort shop and various things but we were invited to come out to a new small opening in Lynchburg which is a really big deal. We were looking for an opportunity to place the Christmas cattle rig out which they agreed to. But while we were there. They ask us were there any unmet needs in the areas where the mall might be involved in helping us to reach families or children that we were unable to serve, and so we shared with him that we were coming through Paris economic depression time for that area in the Virginia and we as we interviewed folks we would see that they had barely decent clothing.
Many times the children had no codes and her shoes were pretty raggedy as well. So we shared with them that would like to do something in the area of clothing and special toys or special gift items that the children might have in mind so they shared with us that in the center court where these beautiful Christmas trees that they had erected and if we can think of something to do with them that they certainly would be willing to help us some wife and I walked down the corridor and found a hallmark gift store and as we were looking through the store we came across a little Christmas gift card hallmark Christmas card that had three little angels on it and has looked at him wife looked at it and saw that the back of the cover was blank and we had the idea that we could separate the Angels and put the first name of the child, age, gender, and clothing sizes, shoe sizes and line 4 gift suggestion on the back of the angel and hang them on the tree so we went back to the mall management and labor delighted to be able to partner with the Salvation Army and provide them, and Shirley can remind me. I keep forgetting how many we had the first year but little did we know are even comprehend the magnitude and scope that the Angel tree would grow to the first year we had 472 family, which over 700 children served on the angel tree and then just recently the national commander was sharing something with you. Absolutely national commander shared that now we're doing over a million angels throughout the United States. Praise God, and never even in some countries unbelievable.
All because two young Salvation Army officers followed God's leading. What we truly believe said that it had to be a God thing is we really hadn't no intention of starting a national program or anything of the scope or magnitude so often times when God plants vision in your heart and an idea. After prayerfully considering Evan and perhaps a counseling with a few wise people to move ahead with that and let God lead you to do these things. Like Capt. McPhee with the cattle. San Francisco. God bless this and it really took off of a larger scope that we moved to Nashville in 1982. We proposed to the advisory board committee in the work really thrilled about actually thought they had a pretty good program going serving a lot of people but we first persisted in. They went on board. We did that, the Angel tree program there got it launched and picked up on the ABC local channel which someone in New York, and ABC's national office thought was a pretty good idea to do this is a Christmas feature so I was interviewed with the donor and with a recipient that right after Christmas and by ABC Nightline Ted Koppel and then later a Larry King on his radio program. So we started getting inquiries from all over the country now what is this thing the angel tree tell us about it so we prepared packets sent shared how we did it, and so the little tree started growing branches, spreading out all over the place. Thank God Col., have you seen how the program has grown or changed over the years, I received the national media attention had to help, but can you have you seen any sort of specific changes that have really bolstered the success of the program. Well it it's the synergy that's created when something like this starts is phenomenal because from that original Angel tree concept of putting a paper Angel only tree for up to people to come by at a shopping mall or wherever they're located. Now what we do as much incorporations as we do in the malls have businesses that adopt angels, but the of the concept of connecting someone who has the means with someone who has a need puts them in person in a personal relationship almost because they go to the tree the look at that little four-year-old toddler that they you envision perhaps is their own child or grandchild.
Sometimes families go and as a family. Bill adopt to the three angels to help them out front that is expanded to adopt a family where we have the groups who will come and ask for, not just one or two children. But the whole family by their whole Christmas for them. Edson, whatever their needs are in the course the front. Time is distribution and that when you see families expectantly waiting in line. Wondering if there Angel has remembered them and then when they roll at that bicycle or the baby stroller or as being a bank they get home, exactly, that are bigger than the car they came in. What a thrill it is one excitement, what joy in the many tears of joy are shared in the shed when when they get to get involved in that. I love the stories. I love the testimonies I don't think we will have any idea until we get to heaven really if God lets us even have a glimpse of that. What an amazing opportunity the Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs to become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and love to hear from you. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 1-800-229-9965 right SI PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 tell us how we can help share prayer requests or share your testimony. Would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes podcast store and surely give us a rating search for the Salvation Army's words of life.
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