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Colonel’s White- Angel Tree

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2021 1:02 am

Colonel’s White- Angel Tree

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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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.


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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Welcome back to Words of Life and Happy New Year.

I'm Cheryl Gillum and I'm with my co-host, Bernie Dake. And it's a pleasure to be with you. Happy New Year, everyone. First we want to thank Colonel 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 we're 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. And 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.

Yeah. And it's a privilege to serve in any capacity with this radio program. There's 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 this series. And that's so crazy. We thank God for that opportunity. And if anything good comes of it, we give Him all of the credit and the glory. Amen. Amen.

For sure. Well, since Christmas was just a little over a week ago, we wanted to start off the series with an extended version of our interview with Angel Tree creators, Colonels Charlie and Shirley White. Charlie and Shirley were my first bosses when I moved to Atlanta.

Oh, wow. And they're wonderful people. You could not ask for more authentic Christian people than they. Now, Colonel Charlie has gone on to glory. He's what the Salvation Army calls promoted to glory. He's been given his ultimate reward. But we are thankful for them. And if you're ever in the states of Kentucky or Tennessee, you must try to visit the Salvation Army camp 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 come and just enjoy the scenery and the peacefulness of nature and be introduced to Jesus in a whole new way. Absolutely.

They surely are a blessing to the Army. So we hope you enjoy this episode and we look forward to being with you next week on words of life. It's my father's word. He shines in all that's fair.

In rustling grass I hear him pass. He shines in all that's fair. What a privilege to have Colonels Charles and Shirley White with us. Welcome to Wonderful Words of Life, guys. Thank you, Barney.

We're delighted to be here with you today. Tell us a little bit about how you came to the Salvation Army. Well, I came as a child after my parents were members of the Salvation Army. As they adopted me, about two weeks after that adoption, they carried me to the Salvation Army.

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 devolved in youth activities. Later felt the call to officership. And after meeting this beautiful woman beside me here, we married and went to Salvation Army training school here in Atlanta in 1965. And then after two years of training, had appointments for 45 years in the Salvation Army. And we continue today to serve him in the Army.

And we are grateful for it. Colonel Shirley, what's your Salvation Army story? Started attending the Salvation Army 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. But our family had not gone to the Salvation Army before, but I had some relatives that went there and invited us to come. And it's just been a joy. During school years, we'd come home from school and immediately take off to the Salvation Army. And it's been a great experience.

I love that. I happen to know that while you were 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. In 1979, my wife and I had been in Lynchburg, Virginia for, it was our third Christmas. And we obviously did the normal Christmas activities the Army does, providing food, boxes, toys through a toy shop, and various things. But we were invited to come out to a new mall opening in Lynchburg, which was a really big deal.

We were looking for an opportunity to place the Christmas kettle, the red kettle, which they agreed to. But while we were there, they asked us, were there any unmet needs, any areas where the mall might be involved in helping us to reach families or children that we weren't able to serve? And so we shared with them that we were coming through a pretty economically depressed time for that area in Virginia. And as we interviewed folks, we would see that they had barely decent clothing.

Many times, the children had no coats, and their shoes were pretty raggedy as well. So we shared with them that we'd 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 their center court were these beautiful Christmas trees that they had erected.

And if we could think of something to do with them, that they certainly would be willing to help us. So my 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 Hallmark Christmas card that had three little angels on it.

And as we looked at them, my 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 a line for a gift suggestion on the back of the angel and hang them on the tree. So we went back to the mall management, and they were delighted to be able to partner with the Salvation Army and provide that. And Shirley can remind me, I keep forgetting how many we had that first year, but little did we know or even comprehend the magnitude and scope that the angel tree would grow to. Shirley And then just recently, the national commander was sharing something with you.

Absolutely. The national commander shared that now we're doing over a million angels throughout the United States. Praise God. And now we're even in some countries.

Unbelievable. All because two young Salvation Army officers followed God's leading. Well, we truly believe and have said that it had to be a God thing, because we really had no intention of starting a national program or anything of this scope or magnitude.

So oftentimes when God plants a vision in your heart and an idea after prayerfully considering it and perhaps counseling with a few wise people to move ahead with that and let God lead you to do these things, like Captain McPhee with the kettle in San Francisco, that God blessed this. And it really took off of a larger scope when we moved to Nashville in 1982. We proposed to the advisory board committee and they weren't really thrilled about it, because they thought they had a pretty good program going, serving a lot of people.

But we persisted and they went on board. We did the angel tree program there, got it launched, and picked up on the ABC local channel, which someone in New York in ABC's national office thought it was a pretty good idea to do this as a Christmas feature. So I was interviewed with a donor and with a recipient right after Christmas by ABC Nightline, Ted Koppel, and then later Larry King on his radio program. So we started getting inquiries from all over the country then.

What is this thing, the angel tree? Tell us about it. So we prepared packets and shared how we did it. And so the little tree started growing branches and spreading it all over the place.

Thank God. Colonel, have you seen how the program has grown or changed over the years? Obviously, the national media attention had to help.

But have you seen any sort of specific changes that have really bolstered the success of the program? Well, it's this energy that's created when something like this starts is phenomenal, because from that original angel tree concept of putting a paper angel on a tree for people to come by at a shopping mall or wherever they're located, now we do as much in corporations as we do in the malls of businesses that adopt angels. But the concept of connecting someone who has the means with someone who has the need puts them in a personal relationship almost because they go to the tree. They look at that little four-year-old toddler that they envision perhaps as their own child or grandchild. Sometimes families go, and as a family, they'll adopt two or three angels to help them out.

But from that, it's expanded to adopt a family where we have groups who will come and ask for not just one or two children but the whole family, provide their whole Christmas for them, beds and whatever their needs are. And, of course, the fun time is distribution. And when you see families expectantly waiting in line wondering if their angel has remembered them, and then when they roll out that bicycle or the baby stroller or the bags – Darrell Bock Or those big bags that they don't know how they're going to get home. Gary Barnes Exactly.

They're bigger than the car they came in. What a thrill that is, what excitement, what joy. And many tears of joy are shared.

And shed when they get involved in that. Darrell Bock I love those 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. But what an amazing opportunity. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support.

And we'd love to hear from you. Email us at radio at Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.

Box 29972 Atlanta, Georgia 30359. Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store. And be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake, inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-08 11:27:08 / 2024-01-08 11:32:07 / 5

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