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A Conversation with Nisan and Cheryl Kistan

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2021 1:24 am

A Conversation with Nisan and Cheryl Kistan

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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August 15, 2021 1:24 am

In this episode we were joined by Salvation Army officers, Captains Cheryl and Nesan Kistan. They sat down with Major Jerry Friday for a round table discussion on missions and so much more. The Kistans are corps officers in Tustin Ranch, California. But Nesan also serves as Chair of the National Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Commission for The Salvation Army as well. These two had some powerful insights and even shared a bit of their own testimonies with us during their time in our studio.


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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. For those hit hardest by the pandemic, the line between having somewhere to live and finding somewhere to crash, the line between living in the poverty line and standing in the shelter line, and the line between almost enough and nothing at all can disappear overnight. But when you give to the Salvation Army, you support those working tirelessly to keep a roof overhead.

$25 a month can be the difference between homeless and home. Visit to offer your support. Hey, this is Bernie Dake. I know we said that last week was our final episode of our series on missions. However, we have one more really cool interview we wanted to surprise you with. Salvation Army officers captains Cheryl and Neeson Kisten joined Major Jerry Friday for a roundtable discussion on missions and so much more.

I was fortunate enough to meet the Kistens a couple years ago at a wedding in California for my nephew. They serve as corps officers in Tustin Ranch, which is a beautiful place on this earth. And Neeson also serves as chair of the National Diversity Inclusion and Equity Commission for the Salvation Army.

These two had some powerful insights and shared a bit of their own testimonies with us during their time in our studio. Next week, we will be starting a new series, so be sure to check out for more information. And let us know what you thought of this series or how we can pray for your ministries. Email us at or call 1-800-229-9965. Hi, my name is Jerry Friday.

I'm a major with the Salvation Army in the Southern Territorial Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We are super excited to have with us today captains Kisten. They come to us from California. We're excited to have you with us today. How are you guys doing? We're doing well. Thanks, Jerry. Thanks for having us today.

We're so excited to be with you too. Yes, obviously I was born in South Africa and Cheryl was born in the United Kingdom, and we come via Australia. As young children, our families migrated to Australia, and Australia has been home up until the last four years. I understand that's a very interesting story how your family did migrate to Australia.

How did that take place? Well, obviously South Africa in the 80s or actually 70s to 80s was experiencing apartheid. Apartheid is really people being segregated based on color and ethnicity. And because of the apartheid regime in South Africa, my family had to flee South Africa because my father was so politically active in speaking up against an apartheid system regime. And you know, maybe some of your listeners don't know, but in South Africa, if you speak against the political system in those days, you went to a political prison called Robben Island. Many of your listeners may be aware that Robben Island was where Nelson Mandela spent nearly 27 years of his life. And so I had a fear of being sent to Robben Island. And at the insistence of his mother, my grandmother, my father made the incredible decision to leave a very closely knit family and travel with his immediate family, my mother and my younger brother, and travel to Australia.

Wow. I encountered many people who have come to the United States for some of the very reasons and some of the struggles that they've experienced absolutely blow my mind. I cannot imagine people leaving everything they know and everyone they know simply to have not just a better life, but a safe life for their family.

And it always touches my heart. So how about you, Cheryl? How did you two get together and what brought your journey this far?

This far? So my parents migrated from Australia. I was only two and a half, so I have very few memories of living in Britain, but they migrated for greater opportunities for their children. So I grew up in mostly in a town called Wollongong, which was a university town. And that was where I met Nelson, which was interesting. My core officer, church leader, said, hey, I've got this guy. He's moving to Wollongong. Can someone look out for him? And so that was how we met was I invited him to a university student's Bible study.

And that was when we were 18 years old and we have been together ever since. Well, I understand the series that we're talking about right now is mission and not just the Salvation Army, but the church itself. What does our mission look like now?

And what is it going to look like in the future? How will we survive as a church? And what do you feel we need to do today to be ready for the mission of the church in the future? There's a number of elements to answer your question effectively. One is we need to be aware of what is currently happening in the trend within the church.

Bana, a research center, has just recently produced a document highlighting its research which shows that church attendance or church even affiliation is less than 50 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, let alone attend a faith-based mission movement. I think the definition of insanity is continue to doing the same thing you've always done. Absolutely. And so I think we as a church need to pivot. And the time for pivot is now. We need to change our approach and our strategy. And I believe that part of that approach means that we need to become more and more aware of the people we're engaging with. America is a diverse society.

It's no longer a monocultural expression. So monocultural ministry can no longer be our model of how we do mission. We need to move from the Church of Jerusalem to the Church of Antioch.

The Church of Jerusalem was very much for the Jews. And you know Acts 1 8 talks about when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you'll be my witness in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth. I think we have a biblical mandate to reach out beyond what we're familiar with, what we're comfortable with, what we feel as if we understand. And so I think that's a new challenge for the church.

It's ironic that you say that. I remember as a young person in the church constantly talking about the mission field and going to the mission field. And now it appears the mission field is coming to us. And I personally feel that we're not taking full advantage of that.

Yes, we need to support underdeveloped countries. Yes, we need to send missionaries and be missionaries. But we also need to be accepting of the mission fields that's coming to our own neighborhoods and our own backyards. It's interesting because the evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, he always said that the mission field was the field that was outside your door. And so often we focus on people from other cultures not knowing Jesus, but there are generations rising up amongst America where they don't even know the name of Jesus.

And so the mission field is those neighborhoods around us. It could actually be white Anglo-Americans who have never heard the name of Jesus. We're getting to a stage in society where it's the second and third generation since somebody actually attended church. I've worked with a lot of young adults in my ministry and I shared with them recently a survey that I had read that said young adults don't feel it's their right or their place to share their religious experience or their Christianity with someone else, that they just don't believe in evangelism. They have this philosophy of each his own and they feel as if they're infringing on someone else's right if they share the gospel with them. And I asked these young people how they felt about that and they pretty much agreed, which scares me to death for the future of the church if we're not evangelizing.

Do you have any words of wisdom that we can share with our young adults? We're finding the kids, well the kids the young adults that are sharing are the ones that are passionate, that have had this life changing, life transforming relationship with Jesus. The ones that are lukewarm, they're not going to go out and talk about it because they don't know. They're not sure whether they believe Jesus yet or not. I think there's a lot of people within our course as young senior soldiers and probably as middle-aged senior soldiers, they really haven't really had that sold out kind of transformational encounter with Jesus.

And so they're not going to go out and share about Jesus. It comes down to, and I talk about it a lot because growing up in the Salvation Army, it's really easy to know everything about God. I mean, the way that we structure the growth for children, okay? So you go to Sunday school, then you go to junior soldiers, you go to co-cadets, and then you become a senior soldier, right? It's all knowledge-based. And I don't know, about here in the South, but in Australia for a while, and still in the Western Territory, you do your co-cadet lessons, you get graded on them, right? That's all knowledge-based.

None of it's experience. And so I could tell you everything about God. I could tell you the books of the Bible and memorize them. I was really good at memorizing scripture. But it got to a point where I was, we were leading a church.

I was in a first ministry, right? And there's this guy from Nigeria, a guy called Major Friday. And I'm sitting there listening to this guy. Is it Jerry Friday or Major Friday?

No, his first name was Friday. But Friday came and we were the host of this conference, the Unlimited Conference. And I'm sitting in the service and this guy is talking about God as if he's like a real person and that he has this interaction in your life. And he was talking about all of these horrible experiences in his life, yet he was speaking with such joy.

And I'm sitting there going, hang on a minute, I'm so unhappy. And this guy's talking about Jesus in a way that I'd never ever experienced before. And I'm sitting there going, I'm 30 whatever, and I've never met Jesus for myself. I actually came to the realization that I'd never met Jesus. And so at that point in time, I remember being the last person to go forward and pray, but I had this encounter with Jesus. And everything changed from that moment in time. Those are the stories that we need to tell.

But you know, Cheryl is right on, right? And this is what young people are desperate for. They are desperate for something authentic and real. And they're tired of the stale, old stuff that we as churches continually serve, you know, day in, day out. And we expect it to be impactful when a lot of our preachers, a lot of our ministers haven't yet encountered Jesus. They know Jesus.

You've heard about it, but have you been baptized in terms of knowledge and your faith, but have you been baptized in the Spirit? And I think when that acts impact, when the early church encountered the power of the Spirit of God, that's when the church changed. We've got to pivot. We've got to reshape the way we think about life, mission, ministry. Most employment have pivoted. We can't do what we want to do. We can't do what we want to have pivoted.

We can't do what we've always done. Well, thank you guys so much for sharing with us today. You've certainly inspired me, and I know you've inspired our listeners. 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 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 / 2023-09-15 13:03:21 / 2023-09-15 13:08:41 / 5

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