El Paso – “Coming Home”

Texas Brass and Lonestar Brass visit El Paso

May 28-30, 2010

“The hills are alive with the sound of music”! No, not Julie Andrews famously singing in the Austrian Alps, but instead, The Salvation Army’s Texas Brass and Lonestar Brass in El Paso! 60 young people made the 1276 mile round trip from Dallas to El Paso over Memorial weekend to participate in “Coming Home” celebrations. The joyful sound of the brass bands could be heard around the city, and no doubt on the surrounding hills, throughout the weekend as they proclaimed the Gospel Message through music.

The Salvation Army in the USA is divided into four Territories; Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern. As of July 1, the El Paso Salvation Army will officially join the Texas Division, Southern Territory. Until now, El Paso has been part of the Western Territory of The Salvation Army, Southwest Division. In anticipation of this transfer of administration and to celebrate El Paso “Coming Home”, the Divisional Commander of the Texas Division, Lt. Colonel Henry Gonzalez, arranged the Texas Brass and Lonestar Brass visit, May 28-30.

The Salvation Army has been at work in El Paso for over 110 years, since February, 1899, when Ensign J. Pitt and his wife arrived from Albuquerque, New Mexico to “open fire”. By 1901, a hall and barracks were opened along with the “Door of Hope Mission”. Salvation Army services have continued in the city since then and have varied over time to meet the needs of the community in the name of Jesus Christ.

The goal of the young people during the weekend visit was to promote the work of The Salvation Army to the greater community and to establish relationships with Salvation Army church members. A busy schedule had been planned by Captains Keith and Robin Bottjen, Area Coordinators for The Salvation Army in El Paso, which included a Music and Arts Institute on Saturday, several outdoor performances around the city, and participation in Salvation Army church services on Sunday.

Over 3000 people attended “El Paso Teen Fest 2010 Summer Reading Kick-Off” on Saturday, sponsored by the El Paso Library and the El Paso Diablos. Both youth bands performed at this event which provided a wonderful opportunity to promote the ministry of The Salvation Army. Another highlight of the weekend was a visit to a Veterans Home where the young people mingled with the residents who enjoyed the patriotic music as they celebrated Memorial Day.

The young people enjoyed the opportunity to minister to the people in El Paso, and along with the rest of the Texas Division, are looking forward to their new friends “Coming Home”, July 1, 2010.

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