Yesterday we were in Detroit, on the east side, with Captains Javier and Kelsie Moreno and the Harding Corps.

I made Captain Jav pose outside the corps building after Sunday morning meetings.  Captain Kelsie was driving Major Jeanette Fortching home before joining us for lunch.  We had a great meal at the Sidestreet Diner in Grosse Pointe, and talked about the work in Detroit.

Captains Jav and Kelsie love what they are doing.  Years ago Jav told me that serving in Detroit as a Salvation Army officer would be his dream.

I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the older Soldiers who remember us from our Detroit years.  Also, a nice group of young people.  Gail sat in the children’s Sunday school where the teacher had each child read, even if only one halting sentence.  Literacy is a priority at the Harding Corps and its leaders take all the opportunities they can to encourage young people to read.  The corps conducts Mission Literacy, a partnership program between the Salvation Army and the American Bible Society.  Gail was very pleased to hear excellent reading from the children.

To get to Harding Corps exit I-94 at French but hang a right almost as soon as you exit onto Harding.  It is a grim sight.  It’s not getting better along Harding Street.  Burnt, crumbling houses.  Overgrown front yards.  Too many corners with watching young men.

Last year I had some time to take a quick drive on the west side of Detroit, close to the old Detroit Temple Corps building on Dundee Street.  The neighborhood grocery store on Grand River now closed, trashed.  The structures of the neighborhood, crumbling.  The old Temple built specially in 1928 for the Salvation Army, windows broken, curtains hanging out.  Forlorn.

Hope.  Yesterday morning.  Young people who quietly exercise reading skills.  A husband and wife committed to serving in the name of Jesus.  Humble fragility.  Hope.