Staying 'faithful'

By Max Bryan
This article was published June 19, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

Employees and members of the congregation of The Salvation Army in Hot Springs gathered Sunday to bid their organization's leaders an emotional farewell.

Josh and Ashley Robinett, outgoing captains, led their final church service Sunday morning before driving north with their family to Fayetteville that afternoon. They have been reassigned to The Salvation Army in northwest Arkansas, which operates within the cities of Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale.

Josh Robinett called his family's move to the Fayetteville chapter "bittersweet."

"We're excited about the opportunities that afford us in northwest Arkansas, but at the same time, it's sad. We'll be leaving, looking back in the rearview mirror and knowing that we're gonna be missing a lot of these folks in this community," he said.

The Robinetts' reassignment comes after two full years of serving as captains of The Salvation Army in Hot Springs. Their move north will be a return to a familiar place -- the couple served a clergical role within The Salvation Army in northwest Arkansas prior to their reassignment to Hot Springs.

Ashley Robinett said the reassignment is simply part of the job.

"You don't get a list of openings and say, 'Oh, I think we might like that one.' They call you, and they tell you, 'We think you'd fit in this position. We're moving you here. You have six weeks,'" she said. "It's part of the deal that when you sign up, you are saying, 'yes.' You will go where they send you."

The Robinetts will keep the title of captain and serve as area commanders of The Salvation Army in northwest Arkansas -- a position similar to that which they have held in the Spa City since 2015. Josh Robinett said that The Salvation Army chapter includes a rehab program, a couple of shelters and "lots of services."

In their time as captains of The Salvation Army in Hot Springs, the Robinetts have expanded the local chapter's reach, both within city limits and in Garland County. The progress that has been made under their leadership includes expanding family store operations to the Hot Springs Village area and developing a meal ticket program for children and the Pathway Of Hope program.

"Two years are a very short period of time, but it's amazing what has been accomplished," Josh Robinett said.

The Robinetts will hand their leadership roles off to Majors Alan and Belinda Hill, of Kingsport, Tenn. Josh Robinett described the transfer as passing a baton.

"This is where we brought the Salvation Army of Hot Springs to, and they're gonna take it and continue running with it," he said.

In his final address Sunday, Josh Robinett spoke to his congregation about what it means to be chosen by God through the perspective of his family's time in Hot Springs.

"God chose us to be in Hot Springs. He chose us to spend life with you, and he chose you to spend time with us," he said. "If I had it my way, I would never leave anywhere, but his ways are not our ways."

He then used the Bible passage of Genesis 12, in which God called Abram to leave his country, to explain that his family is now "chosen" to minister in northwest Arkansas.

In light of the new "season" that he and his family are entering, Josh Robinett then encouraged his congregation to be purposeful in their "seasons" of life.

"Stay faithful to the purpose for which God chose you," he said. "Don't lose sight of it."

Following his address, the Robinetts sat at the front of the sanctuary and were tearfully prayed for by the congregation. During the prayer time, Salvation Army Major Tina McBride cited Psalm 139:9-10, which states, "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

Keeping in line with his Sunday message, Josh Robinett said that his faith is what will carry him, Ashley and their family through the move.

"Every time that we have a transition, I have to remind myself of the sovereignty of God. He's in control, and he has good plans for us, and he has good plans for this community," he said. "With that, that gives us perfect peace, and we'll go to northwest Arkansas."

Local on 06/19/2017
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