Majors Stephen and Connie Long are used to transitioning. After all, as part of The Salvation Army for more than a combined 72 years, they have seen more than their fair share of locations in doing the Lord’s work. Hampton Roads, VA. Roanoke, VA. Baton Rouge. Shreveport. Pensacola, FL.
After three years in Raleigh, the Longs will move again. This time to Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The Longs received word about a month ago from Territorial Headquarters that they will take over the Fort Lauderdale Area Command. It happens every year, that some officers are moved from one location to another. That didn’t make things any easier, having established roots in the community. It did come as a bit of a surprise that the Longs would move, being that they are about a year and a half away from retirement.
The Longs leadership helped to strengthen a Raleigh command that had some struggles before they took over. The bell-ringing campaign of 2018 raised over $529,000.00. There was the 2017 MOST Amazing Race which raised over $50,000.00. Last year, Major Stephen Long even rang the red kettle bell for 30 hours straight.
And while it takes a financial commitment to help those in need in Wake County, the Longs have meant much more than that to this community. They have prayed for individuals and families going through a rough patch. They have organized and held dinners and community events. They are not just in charge of the Center of Hope and The Salvation Army Red Shield Club of Raleigh (formerly known as the Community Center). They know the residents, the clients, the people.
Seventy-two combined years.
Major Stephen Long came to the Army as a volunteer bell ringer two days following his Christian conversion on November 25, 1976. God called him in that first Christmas season of 1976 to full time ministry. He then entered the College for Officers’ Training in the fall of 1978 and was Commissioned and Ordained in June 1980.
Major Connie Long is a fourth generation officer. Major Connie Long was called by God at a very young age to full time ministry as a Salvation Army Officer. She attended one year at Asbury College and was compelled by the Lord to enter the College for Officers’ Training in the fall of 1984. There she and Stephen met, fell in love and were married a day after her Commissioning and Ordination in June of 1986.
As we say farewell to the Longs, “The heart of who we are and what we do is and always will be Jesus,” they say. “We have a passion to share His message. Our Salvation Army ministry which is also The Salvation Army mission statement, motivated by the love of God. (Our) mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. May He be glorified and honored!”