US couple leading The Salvation Army in south and mid Wales
published on 17 Sep 2018
A CALIFORNIAN couple have come from San Diego to Cardiff to lead The Salvation Army’s work in south and mid Wales.
Majors George and Jeanne Baker are the new Divisional Commander and Divisional Leader for Leadership Development for the South and Mid Wales Division.
They were previously in charge of The Salvation Army’s Sierra del Mar Division, covering the four Californian counties of Imperial, Riverside, San Bernadino and San Diego. It was here that the couple oversaw the planning of an $80 million Salvation Army project which will eventually house 350 individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness in San Diego.
Since their arrival in Wales just over a month ago, Majors George and Jeanne have been busy travelling across south and mid Wales to get to know the area.
They have visited Salvation Army centres in locations including Abergavenny, Merthyr Tydfil, Cwm, Abertillery, Abersychan, Pontypool, Cwmbran, Risca, Newport, and Cathays in Cardiff.
The Bakers have also been immersing themselves in Welsh culture at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Cardiff Bay and the National History Museum in St Fagans.
Their first impressions of Wales have been very positive, as Major George Baker explains:
“Wales is such a beautiful place and the people of Wales are equally as lovely and we have been made to feel welcome and at home already. We were also pleasantly surprised by the warm weather when we first arrived here as we had been warned about the rain and cloudy skies but loved the sunshine and warmth of our initial days.”
While faith-based matters and the needs of the people they serve are already familiar to the Bakers, other practical matters have taken getting used to.
“Some things are pretty much the same in San Diego and Cardiff. The needs of the people are similar and whether here in Wales or there in California, people need the Lord and the ministries and services provided by The Salvation Army. But the main difference for me has been the driving. I’ve always been confident in my driving skills… until now with driving on the left. But I’m getting better every day, though,” he says smiling.
And while flying half way around the world, leaving their young family and ageing parents behind to take up their new roles has been a challenge, the Bakers’ faith has given them the strength to make the move.
“This is our first international appointment and leaving our family behind has certainly been the biggest challenge for us. Our children, grandchildren, and parents are constantly in our hearts and minds but we are confident of God's provision for them and for us while we are separated for a season in time,” concludes Major George Baker.
Majors George and Jeanne Baker are based at The Salvation Army’s South and Mid Wales Division at its headquarters on East Moors Road, Ocean Park in Cardiff.
They have been serving as officers in The Salvation Army for over 35 years following their ordination and commissioning as Lieutenants in 1983.