Ephrata teenager is fifth generation Salvation Army

By on December 30, 2014
Ian Wettlaufer

Ian Wettlaufer

Ephrata teen Ian Wettlaufer has discovered that The Salvation Army can make life rather busy.
Although members of The Salvation Army are known for their popular bell ringing during the Christmas season, Ian has discovered that it offers so much more.
Nearly every night of the week, and on weekends, Ian can be found at the Salvation Army where he is heavily involved with music; either teaching it to children or practicing his own talents, being in the youth group and attending church.
Music is Ian’s strength and gift, and as he says, “We get to play some magnificent music at the Corp that we can’t play in school because it is religious. Some of the greatest music ever written is religious and I like that I can play that there.”
A junior at Ephrata High School, Ian is also involved with the music programs in school as well, from marching band to orchestra. With some time to decide on a school, Ian knows and plans do something with music either as an educator or engineer.
“I’d like to have a recording studio and help people realize their dreams,” said Ian.
Even when school is on summer break, Ian is found at the Salvation Army summer camp teaching music to 10 to 14 year olds.
“We just do music all summer long,” said Ian, and then he goes to his own summer camp in New Jersey.
Next year will be his fifth year attending and his fifth time receiving a full scholarship to attend the camp, which no one else has ever accomplished.
He also has just been accepted into the Pendel Brass and Singers through the Salvation Army which covers the areas of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“We rehearse some of the toughest pieces ever written,” says Ian. He will be performing these pieces with the group during a weekend in Canada. And through school, his marching band will be going to London, England, next year.
It’s not all music for Ian though. He also happens to be the captain of the bowling team at school.
“People don’t consider it a ‘real sport’ but it actually takes a lot of knowledge and skill to play,” says Ian.
His mother also attested that “He’s a very good bowler.”
But even with his busy agenda what matters most to him is that he “just wants to clean up communities. I try to through music to show people that someone really does care about them.”
He also worked at getting permission from his teachers to hang flyers in their classrooms about the Salvation Army and how other teens can get involved, especially this holiday season. The Corp is looking for young teens to get involved and volunteer.
“I’m trying to reach out to friends at school and try to spread God’s work,” says Ian.
According to Ian, most people think of the Salvation Army as a social service or a bunch of people who ring bells at Christmas, but it’s actually a church that spans 126 countries and is growing. Started by William Booth in 1852, it was not his intention to start a traditional church, but at that time in history, poor people were not allowed in churches especially if they had some kind of past. So it was not long that he decided to start a church that served and provided worship for the poor. Present day, it’s for everyone to worship and the church’s outreach remains the same in serving people in need.
Ian’s family goes back to the 1800’s with its involvement in the Salvation Army. His grandparents were officers and ordained ministers, who are now retired but still attend. What made Ian want to be in the Salvation Army was the sense of belonging he felt when he attended the church with his grandparents at a very young age.
“I’ve been to a lot of churches, but the Salvation Army was the one church I really felt like I was at home and belonged,” said Ian.
Captain Timothy and Lisa Sheehan play a big role in this as well for young Ian.
“They do so much and we love them dearly. There is so much to do at Christmas to get everything done on time. They give us the strength to teach everybody about God. They are our ‘go to fortress,’” said Ian.
If you have a teen or know of a teen that would like to get involved with the Salvation Army contact Captain Tim Sheehan at 945-9430.

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