BIG RAPIDS — The official changing of the guard is complete at the Big Rapids Salvation Army office.

Envoys Ed and Theresa Hoskins will be the new corps administrators for the four-county area following the transfer of Lieutenants Chris and Brianne Karlin. The Hoskins officially began work on June 28 in Big Rapids.

For the four months prior to their arrival here, the couple served as assistants in Muskegon. The temporary posting was both a refresher — Ed was previously a Salvation Army captain — and as an initial training opportunity — Theresa is new to working within the corps.

Ed had completed officer training school and served three appointments when he needed to leave and return home to Grand Rapids to help care for ill family members and handle business concerns. He then worked in the private sector for a time before returning to the Salvation Army.

“I moved out of officership into employment with the corps, but realized I wasn’t making as much money as was needed, so I went into the business sector,” Ed said. “I held three professional positions, most recently operations supervisor at Meijer corporate.

“God’s calling brought me back. God didn’t revoke His call to me in the Salvation Army — I chose to walk away. It got to a point where He said, ‘This is not working out for Me,’ and then I came back.”

Theresa grew up in Pierson and graduated from Tri County High School. A certified teacher, she became a church member of the Salvation Army in Holland two years ago but didn’t enter employment with the corps until the temporary posting in Muskegon.

“I had no idea what was involved in the large scope and sequence you have to have to run the corps,” she said. “I all I’d ever seen were the Sunday services. In Muskegon, I really got to see all the different sides. Not having been in very long, there was a lot I did not know. I was able to see a lot and get a handle on what is involved with being a corps officer.”

Procedures are under way to restore Ed to the rank of captain and promote Theresa to auxiliary captain, which is essentially a captain-in-training, Ed explained. She will complete her training via distance learning to become a full officer in the Salvation Army.

While in Big Rapids, the couple hopes to use their skills and talents to better the local organization, but they don’t have specific plans right now.

“We don’t know what God brought us here for yet,” Theresa said. “That will become apparent as we go. God is in the details — everything is in His control.”

“The goal of the Salvation Army is to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ed said, adding sometimes the goal is achieved through social services, or helping people who walk in looking for help or through the Sunday church services.

He noted as a couple they have business, teaching and pastoral experience, which he hopes will benefit the community.

“We’re here to be whatever we need to be as the Salvation Army in Big Rapids,” he said. “We’re excited to be here.”