And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Believing in community, acceptance without judgment, and education from within, Major Cassandra DeJesús and her husband, Major William DeJesús, are builders of the Kingdom.
Major Cassandra is a first-generation Salvationist. Invited by a neighbor, she began attending the Milwaukee (Citadel), WI Corps at four years old. She later became involved in character building programs, the Singing Company (youth choir), and the corps band. Cassandra grew up in the Army.
At fifteen, Cassandra felt called to the ministry. Although she loved the Army, she was not sure if this option was available to her. Cassandra identifies as bi-racial, mixed with white and black, and came from an impoverished family. She did not see anyone like her as a Salvation Army officer. However, the Lord persisted, and she resolved, “If he wants me to be an officer, I will be an officer.”
She met her husband, William, who also wanted to be an officer, at a United Sunday Meeting program at the Oak Creek (Centennial), WI Corps in 1994. They found a match in one another and married ten months later.
Together, they began working as corps helpers at the Rock County, WI Corps in Janesville. Eighteen months later, they entered the College for Officer Training. Commissioned in 1998, in the Builders of the Kingdom session, their first appointment was at the Chicago (LaVillita), IL Corps, a Spanish-speaking corps. Lieutenant Cassandra developed strategies to engage with the women of her corps with visitation since she did not speak Spanish fluently. During visitation, Lt. Cassandra would ask different women to teach her how to cook Mexican food. A simple act that acknowledged their differences but enabled them to get to know each other; it was her unique ministry.
When then Captains DeJesús became missionaries and traveled to Argentina, in 2005, they served in two different appointments. First, as a corps officers at the Resistencia Corps – in the Chaco Province, one of the most poverty-stricken areas in northern Argentina, Major Cassandra set an example through her work alongside her husband. She led by example that women could be leaders as well.
At their second appointment in Buenos Aires, they served in separate appointments then Captain William became the territorial youth secretary of the South America East Territory, and then Captain Cassandra served as corps officer of the Buenos Aires corps by herself. During her time there, Captain Cassandra felt the support of her family, territorial leaders, and corps members as she ministered.
After serving for five years in Argentina, the then Captains returned to the United States. Serving first at the Central Territorial Headquarters (THQ), then at St. Louis (Gateway Citadel) MO Corps, and currently reappointed to THQ as the corps & community mission secretaries.
Majors Cassandra and Will participated in the Racial Justice Summit during fall 2020 by offering a different perspective. They engaged in the conversations and the uncomfortable spaces created by the summit. Often people assume or make judgments about people of color, their skin color, or names, but instead of asking questions, they assume. “It is time to get to know people and ask questions; questions are better than assumptions,” Major Cassandra said.