PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - "How many of you like fishing?" asked Lieutenant Jerry Williams to a small Sunday crowd. "I love to fish."
To hear him speak, you wouldn't think Williams is new to South Mississippi. Williams and his wife Jennifer just moved from Atlanta to take over operation of the Jackson County Salvation Army Corp. They have only been in town a month, but the South Carolina natives are already starting to call Jackson County and Pascagoula home.
"I love the city," Williams said. "I love being next to the water; I love being in a small city. We've been in Atlanta for the past few years, so being back in a small city is comforting."
Williams and his family are in Jackson County on their first Salvation Army assignment. Williams said he's been connected to the Salvation Army his entire life, and he felt called to become part of the organization.
"He wanted me to become a soldier in the Salvation Army," Williams said to his congregation Sunday. "It's not me. It's not I. It's the Lord working in me."
His goal now is to bring faith to those who need it most.
"We're wanting to be a lighthouse to the community, and there are lost people everywhere," Williams said.
Lieutenant Williams said he and his wife Jennifer look forward to growing the Sunday Service at the Salvation Army in Pascagoula. The service usually attracts a small crowd, but that's something they believe they can change.
"We're in a great location, with the apartments and the houses next door," Williams said. "We're going to get in the streets with flyers and just walk the neighborhoods and let them know that we are here. That this is a church."
He also looks forward to the social services synonymous with the Salvation Army, and he's already found one immediate need.
"We need food," Williams said. "Our food pantry needs supplies. We've had an influx during the summer because of the temperature and school being out, so the kids are at home more, eating mom and dad's food. So our pantry has gotten quite low."
The food pantry is located in Pascagoula on Nathan Hale Avenue. The church is also in Pascagoula on Arlington Street. Williams hopes to energize the entire community to be part of the Salvation Army's mission.
"The Salvation Army is here, and it's a church," Williams said. "We worship on Sunday mornings at 11:00; we have Sunday school at 10:00. I would love to see people come and worship with us and just feel the love of the Lord. And just come home."
Williams replaces Captain Andy Collette, who left the Salvation Army in June to take a job at the United Methodist Seashore mission.