On June 23, the cadets of the Friends of Christ Session will be commissioned and ordained as Salvation Army officers with the rank of lieutenant. After nearly two years of intensive training through the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg, these 18 Salvationists are now preparing for their first appointments.
I had the opportunity to learn many aspects of ministry during my field placements at Winnipeg East Community Church and Portage la Prairie, Man. I particularly enjoyed visiting and spending time with corps members. Learning the history and mission of The Salvation Army has not only been inspiring, but has also challenged me to faithfully carry on the work of the Army. As I move forward into officership, I am grateful for the encouragement and support I have received.
College was very challenging for me, as was adapting to a different culture. I praise God for new friends and fellowship, which have helped me along the way. My dearest memories are visiting seniors at hospitals and nursing homes. It was a privilege to sit with them, read devotionals to them and listen to their stories from days gone by. Their shared knowledge and wisdom was a blessing. I also appreciated the morning prayer chapels at CFOT—those quiet, sacred times helped me experience God’s peace throughout the day. Pictured with daughter, Demara.
Stefan Van Schaick
Watching new believers grow in their understanding of who Jesus is and what he wants for them brings me great joy. During my training, I have walked down this path of understanding with many individuals. There is something wonderful about seeing someone’s eyes light up when they have those “aha!” moments. My time at CFOT has taught me that God is always present and working out his great plan. I simply need to look for him and allow him to use me.
Laura Van Schaick
I met Rolanda while visiting Cuba on a mission trip in April 2011. In my broken Spanish, I introduced myself as a cadet in the Friends of Christ Session. Instantly, her face lit up and she ushered me inside her home to see her ordination certificate, indicating that she, too, had been a cadet. There was an instant connection. We may live in different worlds, but we share in the ministry of Salvation Army officership. As I enter full-time ministry, I know that I do not go alone. Christ goes with me, but I also go with the support of my session-mates, fellow officers, family and friends.
I was 16 when I first felt the call to become a Salvation Army officer and now, 16 years later, I am being commissioned. I did not know then that it would take so long for God to prepare me for full-time ministry, but as I look back through the years, I have no doubt that he has been guiding me every step of the way. Over the past two years at CFOT, I have learned the importance of community. The opportunities I had to be in community with Salvationists in Saskatchewan while on assignment are some of the most significant moments of my training.
When Cory and I decided to come to CFOT, I was excited but unsure of what the next two years would hold. Many times I have had to rely on God for help, but I have also had many opportunities to rejoice with him. As I reflect on my time at CFOT, I am reminded of the communities that God has taken me to, as well as the relationships that I have developed. Looking forward, I am eager to go to a community where I can invest myself in the lives of others.
At my summer assignment in Quesnel, B.C., I took part in a ministry called Tiny Bites. During the week, we prepared lunches and took them to various schools around the city. Every day, children ran up to us with bright smiles, awaiting the goodies we had for them. There was one family who always came to meet us, rain or shine. One day, their guardian explained to me that the children’s parents had recently lost their jobs. She said that because of Tiny Bites, she knew the children would eat every day. Ministry moments like this reaffirm my calling to be a Salvation Army officer.
Growing up, people told me that I was destined to be a Salvation Army officer because the past five generations of my family had been officers. But I went my own way for a few years before I finally decided to surrender my life to God. Over the past two years at CFOT, I have learned there is no cookie-cutter Salvation Army officer. God has created us all differently and that’s what makes the body of Christ so beautiful.
The beauty of community and the blessing of wise leadership continually amazed me and Joshua during our time at CFOT. In the end, we have come out imperfect and still filled with questions: Where are we going to be living for the next few years? Will our children transition well? Will people be happy with our leadership? Yet we know that God is faithful, “keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Pictured with sons Aiden and Liam.
Throughout my training at CFOT, I have seen God’s hand upon my life. I have been blessed with field placements that have broadened my thinking and opened my eyes to the various ministries of the Army. I am especially thankful for two great winter assignments (Cranbrook, B.C., and Lethbridge, Alta.) and an amazing summer assignment (Hamilton, Ont.), which gave me the opportunity to learn from experienced corps officers and share in ministry with them. I know that as I enter my first appointment, God will go before me and surround me with his presence.
The last 22 months have been a time of transition and self-discovery, a pilgrimage that has torn down my pre-CFOT walls of life and rebuilt them on the Word of God and the love of Jesus. God has used the staff at CFOT and Booth University College, as well as my session-mates, to accomplish this. My field placements and assignments introduced me to the realities of officership and showed me what it is like to answer the call.
My field placements in Ontario and Manitoba taught me about the importance of relationships. Most recently at Weetamah Corps in Winnipeg, I bonded with women from all walks of life and cultures. Seeing God at work in the lives of people at CFOT and in the community has helped me understand the importance of our mission. In meeting human needs, I have learned that sharing the love of Jesus Christ is foundational if we want to be a transforming influence in our world. Pictured with sons Elijah and Ewan.
I have learned so much from seeing the work of Christ in the lives of volunteers and my fellow cadets. I had the privilege of serving at the Urban Café at Winnipeg’s Weetamah Corps during my first-year placement, and I have been blessed by the families I met at Winnipeg East Community Church. God has used my two years at CFOT to shape me for ministry. I am looking forward to serving God and joining him in the community where I am appointed.
During the past two years at CFOT, I have learned that God’s love and presence is all I need as I reach out and serve others. God has continually affirmed his calling upon my life. I have been blessed with ministry opportunities where I have prayed with people and have witnessed lives being touched by the Holy Spirit. I am humbled by these experiences and I look forward to my future ministry, knowing that God will be with me. Pictured with son, Daniel.
Over the past two years I have grown to love the label “Friend of Christ” because it reminds me that I am called to exemplify the greatest commandment: to love God and love my neighbour. Field ministry, classes and community living have shown me that by loving others I am able to love Christ. CFOT has afforded me diverse experiences in Winnipeg and across the territory, which have challenged me to grow closer to God, see him at work in others and develop strong relationships with people.
My calling to officership was unexpected and, initially, not chosen by me. Instead, my calling is evidence of God’s divine initiating grace and his continuing work in my life. Throughout my time at college, in field placements and in my relationships with others, I have been humbled by the knowledge that God has chosen me, despite my weaknesses and limitations. Pictured with son, Jackson.
The flexible training environment at CFOT enabled me to learn and gain experiences that have nourished me both as a person and a minister. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to work in the corrections program with women and men dedicated to sharing the love of Christ with vulnerable and often rejected members of our society. Most importantly, I am thankful that I was able to learn and grow alongside my wife, June. I know our lives will be filled with learning and wonder as we experience what it means to dedicate ourselves to the cause of Christ.
I have been stretched in so many ways since the day I arrived at CFOT. I remember being a nervous wreck the first time I had to stand in front of my session-mates and present something I learned in class. Yet, somewhere along the way, my legs grew stronger, my knees stopped knocking and my confidence was strengthened because of God’s abiding grace. I know, and can now confidently proclaim, that I can do all things in Christ Jesus who gives me strength.
The Principal’s Commendation
It is my pleasure to introduce the Friends of Christ Session who will be the newest lieutenants in the Canada and Bermuda Territory. As officers who have met the requirements of ordination and commissioning, they go forth as Friends of Christ to bring everyone, from the young to the old, the outcast to the affluent, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
During their 22 months of training, they have developed character and competency through their spiritual formation, academic studies and field training. Their ordination and commissioning is the beginning of a journey marked by lifelong learning, service and a growing dependency on God for power and direction in ministry. They are armed and ready to accomplish the mission of The Salvation Army and extend the Kingdom of God.
My prayer is that, by faith, they will expect great things from God and he will work in and through them beyond their wildest imaginations. “The one who called [them] is faithful and will do what he promised” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NLS).
Major Eric Bond
Challenge from the Territorial Commander
Welcome to a worldwide fellowship of covenanted officers. It is my pleasure to acknowledge your declaration and commitment to serve as commissioned and ordained officers of The Salvation Army in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
As a Friend of Christ you are appointed to lead the work of The Salvation Army and extend the Kingdom of God. You will be welcomed as the shepherd of God’s flock, preacher of the gospel of Christ, counsellor to those in need and comforter to the distressed. Of course all of these roles are possible by the grace he gives. You are now his “sent ones” into a needy world and charged with the responsibility of bringing new life, light and hope as you share Christ.
Your sessional name declares that you are not alone in this Kingdom adventure. Your life of faithful service must always be linked to the steadfast faithfulness of Christ, remembering the words of 2 Timothy 2:13—“He will remain faithful” (NIRV).
You step into leadership at a time when General Linda Bond calls us to an aggressive Vision Plan that is focused on One Army, One Mission and One Message. You are welcomed reinforcements in this worldwide mission vision emphasis.
Commissioner Rosalie joins me in the assurance of our prayers and extending God’s blessing to you as you begin your officership journey.
Commissioner Brian Peddle