Photo of Jeff WoodsJeff Woods speaks on the occasion of the renovation of The Salvation Army’s Small Blessings Early Childhood Development Centre (Photo: HOLLYHOWEphotography)

Blessings Big and Small

Jeff Woods discovered God through his daughter’s Salvation Army daycare. Today, he volunteers to give back.

April 5, 2017 by Melissa Wallace


Eleven years ago, Jeff Woods and his wife, Lisa, were looking for a daycare for their one-year-old daughter, Keira. Childcare spaces were limited in Moncton, N.B., but a friend mentioned there might be some availability at The Salvation Army’s Small Blessings Early Childhood Development Centre, located in the same building as Moncton Citadel Community Church.

Once enrolled, their daughter thrived at the centre, where staff teach children from six months to four years old in a safe learning environment.

“I’ve met people of different faiths and beliefs for years, so the fact that it was a Christian centre didn’t bother me,” says Jeff.

But as he watched Army staff interact with parents and others, his curiosity about God grew.

“They showed so much love and caring, not only for those who came into the centre but for those beyond its walls,” he says. “I was intrigued. Is it real? Do people actually feel this way?

Jeff began volunteering for the centre as a parent council member, where he got to know the director of the centre, Lorraine Veysey, in addition to the staff. His son, Kolby, who is two years younger than Keira, also enrolled in the daycare.

Seeking Comfort

Jeff was born and raised in Moncton, and while he struggled with anxiety throughout his childhood, his upbringing was relatively normal.

“I had my challenges and I questioned whether there was a God,” he says.

Jeff experienced grief over the deaths of two close friends. The first committed suicide at an early age, and, later in life, another friend had a heart attack at the age of 36.

He then discovered his grandmother was dying. Out of her 13 children and numerous grandchildren, she passed away in Jeff’s arms at the hospital.

I was intrigued. Is it real? Do people actually feel this way?

“I was the only one present with her at the time,” he says. “For whatever reason, I was chosen to be with her at that moment.”

He remembered how scared she was as she approached death and how she reached out, calling for help.

“She was the only one who ever talked to me about God,” says Jeff. “I remember thinking I wanted to know what a relationship with Christ meant so that when the time came, I wouldn’t be reaching out in a scared way, but in a way where I was comforted.

“So there I was at The Salvation Army, involved in who they were and what they stood for from the Small Blessings perspective. My decision to become a Christian was made over a number of years, witnessing the sort of true servant leadership I had never experienced before.”

Photo of Jeff Woods with his wife, Lisa, and their children, Keira and Kolby

“You go through a new journey when you have children and you start reflecting on your life,” says Jeff, here with his wife, Lisa, and their children, Keira and Kolby

Volunteer of the Year

Though Jeff’s children outgrew Small Blessings, he continues to volunteer. He chairs their community board and serves on The Salvation Army’s community and family services council. He also volunteers with the Army on Tuesday mornings, preparing and serving hot meals to approximately 80 low-income men and women in need. He was recently awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for his commitment.

“Every Tuesday, I ask God to grant the people who come through the doors the courage to face their challenges and the wisdom to make the right choices as they journey through the day,” he says. “I pray they see the love of God through what we do and know that He  loves them.”

Today, Jeff is a busy 46-year-old father who works full time, volunteers several days a week for The Salvation Army and his church, and is completing courses toward a bachelor’s degree in organizational management.

“After being exposed to The Salvation Army, I realized I’ve always felt more fulfilled when I  am helping others,” he says. “If there’s a need, I have to help.

“It’s just who I am. It’s in my DNA.”

Speak Your Mind

*

An Atheist’s Prayer

An Atheist’s Prayer

I didn’t believe in God. So why was I so angry with him?

In Harm’s Way

In Harm’s Way

My daughter and I healed our self-inflicted scars together.

Opinion & Critical Thought

The Red Dress

The Red Dress

We were promised a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women. What’s taking so long?

The Key to Forgiveness

The Key to Forgiveness

How my imperfections as a parent showed me the depth of grace.

Territorial News

Booth University College Welcomes 2017 Graduates

Booth University College Welcomes 2017 Graduates

Chief of the Staff encourages graduates to “choose well” as they go forth into the world.

Cooler Brings Healthy Choices to French Creek

Cooler Brings Healthy Choices to French Creek

Salvation Army food bank launches food reclamation project.

International News

General Responds to Manchester Attack, Calling Salvationists to Share Peace

General Responds to Manchester Attack, Calling Salvationists to Share Peace

Salvation Army assists more than 400 people in the hours immediately following the attack.

Salvation Army Joins Churches Worldwide to Pray for End to Famine

As millions face starvation, General calls on Salvationists to take action.

Faith & Friends

Fair Trade in an Unfair World

Fair Trade in an Unfair World

We can make a difference with every thoughtful purchase we make.

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a streetwise gang leader confronts the person he is meant to be.