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Jun21TueProfiles of the Ambassadors of Holiness Session June 21, 2011
On June 25, the cadets of the Ambassadors of Holiness Session will be commissioned and ordained as Salvation Army officers. Nine cadets are from the Canada and Bermuda Territory, and two are from the India Eastern Territory, having trained at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg. Here are short profiles of the 11 cadets.
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Prior to commencing my training at CFOT, I worked with children and youth, preached from the pulpit and participated in overseas mission, but CFOT provided me with a different perspective of ministry. Throughout the past 22 months, I have seen the Lord transform lives in corps, hospitals, on the streets, in the courts and in prisons.
During a chapel service at the Stony Mountain federal penitentiary in Manitoba, I shared my testimony. After that, eight inmates recommitted their lives to the Lord and I led another to the Lord for the first time. Prisoners can accept the light of Christ, even in a dark place. Through that ministry opportunity, the words “I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:36) became more significant.
These and many other field experiences reinforced my calling to be an officer. To me, an officer is not just a pastor. A pastor is the shepherd of his sheep while an officer looks after the existing sheep and searches for more—often in the places where other people don't normally go.
The Lord has sustained me and brought me and my family through these past two years of training at CFOT. My fondest memories of college include praying with people on the streets, at the mercy seat and with fellow cadets early in the morning and late at night.
Prayer changes things and it has certainly changed me. I've learned to be more vulnerable and authentic in my worship and petitions to God. I've also been blessed by others praying for me.
Over the past two years, I have been challenged to not just do good things or what is “right,” but to actually love. Doing things comes easy for me, but loving unconditionally is harder.
I've been called to apply the feelings and love I have for my three children to other children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I need to love all children and adults as much as my own family because God loves everybody equally no matter their background.
Jesus' grace has been and will be enough for me. I go out in the name of Jesus, praying that his love and justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a never-failing stream (see Amos 5:24).
Originally from the U.K., I came to Canada almost four years ago to study at Booth University College. When I became a cadet, I was selected for the flex-training program, as I had already done most of the academic training.
My first placement was at London Citadel, Ont., where I spent eight months. Part of that time included participating in Operation Mobilizing Hope, a street ministry program run in partnership with the Centre of Hope. It was a privilege to see that ministry grow from a hot meal given to street residents, to the distribution of clothing, to a first-aid clinic, to handing out Bibles.
After marrying Lieutenant Danette Woods last year, I joined her at Charlottetown Corps, N.L. We are expecting a baby in October and are looking forward to all that God has in store for us in the years ahead. As Salvation Army officers, we are conscious of the fact that we could go anywhere and do anything; we're excited to see where the Lord sends us.
I have learned a lot about joy and how much that means to me as a Christian—I've always loved to laugh and enjoy a good joke.
At the Vancouver Olympics, God taught me that what seems like a small act can make a big difference. During street outreach, I met two girls who had just discovered that both events they were set to attend were cancelled. They were crying and absolutely heartbroken. I gave them some hot chocolate and we talked about the situation. Although a small gesture, I was able to offer my kindness and support.
During my summer assignment in Robert's Arm, N.L., my calling to officership was reconfirmed. After preaching a sermon, I was reminded of what an awesome responsibility and privilege I have as a messenger of God's Word.
My week in Cuba as part of the Ontario Central-East divisional mission team last April was also a huge blessing. It was a great opportunity to serve others.
I look forward to full-time ministry. I know that God will continue to be with me and I pray that I will remain loyal to his call on my life.
Lalrengpuii Hmar Sungte
Coming from the India Eastern Territory, living in a different culture was a big challenge for me—in everything from food to language. This helped shape me for God's work in ministry and showed me how much I need God.
Through this cross-cultural opportunity, I have developed my understanding of a global Salvation Army. Even though there are cultural differences, everything we do is for the glory of God.
In my first year at CFOT, I served at Winnipeg's Golden West Centennial Lodge. It was there that I learned the importance of patience and how simple acts of love—like a smile—can be meaningful to others. My winter assignments at Toronto's Scarborough Citadel and Brampton Corps, Ont., taught me more about the Army and its ministry to the needy.
When I return to India, it will be challenging to adapt the knowledge I learned in Canada because India is such a different context, but I know that God will be with me.
At the age of 18, God clearly spoke to me about serving as a Salvation Army officer. Now, as I approach my commissioning and ordination, I continue to seek God's heart in everything I say and do.
The past two years have taught me to explore biblical truths that I can share with others. In particular, the Old Testament classes challenged me to see the connections between the Old and New Testaments and I've discovered a passion to read and teach from both sides of the Bible.
The first sermon I wrote at CFOT solidified this understanding. It was based on Genesis 18 when God says Abraham and Sarah will have a child even when they thought they couldn't. The sermon's message resonated with my family as I discovered that my parents weren't supposed to have any children, and yet they had four. Many families today also deal with that issue so it showed me how relevant lessons from the Old Testament are to our lives.
I look forward to serving as an officer and embarking on a lifetime of ministry and marriage with Cadet Joyce Wilson.
My calling to officership has been a continual journey and God keeps reaffirming my calling. He calls me to daily give up myself and walk the road that follows him.
One of the most significant confirmations of my calling came when I was on a prayer walk with other cadets. We stopped whenever one of us felt prompted to pray and the final stop was under a bridge where a number of people who were homeless were living. I broke down as God told me that there is darkness in the world and I am called to show the Light to all people.
The next stage of my journey includes marrying Cadet Joshua Downer. We are excited to be going into a community as husband and wife and ministering alongside one another.
At CFOT, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective officer in The Salvation Army. As I come from the India Eastern Territory, I faced many challenges during my training; namely the fact that English is my third language.
I learned many lessons here that I want to incorporate into my own territory when I return, such as balancing social work with church work.
CFOT has also developed my passion for all people—not just those in my own community or church—as we are all created in God's image. And my multicultural and multi-faith ministry experiences in Canada will help me in India as the country is only three percent Christian.
I have learned to put my complete trust in God, build a closer relationship with him and renew my commitment every day to serve him faithfully. I praise and thank God for his presence throughout my training in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
When I received my summer assignment to Seal Cove Corps, N.L., I was nervous about spending such a long time in a small town of 260 people. Even though the isolation was initially difficult, the place quickly became like home as everyone welcomed me and were incredibly hospitable. When I left, I found myself wanting to serve again in a small town.
My next appointment at New Westminster Citadel, B.C., offered a different context. Located only 10 minutes from Vancouver, the corps has a strong emphasis on social services ministry so I was involved in shelter work, transitional housing and a back-to-work program, all of which developed in me a stronger interest in social services ministry.
I am grateful for my training experiences as they helped shape me for a lifetime of ministry. My calling to be a Salvation Army officer has been reinforced and I can now picture myself in any ministry setting.
During my first year placement at Weetamah's Urban Café, Winnipeg, I had the privilege to reach out into the community beyond the boundaries of the church and show compassion to people. On Friday nights, the café ministry team brings people in off the streets, offers them a meal and shares in fellowship.
I learned, through the Urban Café and my time this year with Winnipeg's Heritage Park Temple kids' club, how important it is to demonstrate love for others. I know God has called me to develop relationships with other people and I have learned to listen to others and show the love of God through my actions.
My prayer as I venture into full-time ministry is that the Lord will use me to lead lost souls into his Kingdom. I look forward to the ministry that my wife and I can share in together and I am excited about building relationships with other people.
I'm grateful for my field placement at Heritage Park Temple, particularly the kids' club. Though challenging at times, this ministry to the less-fortunate children in the community is incredibly valuable. I spent almost two years at the same field placement, which afforded me the opportunity to see some considerable changes and improvements take place in young lives.
My primary passion is corps ministry. However, through my visits to the courts this past summer, I gained an appreciation for corrections work. Every Monday, I would go to the courtroom and be a visible witness for The Salvation Army.
In one particular case, I observed a judge refuse to sentence a youth. Instead, the judge demanded that he be placed into his grandparents' home to give him a chance to change the course of his life. That showed me that God is in the courtroom and there is a desperate need for him in the world.