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Jun17MonIntroducing the newest officers of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. June 17, 2013
On June 22, the cadets of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection 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. Photos by Carson Samson.
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While on assignment in Springdale, N.L., I had the opportunity to spend time with people in their homes. As someone who is shy by nature, this was something that had always intimidated me before I came to CFOT. However, by going out for visitations, meeting with families during times of grief and sharing conversation over a meal, I realized that this is where real ministry happens. To have the privilege of being invited into someone's home is not an intimidating experience but a chance for God to speak into my life and theirs.
Though I resisted the call to officership for a while, God spoke to me through the story of Moses and the burning bush. Like Moses saying, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” I was asking, “Who am I that I should go to CFOT?” And God's response was, “I will be with you.” At CFOT, I have learned that when I put my trust solely in God and allow him to direct my path, he won't let me fail, but will help me do more than I ever could on my own.
During our placement in Pasadena, N.L., my wife and I were able to journey with a wonderful woman of God and her family for several weeks following a stroke before she was promoted to glory. It was a very holy time, and I was reminded that it is a privilege to be a Salvation Army officer and share these intimate moments with individuals. As I go into my first appointment, I look forward to building relationships with people in my community and walking alongside them in their spiritual pilgrimage.
The most important thing I learned at CFOT is that ministry is less about doing and more about being; there is a great value in the “ministry of presence.” Although officership can be busy, we must never forget that our calling is to people. One of the most memorable experiences I had while on assignment was officiating at my first funeral. Through this experience I learned the great privilege we have as officers to journey with people through all stages of life, in times of rejoicing and mourning.
A truth that has been reinforced through all my field work—especially working with people suffering from HIV/AIDS—is that at the core of our beings we are all the same, created in the image of God. That similarity far outweighs any outward differences. Over the past 22 months at CFOT, the powerful significance of God's grace has been taught in so many different ways, and has impacted me deeply. I plan to preach and teach about grace regularly in my future ministry.
Having experienced the work of the Army from coast to coast during my placements, I have been influenced most by the hearts of people reaching out to those in need. The dedication of those people—whether leaders or volunteers—has inspired me. At CFOT, I learned that we need to be ready to serve, responding not only to situations that arise in the course of life, but also to societal changes and challenges. Our response must reflect our commitment to God and the Army as a transformational influence in the community.
As an employee of the Army, I ministered to street youth in Toronto and worked with students at Winnipeg's Booth University College before engaging in full-time pastoral ministry in Kelowna and Comox Valley, B.C. While in Comox Valley, God called me into a deeper covenant with him through officership. Though I was in field-based training, my experience with CFOT gave me time to reflect upon my life and ministry and why I was doing what I was doing. It has helped me to be more intentional in my actions in ministry and leadership.
The year before Darryl and I came to Comox Valley, B.C., to lead the Army here, God was working in my life in immense ways. I was home with twin baby girls and a three-year-old, and God showed me, through them, his amazing love and how blessed I am. When we were asked to come to Comox Valley, I did not hesitate long before saying yes because I saw it as the next phase of God's plan for my life. I have grown in every area of my life since being here and I am confident that God's plan will be in effect wherever I go.
As I was completing my undergraduate studies in social work, I felt the desire to help people beyond their physical, emotional and mental needs. Nothing can impact a life more than having a relationship with the One who created life, so officership is the perfect opportunity for holistic ministry. One of the most important things I have learned at CFOT is that God can use an ordinary person to do extraordinary things. I have been amazed to see God use my weakness for his glory, empowering me with his strength.
In my first year at CFOT, I had a corrections placement, where I co-facilitated a program that taught life skills to people who have had minor encounters with the law. As I came to know the participants I was humbled by their stories and the Holy Spirit's reminder that I share their broader story as a woman in need of God's grace. While at CFOT, I learned that when the demands of life are overwhelming, I need to fight the urge to grasp at control and allow myself to rest in the presence of God, who holds the world in his hands.
I learned many important things during my field placements. Serving at a hospital, I learned how much an encouraging word and a simple prayer can mean to someone who is going through a time of healing or nearing death. While at Weston Community Church in Winnipeg, I learned the importance of friendship and community. For my first appointment, I am excited about beginning new relationships with corps members and sharing the gospel in a new place.
During my second-year placement at Weston Community Church in Winnipeg, I was immersed in the many facets of corps ministry. This helped me get a taste of what it is like to be an officer with a congregation and a mission. Being able to journey with people over the course of the placement and seeing them grow in their faith was very meaningful.
I came to The Salvation Army through the Celebrate Recovery program at Mississauga Temple, Ontario. I accepted Christ and he rescued me from alcoholism. After taking part in a mission trip to Cuba, I wanted to become a missionary before recognizing, through many prayers, that God was calling me to become an officer. Leading the congregation at Montreal Citadel during my summer appointment was a wonderful experience as it gave me the chance to see what a corps officer's life is really like.
Over the past 22 months, I have expanded my knowledge about God and then put into practice what I have learned in my placements. I have left my comfort zone and started to live and think as a leader. As an officer, I will give God my best, with commitment and enthusiasm. I feel his presence, power and providence, and I am sure that he will be with me wherever I go, helping me do his will.
My calling to officership is based on the fact that Jesus Christ was a humble servant and I wish to be that same kind of servant. I found that the best way to do this is with The Salvation Army. I love to be busy and to get things done. (I guess that is what happens when you grow up as a farmer.) As a new officer, I look forward to getting to work, being a servant and loving people.
People sometimes ask me where I would like to be appointed and I say that I wouldn't choose any particular place over another. From coast to coast, everywhere I went for my training assignments I was treated well. I think that says a lot about how we are all a family in The Salvation Army—something I have grown to really appreciate. As we enter our first appointment, I am excited to see what God has in store for our family and how he is going to use us and grow in us.
In our placement at Toronto's Agincourt Community Church, our ministry focused on the Chinese population. Very quickly, I realized that though we spoke Chinese, there were many cultural, generational and linguistic differences. I learned that I needed to open myself up to other races and cultures within the church and I was challenged to encourage cultural integration. As an officer, I hope to model the life of Jesus, loving people, serving them and praying for them.
Peck Ee Wong
In Toronto, I went out with the street youth van, which provides hot meals to street and homeless youth. It was a cross-cultural experience for me as I tried to connect with those who came to the van. Although I felt inadequate in speaking their language and helping them feel accepted, they appreciated the way I served them. Over the course of my training, I have learned that ministry is not about us, but about God's will being done through us. It is a privilege to be used by God in this way.
The Principal's Commendation
I am thrilled to introduce the Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session who will be the newest lieutenants in the Canada and Bermuda Territory. The future is very exciting—for them, for the corps and communities they will serve and for God's kingdom. This is a unique session that includes 14 cadets who trained in the Winnipeg residential program and four cadets who engaged in field-based tailored training in British Columbia and Ontario. We are grateful to the divisions who gave leadership and support to the new field-based model of training.
During their 22 months of training, these cadets have opened themselves up to being developed by God in both their character and competency. They have engaged in a program that includes spiritual formation, academic studies and field training. Their ordination and commissioning is an opportunity to celebrate the calling that God has placed upon each one of them. Their journey will continue on, both geographically and spiritually.
My prayer is that they will “proclaim the glory of the Risen Lord” and trust God to equip them for the calling that he has placed upon their lives.
Major Jamie Braund