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May22FriAn interview with Major Darlene Morgan, assistant regional officer, Hungary Region, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory. May 22, 2015
Major Darlene Morgan grew up in Canada, the third child of four to officer parents. The family moved many times throughout Canada, literally from coast to coast. Before entering officer training in 1995, Darlene and her husband, now Major Andrew, served as lay workers in Hungary for three years, assisting in re-pioneering the post-communist work there. Majors Darlene and Andrew are now leading the work in the Hungary Region of the Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory.
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Where were you appointed to, once you'd finished training?
We were surprised that our first appointment, in 1997, was back to Budapest, Hungary, as corps officers in the most challenging district of Budapest. It had high rates of crime, poverty, substance abuse and Roma population. The corps was within a Salvation Army men's hostel and we served there for five years.
Our next appointment as corps officers in downtown Toronto was similar, with the corps being within a Salvation Army men's addiction treatment facility. Next came a different appointment in the same location, as family program counsellor within the treatment facility. We were then asked to return to Hungary in 2009 to our present appointment as regional officers. God leads and we follow!
What is your specific role there now and what impact would you like to have in this appointment?
It would be nice to have a specific role! Andrew and I each wear several hats out of necessity as ministry has grown. Together with Andrew, leadership of The Salvation Army in the Hungary Region is the broad umbrella, but under that I have responsibility for candidates, officer training, corps' ministries, women's ministries, retired officers, international liaison, and united events.
I would like to impact our officers and leaders by being a good support to them, and assisting them to be creative for God's kingdom.
Where do you see God working the most in the Army in Hungary?
It seems there are new opportunities all the time! We are blessed to have the support of local governments for our social ministries, and the recognition that the spiritual component we offer is valuable. This has opened many doors, to ministry with Roma, anti-human trafficking networking with other agencies, puppet ministry in schools and prison ministry. Our social ministries are very strong, always with a strong spiritual component and well connected with each closest corps. This is vital to keep to the main goal of saving souls.
What are some of the biggest challenges for you in serving overseas?
Language. We are highly functional in Hungarian now, but continue to make lots of mistakes and learn.
Working within a society that has a different mindset than my own as a Canadian is challenging. I respect the Hungarian way of thinking and offer my viewpoint and suggestions, recognizing that I am a foreigner.
What are some of the greatest joys and rewards of overseas service in Hungary?
It is a joy and reward to be part of so much development and growth. This is a blessed time in the Army's history in Hungary, and we are privileged to be part of it. It is a blessing to be accepted and loved by the people! They have been so gracious to us.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in your Christian journey in general and your overseas service specifically?
To trust God and not worry about how he intends to work things out. He knows what he's doing and desires good things for us.
In my overseas service specifically, the biggest lesson I have learned is actually the same! The “overseas factor” maybe has had less impact than the “regular” challenges that come along in one's growing and maturing in faith.
As you have served the Lord in different ways and places, how has he encouraged and strengthened you?
My sure calling from God has been my foundation. I sometimes feel under-qualified, overwhelmed and ill-equipped for the tasks before me, but I have to trust that he has placed me here with these responsibilities according to his plan and purpose. If he wants something to happen, he will make it happen, even through me. Proverbs 3:5-6 have been my favourite verses since my teenage years.
This story first appeared in Women in Touch (March 2015).