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Sep13TueA candidate reflects on her call to officership. September 13, 2016 by Emily Newbury
As I was growing up, I always believed that God wanted me to be a music teacher. I spent years taking piano and vocal lessons, attended a performing arts high school, sang in one of Toronto's top choirs and joined every music group at my corps—all because of this deep desire. I applied to universities for music education and began preparing my audition repertoire.
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But throughout the process, something didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it so I pressed through, attributing it to nerves. I wrestled with this feeling for months, and eventually decided to withdraw my applications, including to the school I had always dreamed about attending. I didn't understand why this was happening or why I couldn't give a logical explanation. I was angry with God.
After a season of feeling discouraged, I knew I had to do something. I couldn't sit around any longer hoping for God to just hand me the answer, so I enrolled in a business program at the college in my hometown. I enjoyed my studies and began to realize how relevant they were to everyday life. Things felt back on track, but something still wasn't lining up.
Whenever I was at my corps, an unsettled feeling would wash over me and I couldn't shake it. One evening after songster practice, I sat in a pew, searching for God's promises in Scripture, hoping to ease the burdened feeling. My eyes were drawn to these words: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' ” (Romans 10:12-15).
At that moment, the peace and presence of the living God came upon me in a way I had never experienced before. The dots began to connect in my head and I realized God's calling on my life to become an officer. Right there in the sanctuary pew, I surrendered my will to his plans for my life.
I am always amazed how God weaves the details of our lives together. Days later, I began working in the Ontario Camping Ministries office at Jackson's Point Camp. The divisional youth secretaries became my supervisors, and I soon learned they looked after candidates for officership in my division. With their guidance and encouragement, I approached my corps officer and expressed my desire to become a candidate.
Since accepting his call, God's plan has been abundantly clear. I met another candidate, Kyron, whom I now call my husband. Our divisional youth secretaries have given us opportunities to visit ministries around our division and even take part in worship services. We have had the privilege of sharing our story, and all that God has done and continues to do in our lives, from Newfoundland and Labrador to Saskatchewan.
Today, I am putting my business education to work for The Salvation Army at territorial headquarters, and I can see how valuable these skills will be as an officer someday. Even when I was blind to God's call, he was already preparing my heart and mind for the task ahead.
As I reflect on this unfolding journey, I can see God's hand in my life and how he has already started to equip me for full-time ministry. I can see how he made a way when there seemed to be no way. I can see how he placed people in my life to mentor and shape me. On the days I feel overwhelmed and inadequate for the task ahead, I'm reminded that I can find refreshment and comfort in the living, breathing Word of God—exactly where my surrender began.
Emily Newbury is an administrative assistant in the office of the chief secretary for the Canada and Bermuda Territory, and a candidate for officership.
An officership information weekend will be held at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg on October 14–16. Contact your corps officer for more information.