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Sep6FriRoger and Glenda Barrow never planned on being officers. What made them change their minds? September 6, 2019 by Ken Ramstead
Roger Barrow’s heart was in turmoil. He was sitting with his wife, Glenda, surrounded by fellow Salvationists, attending the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador divisional congress and commissioning in Mount Pearl, N.L. General André Cox was in attendance.
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Roger had been hemming and hawing all evening, and wanted to leave. He didn’t realize it, but the Barrows’ lives were about to change forever.
Glenda and Roger started worshipping at St. John’s Temple, N.L., in 1999.
“I had not attended church for many years but soon realized that God was calling me,” says Glenda. “I knew my next step was to submit to God, and that’s when I came to faith and Roger recommitted his life to the Lord.”
The Barrows were at St. John’s Temple for six years and became soldiers.
“We were provided with opportunities for spiritual growth,” says Glenda, “and we stepped into ministry and worship team roles, including at a church plant at Pathway Community Church in Paradise, N.L.”
While Glenda and Roger felt fulfilled as soldiers—Glenda was a corps sergeant-major and Roger was a worship leader—neither felt a desire to become officers. They were happy where they were.
And then came the divisional congress.
“I had no desire to go to congress,” says Roger. “All week, Glenda had been talking about it. I didn’t know why I didn’t want to go but I was being very stubborn about it.”
Roger managed to convince a reluctant Glenda to skip the Friday welcome service but, despite his protestations, Glenda bought tickets to the Saturday morning prayer breakfast.
Roger wasn’t happy. “I went with arms crossed and, looking around, all I could think was, Oh, how unhappy everyone looks in their uniforms.
“If this sounds wrong,” he continues, “that’s because it was wrong! I have the greatest respect for the Army, but this was a fight that was all in my head.”
Putting it Off
That night, the couple attended the commissioning service.
“We suspected our daughter, Alecia, would go forward when the call for officership occurred,” says Roger. “So we watched Alecia go onstage. Again, I kept grumbling to myself: Everybody looks so stiff. What am I doing here?”
Sunday morning saw a conflicted Roger sitting with Glenda when General Cox made an altar appeal.
“As a worship leader I always want people to go forward, but now I prayed, ‘Oh, Lord, don’t let Glenda go up.’ I kept distracting her with silly questions, trying to keep her from concentrating on the appeal.”
At lunch, Glenda told Roger, “You know what’s funny? I felt called to go forward but I didn’t know why.” Roger chuckled it off.
Through that evening’s service, Roger sat stoically with his arms folded despite an uncle brushing by him twice and putting a hand on his shoulder.
“God,” Roger prayed, “I love you but you’ll need more than a little pat to get me out of my seat.
“The only way I will know if I’m being called to full-time ministry is if the General himself stops the band and says, ‘There’s someone here tonight resisting the call to officership.’ ”
And with that, General Cox stopped the band and said exactly those words.
Roger looked at his wife and said, “I’ve got to go.”
Glenda looked at him and replied, “I know.”
And with that, Roger pushed through the crowd to stand next to the General.
It turned out that as General Cox was making his appeal, Glenda had had the same feeling. But a voice whispered, “Do not step out in front of him.”
And at that exact moment, Roger looked at her, tears streaming down his face, and said he had to go up.
“That’s how I knew,” says Glenda. “Roger needed to take that first step first.” And a weeping Glenda closely followed.
“This call wasn’t just for him,” says Glenda. “God had spoken to both of us. We needed to become officers. And we haven’t regretted our decision.”
Roger and Glenda Barrow enter the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg this month, in the Messengers of Grace Session. Watch the welcome service live on September 15 at https://livestream.com/saCANbroadcast/events/8765654.