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Apr24FriTamara Randlesome was meant to be an officer—she just didn’t know it. April 24, 2020 by Ken Ramstead
(Above) Tamara Randlesome displays her Soldier’s Covenant with Lts Robert and Jennifer Henson, COs at Renew Church in West Kelowna, B.C.
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For Tamara Randlesome, the road to officership lay in her past. “Our family attended another church that was closer to our home,” she recalls, “but my grandmother was a Salvation Army officer and my mother wanted to support her, so we attended both an Army church and a Pentecostal church. I was dedicated in The Salvation Army as a child and I was a junior soldier as well.”
Surviving the Storm
As Randlesome grew up, she went through a period when she questioned her faith.
“What does faith look like for me,” she asked herself, “as opposed to the faith of my parents? I needed to find out for myself what it was all about, and who Jesus was for me.”
Randlesome tried different churches but nothing felt right.
“Even though I stopped attending church, I never stopped believing in God, I never stopped praying and I never stopped reading God’s Word.”
When Randlesome’s family moved to Vernon, B.C., they started going to another Pentecostal church. The people were welcoming, and Randlesome was baptized in 2009.
The family went through a difficult time when her brother, Jesse, was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2014.
His death was hard on the family but even though they hurt and struggled, their foundation was rooted in Jesus and that was how they got through the storm.
Front and Centre
Nevertheless, Randlesome struggled.
“Lord,” she prayed, “I don’t understand all of your ways and I don’t understand why things happen, but I do know you are God no matter the circumstances, and I need to share with the world what you have done for me.”
After her brother’s death, Randlesome moved to Kelowna, B.C., where she found a job as a preschool teacher. She became involved in the life of her church and things were going well.
But then God challenged Randlesome. In her dreams and in her times of prayer, God told her, “I want you to step away from your ministry, leave your friends behind and step into what I’m calling you to. Have faith, and trust.”
Randlesome was so distressed that she went to her church elders and asked them for prayer and direction.
More than one of them told her, “Tamara, I see you in a uniform. You’re leading an army and you are proclaiming God’s Word.”
Randlesome realized that God was calling her back to her roots.
“No matter where I moved, I’d always hung my junior soldier pledge on my wall because it was so important to me to follow the covenant that I made with Jesus when I was little,” she says. “I realized what God had been calling me to was right in front of me the whole time.”
The Next Step
In 2018, a Salvation Army church plant started up in West Kelowna, B.C., and she decided to check it out.
“It felt like home, it felt right,” smiles Randlesome.
“This is what I have been searching for my whole life,” she told Lieutenants Robert and Jennifer Henson, the corps officers. “I want to be a part of your corps and I want to see what God has for me.”
No sooner had Randlesome become a part of the corps than a thought crossed her mind: What would it take to be an officer in The Salvation Army?
She asked some old friends she respected and each one saw an army with her in uniform proclaiming the gospel—and the words “salvation” and “army.”
When she asked a close friend, “What do you think of The Salvation Army?” the friend replied, “Why aren’t you an officer?”
Finally, Randlesome asked her mother what she thought.
“Why didn’t you think of this sooner?” she told her daughter.
“Well, I don’t work on the same level as God,” Randlesome laughed.
With that, she approached her corps officers and asked them to help her take the steps to become a soldier, and she became a senior soldier in January 2019.
“I had hoped that the next step in the process would be speedy,” Randlesome says. “God, however, put the brakes on things for a year. But in that year, he was beyond faithful in confirming that it was meant to be.”
In February, Randlesome was accepted to the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg and will start in September. “Everyone’s been telling me, ‘You were meant to be an officer, you just didn’t know it,’ ” says Randlesome. “I guess they were right!”