(Above) “There is nothing better or greater than to serve God,” says Cpt Keesom Phanthaamath, here with his wife, Cpt Tina Phanthaamath

“Our lives have never been the same since we became Salvation Army officers,” smiles Captain Keesom Phanthaamath of the decision he and his wife, Captain Tina Phanthaamath, made. “God put his love and compassion in my heart for the lost. I felt his calling,” “When God spoke to my heart,” continues Captain Tina, “I wanted to serve and give my life to God. That’s why I decided to become an officer.”

Finding Her Way
Captain Tina was born in Colorado and met Captain Keesom, who lived in Hamilton, Ont., through a mutual friend. A long-distance relationship ensued before the couple were married in 2005. “I was raised a Buddhist,” says Captain Tina, “but I came to know Christ through Keesom and I began attending The Salvation Army Hamilton Laotian Corps (now called New Heights Community Church) in Hamilton in 2005.” Captain Tina continued to attend church with Captain Keesom and eventually accepted Jesus into her heart. As the new Christian read the Bible, she came across: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). When she read those words, she developed a deep hunger for God’s presence. “After that, I sought God through prayer and meditation. And my mind was renewed by the Word of God and my life was transformed by the Holy Spirit.”

In God’s Direction
Captain Keesom was born in Laos. After three years in a refugee camp, his family was sponsored by Christians in Canada and settled in Simcoe, Ont., in 1991. Captain Keesom’s brother-in-law invited him to attend the Laotian Corps, and he soon made it his home church. When he was a young man, Captain Keesom had strayed from his faith. After his marriage to Captain Tina, he turned back to God. “I got married, and got back to my faith,” he says. “God pulled me out of my old life and led me in his direction.”

Dual Commitment
Now adherents, Captains Keesom and Tina continued to attend church. “The more I drew closer to God, the more he started to work in my life,” says Captain Tina. “As the Bible says, God was calling me ‘out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9). “I knew that Christianity was not just about religion, but about a relationship with the living God.” That was when she decided to become a senior soldier. “I wanted to commit my life to serving him as a member of The Salvation Army.” Captain Keesom had also decided to become a soldier, to serve God through the Salvation Army church community. “God worked in my heart and the transformation took place in my life.” Captains Keesom and Tina were enrolled as senior soldiers in 2007.

Serving God, Winning Souls
Though the couple were happy, they knew there was something more. “God spoke to me,” says Captain Keesom: ‘Come and follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.’ “I kept hearing that for a whole week,” he goes on. “What is this? God filled my heart with a passion to win people for Christ.” Captain Tina was not sure whether Captain Keesom felt called or not, but one day they were both invited to a Design for Life weekend in Guelph, Ont. After one session, a Salvation Army officer asked Captain Tina if she was interested in officership. She fumbled a response, but the officer visited the couple at their corps shortly after and asked them, “So, when are you ready to go to the College for Officer Training?” They both immediately responded, “We’d be ready to go next year.” “It happened so fast,” says Captain Keesom. “But we knew it was the right answer. I was surprised but at the same time I knew it was God’s calling upon our lives and we both felt the call.” “Life in this world is temporary because our citizenship is in heaven,” says Captain Tina, “so we want to use the time we’ve been given to serve God and to win souls for his kingdom.”

“There’s Nothing Better!”
The Phanthaamaths were commissioned in 2012 and are currently the corps officers at New Heights Community Church. “Working together in a place you love is a blessing,” says Captain Keesom. “Officership is a call from God,” concludes Captain Tina, “and I consider it a privilege to do his kingdom work in this world. There’s nothing better!”


On Sunday, June 11, 2023, To Inthavong said:

May the Lord bless Pastor Kee and Tina For leading our people back to Christ You are a great blessing to young generations. God so great He has transformed, changed your life around since you met Tina and God calling on your lives ,bless you and see you soon

On Monday, June 29, 2020, Capts Oudaovanh and Phoungern Sombounkhanh. said:

May the Lord bless you more and more , God is pleased with both of you and so do we. We love you both in Jesus name.


On Saturday, June 27, 2020, Jack Bootsma said:

You are both a gift from God and also a gift to me. May the Holy Spirit continue to fill you.


On Friday, June 26, 2020, Jo-Anne Laframboise said:

God’s wonderful Holy Spirit will indeed be there for you a great catch just like Peter and His disciples did with the Spirit as their lead and power. Seek His refreshing daily as your guide. Your ministry is very refreshing and I’m so privileged to sit under your ministry. God bless you and your family.


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