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May21FriMeet Canada and Bermuda’s first auxiliary-lieutenants. May 21, 2021 by Major Deana Zelinsky
The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory recently launched the auxiliary-lieutenant program, which offers a new path to fulltime service and ministry leadership.
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The program is designed for those who feel called to officership as an avenue to explore ministry, and it can also serve as an opportunity for Salvationists who are not certain they feel called to be an officer, but think a short-term ministry opportunity may help. In either case, it is a means by which people can consider and confirm a calling to full-time ministry as an officer.
As children, Neil and Jennifer Thompson both witnessed their parents’ dedication and commitment to ministry with The Salvation Army. Jennifer’s parents are retired officers who served in several different communities in the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Neil’s parents met while pursuing God’s call to ministry in their lives and both are active soldiers in their corps to this day. Neil and Jennifer were born into the Army, however, they find themselves serving as corps ministry unit leaders in Vernon, B.C., because of God’s calling upon their own lives.
Prior to becoming auxiliary-lieutenants, Neil worked as a case manager, assisting people experiencing housing and employment insecurity. Jennifer has worked for The Salvation Army most of her adult life, most recently for her corps as the integrated mission and program co-ordinator with community and family services. They began to experience a strange tension, feeling called into fulltime ministry with the Army—knowing this normally means leaving corps and community—yet also called to remain in Vernon and keep trusting God.
When they were approached about the new auxiliary-lieutenant program, the Thompsons immediately felt a sense of peace and assurance that this was what God had been preparing them for and where he was leading. During a recent spiritual retreat, the words of Isaiah 41:8- 10 were spoken over the Thompsons, affirming the calling on their lives to be the Lord’s servants, and reminding them of his promise: “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Major Deana Zelinsky is an area commander in the Ontario Division, and the territorial training and development officer.
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