Whenever I read Jeremiah 1:5—“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”—I think, That’s me!

This may sound strange to some, but I always say that my decision to become an officer was a childhood calling. Whenever I was asked what I was going to be when I grew up, I always said, “I am going to be a Salvation Army officer.” Of course, at that age, I had no idea what that entailed but I firmly believe my calling came as a child and my whole life—as a child, teenager and adult—has been a working out and a living out of that calling.

A Life Plan

I grew up in the small community of Monkstown, N.L., the second of four children. My mother was a stay-at-home mom while my dad was a fisherman. We were never a financially rich family but our home never lacked in love. My mother has been a devoted Christian since she was a child and I grew up believing that God would provide—my mother said it many times!

He has always been a part of my life. I don’t remember a time when I was not aware of God and his love for me. I remember the excitement I felt when I invited Jesus into my life as a sevenyear-old and started my own personal relationship with him. This relationship has always been central to my life. I look back on faithful corps officers and corps members with much gratitude for helping shape my life and bringing me to where I am today. They were encouragers and models of how Christians should live, and I learned much.

From my earliest days, I was a part of all corps activities and my relationship with Jesus continued to grow. As such, the decision to become a senior soldier came very naturally, and was not forced on me by my parents or corps officers. I embraced the Soldier’s Covenant, and while I was and still am not perfect, I believed that by God’s grace, I would do my best to live it out.
While I have doubted my own abilities, I have never doubted God’s calling.
After grade school, I moved to Arnold’s Cove, N.L., to complete high school. There, I was fortunate to move in with an aunt and uncle who became my second parents for those three years. Devoted Christians and strong Salvationists, they taught me much about faithful Christian living. Again, I encountered people at the corps who were deeply concerned about the young people and encouraged us to embrace ministry and made us feel that we had something to offer.

When I entered the College for Officer Training in St. John’s, N.L., in 1984, much like soldiership, it was a very natural thing for me. I believed I was simply fulfilling what God had planned for me all my life. If I needed confirmation of that, my father became a Christian during my first year there!

Did I feel adequate? No. Was I a little afraid of what officership was all about? Yes.

But my faith was simple enough to believe that if God called, he would equip. While that may sound cliché, I still believe it.

No Doubts

Thirty-five years ago this coming September, I entered the training college as a member of the Proclaimers of the Gospel Session. I am as convinced today of my calling as I was then. During my 33 years as an officer, there have been many joys and a few disappointments along the way. And there are times I am struck with a sense of inadequacy. My confidence has been shaken a time or two over the years, but I can honestly say that I have never questioned my calling. While I have doubted my own abilities, I have never doubted God’s calling.

To those who ponder the decision to become an officer, I say, listen to your heart and to those encouragers around you, in your family and your corps. You won’t be disappointed.


On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Grace Gillam said:

Hi Lot-Col Vincent,we meet in the early nineties when I was with the youth service corps. Our leader that summer was Allison Goose. We had a long talk about me living with Derrick and Judy Barrow. Who showed me what love and family was all about. In 1989 I became a Soldier of Musgrave Harbour and I always felt in the pit of my stomach God was calling me to ministry. But I couldn’t understand why because I cam from a drunken and violent family and I myself was falling into my fathers steps also.Then I meet the Barrows who through love I was a changed person. I decided to go into officership but I had to do this exam to see if I was stable enough to enter. That exam stopped me from college??? Then I felt like I wasn’t called and now I’m a happy married women with a son age 24 I’m 54 years and I still to this day feel the calling to officership on my heart. Why still to this day? Will it ever go away? Your story is beautiful, precious and amazing. Gods calling is real, the tug on my heart right now is just as powerful as it was when we talked by the fire place at camp. That talk made me do a lot of thinking but I didn’t and couldn’t do what God had called me to do. God bless you and your ministry as you continue to do what God would want you to do. It feels so good to be able to connect with you! Back when we talked you were DY’s. Love and prayers! Grace Gillam

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Verenia & Fred Butler said:

What a great testimony Genevera !! We just love it when you get the chance to take part in any church service in your home town, If you are bringing the message or sharing your lovely voice in song we know you make Monkstown proud. Hope to see you guys a time or two this summer, God Bless both you & Eddie...


On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Faye Strickkand said:

What a great heritage Genevra! Thank you for sharing your testimony and for being an awesome encourager in my life!


On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Joan Burton. said:

Loved your story. You are a very devoted Officer. I believe God called you as a child. You are God’s lovely creation. Hold on to the anchor. He will always equip you in everything. God bless you. 🥰🤗💕


On Sunday, March 3, 2019, Sylvia Harnum said:

Loved reading your story . You are a beautiful officer...


On Saturday, March 2, 2019, Wavey Vincent said:

Awesome Genevera. So glad to read this Hugs to you and Eddie!


On Friday, March 1, 2019, Frank & Theresa Hodder said:

It's so nice to see you almost every time we visit Monkstown...


Leave a Comment