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Apr13TueWhatever God calls us to do, all he needs is our “yes.” April 13, 2021 by Ken Ramstead
As an officer, I often say we are blessed with sacred privileges,” says Major Michelle Mercer, “when we’re invited in to the corners of someone’s life. Sometimes in their final hours.
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“I have had many sacred experiences through the years, where someone has opened a door to step into their life, a circumstance or a decision they’re making, and allowed me to journey with them.
“Sometimes we journey with people for a longer time and sometimes God allows us just a few moments to represent him. These are sacred privileges that officership affords us, and they are, each and every one, a blessing.
“And I would never have gotten these opportunities had I not been an officer.”
“I’m a second-generation Salvationist,” says Michelle.
Her mother’s family attended another church but her mother was drawn to the Army as a teenager. When Michelle’s mother was 16 and decided to change her denomination, her parents needed to give their consent, which they gladly did.
“In fact, my grandmother made my mother’s first soldier’s uniform,” Michelle smiles.
Michelle, in her turn, went through all of the discipleship programs that The Salvation Army had to offer.
“I sensed a calling to ministry at the age of 13,” she says, “and I’m grateful for the many leaders who invested in my life.”
When she was 14, Michelle was encouraged to take soldiership classes. While she had no concerns about the commitment involved, she didn’t feel she was at that point yet.
“I understood the vow, as much as any 14-year-old could,” she says, “but knowing that, I wasn’t quite ready to make that decision.”
A couple of years later, an older, wiser Michelle sought out her corps officer and was enrolled as a senior soldier at the corps in Springdale, N.L.
By 1999, Michelle had become a youth pastor at Bonavista Corps, N.L., where Jim Mercer was serving as a youth leader and making plans to become an officer. When she called him to find out how his candidate’s interview had fared, their conversation lasted four hours.
Within a year, they were engaged, and Jim had postponed his officership plans for a year to wait until the newly married couple could attend the College for Officer Training in St. John’s, N.L., together.
“That began the journey,” says Michelle’s husband, Major Jim Mercer.
“As much as I felt happy and fulfilled with what I was doing, I knew it wasn’t fully what God had intended for me.” —Major Michelle MercerObedience
Michelle would have been quite content to remain a youth pastor. But where Jim resigned from his teaching position with a sense of relief and release, she resigned with a very heavy heart.
“As much as I felt happy and fulfilled with what I was doing, I knew it wasn’t fully what God had intended for me,” says Michelle. “It was gradual, but it was a matter of eventually aligning myself with what I knew was God’s calling on my life.”
Michelle believes that there’s a link between the depth of our relationship with God and our willingness to follow him where he calls us to go.
“Whatever it is that God calls us to—officership or another avenue of ministry—I think God just needs our ‘yes,’ ” she concludes. “It’s about obedience, responding in relationship to grow closer to him.
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