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Jun9TueFrom camp nurse to senior soldier to the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. June 9, 2020 by Peace Lin(Above) Peace Lin (centre) was the camp nurse at Newport Adventure Camp, part of the Army’s Ontario Camping Ministries, for three summers (Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Richardson)
If you have been to a Sunday worship service at The Salvation Army’s North York Temple in Toronto, or watched our livestream on Facebook, you would have seen me hopping between the timpani and glockenspiel, and sometimes dancing while I play the bass drum. I didn’t grow up in the Army and would never have imagined this would be a passion for me.
I grew up in a Methodist church in Taiwan, but when my family decided to move to Toronto in 2009, we settled at a Pentecostal church near our home. I didn’t know anything about The Salvation Army until I was looking for a summer job related to nursing, which I was studying in school. I ended up working as the camp nurse at Newport Adventure Camp near Huntsville, Ont., part of the Army’s Ontario Camping Ministries, for three summers. I thought it was a chance to try something new. Little did I know that the Lord was about to take me on a life-changing journey.
It was incredible to participate in his amazing work in the lives of children who attended the camp, but he was also stirring my heart and solidifying my faith at the same time. Not many things can top the experience of sharing my testimony as an immigrant kid with a bunch of Tibetan teenagers under the breathtaking sunset of Skeleton Lake.
Another special memory was a dedication campfire night, when the campers burst into singing Cornerstone by Hillsong Worship. After they finished, we asked if they wanted to make the decision to follow Jesus.
At the end of my third summer, I was invited by a couple of my camp staff friends to attend Territorial Music School (TMS) at the Army’s camp in Jackson’s Point, Ont. I didn’t know much about Salvation Army music-making at the time. I brought my violin and joined the worship stream. On the Sunday night, the Canadian Staff Songsters presented an evening of music. They concluded the program by surrounding us and singing I Love You, Lord. My face covered with tears of joy, I praised the Lord and Hebrews 12:1 came to mind: “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.”
After many conversations with leaders, officers and friends at TMS, I knew that I needed to be part of a Salvation Army corps. I want to use the talents and abilities God has given me to serve others.
I am now a soldier at North York Temple. I sing in the songsters, play in the band and sometimes teach violin, piano and theory in the school of music. It’s humbling to look back and see how God led me to the Army and transformed my life in such an unexpected way.
As a registered nurse, I am on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Being a nurse is more than just a job—it’s a calling, a ministry. As a Christian, I represent Jesus at work. It’s humbling to know that God has put me in the position to take care of people and be part of their healing process. When I think about how Jesus was a servant, how he washed the disciples’ feet—that’s the kind of attitude I want to have every day.
Since the pandemic started, things have been more intense. It feels endless and like we don’t have any control. But I’ve had several opportunities to talk to my co-workers about why I’m not scared—because I know who is in ultimate control. Even if I go into a patient’s room who could have COVID-19, I know God is with me, that he’s in charge. As Christians, we have faith in things we don’t yet see (see Hebrews 11:1), and that gives me hope.
I pray that I continue to serve God with all that I am, and that I can be an instrument that motivates more people to be witnesses for him.