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    Natasha Burkett: Mission-Focused

    Natasha Burkett's work with community and family services in Moncton, N.B., is a lifelong dream. January 4, 2022 by Ken Ramstead
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    "I wanted people to see Jesus in me,” says Natasha Burkett, at the Army's food bank in Moncton
    "I wanted people to see Jesus in me,” says Natasha Burkett, at the Army's food bank in Moncton

    “The Salvation Army’s mission statement has always resonated with me for as long as I can remember,” states Natasha Burkett, the director of Moncton’s community and family services (CFS) in New Brunswick. “It’s how I’ve always wanted to live my life."

    A Woman With a Plan

    Born in Moncton, Natasha’s parents were Salvationists who were very active in their corps.

    “They set a strong example,” she says. “Outside commitments just naturally came second to our commitment to The Salvation Army and to the Lord.”

    Natasha had a happy childhood, enjoying her time at the corps, in the community and at school. But when her friends were wondering what they wanted to do with their lives, she had no doubt.

    “There was never really a question,” she states. “I wanted to serve others and I specifically wanted to do it in The Salvation Army. My family volunteered at the corps and CFS—my grandparents ran the thrift store!—and so I fell in love with that at a young age. It’s what I knew.

    “I was very concerned about injustice,” she continues. “I wanted to serve my community and help in practical ways. I wanted people to see Jesus in me, and I was certain about what I wanted to do.”

    With a strong faith and the permission of her parents, the 17-year-old packed her bags and journeyed to William and Catherine Booth College in Winnipeg, now Booth University College.

    “I was certain that was my plan,” she smiles.

    Digging Deep

    But even though she loved Winnipeg, the school and the classes she took—she even met her future husband there—Natasha struggled.

    “In a place where people usually find themselves, build on their faith, mature as Christians, I lost myself.”

    For the first time that she could remember, Natasha doubted God’s will.

    “It never occurred to me that my life wouldn’t unfold the way I planned it,” she smiles.

    Over the next several years, Natasha worked hard at mending her relationship with God.

    “I grew close to him,” she says. “I rediscovered who I was in him. And I did what Christians do: I dug deeper into the Word.”

    Shaping Ministry

    Natasha and her husband moved to Oshawa, Ont., and started attending the corps there.

    “We were surrounded by a very loving, supportive congregation,” she says. “People there lived out their faith boldly.”

    Natasha’s husband worked at the corps while Natasha worked at CFS, where she started to see that particular ministry in a different way.

    “It placed me right at the heart of the kind of ministry I had been longing for,” she says. “The CFS director, Clare Mutton, now retired, led by example. He did CFS differently than I had ever seen it before.”

    The team was very mission-focused. They showed young Natasha that programming should be creative, relevant and relational.

    “I saw them turn typical transactional situations into transformational moments,” Natasha says. “It still shapes my approach to ministry today.”

    “Small But Mighty”

    Natasha took these experiences to heart when she and her husband moved to Moncton in 2003.

    A couple of years after their arrival, Natasha was given the opportunity to join the staff at the Moncton CFS. All these years later, she is still there.

    “This ministry is a busy spot. We’re small but mighty,” Natasha says. “It’s had its share of challenges, but we’ve seen God’s steady provision and protection over this ministry, just as much as I have in my own life. I know I’m where God wants me to be.

    “I’ve worked in other non-profits along the way,” continues Natasha, “but I just can’t see reaching people in any way that matters more than the way that we do it in The Salvation Army. It’s about meeting needs, sharing the love of Jesus and transforming my community. The Army’s mission statement is still relevant today, as it always has been, and that doesn’t change.”

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    Comment

    On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Bill King said:

    Natasha always had a heart for injustice. I am so blessed to watch as has grown into a great Salvationist who loved and served those in need. May God continue to bless your ministry.

    On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Betty Beatty-Powers said:

    I was so glad to come across this article on Facebook. It was exciting to read about Natasha's commitment to such an important ministry. I know her dear parents, Fred and Lorraine, and they have done a wonderful job in raising their daughters to follow in the footsteps of Christ. May God continue to bless Natasha in the years to come.

    On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Major Colleen Winter said:

    That is beautiful Natasha! Yes I remember when you left Moncton for Winnipeg, and all these years later in a wonderful ministry that is so important and needed, especially today. Helping the people find hope in Jesus, as well as through teaching practical every day life skills. May God continue to bless you, as you bring blessing and hope to others!

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