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Nov12ThuFor Cadet Jenelle Durdle, officership, like nursing and teaching, is a calling. November 12, 2020 by Kimberly McIntyre
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(Above) “One of the things about The Salvation Army that resonates with me is that it’s faith in action,” says Cdt Jenelle Durdle
Cadet Jenelle Durdle has always had a helping spirit. Her career as a nurse and teaching in health care prepared her for acceptance at the College for Officer Training in September 2019.
Getting Her Start
“I grew up attending church with my grandmother,” recalls Durdle. “I always had a faith, but it wasn’t until later that my faith became solid.”
Durdle found The Salvation Army when she was 19.
“I started attending Westville Corps, and then Halifax Citadel Community Church with my boyfriend, Dion, who is now my husband, and that’s when my faith started to develop and mature,” she says. “I experienced being embraced by a church family, and people took me under their wing. I grew as a Christian, and I wanted to align my life with who Jesus was.”
Durdle was enrolled at Halifax Citadel Community Church and started studying to become a nurse. “I had a desire to care for people and I felt that’s where God was calling me,” she says.
As a nurse, Durdle taught at the College of the North Atlantic and Nova Scotia Community College in the practical nursing program.
“I loved teaching in the lab but my true passion was in the clinical setting—nursing homes, surgical units and such. It was a wonderful privilege to be a part of the student nurses’ development,” she says.
But by her second year of nursing, the newly married woman started to question, “Is God calling me to be an officer?”
“Having people encouraging me to share my testimony affirmed to me that God could use me in this way,” she says.
“It’s not about who I think I am; it’s being who God wants me to be. God breathed his Spirit into me, and that’s when I really started to dream about officership.”
“Part of my story is my husband’s journey to officership, too,” says Durdle.
“There was definitely push and pull! When I talked to Dion about it the first time, he said, ‘Huh?’ ” she smiles.
“By the time I graduated from nursing, we had two children, and my husband felt a call to ministry, but not necessarily officership.”
It was a long process, but their dream finally became reality when the couple made their decision to attend training.
“We went to the Officership Infor-mation Weekend a total of four times between the two of us over the years!” Durdle laughs now, remembering their attendance at the events held at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg, which allowed them to explore their call to officership “But in 2017, we both felt it was time.”
The Durdles arrived at the training college in September 2019.
CFOT and COVID-19
Durdle’s year, like so many others, was changed by the reality of COVID-19.
Durdle found herself with an opportunity to practise confidence and sharing.
“I started to share some information that was evidence-based,” she says. “It was very stretching. As a nurse, I had the skills needed to find good information, but it was intimidating to share with folks who had greater influence than me.”
Durdle and her fellow students were put to action right away.
“Everybody was very helpful,” she says. “We cared for members of our community who had been travelling.
“I can’t say that I felt isolated from my peers, because within days our faculty had figured out how to do class online. It was weird to engage with a computer screen at first, but now I’m used to it,” she says proudly.
“For us as a family, our contribution to ministry has been doing an online service, and we’ve been able to help with online worship at Heritage Park Temple. All of us now are involved in helping with online ministry across the territory. The cadet body as a whole has been quite active.”
After a career in nursing and teaching, then moving across the country to train to become a Salvation Army officer, Durdle ties the three together in this sentiment.
“One of the things about The Salvation Army that resonates with me is that it’s faith in action,” she concludes. “Like nursing and teaching, becoming an officer is as much a calling as it is a career. The desire to care about people and participate in transforming their lives is similar to journeying with people through their faith.”