"I feel like Samuel in the Old Testament,” laughs Lieutenant Samuel Tim. “God had to ask the prophet three times to do his bidding.

“I heard God’s voice in Nigeria, in Vancouver and in Winnipeg, and it took three times for me, too, to answer: ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ ”

Serving God
Originally from Nigeria, Lieutenant Tim is a third-generation Salvationist who was born at the training college when his parents were cadets there.

“Being in The Salvation Army all my life, this is all I know,” he says. “I’ve sung in the singing company, I’ve played in the band, I’ve gone the whole nine yards!”

He was enrolled as a junior soldier when he was seven and became a senior soldier at 17.

Lieutenant Tim put a great deal of thought into his decision to enrol.

“I wanted to make it my own personal journey,” he says, “and at that point in my life, I knew it had to be personal in order to have meaning. When it came down to it, I wanted to serve God.”

Journey to Vancouver
That desire to serve led him from Nigeria all the way to Vancouver.

While searching online one day, Lieutenant Tim stumbled across the War College.

“I saw what they were doing in Vancouver, ministering to the Downtown Eastside,” he relates. “God put it in my heart that this was what he wanted me to do.”

He prayed about it because this would involve a huge shift in his life. He would have to leave his family, friends and printing business in Nigeria—life as Lieutenant Tim knew it—without any assurances and travel to a different land, life and culture.

“But I also knew this was where God wanted me to be,” he says, “so I moved to Vancouver in 2003.”

Even more than when he was in Nigeria, the War College taught Lieutenant Tim what it was like to be in full-time ministry. And at Southmount Citadel, he met Mary, whose parents were officers in Vancouver, and they were married in 2005.

New Home
In 2012, Lieutenant Tim was chatting with a friend who lives in Winnipeg.

“Something clicked,” he says. “I got off the phone and said to Mary, ‘We should move to Winnipeg.’ She immediately agreed. Mary is a Prairie girl and she was literally jumping up and down with excitement!”

The move was an act of faith. They didn’t have jobs to go to, but they trusted that God would provide.

And he did. Mary got a job working as a bookkeeper and he was hired as the youth outreach co-ordinator at the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre, where he had the opportunity to work with immigrants and refugees.

And within 30 seconds of the Tims walking into Weston Community Church, they knew they had found their new spiritual home.

Step by Step
“My friends kept asking me, ‘When are you going to the training college?’ ‘You should be an officer,’ ” says Lieutenant Tim.

“I’d reply, ‘No, no, no!’ I went to Winnipeg to get a good life, not to become an officer.”

The final step for him was when he was asked to lead the service one morning. After he preached, he heard God ask him, “How do you feel?”

“I felt peaceful,” he reflects. “I realized that, looking back, God had a plan.”

Step by step, he’d prepared him for officership as he undertook greater and greater responsibilities. Whether singing with the songsters in Nigeria, ministering in Vancouver or leading worship in Winnipeg, he realized he’d been in full-time ministry since he was 17.

"I was ready to be an officer, but I was the last to know.”

Lieutenant Tim became an officer in 2015.

Answering the Call
“You can serve God as a layperson or as a soldier,” Lieutenant Tim believes. “There’s no difference in my faith now that I am an officer as opposed to when I was a layperson.

“If you are fulfilled with what you are doing, that’s fine, but if God wants something more from you, listen. He may have to ask you three times, but when he does, answer!”

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