My Life Is Changed Forever

I became involved in The Salvation Army around the age of 12. I had a school friend bring me to the youth programs. I was brought up in a single–parent home. My mom was always working or out doing her own thing. I really didn’t have any rules and was on my own most of the time.

From the youth programs I started to go to church. There I found the guidance I needed. I went on to work for two years at Camp Sebago, where I accepted Christ.

After high school, I got married and moved away from my hometown and had two wonderful girls.

Fast forward 20 years. I moved my mother from our small town of Berlin, N.H., to Concord. At the time she was going to church at The Salvation Army. I thought I was too busy with my girls to go to church.

After my mother passed away, I slowly returned to church, getting involved with little things at the corps. I kept telling my friends that I thought God had a bigger plan for me. I should have used a different word than big.

I remember this day so clearly. I was doing housework when my phone rang; it was Captain Kim Belanger asking if I had time to talk. Not a good sign. She told me that the homeless shelter director had left and they needed someone to run it. My first reaction was “no.” I knew of the shelter but had never set foot in it. I had no experience in social services except for volunteering one day a week at the food pantry. I told her I would pray about it.

For the next three days, the shelter was the only thing on my mind. I kept coming up with reasons not to do this. I had worked in the dental field for more than 28 years. I was making very good money and my youngest daughter was going off to college.

That Sunday, Captain Shaun preached on following God’s plan. I went up to the mercy seat and gave it all to Him. I said, If this is your plan, I will do it and I know you will be right by my side.

Four weeks later, I arrived for my first day on the job. I was confronted by a very angry man in his 40s who was avoiding the AA meeting that the former director had required him to attend.

I took a deep breath and prayed, “Lord give me the tools I need to deal with him.” I felt a great calmness come over me and thought, If he doesn’t go to the meetings, what is he going to do to stay sober? I told him to go think about his feelings, write them down, and then come back. He returned. We had our discussion, and he attended the meeting.

Well, that was more than five years ago. That man is still sober, has custody of his daughter, is working full time, and has an apartment.

When I came to the shelter, it needed money. I had never written a grant proposal in my life and had no idea how to find funding. I just kept giving it all to God to lead me. And I found grants and other funding sources. I would pray over every grant proposal we submitted, saying, “If this is your will, let us receive this funding.”

In my five years here at the shelter, I have seen many changes in so many lives. I was accustomed to working with doctors, lawyers, and professionals. Now I work with homeless men and women—most with drug and alcohol issues and mental illness.

I wake up every day and thank the Lord for allowing me to do His work. I love my job! I have a saying here at the shelter, “God puts you here for a reason,” whether it is for you to come into someone’s life or for someone to come into yours.

My life is changed forever because of The Salvation Army and my trust in God.

Source: Good News, The Salvationy Army

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