Even after a full week of classes, I can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than at the College for Officer Training’s Information Weekend, along with 48 delegates from all across Canada. Enthusiasm was evident, even in the midst of seeking answers to questions about serving as an Officer. Many great memories included: the fun and fellowship of a ‘Get to Know You’ games night that removed the label of ‘stranger’ and replaced it with ‘friend’; lectures by experienced Officers (who explained the Training College program and expectations of full time ministry); a panel of Officers from the Prairie Division who shared their values, new lessons learned, current challenges, and the many blessings and fulfillment of working for the Lord; and meals shared together which gave everyone an opportunity to share and gave delegates the opportunity to ask questions of the Officer or Cadet joining them.
There is something wonderful to be said of people setting themselves apart and considering letting go of their current possessions, family and friends to enter full time ministry in The Salvation Army. Both singles and married couples came to the right place this past weekend to look deeply into the feelings they are experiencing about God’s call. As they engaged in such thoughts and feelings about their relationship with God, their hearts and minds became enlightened when they had the opportunity to tour and spend time at CFOT, Booth University College, the Library and the fantastic tour of our cadets’ residence, on Waverley.
Cadets had an opportunity to attend the Saturday night Coffee House. This was a successful night of fun and fellowship. Over all the chatter and noise of a ‘board game frenzy’, I heard laughter and contentment ringing through as relationships were being built amongst conversations and sharing of personal stories. This allowed walls to be torn down and opportunities made to have practical discussions about Training — with questions like, “Where would my child attend school?”, “What childcare is available?”, “Do I really need a vehicle?”, “Other than classes, what does a Cadet do?”, and “What would I need to bring with me?” Nothing can take the place of making an actual visit to see the real deal. I speak from my own experience of attending the first information weekend two years ago. It was a very enriching and encouraging experience.
Sunday was the highlight of the weekend for many. Worship was lead by Cadets and Officers and amazing testimonies:
Troy Nelson shared that God is moving in his life and that he has felt the call to Officership consistently, acknowledging it is all in His time, that nothing is impossible with God.
Wanda Linthorne shared that since giving her heart to the Lord she is not fulfilled in just attending church but feels called to do more, that God is moulding her not only into a Christian and Soldier, but also leading her to Single Spouse Officership, with the vision to make a difference in her world for God. She Shared that so many times—God takes her breath away, and this weekend would be one of those times.
Cadet Kim Chan, also shared her testimony, about the people and places where God moved in her life—because He sees the bigger picture. Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus” is a significant verse of Scripture that, even now, carries a theme in her Spiritual Journey with God.
It was a Spiritually moving prayer time after Commissioner William Francis brought forth the message of R.S.V.P. What is your response? There was a signing of Covenant Cards and Commitment time—many decisions were made over this weekend. Questions have been answered. Hearts and minds were enlightened and encouragement was abundant.
No greater peace can be experienced than when one submits their life over completely to God for His service. God calls us all into a relationship with Him, this is the first call. The desire to do more for Him in ministry is the second. Commissioner Marilyn Francis asked, “Are you living in the perfect center of His will? Steep yourself in God’s Word, get to know Him, listen to his voice, and respond!
My new friends, be assured of my prayers for you as you open your lives to a lifetime of ministry in His Name. I assure you of the peace and contentment that follows answering His call. He will equip those He calls. May God Bless you all in these special days.
Cadet Tonia Street
Ambassador of Holiness