Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cast Down but not Destroyed

A thought from “Cast Down but not Destroyed”, history of the SA during the years of the 3rd. Reich.

During WW2, the male German SA Officers of call-up age had no choice but to fight. The remaining Officers, male and female, received a letter from NHQ regretting that, as there was not enough money to pay them, they would have to obtain suitable secular employment as well as running the Corps & pastoring whoever remained of their flock, and do the best they could as far as the Regime would allow them. Contact with the UK was all but severed, preserved only by roundabout clandestine means.

Zwickau is near Chemnitz (formerly Karl-Marx Stadt, in the Dresden area – both Chemnitz & Dresden now have Corps again.)

Zwickau was fairly typical of Corps in Eastern Germany. The Hall was damaged, but useable, but uniform-wearing was banned, and meeting together very difficult. The town was full of refugees, including some Officers and SA soldiers, towards the end of the War, particularly from Dresden. When the Americans marched in, the female Officers joyfully went back to being Corps Officers, and uniform-wearing and worship meetings began again. However, Zwickau became a Russian Zone, uniform-wearing and aThe SA were banned, and the Hall sealed up. The Officers went to the Russian Commander to try and explain about the SA, but this just resulted in the unsealing of the Hall for them to hold their Final Meeting – Harvest Festival. The Officer reports that “the children went crying home because there would be no more SA.”

The male Officer had by then returned from being held as prisoner-of-war, and the erstwhile Officers decided that their call would be best served by continuing their secular occupations, remaining with their peopleand& holding SA meetings as a house Church. People were saved, and joined the Corps in secret. Young people became Candidates, & left in secret for the Training College, all in spite of the suppression. However, they were denouncedto the authorities by neighbours, and had to move, but the SA continued in their new home, as before. Once again neighbours denounced them. This time it was serious – they were warned that if caught again, they would be sent to Labour Camp.

At this point, they decided that in order to continue their calling, they would have to flee with other refugees, and they fled west and once again took up appointments as Salvation Army Officers. Maybe some of those sad children lived long enough to see the SA re-established not so far from their town.

So those Officers managed to live out their Officer-calling and minister to their people in the secular world – maybe that’s a lesson we can take from them,wherever we are living and working now outside of Officership. They weren’t Officers, yet their calling was still being fulfilled. Yet when they felt that they could no longer do this, they returned to Officership as this was the way they felt they should then fulfil their calling.

Others, in countries such as Czechoslovakia, have chosen to remain Officers and were sent to Labour Camp, where they still managed to minister to people, and so fulfil their calling. So it’s not rank or title which enables us to fulfil God’s call to us, but the life we live and the words we speak in the situation in which we find ourselves.

Margaret Day
Former Officer
UKT

Monday, June 23, 2008

Logos; God's Reason - His infinite Goodness in All Matters

Logos (Greek) is to me the most important term in philosophy and religion. It derives from the verb to count, tell, say, or speak (a truth or fact). The primary meaning of logos is: something said; by implication a subject, topic of discourse, or reasoning. Secondary meanings such as logic, reasoning, etc. derive from the fact that if one is capable of intelligence and reason are assumed. Its semantic field extends beyond to include the word "logic". The Gospel of John identifies Jesus as the incarnation of the Logos; supreme Truth and Reason. I’ve always been fascinated when sermons use John’s ‘In the beginning was logos and logos was with God’ … It surprises me that so few preachers clarify or define that at the heart of logos is the mind of God, the centre of all reason and logic.

Two months ago today my life turned upside down! All sense of logic and reasoning was lost in a matter of minutes. I suffered a stroke and the final results are still not known. At first I was told I had suffered a slight stroke and a few days later I was advised that there might be some permanent damage to the left side (loss of movement in my arm and leg and partial paralysis of my facial muscles) Two weeks later, following a brain scan, came the news that it was a massive stroke and I heard hushed voices suggesting that I would never walk again.

The first few days subsequent to the stroke brought the inevitable question, ‘Why me God’? Someone of a different background or faith might have asked ‘Is there a God’?. For me, being in a stroke ward with some 50 or 60 other victims, the majority unable to move or communicate, it became more a matter of thanking God that I still had partial mobility and only a slightly slurred speech. I was surrounded by a host of supportive Christian friends and bombarded by e-mails from family and friends from near and far. It was then that I moved into a private intellectual and spiritual world of reflection and determined that no-one but God and I would decide my fate.

Jacob Needleman, a favorite Judeo-Christian philosopher whose writing was introduced to me while an undergraduate student, has written a great deal about ‘remembering …One of the notions that he introduced in his book, The Heart of Philosophy, is that true philosophy involves a kind of agonizing, or’remembering’ -- it has to do with the dual nature of man -- that part of us is here in this physical body, in this three-dimensional world, and another part of us partakes of the infinite, of the absolute, of the Platonic or spiritual realms. The fact that we have these two parts to us creates an inescapable tension. And real philosophy is in effect understanding this and really beginning to deal with it. Needleman says we're creatures in two worlds -- the world beyond this one, and the one presently experienced. And Socrates' understanding of philosophy is one of the ways to help us remember, feel, hear the call of something in us that is from a much greater reality. It's what he called ‘remembering’ -- It helps us to remember that there's something much greater in ourselves. It's a kind of suffering, but it's creative suffering. It’s what the existential philosophers write about a lot – angst.

I have known very few people personally who have suffered a stroke… it was a distant experience. Now it’s up close and personal- I have suddenly become an existentialist philosopher! However, as Needleman points out, ‘you don't get the sense of great hope with the existentialists, at least some of them. You don't get the sense that there really is a deeper, higher reality. With much of what we call existentialism -- the sense that we are human beings poured like metaphysical freaks, cast adrift in a meaningless universe, and suffering this weird thing called freedom.’

Needleman is speaking about a vision of human nature that truly says there is meaning, great meaning, inside us and outside of us too. And, the suffering is that, we feel it exists, but we're out of contact with it, and we need to find a way to open to it. It's not exactly existentialism.’…’Basically the great traditions have always taught that there is something in us which is godlike, and that there is an inherent joy within us; and that yes, like the Buddhists say, you already are the Buddha; or like the Christians say, Christ has already forgiven you, the kingdom has already appeared. But that doesn't mean we are in touch with it. Those who are, have a very deeply well earned joyousness. But those who just take it as an idea, and as something attractive emotionally may make it look foolish. It can become a very foolish thing, where somebody is saying everything is just fine while the house is burning.

We rebuild ourselves partly by becoming freer from the commentary, so that we can take in the nourishment of real experiences, such as playing with my grand daughter Kaja, on her 6th birthday this week, which is a kind of nourishment of what used to be called the soul, but we don't have a name for it now. If we're willing to accept the suffering that comes from having our opinions challenged. We need to learn to welcome that. That's part of the beginning of true inquiry. We have a term, it's called enlightenment. In the eighteenth century it referred to a kind of rationality which was really in touch with reality. And then we see it in the spiritual traditions, referring to, I guess, a form of consciousness which is in touch with a higher reality. I see that there is a joining there.of being.This is the ultimate purpose of our lives; if the ultimate purpose of human life is to become attuned to this “greater” we're speaking about, then of course every discipline in one way or the other has to contribute to that.’

It was in the building of those ‘remembering experiences’ that my faith for each day and the future rested. I practiced the various calisthenics that the physiotherapist said would make me stronger, at night in the privacy of my hospital room, and during the day I would sneak into the physio-therapy room and practice knee bends, raising myself to full height from my wheel chair, and practicing balancing my weight equally on both legs and feet and yes, I fell more often than I would like to admit; such is life when a part of a stubborn determined spirit! But, it was a combination of the daily physiotherapist sessions coupled with my own private workouts that resulted in Alex, the chief therapist at the rehab center stating when I was discharged two weeks ago, that my progress was nothing short of remarkable; another of the physical therapists called it incredible. Would it be fair to call it a miracle? The answer is pure and simply ‘no’. The miracle lies in all of the moments throughout my life when His grace has inspired, sustained or given me fresh hope, as He does to this day. It would be a slap in God’s face to give up and surrender to something as silly and inconsequential as a possibly passing physical impairment. I was challenged instead to ‘remember’ the goodness of God

"The Lord is GOOD, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7) God's goodness is made visible in what He does for His people. In the passage above the goodness of the Lord is noted for His protecting His people and knowing those who trust Him. God's goodness is not just a theological fact but it is something that can be personally experienced and consequently ‘remembered’.

"How great is your GOODNESS! You have stored it up for those who fear you. You do GOOD THINGS for those who TRUST you. You do this for all to see." (Ps. 31:19 God's goodness is not just a theological truth; ‘Logos’, it is something that is to be experienced. Remembered and shared, "O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: for his mercy endureth forever."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who will sing my song...

Subsequent to reading a book about The Salvation Army, years ago, I began attending Sunday Meetings at a local corps. However, the book’s inspiration was more than one of simply moving me to attend services, it spoke deeply to my heart and “called” me to become an officer even before knowing much about the army.

I wrote to IHQ, seeking information about becoming an officer and was answered by the PR Officer, who later was to be my Training Principal. As suggested by him, I spoke to the CO of the corps I was visiting regularly and began attending the recruit classes and subsequently became a Soldier. My “calling” became ever stronger and it was unique in that I sensed God leading me to the mission field; Russia to be specific. God’s call and claim on my life came to me from reading Russian and SA history. My interest was also piqued by reading about persecuted Christians in Russia and other communist countries. In preparation to follow His lead I began studying the Russian language. It’s noteworthy that The SA work had yet to be reestablished in Russia. Nonetheless, I was certain that I was called to serve there as a SA officer.

My husband and I met as Candidates bound for Denmark Hill. He shared early in our courtship, and often, that his calling was to social services, an area where he had already worked. Throughout our “training” days my call to Russia remained vibrant, however, any desire or willingness to follow God’s leading to serve in Russia was out of the question in the late 70’s; it would be another 15 years before the army’s return there. I not only put that notion out of my head, but also convinced myself that God had “told” me that we were meant to go into Training as “marrieds”, and that my calling to Field and mission work should give way to my husband’s for other areas of work. It seemed so right at the time, but only later have I come to realise that we each had our own individual callings, and we should have remained loyal to them; perhaps sought a possible solution through channels.

We served side by side for many years and left the work mainly because of health reasons; my husband’s health was the over-riding one. We worked in various “helping” jobs after leaving residential work until 1987, but still moved a few times! Subsequently, he became disabled.

I’d always felt that I wasn’t true to my calling and when the work recommenced in Russia in 1991 I understood the call to mission fully. I followed the re-opening of the army’s work in Russia keenly; it was “my” mission field, the place where God had wanted me to go. As I read about those SA pioneers working in Russia I envied them. For a while I felt that God was getting his own back, and I had to remind myself that God’s not like that. I now realise that the way my life unfolded is the consequence of my own decisions, and I can’t blame anyone but myself. When we hear from Session mates, even those having difficult times and/or from those working in third world countries, I know full well who are happier and fulfilled… those who remained true to their call.

So I still have my calling, but can no longer fulfill it. The moral is obviously that, by doing the right thing in a wrong way, I didn’t do the right thing at all,. And by deciding for myself what God wanted, instead of having faith to wait for Him to facilitate the outworking of the calling He gave me, I didn’t do His will. Having said that, I could live with it more easily if we were still Officers, given that as above, I know He called me to the Army to be an Officer, but it can’t be, even in these days of Single spouse Officership; I’m not in a position to go back. We certainly aren’t able to as a couple.

Following our resignation we visited other churches but couldn’t settle anywhere so we remained loyal as soldiers and faithfully serve in a UK corps.

In closing I wonder if other former officers can relate… Often as songs are sung in our corps’ Meetings I come across a line in the verse or chorus and I don't feel I can sing them, those that speak about always doing whatever God asks me to do; making certain promises, etc., as it's those things I didn't/can't/won't be able to do - I'm sure you all know the ones I mean. They are the words in the songs that bring remorse and cause us to reflect anew on a “calling” we left, and through stifled tears our voices go silent… . Quite awkward when someone asks, “why I wasn't singing” - sometimes I have to mime, but I can't sing what's not true as I think it's dishonouring to God; to He who called me to serve…

God bless.

Former Officer
UK

Friday, June 6, 2008

HERE BRING THY WOUNDED HEART...

Here Bring Thy Wounded Heart… (reposted by request)

Just over six weeks ago my life changed completely. It was the end of a wonderfully ‘active’ holiday in England, just 2 days before returning home to the USA and then, a much anticipated two week drive to various corners of the country to visit family and say farewell before making a long-planned move to the UK.

My hostess, and now fiancé Glad, and I stopped for lunch at a restaurant offering a beautiful view of Exeter and its magnificent Cathedral. I had been taking photos at every turn, yet when seeing the immense cathedral from the unique perch provided from the 4th floor vista my interest turned lethargic, as did my interest in the food placed in front of me. What followed is a bit of a blur... Glad kept saying;”your words are slurred.” I had no sense whatsoever that my speech was in the least bit slurred. It was at that time that I began to feel weak so we decided to head back to her SA quarters as I had a number of students' essays to grade (I’d brought work with me to complete on my holiday. ) As we walked to the car park I felt more and more weak and had to lean on Glad as we walked- Glad immediately grasped the gravity of the situation and called the nearest hospital to share her observations and to ask if I should be brought in to be examined.

Twenty minutes later I was being examined and x-rayed and it took the doctors only minutes to determine that I had suffered a stroke. I was immediately checked in and wheeled to the stroke unit. The night brought moments of near panic as the wails of several patients echoed in the dark. There were also 2 visits by orderlies wheeling in gurneys with bundled up yet-to-be-filled body bags !

By the next morning I realised I’d lost complete use of the left side of my body and a rigorous series of tests were begun. IV drips were in place and a heart monitor was attached. I attempted to walk to the bathroom several times only to fall hard to the floor. The staff used a mechanical hoist to move me back to bed and wrote in big letters on the chalk board above my bed ‘do not allow patient to attempt moving about on his own’. I finally understood the extent of my paralysis and my physical limitations now began to impact on my psyche. On that bright sunny morning began for me the dark night of the soul.

Most of us when we encounter major catastrophes in life are fortunate in being able to turn to someone having had a similar experience and who can talk us through both the physical and psychological challenges. I was immediately surrounded by a host of wonderful new friends from the Exeter Temple Corps. The term ‘Salvationist family’ took on once again a very special meaning especially since my own family was thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic. E-mails and ‘Get well’ cards arrived from many parts of the world and were very, very welcome. However, as nightfall came, with friends now heading home came that very real but yet, confused internal world that no-one could have warned me about. It was an unwelcome and totally unknown state that shook and threatened my spiritual resolve. Where and to whom can I turn? This was different...
I took out my New Testament and SA songbook and decided, as we all have done from time to time, just to simply open it and see what words might confront me. These are the words that I first saw (SASB no. 573)
‘From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat;
‘Tis found beneath the Mercy Seat.’
-beneath ? under ? a hiding place ??? a place to escape to ?

Captain Nigel Bovey in his well-researched book ‘The Mercy Seat’ shares the definition of the Mercy Seat as defined by a number of SA and other notables. Most of them refer to the Mercy Seat as a place to seek forgiveness and grace. I would add to their definitions that it's that holy space and place I have visited hundreds of times, most recently just the week prior to my stroke, at the Exeter Temple Corps where the large words inscribed on it are; HERE BRING THY WOUNDED HEART... we seek a present, up-to-date spiritual union with our past in that place where we know a loving Saviour friend awaits. On my hospital bed I brought to Jesus my wounded (physically and psychologically) heart with the words of the song 420
‘I bring my heart to Jesus, with its fears,
With its hopes and feelings and its tears….

As I read those words with eyes blurred, a combination of damage to my eyes from the stroke and tears what I really wanted to do was crawl under the mercy seat and there remain- to hide with only God Himself present...
The Exeter Songster Leader (Rona Walton) on her visit to my bedside shared the words from the Songster selection ‘Prayer’ ,

‘Prayer is … the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye when none but God is near

Bovey shares in his book the concern of David Hammond, a Canadian, that the original purpose of the Mercy Seat is being lost in the transition from being a ‘Penitent Form’ where the big two crisis. Salvation and Sanctification were resolved. Is it too simple to suggest that each of us be allowed to define and seek our own definition of the Mercy Seat and our private reason for holy visits? Am I off the mark in making my hospital bed my Mercy Seat ? This Ascension week Paul reminds us in Eph.4:10 that Christ ascended higher than all the heavens in order to fill the whole universe; by any definition that includes my hospital room. ‘I have a friend O such a friend Who loved me ‘ere I knew Him’ He knows me and He resides with me here, in the stroke ward, and He knows you. He understands my pain and sympathises with me. He is the friend who forgives, restores and renews me physically, psychologically and spiritually.

We come to the Mercy Seat for a number of reasons beyond the obvious. Jesus left His closest friends- and knelt at ‘His Mercy Seat, not for salvation or sanctification but for assurance…it was at a time when friend’s concern, care and empathy didn’t fully bring the necessary spiritual and psychological comfort He sought. He chose a boulder in the Garden of Gethsemane as His Mercy Seat as He tearfully pleaded with His Father. Paraphrasing Henri Nouwen; Jesus created space in His heart for He who is greater, for He whose vision was clearer, seeking the Father’s approval and healing touch. The humanity of Jesus displayed in the garden is what enables Him to step into our human frailty as both our Healer and Intercessor.
He is there for us all when the clouds of doubt roll in; as they do ! We have a Hiding Place- a Mercy Seat.

Dr. Sven Ljungholm
Middletown Corps Ct. USA
(presently under the flag in Exeter UK)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Calling


In one of my classes with young adults with disabilities (I'm on the far left)

We left officership many years ago, just before the birth of our first child, when my husband chose to pursue higher education. It soon became clear, however, that it was one step closer toward his desire to pursue a gay lifestyle and so, about a year later, we divorced. I found myself living in his hometown, not mine. And since I would not divulge the reasons for our divorce, thereby exposing him, it was decided by someone in the Army, and then generally assumed by all, that I must have left him for another man. I’d left the house and took nothing but the baby, clothing and baby furniture – a friend explained much later that it LOOKED like a woman leaving for another man. And she is right. But it was my choice not to expose the truth of our divorce and I didn’t feel I should have to earn faith from those who should have known better.

In time though, I’ve found it easy to forgive people for their need to place blame. The fact is, when you are in a position of ministry (which my husband and I had continued to be even after leaving officership), you truly owe people the answers to WHY. We in leadership don’t have the luxury of privacy when it appears we have sinned; we owe explanations to those who have faithfully followed our ministry. I refused to offer one and forced people to reason out their own. I certainly cannot blame them. It was, however, the first step away from TSA into another church.

The question of “calling” remained with me. Had I truly left my call? I’m not the only person who felt like a fish out of water after leaving a position of spiritual leadership. Subsequent to all my administrative/ spiritual experience in TSA, I became a secretary. Wow; how uninspiring! It eventually led to work in Human Resources, which was a bit more people oriented, but still uninspiring.

The years have brought new things. I pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that opened the door to teaching art classes for a living. I returned to volunteer youth ministry 18 years ago and I married my current husband 16 years ago, a wonderful Christian guy. He is very involved in church leadership and I’m Christian Ed Director now as well. Yet the question of “calling” has remained these many years in the back of my mind.

A few years ago, I attended a Spiritual Enrichment retreat organized by a couple filled with the Holy Spirit, to say the least about them. They were very genuine and transparent and I trusted their spiritual insight and leadership. Now, I believe in Mystery and I’ve experienced it myself, and yet I do tend to be a concrete realist by nature – not a cynic but a skeptic, cautious about matters pertaining to the Spirit’s movement. I must be convinced, and God has always honored that.

Well, it was a spiritually enriching weekend filled with a number of personal “God moments” for me. At our closing worship, the couple conducted a sacramental hand-washing ceremony, a twist on foot washing I suppose. The plan was that, one by one, each of us would step forward as the Spirit led and allow one of them to pour water over our hands and quote a verse of scripture and then the other would dry our hands and offer a personal blessing. Okay, well right there I was on my guard – My first thought was, “Well, at least it’s not a foot washing!” Yet as the pianist continued playing and one by one people stepped forward for their blessing, I felt curiously moved. I sensed the Holy Spirit moving me and stepped forward to respond.

Now, what follows may communicate as clearly to some of you as it did me. As I said earlier, there remained in me a question about the validity of my “calling.” My current church is far removed from TSA and military jargon, and they knew very little about my former officership role and me. However, after my hands had been washed and I stood beside the woman who dried them, she looked me in the eye and said, “You are a captain in God’s army and he has gifted you for His work.” I was flabbergasted. I cried immediately. It was as though God had given her words that would make a special connection with me alone.

Here is the reality of my calling today: I work as an artist teaching art classes to a wide array of people: besides my regular adult and children’s classes, I teach disabled adults at the veteran’s home and disabled children through an organization called Very Special Arts. I’ve done murals with kids in the inner-city and taught art classes at summer camps. I’ve played a key role in developing a variety of children’s/youth ministries in my current church, locally and regionally. I know that bringing ministry to such different kinds of people is a gift and talent that was honed in The SA. None of it was wasted. Yet to finally fully realize that I am still “called” validated all of this for me. It has deeply affected my whole attitude towards my work and ministry.

So my trumpet call to others would be that, YES you are still called, no matter what happened in the Army and no matter how uninspiring your current job may be. He is the Master of reshaping our lives and our ministry. First He must recreate our hearts and souls and then He recreates our work (because we are more precious to Him than our work.) In God’s eyes, our work is a completion of our own value, not the essence of it -- which is perhaps where this whole story should have started not ended.


Victoria Marnich-Reynolds
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Monday, June 2, 2008

When We Became the ‘down and out’!


We had a frequent visitor to our hall; usually in the middle of the night! We had known he'd been there even before we entered the building. A window would be broken or Perspex missing from the lean-to area. He had opportunity to access our community programme three times a week through the day, but no, our visitor preferred to come by night, stay over on the sofa; a comfortable bed for the night, help himself to what he wanted to eat and make a quick exit in the morning.

We were stationed in a beautiful, rural area of the country. Very affluent; there isn't a problem with homelessness, well that's what the locals say, but sadly it's well hidden and people don't want to believe it's happening in their neck of the woods.

I often thought that each time we fixed the broken window and Perspex, we weren't really fixing our "down and out's" problem. If we gave him a key, he could just let himself in, but he was so “out of it”, he would probably break in anyway. He was known for abusing both drugs and alcohol. Professional help had been offered, but to no avail. I often think of our night time "visitor" and wonder what became of him?

I suppose in a sense it reminds me of when I became homeless myself ! I was unable to continue in officership for personal reasons. And, to make things worse, I had no home to go to! I’d given my life to God and The Salvation Army; my home, my car, my employment were all tied in! I had four children to support; what was I going to do now?! I was told by a DHQ officer about all the government benefits I was entitled to, now that I was a single mum; how I needed to get my name on the housing list so that I could get a council property. My head swam as they poured out all the “official” information, but all I wanted to do was continue as an officer, but I wasn’t allowed to; “perhaps after all this is sorted out”, they said.

If it wasn't for the support of my parents who knows where we would be today! They found us a house to rent, and luckily it was not too far from where they lived. My benefits got sorted out and so we had an income to support us. I soon learned though that a life of unemployment was a struggle; benefits were not easy to live on! I lived from giro to giro, on a weekly basis; no one ever knew my struggles, not even my parents!

I cannot help but feel that our Army is not very good at taking care of its own. My experience was one of being taken late at night to the women's refuge. I've never talked through how I was treated; made to feel an outsider. I had to sit through an interview in the early hours of the morning with my four children (aged 3-11) sitting in another room with DHQ officials . They said it was only fair that I was "treated like any other person coming to the shelter". DHQ moved me for my safety, however, I didn't ask to be taken in the middle of the night, and have them remove my children from their beds where they were sleeping soundly. The matter was taken out of my hands. The refuge was horrible; I and the kids all slept together in one bed - we hated it, we were scared and it wasn't home. I hated the pain, and do so to this day. I wish things could have been so different, but that's how it happened.

Another member of the DHQ staff came to visit me the next morning, and said she was appalled at how we had been treated. She took us all home with her, even though she had four kids of her own; she made space for us. Her family loved us, and embraced us with deep Christian affection, and I will always be grateful to this very dear family for all the support given.

As I reflect on this experience of my life I see a much bigger picture of how today I can recall those times and better help others going through similar difficult and heartbreaking circumstances. I understand how hard it is to make ends meet on benefits and live giro to giro. I know how it feels to move to an unfamiliar area. I know the struggles of being a one parent family. Most of all I have learned to rely upon a loving God to see me through each day; to give me the strength to face each situation, to give me hope day by day, and secure my future.

I love the army, and respect our regulations. Nonetheless, they should have been administered with a great deal more love, loyalty, and logic!

Today I continue to serve as an active soldier and local officer in my family's home corps.

Name on File
Europe