Commissioning: A testimony from the 2019 Service of Appointments

Catalyst of compassion

By Lucy Vargas, Lt. –

Six hundred and sixty-two days ago my session mates and I arrived at the beautiful campus of the College for Officer Training, a little piece of heaven just off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Each of us excited, nervous and a little confused…wondering who made the mistake of accepting us as the future officers of The Salvation Army? Little did we know then that God made no mistake at all.

We came together as strangers but stand before you today as brothers and sisters sharing in this calling of compassion, focused on God’s heaven-purposed mission.

Our lives have been transformed and still, we can each testify to a time where that was not the case. Our lives were not as it is in heaven. We each have experienced great loss, depression, addiction, hopelessness and debilitating regret. Every single one of us on this platform can tell you of a time where life did not seem worth it. Most can even tell you of a specific person who caused this pain, enough to make us question if there even was a heaven to look forward to.

For me it came easy to doubt. I was not raised in the Christian church and while I have a family who did their very best to teach me good, it seemed I was more concerned with the bad that the world had to offer. Questioning God’s existence was not surprising and before I knew it, I was the person causing pain. Everything I represented was not as it is in heaven.

Yet you would be surprised to know that all it took was one compassionate person to open this reality of heaven into my life. Someone who was willing to love me enough to show me who Jesus is, even when I did not deserve it.

A catalyst of compassion truly describes our journey into officership. The phrase “it takes a village” is quite an understatement because while we most certainly can identify a village of people who have impacted us deeply by changing the trajectory of our futures, the truth is we wouldn’t want to leave out anyone who has had a genuine contribution in the shaping of our lives through prayer, support and investment. It is the people who have been willing to be used by God who have helped bring us to this very moment in time.

Ephesians 4:32 is our session verse: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We are the beneficiaries of the gift of forgiveness, compassion and kindness from Jesus. It is by his grace that we stand before you today as the Messengers of Compassion. Not because of anything we have accomplished, but rather because of the compassion of Christ which has been lavished on us everyday by people just like you.

This kind of love is not some foreign experience; it is the hand that has embraced you, the hand that has fed you, the hand which has reached out when you were unable to do so.

Jesus is the initiator of these willing hands, and he is as available to you as he is to me. Jesus is the catalyst of compassion which has made all of us who we are today.

We are ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

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