Lieutenants JASH—the first nine months
My first year as an officer
Lts. Jay and Ashley Koebel, “JASH,” reflect on their first nine months as Salvation Army officers. They are corps officers in Oceanside, Calif.
June 2011: “Here’s your appointment. Here’s your spouse. Here’s your corps. Here’s your house…. Our prayers are with you.”
J: The month of June was a whirlwind for us. We had so many life-changing events occur at one time, but we embraced them as quickly as they came at us. Before I could even catch my breath from commissioning weekend, I found myself throwing the rest of my belongings in a box and rehearsing for a wedding—our wedding.
ASH: It was definitely a whirlwind after commissioning, but it began with what seemed like a lot of waiting. First, I waited to be accepted as a candidate. Then, I waited to finish two years of training. Finally, we waited to get married. After June 12, the turbines began turning, the engines started revving, and this machine was up and flying. In one week, we were commissioned, appointed, married and ready to go.
J: Although the honeymoon could have been longer, we were excited to start our ministry together. We wanted to do so much, but we needed to remember to sit back and observe. Meeting the people of the Oceanside Corps was great. We were welcomed and quickly became part of this diverse family.
ASH: I love what we do! This is what I know I was meant to do. There is no denying that there are parts that are not amazingly awesome, but they are usually cushioned in good things. The kids’ programs here have been a fast-paced blast. Oceanside has a great group of teens who are talented and hilarious.
J: People of all ages pull together here, which was helpful during the holidays. Christmas was a doozy! We had a fantastic time but definitely encountered some struggles. I know that we do not baptize in The Salvation Army, but this Christmas was baptism by fire. Not only did I learn a lot about other people, but I learned a lot about myself and how important it is to look at each person individually. Often I got hung up in the organized chaos and neglected to seize those moments of compassion that presented themselves. Christianity is relational—I must remember to share God’s love in all I do, no matter the level of craziness.
ASH: Fire is right! The problem I have when I reflect on Christmas is that I begin to hear and see bells, bell-ringers, vans and van problems. Overall it was a great experience, but if you really want to understand it, you should just volunteer at your corps.
J: Married life is great. I never thought I would get married—then I met Ashley. This big-haired beauty loves to laugh, is passionate about people and is following the plan that God designed for her. Really, what more could I ask for; I married my best friend! Sure, we have had some struggles, but that is bound to happen considering the tornado of momentous experiences we had in such a short time. Every day, we candidly debrief together and pray that God will continue to guide us on this roller coaster.
ASH: Married life is great. I never thought anyone could stand my gigantic hair, or that I could actually get it into a bun, but both things have happened! It is amazing to see how God uses marriage. Jay and I are a good match. We knew it when we were dating, but we depend on it in our ministry. God’s not just using Jay or Ashley—he’s making JASH his vessel.