My first year as an officer

By Ryan Miller, Lieutenant

Alaska in the spring—the white twilight of winter fades into longer, sunny days—finally!

I cannot believe so much has happened in my first year as an officer. I’ve experienced the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, including the majestic moose eating the trees in our yard.

Some days imitated the dark days of an Alaskan winter, like when the temperature warmed up to melt the snow and then froze again at night, leaving the corps parking lot a solid sheet of clear glass. With vehicles sliding perilously close to each, corps members bonded, forming a chain to help people ice skate to the building in their dress shoes. My life flashed before my eyes as the door of the 15-passenger van almost slammed into the side of my head, missing me by an inch. These days illustrate the difficulties and spotlight lessons learned and memories created.

However, even in the darkest days of winter the light dances off the snow and frost on the trees, showcasing the majesty of God’s creation. I have discovered that we choose whether we focus on the darkness or the beauty of whatever life throws at us.

As the summer sun replaces the dark days of winter, I rejoice that in my first year of officership even the dark days have a beauty and light to them—ultimately, the sunny ones far outweigh the dark ones.

The many “sunny” days encouraged us in our ministry. We were able to bring some light to a family grieving the loss of a 22-year-old mother of three, providing physical, emotional and spiritual stability. Added to this are sunnier days of enrolling five new soldiers of The Salvation Army Anchorage Corps—soldiers energized and excited to expand the kingdom of God. Certainly a bright moment was opening a high quality community center that people are excited about, that will empower them and lead them to a life-saving relationship with Christ. Happily, through all of this we were able to do everything as a family.

When certain situations careen around us, sliding out of control like we did on the ice sheet on the corps parking lot, we can give thanks that we have people who can help us press the brakes and from a chain to lead us to solid ground. We can always take firm footing in the knowledge that even Christ who lived on this earth a short time was able to confidently say, “it is finished” on the cross, even though he had multitudes of people to lead to the Father.

We rejoice that we are able to fall into the arms of Christ and know that in our future years of officership our calling will be sustained—through Christ and the Spirit’s guidance we will be able to fulfill the mission of going out and making disciples.

A year into officership, sitting in the sun enjoying the beauty of Alaska, I am completely amazed at the wonderful time I’ve had this first year. Even though I know more dark winter days will punctuate the sunny ones, I eagerly look forward to many years as an officer of The Salvation Army. I know that whatever life throws at me, the sun will always shine through.


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