It is a great honor and privilege for me to stand before God and before all here today. I stand here in the shadows of great saints, past and present. I stand here as a sinner saved by the grace of God. I am a fifth generation Salvationist whose grandparents and those before them were soldiers, local officers and officers in The Salvation Army.
In September of 1990, at the age of 16, I was at the end of my rope. I was desperate, hopeless and confused. My father was an alcoholic, who not only spent all his money on the “brown bottle,” but also had affairs that my mom knew about. We lived in abject poverty, in one of the poorest high-density suburbs in Harare, Zimbabwe. I recall that some nights we went to bed hungry. I remember vividly the growling of my empty stomach while in class. I never owned more than one pair of shoes at any given time. Most of the clothes I wore were hand-me-downs from my cousins.
Because my father is alcoholic, he used to physically, emotionally and verbally abuse of all us. Many nights my parents would fight, and my siblings and I would end up being involved.
Even though I went to the corps every Sunday, I was filled with anger, bitterness and hatred for my father. At the same time, a couple of young people invited me to a Christian camp. I accepted the invitation and the gospel they preached, accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Though the situation at home did not improve by my becoming a born again Christian, I had peace. God took away my bitterness and hatred towards my father. I now could pray for and forgive my father. I began to pray for him and many others like him to come to know Jesus Christ.
By 1992 I knew that God was calling me to full-time ministry as a Salvation Army officer. I ignored this call and instead went to work in a bank for the next six years. I passed up an opportunity to study accounting at the university, so I could work and financially support my three siblings for whose care I was now responsible.
While attending my cousin’s wedding, my eyes locked with those of a beautiful chocolate brown girl. In due course, I realized her beauty is deeper than her outward looks. I seized the opportunity to hit the floor on bended knee to pledge my eternal love to Rutendo. Seven years later, she is still at my side, even on this all-important day!
Eventually we thought we could just work in ministry without becoming officers. This decision led us to The Salvation Army School for Youth Leadership in Australia. It was through this school that we first came to the United States. While working at Camp Gifford, Washington, Rutendo and I received offers for jobs in Spokane—I as the corps assistant and Rutendo as a child caregiver.
I went to Spokane hoping that one day I would be an international evangelist. I left there knowing that the best thing I could do for the Lord was to touch one life at a time. I witnessed him change radical, lost youth to senior soldiers who were now strong and influential leaders in the corps. God kept whispering to us about officership. I remained stubborn, but the more I worked in ministry, the louder and louder God’s call became.
In 2002 we began to pray and fast every Monday seeking God’s direction. One night I clearly heard God ask me three questions about officership. My answers could not justify my stubbornness. I woke Rutendo up and told her I could not continue arguing with God. Our journey to Crestmont began.
I have learned much in the past two years at Crestmont. I praise God for being part of the Visionaries Session. Prophets like Isaiah, Daniel and others had a vision of God’s redemption plan. In recent history, civil leaders and pastors like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have had visions of unity. I stand here to proclaim as a Visionary, God has given me VISION. God wants me to preach the gospel—with passion and urgency.
As new captains, God has given us a vision. He has given us a vision that…
• The homeless man on the corner of the street will not just get an earthly home, but a home in heaven.
•The AIDS orphans will not need to wonder any more who their father is going to be, for they will have a Father in heaven.
•The hungry mother will not only get a loaf of bread, but will get the Bread of Life.
•The addicted young man will not just enter rehabilitation but into a relationship with Jesus.
•The abused child will find abundant love of God in the church.
•The Salvation Army will not just be the nation’s favorite charity, but will be the world leader in bringing millions of souls to Christ.