Personal testimony

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by Raymond Dihle, Lieutenant –

The following are excerpts from Lieutenant Raymond Dihle’s testimony at the service of commissioning and ordination.

I am very happy to be here today. It has been a journey of about 36 years to get to this place, and I praise God for every minute of it. My testimony to you is that God is good, and I thank him for all that he has brought me through and all that he will lead me through in the future.

I especially thank him for the patience he has had with me as I disregarded his call on my life during my youth and earlier in my adult life. From the age of 14 on, I did everything but what he asked me to do. How could I drop what I wanted to do and do what he wanted me to do? How could I trust him?

After high school, he called—but I turned away to pursue the life of a sailor for 12 years. He was patient as I fumbled through life.

He called again in the late 80s, but I went and hid in the Marshall Islands. Four years later, God called again during a flight over the Pacific Ocean back to the States. What did I do? I got a job at a shipyard in Portland, followed by another job working for Home Depot.

I began to question if I was doing anything worthwhile in life. Is this really all there is? I started to search. Maybe there really is something God wants me to do. He has been calling. Can I really trust him? So, I prayed, “God, show me. If I’m really supposed to labor for you, open the door. Show me the way.”

God brought Major Nancy Davis (now Dihle) into my life. She introduced me to The Salvation Army. Things became meaningful; I felt like my life had a direction. I attended the Life Services Conference at Crestmont; there was a call to officership. I found myself at the altar, beginning to trust God.

Soon I was enrolled at the College for Officer Training, knowing this is what God had called me to do, yet wondering if I could do it, 30 years after last being in school. I was not raised on computers! I had not written a paper, I had not researched a project. There was a time early in my cadetship where I was so frustrated that I said, “God, I don’t think I can do this! It’s too hard! Give me a sign! Show me that you are with me! I’m heading to my car now. Please! Let me see that you are with me. Between here and the car…show me you are with me.”

And there on campus, in the hallway on the top floor of D building, at 9:30 at night, God sent a staff officer to me. He said, “Sleep on it, Ray; give it one more night.”

And I did. And I am still here. God is good. I trusted God more.

God has shown me so much during training. He has shown me—when the amount of work in front of me seems overwhelming—that I should call upon him and he will help me through. He has shown me the amazing power there is in prayer and that I should believe he hears prayers and that he will answer them.

This well-known verse has come to me a great deal lately: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

I have learned many things in my life, especially in these last two years at the College for Officer Training. I’ve learned God is good. I’ve learned God is patient. I have learned to trust God. I have heard his call, and I will serve him all the days of my life.

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