‘The Lord went ahead of them’

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Cadet recounts her summer assignment.

By Leah Fowler, Cadet –

From the moment I received the envelope revealing where I would spend my summer, I felt anxious; however, it was from that moment that I knew the peace of God and the joy in relying fully on him.

Exodus 13:21, during the account of the Israelites’ departure from Egypt, states: By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night” (NIV). In the middle of a story of courage, this encouragement comes from God–the reminder that he is always with us, wherever we go.

It was this encouragement that I, and the rest of the Joyful Intercessors Session from the College for Officer Training, held to as we traveled throughout the USA Western Territory. For seven weeks, we ministered in every location and situation imaginable, and during this time we were grown, stretched, supported and built up in ministry as we trusted in God’s leading.

Staying in Southern California, I faced my first challenge: commuting to the city of Burbank, which meant miles of freeways and chaotic Los Angeles traffic. While not difficult for some, for me, a driver new to these motorways, it was terrifying. The Lord grows us in ways we rarely expect, and from a tearful first day, driving would become a ministry, my devotional time, and an opportunity to pray for my city. The Lord indeed goes before us as we travel, and provides blessing in each mile when we follow him.

Most cadets find their greatest joy on summer assignment through the people they meet. We see the Lord work through their lives, and in our own. Certainly this was true for me, as I was welcomed into the Burbank Corps and community by officers, soldiers, children and friends of the corps. While I participated in ministries that I expected–Sunday meetings, summer day camp and social services–it was in the small, unexpected moments that I discovered the richest ministries. From learning about the delicacy of Colombian hot-dogs, to the patience of my corps officer in trying to teach me to crochet during women’s Bible study, to making labels for a newly renovated food pantry, I truly saw the joy in ministry. In those moments of community–learning about the lives of congregation members, singing camp songs with children, and helping in the background–I found myself challenged, and energized, to take courage in the Lord at all times, wherever he leads me.

My prayer is that the Lord would continue to work in the places the Joyful Intercessors called home for summer assignment, and richly bless all of those officers we were privileged to serve alongside. The joy of the Lord is our strength and our courage, to him be all the glory and praise!

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