Why I do what I do

By Terry Masango, Captain –

It was at the end of a long, tiring day. With the remote in my hand, I was TV channel surfing as I reclined in my favorite chair. The toll of days packed with leading social services programs, music ministries, women’s ministries, youth programs and senior’s Bible Study activities weighed me down. Suddenly, my wife, Rutendo, interrupted me with what she called the best news of the day. I thought this was her gimmick to get me to listen to her stories that never seem to end. I did not listen to hear although I could see her lips move. All I wanted was to relax.

Then I noticed tears streaming down her cheeks. “This must be a serious story,” I thought. “Wait a minute, start from the beginning again,” I said. On other days, this is when I would have gotten the lecture on how much I do not listen.  Today was different. She smiled as she began to relay the great story, and before she concluded it, I was also in tears.

Gabby is a 10-year-old girl who started attending youth programs through the advertising in our community. Although Gabby smiles and laughs like all kids, she and her sisters miss their mother, a 27-year-old incarcerated woman, pregnant with twins. Gabby and her little sisters live with their aging, ailing grandmother. The girls witness various men visit the house to drink, smoke and engage in diverse illicit activities with the their uncle. No one in Gabby’s family is gainfully employed. No one in Gabby’s family has finished high school. There are no positive role models for Gabby.

On this day, Rutendo had showed Gabby, and the rest of the Sunbeam girls, our wedding pictures. Gabby stood up, in front of the whole Sunbeams group and said, “I would like to have wedding like yours, Captain.” She went on to say, “Also, I want to go to college to study to be a lawyer. I do not want to have children before I get married. I do not want to get married before I finish college!”  

How can Gabby have such a dream when her background works so much against her? We, at The Salvation Army, are her role models. This is what The Salvation Army does best—giving hope and dreams to children like Gabby. I will do whatever it takes to prepare the future for Gabby. I might not be there to see Gabby walk across the stage to receive her law degree someday. I might not be there to see Gabby get married in glorious fashion, but I can help her attain those dreams by setting an example for her. Jesus is in the business of transforming lives and Gabby’s is just one example.

I praise God that I am a Salvation Army officer who has been entrusted with the dreams, hopes and futures of such children. This is why I do what I do. I am a conduit of grace to God’s children, Gabby included.

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