Won by one in Lancaster

Hospitality sergeant makes a difference in one woman’s life.

by Paula Paine, Captain – 

(l-r) Lilly Haines (hospitality sergeant), Martina Vazquez (mom), Seimy Janette Tellez Vazquez, and Captain Paula Paine.

December 21, 2006 was a busy day at the Lancaster, Calif., corps. It started with community care ministries visitation, followed by Adopt-a-Family deliveries, and ended with the corps’ Christmas party. That evening was destined to impact our women’s ministries program in a mighty way.

Our hospitality sergeant, Lilly Haines, is Hispanic and speaks limited English. She has a heart for women like herself, and invited two women and their nine children to our party. Both women were pregnant and alone; one was due to give birth anytime. As I began to interact with them, with translation help, I found two beautiful women who did not know how much they were worth to their heavenly father. They enjoyed themselves at the party and started attending the corps.

On New Year’s Eve we had a watch night service, and the two women came with their children—clapping, dancing and singing during worship. I noticed that the more pregnant woman was uncomfortable; I asked if she was all right and she said “Yes,” although she proceeded to tell me her water had just broken! When I tried to get her to go to the hospital, she said the contractions weren’t strong enough. I discovered that she had no one—literally—to help her through the delivery and no means to get to the hospital.
At the end of the evening, I tried again to take her to the hospital and she insisted that she was fine. I gave her my phone number and told her to call day or night. At 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day the call came. I threw on my uniform and was off to the hospital, where I had the privilege of helping her with the delivery.

It was there I realized what it really means to make a difference, “one women at a time.” I also realized what it meant to be her captain. During the delivery I encouraged her, and as the doctor began to cut the cord, she said, “No, La Capitana.” I was able to cut Seimy’s cord.

She then said to me in limited English, “Pray.” And right there, in the hospital bed, she gave her life to the Lord.

“One Women at a Time” is how we make a difference. Martina is faithful to attend the corps on Sunday. She attends Bible study, Sunday school, and Home League, and brings her children to youth programming.

I thank God for that enthusiastic hospitality sergeant who just wanted to help someone whose journey she had walked herself. We each played a part to Win One Woman for Christ, for The Salvation Army and for the corps.

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