Samantha not only found a great community at the Salvos, she also found God.
My parents never went to church, but I’ve married into The Salvation Army! My husband’s grandparents used to run Salvation Army corps (churches), and they went to Vietnam for the Salvos during the war. His family is very much a Christian family.
After we married, we would go to church every Christmas just for the Christmas service and I loved it. I said: “We should go more often.”
So we started to go every week for the kids. Then I started volunteering.
I have been going to The Salvation Army Mandurah Corps (WA) for about five years now, but it’s really been over the past two or three years that I’ve actually started my journey with God.
I originally began going to Mandurah Corps because the people were lovely. They were the reason I kept going back, because I felt so welcomed and wanted. Then I realised, “I’m not meant to be going just for the people.”
I did the Alpha course (which explores the basics of the Christian faith), which really started making me ask questions and start to think about God. I then did another course, Experiencing God, which was my ‘jumping off the fence’ or ‘getting through that wall’ turning point.
That was the start of my love relationship with God. It’s made a huge difference in my life because up until that point I had been struggling with depression.
Having a young autistic child was really hard and everything just seemed so dark and horrible, and then I came to this realisation that there is a God and that he does love me.
Everything since then has been so much brighter and easier; even when I face troubles, they just don’t seem anywhere nearly as horrible as they used to be.
Now, I’m studying for a Diploma of Ministry after being awarded a Salvation Army Aged Care Plus Fellows Program scholarship. Without the scholarship I would never have been able to set aside the money to do it.
The diploma is a program based on an internship, so I can do 15 hours a week in my corps plus 10 hours a week study and still fit in all my volunteering there.
I’ve got the love and the spiritual side; now I just need the knowledge. I also do youth leadership and the ‘mainly music’ program and a Saturday program for families.
I am passionate about youth, building relationships with the kids and knowing that they’ve got somewhere they can go and someone who cares for them. I want them to feel that they can come to The Salvation Army, that it’s a safe place, that they can grow and they can have friendships here. That’s really important to me.
First appeared in Others magazine