A security alarm installation at Kalgoorlie Salvation Army opened the door to faith for Cameron.
I have been dealing with The Salvation Army as a contractor for years.
I run the technical side of my family’s security business and we installed an alarm about 10 years ago at Kalgoorlie Corps (church) in WA, so I’ve been in and out of there as a contractor since then. From that I built up a good friendship with Captain Mark Schatz, who was The Salvation Army officer (minister) there at the time.
In 2016, my wife and I were having issues. Mark suggested coming in for marriage counselling, and that changed from relationship counselling to anger management counselling.
I was very angry at the time and had started drinking a lot—I was drinking up to three bottles of whisky a week. It was getting to the point where I would have considered myself a functioning alcoholic.
Mark suggested I do The Salvation Army Positive Lifestyle Program (PLP). I agreed, but I said to him, “Don’t try to get me to come to church.” I’d never had any form of faith in my life.
Over that Christmas period, the PLP program was put in recess, and I took a backward step. On New Year’s Eve, I ended up drinking to the point where I still don’t remember parts of the night.
When I told Mark that, he said to me, “Well, we need to get back into PLP.”
On the first PLP session back, Mark observed, “You obviously feel very comfortable here”, because I had been spending a lot of time installing a CCTV system at the church and just hanging out with the guys staying in the temporary accommodation there.
He ended up inviting me to church, saying, “You don’t have to believe, just rock up.”
He ended up inviting me to church, saying, “You don’t have to believe, just rock up.” I went to church and felt very comfortable there. Mark gave me one of his four-week challenges, which he’s well known for.
The challenge was that I would rock up to church for four weeks in a row, even if I didn’t like it. If I still didn’t think it was for me at the end of the four weeks, it wouldn’t be mentioned again.
At the end of that four weeks I decided that, yes, it was the place for me, but I still wasn’t a 100 per cent believer.
During Easter 2017, we had a Passover meal on the Saturday night. About an hour after I got home from that event, I experienced a miracle.
All of a sudden, I believed! I went to the service on Sunday and I was seeing things completely differently. I gave my heart to Jesus that day and never looked back.
My outlook has changed significantly. I look at the world with a lot more purpose and I’m a lot happier and more content within myself.
For several years I had (so I found out) been known as a very angry and hostile person, but now people say I am happier, friendlier and not angry all the time.
I was enrolled as a soldier (Salvation Army member) this year and I’ve preached a sermon. Next year I’m starting a Certificate IV in Ministry and Theology.
I feel like I’m being led towards youth pastoral care. It’s nothing I’d ever considered before, but I feel that’s where God is taking me.
I can see myself going to college and becoming a Salvation Army officer one day. It’s a little while away, but I do feel that it’s somewhere I am heading.
As told to Lauren Martin. For more stories of faith, visit others.org.au.