A chance meeting with Salvation Army officers through her daughter’s school began a stirring of hope and joy within Kate.
My daughter Tahlia was at primary school and she came home, and she said, “Mum, can I go and hang out with the Salvos at school, they are doing gatherings on Tuesday afternoons?” And I was like, “Yeah, why not; off you go.”
So, she went and when I had to go and pick her up, I met Bellarine Peninsula Salvation Army officers (ministers), Diane and Peter Hobbs and their two little kids.
They cared about people; they took the time to talk to the parents and get to know them. They wanted to know where you had been and what you’d been doing and how your life was going, and mine was pretty crap.
I lost my mum, and between losing my mum and dad, I had a stillborn baby and I lost my best friend as well. I’d stay at home all the time and basically lie in bed all day. I had no motivation. I just didn’t care. I’d never go anywhere.
Pete and Di just listened and didn’t judge me. Pete sort of got me out of the house a bit more to do things. I started volunteering at the Salvation Army op shop. It got me out and about and I met people that I never thought I’d meet. It’s quite interesting the people you meet at the op shop.
I also started helping with an open air music program at the primary school. I drive the kids over there on a Tuesday night and then I bring them back to the primary school. I help with youth group too. I help with anything basically — anything and everything!
Being part of The Salvation Army has helped my daughter. We come on Friday nights for youth group and that’s helped her a lot. And it’s helped me, too. It’s brought us a lot closer together. We watch each other grow. She’s loved seeing me being able to get out and about and not just lying at home in bed doing nothing. I’ve even giving up smoking!
I don’t go to ‘church’, but I come to The Salvation Army brunch every second Sunday. Everyone gathers around and we have breakfast and after that they do a reading from the Bible and we sit there and answer questions. I wouldn’t go to a church — no way! But this, I will. It’s good. I love it. Everyone gets to be together and enjoy each other’s company for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning.
We do Bible study as well and we went to Hillsong (Christian conference in Sydney) last year and this year. It’s awesome there; so many people and no-one judges anyone. It’s good! And I’ve been to The Salvation Army commissioning of officers in Melbourne, and to the Salvos’ ‘Still Others’ conference last year as well.
I normally wouldn’t do anything but in the past eight years or so The Salvation Army has taken me from doing nothing, to doing everything!
As told to Lauren Martin.