Clover trusts in God 100 per cent, knowing he will continue to direct her future.
I grew up in Melbourne, in a practising Catholic family. I remember in Year 7 trying to understand who God was during Mass at school. I felt as if, in some way, he was speaking to me.
When I was 12 or 13, I would have conversations with God. They were more ‘big picture’ focused; I didn’t really understand what a relationship with him was all about. I would go to Bible studies and hear people talking about a personal relationship with God and that Jesus was their best friend, but I couldn’t relate to that.
I know now that my faith journey was, and is, one of desire and persistence, but it took years for me to realise that.
In Year 12 I went on a blind date with my now husband, Lyndley. Six years later we were married.
We then did the ‘good migrant thing’ (I was born in India and came to Australia in 1971 and Lyndley was born in Mauritius, arriving in Australia in 1967) and worked hard, paid off land, and built a house. I was looking forward to being a stay-at-home mum to our son and daughter.
We attended a Catholic church but wanted to find something local. Also, I was suddenly feeling disconnected there, so we tried a few different churches.
I didn’t know The Salvation Army was a church, so I didn’t even try going there. Then we got a flyer in the mail about a marriage seminar being held at the Rowville Salvation Army, which at the time was a church ‘plant’ in an old shed.
As we drove past, we didn’t know if we would be allowed to go as we weren’t part of the group, but a Salvation Army soldier (member), Kevin Lumb, waved us in, introduced us to families with children, made us coffee and we felt at ease and warmly welcomed.
The Salvo officer (minister), Sam Hancock, had a good sense of humour and was a good speaker, so we left that day with something we could apply to our lives.
A lady from the church also delivered some chocolates to us, offering to help with anything we may need. We started going to church there — it was raw and real.
At that time I was working through some personal issues and talking to Jesus, telling him that I didn’t know what to do. I realised that this was what a personal relationship was all about — I was talking to Jesus when I was in a mess and he was there and real.
I was part of a life (Bible study) group at The Salvation Army, which gave me a sense of belonging, and helped create the environment for God to do his work in me.
I experienced God’s faithfulness. He showed me that he wanted me to minister, from welcoming people to preaching. Before this, I had found it difficult to even pray out loud, but he empowered me to step out.
Then Sam and his wife Ev started talking about us becoming Salvation Army officers and Lyndley wanted to accept a role in Queensland as a Salvation Army Red Shield Defence Forces representative.
I’d just had a baby girl, Mum had retired, my sister was around the corner, and we’d literally just put up a white picket fence. Life was perfect and it seemed God wanted me to leave and go to practically a foreign country!
Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 and 6, about trusting in the Lord with all your heart, became even more real for me. I knew I had to leave everything and trust God 100 per cent.
I became an envoy with Lyndley, then a Salvation Army officer and knew God would direct our future paths. On the beach in Mooloolaba (Qld) one day I had a vision from God giving me the word ‘relentless’. This is what his love is, it doesn’t stop.
I have been on this journey for 19 years, and at the beginning I didn’t think I would last one week. But God has led me every step of the way. I know that will continue as he works to develop me, love me and open doors for the future.
Clover Fabre serves at The Salvation Army’s Gold Coast Recovery Services (Fairhaven).