Fiona shares how resolving her issues with God has led her to a supportive family in the Salvos, and beyond.
My journey with the Salvos started when I was dedicated as a baby at The Salvation Army. I went to Sunday school there as well. During my teenage years in Mildura I was part of Sagala (a program for children and youth similar to Scouts and Guides) until I lost faith in God. I had a fight with God for a while, stopped believing and did my own thing.
When my daughter was five, my Sagala leader suggested I take her to Sagala, too. Before long, my daughter was telling me that we had to go to church so she could get her badges. We started to go, even though it was a chore for me at the start and I didn’t really want to go. Now it’s what we do every Sunday. We’re all Salvos and my partner loves it too, even though he grew up with no Christian background.
It was my daughter who took us back there; she mended us, and I have resolved my fight with God! We’re like a family there at the Salvos and they are all so supportive of me and my daughter. I am now a volunteer with Sagala and sometimes at the Salvos thrift shop as well.
I am also a regular at the Mildura Weir parkrun where the Salvos have been active, both as volunteers and participants, since it began last February. Our minister, Belinda, really encouraged me to do it and I couldn’t say no!
For me, doing the parkrun each week was quite an achievement as it really wasn’t what I would naturally do — I hate exercise, I’m not fit and I complain all the way through the run — but I come nearly every weekend and have only missed three since I started one year ago. I wear my Salvos shirt because I want people to see that we are out in the community. People ask me about The Salvation Army, what it is and what we do, so it’s a chance to talk to people and tell them about the community services we offer, and our church.
The parkrun is also a chance to catch up with friends. Everyone is welcoming, supportive and really encouraging. It gets me up and going and is making me healthier, too. It’s a real community event. People say the run — which I actually walk — will get easier, but I am still waiting for that! Sometimes I feel like I won’t make it, but I haven’t died yet and God helps me get to the end every time.
Last month I became the Mildura Weir parkrun’s first ‘50 Club’ member when I completed my 50th parkrun. I did this one wearing a cape and carrying the balloons that Belinda bought me as part of the celebration. A few people told me they come back every week because of me and the encouragement I give them. Even people I didn’t know congratulated and encouraged me, too.
I have God in my life, my Salvos family and my parkrun community where I can share with others. I am getting fitter too, and am very thankful to everyone who encourages and supports me and my family.