by Ruth Stoel
Early in my career when I worked in the mortgage department of a bank, we hired a new administrative assistant. I spent time getting to know her and found out about her interests and family. She had a 10-year-old daughter named Mary Ann.
I invited her to bring Mary Ann to sunbeams that I taught at the Royal Oak, Mich., Corps where I was a soldier and volunteered. I told her our troop met once a week and went to camp every summer and suggested she might help. At first, she said no because of the distance to the corps and she didn’t do crafts. “That’s okay,” I said. “I have 54 sunbeams and 11 helpers, but you could take attendance while you wait for Mary Ann.”
I guess I was pretty convincing because soon after that Mary Ann and her mother came to sunbeams. Since Mary Ann was only a year away from being a girl guard she enrolled in that program, while her mother helped me in sunbeams. After a while, they started coming to the corps on Sundays. They made many friends and became active at the corps. In fact, Mary Ann’s mother was asked to be the corps secretary.
Mary Ann joined all the youth activities. She played in the band and sang in the songsters. When she grew up she met a nice guy named Kris Wood and eventually they were married. They stayed very involved in adult programs and helped with youth activities. And when I asked them to teach a Bible study for our youth group, they said yes.
It wasn’t long before they were called into fulltime service for the Lord. They went to the College for Officer Training in Chicago and were commissioned and ordained as Salvation Army officers. Today, Majors Kris and Mary Ann Wood lead the Ann Arbor, Mich., Corps.
Invite a 10-year-old to your corps. You’ll be amazed at what God can do.
Editor’s note: Ruth Stoel recently retired from the Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters after 20 years, 16 of which were in planned giving where she raised more than $40 million! She has volunteered for The Salvation Army for nearly 60 years and in 2018 was recognized as Territorial Volunteer of the Year for Lifetime Service.