by Commissioner Dawn Heatwole
12,979 days and counting
When I was commissioned at 21, I never could have dreamed where God would lead me. Being from a small Nebraska town, when I signed my covenant and told God I would go wherever He needed me, I thought I’d spend my whole officership in a corps setting in the Central Territory. However, I’ve not only been blessed to serve as a corps officer in the Midwest but as a divisional officer, territorial, national, and now an international, officer.
God has stretched my horizons and allowed me to see His ministry in many places. Along the way, I’ve met many people who have touched my life through their ministry.
Today as I serve at International Headquarters in London, England, I have the privilege of traveling to many parts of the world and seeing ministry given by Salvation Army officers, soldiers, adherents, employees and volunteers. Whether teaching children a trade to help keep them off the streets; or providing a children’s home in Kenya where children who are physically challenged can attend school; or helping children at the blind school in Jamaica learn to thrive in an environment designed especially for them, service is given in the name of Jesus. I’ve seen officers living in difficult places who serve with a joy that springs from deep within, and I’ve seen soldiers make enormous financial sacrifices to support the worldwide work of The Salvation Army they love. Every time I see their ministry and hear their stories, I am proud to be an officer.
As I look back over more than 35 years of ministry, I can see how God prepared me for where I am today. I’ve served in appointments I’ve loved, and I’ve served in appointments that stretched me beyond what I felt possible. But in every single one of them, God has taught me something and allowed me the privilege of serving Him and His people. Would I do it all again? Absolutely! But I would do things a little differently. I’d love people more and worry less about whether my programs were perfect, and I’d learn to balance ministry and family earlier. But overall, I wouldn’t change where God has sent me or what He’s given me to do. I love being a Salvation Army officer!