by Captain Lorna Cossey
Eight years ago, as a cadet at the College for Officer Training, it never occurred to me that one day I would serve during a pandemic. I thought pandemics only happened in sci-fi movies featuring chaos in the streets, looting, and people running around with Hazmat suits and moon boots trying to survive. Well, fast forward to 2020 and behold, I find myself in the middle of a pandemic without the moon boots.
Here I am in real time with my husband shepherding both our congregation and community through these perilous times. Most places are shut down; masks and gloves are in style, and a virus threatens humanity. However, in these incredulous moments I see the unique ministry of my officership.
The waiting face of a homeless woman who looks me straight in the eye and says “thank you for staying open” erases all my sci-fi images and thrusts me into the reality of my calling. I am not a guru like in the movies; I am simply an officer with a sack lunch in my hands fulfilling my covenant to care for the poor and feed the hungry.
Sitting in an empty chapel apprehensive about ministering to my congregation through Facebook Messenger or live stream is part of my new norm. However, after connecting with soldiers and hearing our families get excited with the idea of “phone church,” my apprehensions dissolve and I am filled with joy. It’s mind-blowing to witness spiritual growth in families amidst the uncertainty.
I am privileged to pray with others whose lives have been changed forever but also witness great faith in families who have experienced multiple deaths and hardship due to the pandemic. I am in awe of partnering with God in maintaining a prophetic voice of truth and peace via phone calls, emails, texts, Face-Time and six-feet social distancing during a period when panic talk and conspiracy theories are running rampant.
Eight years ago this pandemic and new norm were not on my radar, but I am honored God has entrusted me to serve at such a time as this.