by Justin Rose
I surrendered my life to Jesus when I was 15. The following summer I decided to participate in a month-long urban mission team run by the Metropolitan Division called “Band of Survivors.” It provided an opportunity for young people to learn more about their faith, service and The Salvation Army. After that summer, I knew I was interested in going into ministry.
A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador on a Summer Mission Team (SMT). During that summer, after doing a lot of youth ministry, God revealed to me a calling to youth ministry. The following summer, while participating in SMT, God revealed to me another calling to preach. Over those two summers, God taught me a lot about myself and my calling but most of all about Him.
Graduating from college with a degree in youth ministry, I chose to do short-term missions in Kenya for one year. Looking back, I can’t believe The Salvation Army trusted me enough to go and work in another country on their behalf. I was young and inexperienced, but God used that opportunity to further instill a calling to youth ministry and to preaching. I learned a lot about prayer, the Holy Spirit and ministry. Returning to the U.S., I continued my career in youth ministry and have been serving at the Chicago, Ill., Mayfair Community Church (Corps) for the past 10 years.
Throughout my spiritual journey, I have been amazed by the opportunities I’ve been given. At 18 I was leading Bible studies in Ecuador, at 19 I was preaching in India, and at 22 I was training youth leaders in Kenya. While I don’t feel that I deserved these opportunities more than someone else, I am extremely grateful to God for using them to do amazing work in my life. And I am grateful for people who saw my interest in missions and service and encouraged me to commit to serving at my local corps first.
Although my relationship with short-term missions has changed over time, I know God has used each step of my journey to bring me to where I am. My experiences have taught me how to be resilient, flexible and courageous in order to partner with God to do His work in the world.