Ricardo Cardenas had a choice to make. He could continue playing soccer on Sundays or attend worship services at the Kansas City Westport Temple, Mo., Corps where his wife Flor attended services each week.

Then he saw the guitar.

The bass guitar in the corps’ praise band intrigued Ricardo. He wanted to learn how to play it. After speaking with the band director, Ricardo gave up playing soccer and joined the praise band.

But when summer rolled around the following year, Ricardo was back on the soccer field—and not at his corps.

“The director of the band said to me, ‘You have to decide if you’re going to stay here or play soccer,’” Ricardo recalled.

He made his decision soon after his mother passed away. It was a turning point for Ricardo.

“I surrendered to God,” he recalled. “And I decided to stick with the band and the corps. I changed my soccer uniform for a Salvation Army uniform, and it is great.”

He and Flor are now soldiers at the Kansas City Blue Valley, Mo., Corps, with daughters Alondra, 14, and Abigail, 9.

Ricardo and Flor were not Christians when they married at a courthouse in 2003. Then they started to attend the Westport Corps, where Flor accepted Christ; she became a soldier after Abigail’s birth.

In July 2018, Ricardo also decided to become a soldier but chose to surprise his wife. When Flor saw her husband march by in a soldier’s uniform to be enrolled, she shed tears of joy. Also in 2018, they decided to renew their wedding vows, as Christians, at the corps.

Ricardo participates in numerous corps activities. Along with playing in the praise band, he works with teens, recently supervising a group of teenaged bellringers. He helps get meals to those in need, distributes holiday gifts and more.

As assistant divisional sergeant-major for the Kansas and Western Missouri Division, Ricardo is a member of the Territorial Soldiers’ Forum. He says he was hesitant at first.

“I was kind of nervous, but God put everything together,” he said. “I think it is a very good idea, having this Soldiers’ Forum. If a solider has something to say or a new idea or concern, they can come to us.”

Ricardo has worked in a warehouse every week for 20 years. He believes his colleagues have seen a positive change in him since he turned to God and joined The Salvation Army.

“I am more respectful and more kind now,” he said. “I know that my co-workers can tell that.”

He prays each day on his way to work and is grateful for the blessings his family continues to receive.

“I put everything to God once a day, and I know that He will take care of things,” he said. “God has been good to us.”

Click here to learn more about the Territorial Soldiers’ Forum or find your representative.



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