by Cadet Bailey Sawka

Early in the year cadets wonder where they might go on Spring Campaigns. It’s one of the last mysteries before the big day of appointments. This year was no different, except that some were asked for passport information. We began to question if we’d be going somewhere outside of the U.S. Indeed, one brigade was sent to Mexico.

The ministry of The Salvation Army in Mexico is vast. But in our six short days of ministry, I met people with a great work ethic, a deep-rooted passion for ministry, real sacrifice and, most importantly, a developed and rooted relationship with God.

The first leg of our ministry was in Puerto Vallarta with a feeding program for children. They come for a meal and then activities similar to vacation Bible school. We performed Jesus Theater, and the children’s response was beautiful. Many not only understood the story but wanted God to change their lives. This was only our second day. God definitely wasn’t done.

Our brigade then traveled to Mexico City where the Territorial Headquarters and College for Officer Training is located. We spent three days partnering with the cadets and sharing prayer and ministry. Each cadet has given up so much to be an officer, and while training is not easy, they were joyful and welcoming. I became close with Rosa—one of only three in her “Defenders of Justice” session—who encouraged us and was never without a smile. I still talk with her through Whatsapp, and our friendship is a blessing.

One of the most impactful campaign moments came after performing Jesus Theater for a teenage girls’ program. The girls come from backgrounds that are often difficult. Their parents may have to work more than 12 hours a day and aren’t able to see them except one day a week, or they may have been in a situation that was abusive. Regardless of circumstance, the ministry welcomes them and allows them to stay as long as they need. The officer says many girls choose to come to Sunday worship at the corps and continue to attend after they leave the program.

A member of our brigade shared about a time in her life when her family was hurting and she questioned God and was angry at Him. But God still loved her and never left her side. As she shared how God brought her to where she is now, I saw the girls’ faces light up. They related to her story; they understood. They heard the unsaid part of the story that such anger is misplaced, that God sits with us through our pain, and He is faithful.

There is a beautiful song that sums up our Spring Campaign. It’s called “Tu Fidelidad.” Translated the lyrics say, “Your faithfulness is great. Your faithfulness is incomparable. No one is like you blessed Lord, great is your faithfulness.”

The time in Mexico brought me closer to God and my fellow cadets. It developed in me a new passion and desire for ministry. God knew it was the encouragement I needed before being commissioned as an officer. God holds me close. He holds everyone we interacted with in Mexico close. And He holds you close. His faithfulness is great, and there is no one like Him. I thank the Lord for His work in my life and the lives of each member on this Spring Campaign, and the work He is doing in The Salvation Army in Mexico.

 

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