It is a privilege to share my testimony on why I chose to become a senior soldier (member) in The Salvation Army. I count it as a blessing for me to share what the Lord has done in my life.
I grew up in a poor family and was raised by my grandparents, as my dad died when I was six years old. It was very hard growing up without a father, not seeing his face or spending time with him. I tried so hard to cope with this and to move on.
I came to The Salvation Army through its child sponsorship programme. In 2006, I was enrolled as a junior soldier and it was then I learned about Jesus and who he is. In 2009, I joined the corps cadets programme. At this time in my life, I was struggling with many hardships. In 2010, Mum went over to Fiji with my little brother and my stepfather. I was 15 and stayed in Tonga to look after my little sister and my second brother. This was a big responsibility for me.
Then, in 2011, I went to Salvation Army youth councils for the first time. The theme was ‘Freedom’ and it was there that God became very real to me.
The message was taken from Galatians 5:1. One of the things the speaker said was that ‘whatever circumstances you struggle with and when you think to yourself that you can’t overcome it, remember that there is a person who can take those condemnations from you, and that is Christ.’ That night, I invited Jesus Christ into my heart as my saviour and Lord.
There I was with my heavy burden, but Jesus took it away from me. He set me free. And I knew from that day, that Jesus is the only person who knew my sorrow and heard my crying. Jesus is the only one who strengthens and comforts me. He gave me rest for my heart, just as he promises in Matthew 11:28, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
Becoming a senior soldier has really changed my life. I want to move forward and to know God deeper and deeper, to build up my faith and stand firm in his Word. Not only that, but I will take up my cross and follow his footsteps every day. He is a wonderful God and he is faithful to me. I give him my all. To God be the glory!
By Mele Talakai