Elaine Dawson is known as ‘sunshine’ by people at Pukekohe Corps because her love of God and people shines out on everyone.
I grew up near Pukekohe in a rural area. The local Salvation Army officer used to pop in or come to the gate with War Cry, and he would give us verses and cards. When I was about 10 we moved into Pukekohe. We visited the corps and I was introduced to Sunday School.
I wonder where I would be, or what my life would be like today, if I had not had contact with Th e Salvation Army at a young age, or been invited to attend and feel an instant connection. What if I had not obeyed the call to confess sin and accept the salvation Jesus offered?
We attended a harvest festival and I was captivated. My parents were Presbyterians, but we joined the corps and my mother became a Salvation Army soldier. I felt part of it all, and coming each week I felt this was where I belonged.
I’m 86 now—it’s been my life really— and I’m glad I’m still part of it. I ran Sunday School when my children were young. I’ve also done Home League off -and-on since I was in my 30s. We meet every week on a Thursday for a cuppa. It’s a great time of fellowship, and if I see anything in the local paper—a speaker or entertainer— we’ll get them along.
I volunteer at the Family Store three times a week, I help out at Community Ministries, and the drop-in centre. When Lieutenants Ted Kim and Aram Kwon came, Ted asked me if I would come and welcome people. I quite like to make people feel at home and welcome them and offer them a drink if they’d like it. At the drop-in centre, it’s mainly a group of special needs ladies who come every week. They love it—it’s the highlight of their week and some of them come to Home League as well. Th ere are a few others who come to the drop-in centre, and some of them have opened up a bit about themselves and how God has come into their lives and helped them.
I wonder: where would I be if I hadn’t had the Lord in my life? Would I have been able to face situations through the years, without the guidance and strength of my Saviour? There were some difficult times bringing up six children, especially during their teenage years.
I have been truly blessed in having had a very supportive and loving husband, who loved and served God along with me. God gave me the strength to care for him when he had Alzheimer’s disease, then a stroke.
Most of my life I have enjoyed good health, and even through health problems in recent years, God has looked after me. Now, here I am, able to get about on my mobility scooter.
Serving keeps me active. I give God the glory, for he is my strength, and gives me fulfi lment and joy in all I do. I pray every day that God will work in me, through me and in the lives of the people I meet.
by Elaine Dawson(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 5 May 2018, p11 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.