Ben Cola of Fiji is one of five young Salvationists who will carry flags to represent the Army’s five international zones at the opening ceremony of this year’s 150-year anniversary congress in London.
I grew up in The Salvation Army, the son of Salvation Army officers (ministers) Majors Iliesa and Litiana Cola. I thank them for bringing me up into the person that I am today. I was born in 1995, a premature baby weighing just one kg. This was while my parents were in their second year of officer training. I always thank God for healing me during the six weeks that I was in an incubator, and for the prayers prayed by so many of those who knew my parents.
At 16, I decided to become a senior soldier. I made the decision because I wanted to commit myself to corps (church) work, particularly in youth and children’s ministries. At that young age, many of my peers would have laughed at my decision and some would have been surprised, but I wasn’t concerned about that, because I knew I was taking that next step for God.
I involved myself in my youth group and occasionally I preached in Sunday meetings and as part of corps cadet and junior soldier Sundays.
I enjoyed being part of the youth and children’s ministries because this is the stage when our faith in God is being nurtured—we are taught what God requires of us as his children and we are reminded to study the Bible and pray every day.
There were lots of temptations and peer pressures that wanted to drag me away from being in God’s presence, but as I continued to learn more about the Christian life and got a lot more involved in my corps, I realised that serving God is far greater than enjoying the unholy things the world offers.
I later became the welcome sergeant at my corps. It was such a blessing to be handed this task, because you get to be the first person to greet and welcome every person with a smile who walks through our doors.
I was the only young person to be on our corps leadership team. Sometimes I was afraid to share my views and opinions as a young person, but I thank the other leaders for being open to understanding what I shared.
I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Literature at the University of the South Pacific. I believe that God is leading me to a particular ministry within the Army, through officership. I am motivated by Proverbs 23:19, which says, ‘My child, listen and be wise. Keep your heart on the right course.’
As we celebrate 150 years of The Salvation Army, it’s my prayer that we will all feel blessed to be part of this great Army of God, which is such a unique church that serves the needy and the lost.
God bless The Salvation Army, its officers and all Salvationists around the globe!
by Ben Cola (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 4 April 2015, pp9.
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.