Ros Vercoe was first called to be an officer when she 13 years old. Forty years after that initial call, Ros is now an envoy—she believes emphatically in God’s perfect timing.
I’m the child of Australian officers and was about eight years old when I made a personal commitment to Jesus. But God was always part of our family culture, so I feel like I’ve known him my entire life.
When I was 18, my parents came to New Zealand for a four-year officer exchange programme. I came with them and did my nursing training here, but returned to Australia again. Nine years later I returned with my family and we eventually settled in Nelson.
Over the years I’ve experienced a gentle, unfolding relationship as I’ve journeyed with God. But there have been two significant health challenges which have defined my faith.
I lived with the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis for about a decade, being diagnosed in my early twenties. But while pregnant and breastfeeding I couldn’t be on the usual medication. So, while I managed as best I could with alternative medication, with two young boys to care for I was really struggling.
One day I was in the shower struggling to even wash my hair, when out of nowhere the idea of healing popped into my head. I thought to myself, ‘Well that doesn’t happen to me—other people maybe—but not me!’ So, I said to God, ‘Ok if that’s you speaking, God, somebody will mention healing to me at “Music and Movement” this morning’.
Sylvie Shanks came up to me and said, ‘How are you?’ And I replied, ‘I’m not having a good day’. And then she asked if I had ever thought about having prayer for healing—I couldn’t believe it! Soon after, the corps leadership team came to my home and prayed for me. I was completely healed.
When I was pregnant with my third son, I went to the radiologist for a pregnancy scan. When the receptionist saw me walking without splints and without any support for my hands she was blown away. It was a huge witness to be able to explain to her that God had fully healed me.
Then, in 2008, I had an anaphylactic reaction to anaesthetic during surgery. I died on the table and had to be resuscitated—clearly God wasn’t finished with me yet!
Despite these health scares, I’ve never questioned God’s existence—in fact, quite the opposite. My faith has been stretched and grown during these (and other) times of challenge. The quiet confidence that God is with me and has called me has never left.
It’s no surprise that I’ve said ‘yes’ to full time ministry after all these years, because God’s timing is perfect, and I know he’s always had a plan. As an envoy, I have just taken up the appointment of Assistant Corps Leader and Director of Community Ministries in Nelson Tasman Bays.
God’s used all the circumstances of my life to make me who I am today, so I just offer it all back to him now in service. As Jeremiah so beautifully puts it: ‘For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’, (Jeremiah 29:11).