God will make a way forward
Serving in full-time ministry with The Salvation Army has been a “grand adventure” for Commissioner Susan McMillan.
Throughout her 35-year career, she’s had the opportunity to share the gospel in remote corners of the globe and, most recently, has been the Army’s territorial commander here and in Canada. On Tuesday, she leaves that post to join the organisation’s international headquarters in London, England. She’s here this weekend for Bermuda Divisional Congress 2019.
Q: What led you to get involved with The Salvation Army?
A: My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all involved with The Salvation Army, so I’ve always been a part of its ministry. My parents are retired Salvation Army majors and so for my entire life I have been exposed to their ministry and later my own within the Army.
Q: How has your career progressed? Is there anything you are most proud of that you’ve been able to take part in?
A: I’ve had a very interesting career in the Army; I often refer to it as a “grand adventure”.
I had no idea, when I first thought about becoming a Salvation Army officer, that I would have the great privilege of serving for many years, in Latin America. It has been wonderful.
I think, one of the more recent things that I’ve been very privileged to take part in, has been opening doors for people to serve God, through The Salvation Army, by providing alternative ways for training to happen [by distance and while serving].
This, as well as a concerted effort to expose our members to the wonderful possibilities for service that exist, has resulted in our largest incoming session of cadets and auxiliary captains [trainees for Salvation Army officers] in 15 years. That’s exciting!
Q: What would you say have been your biggest career joys/ rewards?
A: It has been a great privilege to work with indigenous peoples — both in Canada and in South America. There are two particular examples that come to mind.
In one instance, I had the joy of being able to celebrate a Salvation Army Congress in rural Bolivia with 500 people in attendance. It was translated to the Aymara language. In another instance, we became the very first Christian denomination in North America to host a pow wow and celebration of culture, which was truly amazing.
Q: Have there been any challenges? If so, how have you navigated those?
A: Of course there have been challenges. I’ve had to work in places where there have been failed economies, difficult government regulation, violence, opposition to the Christian message and, of course, the lack of resources. But in all things, God will make a way forward for His mission.
Q: You grew up in the church, but do you recall when your faith walk became real?
A: I came to faith as a child, while attending a summer camp with my parents. They were on the staff of the camp and I was too small to leave at home. That was where I gave my heart to Jesus and my childlike faith grew over the years.
Q: What has been the biggest lesson God has taught you since?
A: The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that God has a better plan for me than I could ever dream up. When I finally allowed Him to have His way, I found life to be not only rewarding, but much more interesting.
Q: What is the message you hope to share at this weekend’s congress?
A: We actually started planning this congress around the opening of the extension of our West End Community Church.
At that time we were planning for an earlier date however, as projects go, we had to postpone to this last weekend of September. I was previously due to retire at the end of October, but our international leaders decided they had other plans for me and, rather than retire, I have been appointed to the International Headquarters as of October 1.
So this Congress actually becomes my farewell from the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
The theme of the Congress is “Now: Listen. Behold. Go!’”In that connection, the message I hope to share is that The Salvation Army, by God’s help, has much more to do and we need to get on with the work of His kingdom.
Q: What do you want people to take away from the congress?
A: My hope and prayer is that God and the Holy Spirit would encourage and empower His people to even greater things.
• An 8am prayer breakfast takes place this morning at the West End Community Church as part of The Salvation Army’s Bermuda Divisional Congress 2019. Admission is $15. A concert featuring the Canadian Staff Songsters takes place at Hamilton Princess at 7pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children aged 12 and under. Events conclude tomorrow with a 10am worship at Hamilton Princess, lunch at the North Street Citadel and a celebration of praise at 2.30pm in St George’s square. For more information: 292-0601
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