When I was growing up, my father was a part–time laborer and my mother was a housewife who supplemented the family’s income by doing household chores for our friends. Life in the Philippines was very difficult, but because of God’s faithfulness to our family, He never let us go hungry. We experienced how God blessed us in our everyday lives.
God used The Salvation Army as the instrument of His blessings for my family. I was privileged to be a part of the child sponsorship program of The Salvation Army. Lorna Summer, a Canadian citizen, sponsored me. Ms. Summer epitomized expressing love for God through action. Her thoughtfulness and regular financial help, helped me to meet my needs in school and family needs as well. I will never forget how happy my family and I were each time we received help. It was always perfect in times of need.
I am forever grateful to The Salvation Army child sponsorship program, where I received hope and spiritual nourishment. Had it not been for the program, it would have been very difficult for my family to help me finish my studies.
It all started when her cousin invited her to attend the Home League at The Salvation Army. Through this, my mother felt the love of God and decided to devote her life to Him. She started bringing us to church. She always reminded us that every Sunday is for God, so we attended Sunday school and became active in the ministry of the corps. Because of this, all of us—including in–laws and grandchildren—are faithful soldiers of The Salvation Army in the Philippines.
At first I just enjoyed the Army’s activities. However, God made me realize how important He was in my life. Then I was enrolled as a senior soldier, became more active in the ministry at the corps and was commissioned as local officer. I realized that the Christian life required all or nothing, and that God wanted my whole life to be dedicated to Him and Him alone. The verse of Scripture guiding me at that time was 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and rose again.”
While attending the territorial congress in the Philippines, I promised God that my life was completely His. I later sensed His calling to be an officer of the Salvation Army, but because of the many distractions that came my way I did not fulfill it. Like Jonah, I tried to escape from God and follow my own desire for my life.
God is gracious and forgiving. I knew that He had another plan for me. A passage in Jeremiah 29:11 reads, ‘”For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‘ I was just one of many who dreamed of going to the U.S., but God fulfilled my dream. I was chosen to be one of the delegates from the Philippines Territory to the International Millennial Congress in Atlanta in 2000. What a great testimony this represented! Once again God showed me that His words are true.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of our hearts.” To delight in the Lord, I have to know Him better and grow in the knowledge of God’s great love for me. My American dream has led me to become more competitive in the line of teaching and also it led me to listen to Him and obey.
I was hired to teach geometry in one of the public schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I believe that God brought me here to serve Him more and more. It was becoming clear to me and to my wife that in all these things, God was preparing us to be part of His mission team in the ranks of The Salvation Army. Finally, we decided to enter the training college to become officers in God’s Army.
God brought Raquel into my life, His gracious gift to me for lifelong companionship and for service to Him. There were never times when my wife would not allow me to participate in Salvation Army activities, whether it was in corps activities or outside activities that required long–distance travel and communication. God knew who was best for me and that’s why He gave me Raquel. Then God blessed our marriage with our lovely, wonderful and talented children, Nicole, Nigel, Naaman and Nehemiah. My hope is that in the future they will be our co-workers for God.
Godly men have influenced my spiritual growth. They have been role models and mentors to me in the ministry. They have helped me see the gifts given to me by the Holy Spirit and encouraged me to use them. Our corps officers not only guided me but also served as an inspiration to me.
Personal experiences, family background, affirmations from fellow believers and opportunities to serve in the church have defined my call to ministry. God affirmed this call to me over a period of time. At first, I refused to listen, but today, I am very certain about my call.
By Lieutenant Nathaniel C. Revaula