Jullianne Sanchez was raised as an ardent Jehovah’s Witness. In fact, some of her family still shuns her since she’s left the sect to become a Salvation Army soldier of the Lawrenceville, Georgia, Corps. Today she is “totally sold-out” to doctrines of The Salvation Army—but it has not always been so.
Oddly, one obstacle that took her quite a while to overcome is the Cross. The sect holds that the cross is never a factor simply because it is considered to be an object of worship for Protestants. They also do not believe in the concept of the Trinity.
So for many Sundays, Jullianne sat in the congregation of the Lawrenceville Corps, looking at that cross behind the pulpit and struggling with the concept of it all. She came to realize, thankfully, that the cross is an object of bittersweet shame, and part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world.
“For a long time, I felt chills down my spine just to hear words like ‘Father,’ ‘Son,’ ‘Holy Spirit,’ ‘Trinity,’ or ‘Triune God,” she says.
The question begs, why would someone so steeped in the doctrines of one particular faith, begin attending church at the Army in the first place?
The answer is simple.
“I began attending for two reasons,” Jullianne replies. “First, for my daughter, who was in a music recital in a program offered here at the corps. The second reason is for my husband.”
Jullianne explains that her husband had been a Christian for many years; they even prayed together while they dated and well into their marriage.
“Then one day, he declared that he no longer believed in God,” she says, adding that she was perplexed by his statement, and that the subject of religion had become such a hot topic in their home, they finally agreed never to broach it again.
“But in 2012, I became pregnant with our second child, and my husband was driving down Sugarloaf Parkway (the location of the Lawrenceville Corps) and he saw a sign out front saying that a yard sale was soon coming.”
They needed baby clothes, so on Saturday they walked into the corps lobby.
“That’s when we spotted a notice about a registration for music classes at the corps,” she continues, “and our oldest daughter was interested in learning, so we signed her up.”
When the time came for the music school’s recital, the Sanchezes discovered that The Salvation Army is not just an organization known for helping many people—but that it is a church!
“We both felt very welcomed and accepted, right from the start. But the real shocker for me came when my husband said after the recital, ‘I think we should come to church here!’” she says, still in amazement.
Jullianne and her 15 year-old daughter, Molly-Mae, were enrolled on the same day as Salvation Army soldiers. Her husband is planning to become an adherent; and their three year-old daughter enjoys being with the other children at the corps.
So, how did she come to grips with her previous concerns about the Cross and the Trinity?
“I was listening to a Christian radio station and began hearing a song by the group ‘Hillsong United,’ called Oceans. The words of that song spoke to me as if the Lord was saying, ‘Jullianne, you’re on the right path. Open your mind and allow no limits to your faith!’”
The song’s prayer has become Jullianne’s:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters;
Wherever You would call me,
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander;
And my faith will be made stronger,
In the presence of my Savior!