Steve found himself in a Salvation Army corps purely by accident. His sister attended a day camp there, and when his mother asked if he wanted to tag along when she dropped his sister off, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why not?”
“As soon as I walked in, my eyes got really big,” he said. “There was a gym, there were tons of kids playing, and a game room; I fell in love.”
He begged his mother to take him back the next day, and five years
later, Steve has learned what The Salvation Army really offers – and that’s what has kept him coming back for more.
“For me, The Salvation Army has opened my eyes to a life I didn’t really know existed,” he said. “I have an extended family here that has helped me to grow into a man that I am pretty proud to be, a man that loves God and lives to serve him and his people.”
Before The Salvation Army, Steve sporadically attended church with his parents – who moved to the United States from Haiti in 1991 – and his seven brothers and sisters.
“We really only went on special occassions,” he said. “And then we just quit going altogether.”
But once Steve became active in the The Salvation Army’s Temple corps, his family took notice of the positive change it evoked in him and started attending church regularly.
“I think one of the big things is that The Salvation Army wasn’t just a church for me to go to one day a week,” he said. “There were
programs and activities 3-4 days a week and there was always something going on. I was constantly surrounded with people who believed
as strongly as I did and reinforced my faith. It showed me how to make God and my service to him a lifestyle and not just a weekly obligation.”
At 14-years-old, Steve made the decision to be saved and make The Salvation Army his church for life – an experience that remains very vivid in his mind and his heart. It was June 24, 2010, a date he now refers to as his “Jesus Birthday.”
“There was an alter call while I was at an Army teen camp,” he said. “I felt something tugging at me to go up there, and at 14, it made me nervous because I had no idea why I was feeling that way. So I went up there, and an officer prayed with me. Afterward, I felt a rush of emotion and I started crying. The officer looked me in the eyes and said, ‘That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.’”
Steve, now an 18-year-old senior in high school, has taken his commitment seriously and devotes several hours a week to the youth in his corps. He now leads the Explorers character-building group, helps prepare meals, participates in the praise team during services, and anything else that needs done.
“It takes all hands on deck to make this work the way it does and I’m lucky I get to be a part of that,” he said. “It’s not work at all.”
Through his time with The Salvation Army, Steve has learned to play trombone – a skill that has helped him plan what he hopes to do with his future.
“Music has become very important to me and I want to share that with other kids,” he said. “I want to be a Salvation Army officer and teach kids about music and Jesus. I used to want to be a state trooper, but God had different plans. I have my purpose now.
“If I was never exposed to The Salvation Army I don’t know where I’d be,” he said. “It’s not a perfect organization, but it’s pretty darn close. I love it, it’s my home, and I hope to continue its mission and make it a home for youth for many years to come.”
The Good is published quarterly by The Salvation Army Midland Division for its friends and supporters. For questions or feedback, please call 314-646-3072.