God Chose Me
To me, being called to serve as a Salvation Army officer is one of life’s greatest blessings.
Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, asks the question, “What were you put here to do?” At age 14, I answered that question—and at a time when most teenagers were struggling to find their identity. My response was, “To serve the Lord as a Salvation Army officer.” However, before this calling came upon me, the thought of actually being a woman minister was far from my mind. Instead, I had thought about passionately serving God in The Salvation Army and about giving my life to people who needed to find hope and healing through the Lord Jesus Christ, as I did. That mission made perfect sense to me.
I believe we all have a purpose, given by our Creator, for our existence. When we find it, a sense of awe and completeness develops within us. No matter what life may throw at you, things will be all right because you are part of God’s plan and purpose. My early beginnings included being raised in a single–parent household in the inner–city projects of Toledo, Ohio. Today, I can say that God allowed me to taste and feel what other people have felt so that I can definitely know and show them that God is the answer!
I thank the Lord that, one day, He sent some Salvation Army officers into the playground of the housing project where I lived. They invited me to attend the corps on Sunday morning. The Army was faithful in providing transportation for me to the corps until I was old enough to drive, get my own vehicle, and then bring other people to my church. I was 14 when I knelt to pray at an altar and to ask Jesus to come into my heart. I was confident that this was the beginning of my journey of love and service.
As my commitment to God through The Salvation Army increased, I knew that the Army was where I belonged. I had great leaders and mentors and I knew that I wanted to commit my life to this ministry. It was in 1967 at a Labor Day Camp Meeting at Camp Fort Herrick that I knelt and asked the Lord to take all of me. In 1970, I entered the then School for Officers Training. Since that time, I’ve had the joy of making new friends in many varied appointments.
I don’t believe The Salvation Army uniform makes it harder to minister as a woman, but it stands out. It represents a legacy of men and women who have given themselves unselfishly to the “whosoever” in this worldwide ministry. The calling has come alive in me because I am His—regardless of my gender as a woman.
I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke personally to my heart from John 15:16, which reads, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain.”
—Major Diana Capanna