‘God rules, I assist’
After being ordained as officers of The Salvation Army, the most noteworthy part of the Appointment Service for my husband and me was hearing, “Lieutenants Lim, you are going to the Montclair, N.J., Corps—as assistant officers.”
My feelings were mixed. As members of our graduating session, we were one of the rare cases when a married couple is appointed as assistant officers. Typically, married couples are appointed as commanding officers. I thought, did we not give an impression to the leaders that we could be trusted enough? Was it a language barrier? I felt somewhat embarrassed.
I had forgotten that the Lord had made that decision and He was ordering our steps.
And at the Montclair Corps, our relationship with the people became an unalterable treasure and the foundation for our future in ministry. God foresees and He prepares!
After a busy year of ministry as assistant officers, my husband and I received our second marching orders. And our divisional commander notified us even before the appointment was posted as a bulletin.
Once again, we were puzzled. I said, “I think we heard it wrong, let’s check again when the bulletin comes out!” In May, we looked for our new appointment on the dispatch. Yes, it was the Kearny Corps—not a Korean Corps, not a small corps, and not as assistants—but as the commanding officers!
At that moment, the stars on my uniform epaulets felt heavier. I thought, would corps members be shocked that their new officers are Korean?
I had already decided to do my best for the corps members’ salvation and faith. When they had some issues, I repented if my prayers were lacking in God’s eyes. I learned how to fight spiritual battles—on my knees. I learned to do as God does. When my people cried, I cried with them; when they were happy, I was happy too.
My mother–in–law, a retired Lt. Colonel, always said, “When you try to be too comfortable in ministry, corps members get tired, but when you get tired from doing ministry, your corps members stay comfortable.”
Realizing that I needed God, I sought Him. And every time I did, I experienced His mercy.
For instance, when we arrived in Kearny, the air conditioning needed fixing. The cost was estimated at $6,000. We noticed that, every day, the driver of a heating and air–conditioning company would enjoy parking his van—at our site. So, we asked him to take a look at our unit. He fixed it—free of charge.
To renew our children’s program, we wanted to invite more kids. As our clients came to our food pantry, we greeted them, one by one, and introduced their family to the program. Every week as they visited the corps, the program grew. We now have 60 kids.
When the lack of funds threatened to affect our Thanksgiving food distribution, we discussed the problem with our advisory board members. They reached out to service clubs, teachers’ associations, and individuals. Board members raised contributions that equaled four times more than what we actually needed.
During the kettle season, the community saw me in my uniform. They saw my shield. These images are persuasive and effective tools that make it easy for me to garner respect and to confidently ask for help on behalf of people in need.
When I was appointed to the Kearny Corps, many people said to me, “I have attended the corps, please take good care of the people there.” I can dare to do so because … God rules, and I assist.
by Lieutenant Seoyoung Lim
—Lieutenants Hwang and Seoyoung Lim are the Kearny, N.J., Corps commanding officers