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‘God’s Eternal Grace’

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Major Lydia Mercado, administrator for the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center there, offered her testimony to a congregation of Salvation Army officers from the Eastern Territory.

There are five facts that you must know about me. The first is that I love the Lord with all my mind, heart, and soul. The second is that I am a sinner, saved only by the power and forgiveness of God.

The third fact is that I have been happily married for 25 years. And the fourth is that I am the proud mother of four beautiful children, ages 13–24.

The fifth fact is that, if I could choose one word to describe my life, it would be grace, God’s eternal grace.

The Lord’s grace is abundant in my life. It’s the reason I have been blessed with a beautiful family and the role as administrator of the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Guayama, Puerto Rico.
The Lord’s grace is the reason I am here today. That same grace was present in the lives of my mother and father, as they were preparing to be married. However, as their big day approached, a doctor told my mother that she would never be able to have children.

However, nine months after the wedding, I was born.

As a child, I witnessed His grace every day because I was blessed to have two loving parents. But as an adult, I learned to rekindle my appreciation for His grace. I believed that, as a Salvation Army officer, I could handle all the responsibilities that came with running a ministry. I thought, “Well, I’m smart. I’m hardworking. I can do everything in my own strength.”

I was sadly mistaken. And I “ate crow.”

General André Cox (center, flanked by Commissioners E. Sue and Barry C. Swanson, territorial leaders) visits Puerto Rico in August of 2015.

General André Cox (center, flanked by Commissioners E. Sue and Barry C. Swanson, territorial leaders) visits Puerto Rico in August of 2015.

But when I later accepted God’s loving grace in my new position, He embraced my goals and me. He lifted me up and showed me that I never had to do anything alone. He showed me that it was okay to admit my weaknesses, because that is the first step toward accepting His help. To this day, God’s grace continues to lift me up, and He shows me that there are still new opportunities and exciting ways to serve Him.

When I began my position at the Kroc Center, I had to learn the ins and outs of running such a ministry. But it’s the grace of God that guides me every day in my responsibilities at work and at home.

This is why I praise and love Him with my entire mind, heart, and soul. Yes, I am strong, but I am here because of God’s grace in my life.

by Major Lydia M. Mercado

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