50-year Bedford soldier not slowing down

by Robert Mitchell

Sonia Davis is now 74, but she is still on the front lines volunteering for The Salvation Army’s Bedford Temple in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Her family attended The Salvation Army in her native Panama, and she simply continued after coming to the United States at age 19 in 1969. She started attending the Bedford Temple 50 years ago in 1974 and has been there ever since.

Today, you might find her serving hot meals and sandwiches twice a week from a mobile soup kitchen at senior centers and some of New York City’s homeless shelters full of migrants, says Captain Kevin Bryan, the co-commanding officer at the Bedford Temple.

“Sonia is there every week,” Bryan says. “She’s faithful. Anything we need at the corps, Sonia is always present and she’s always there ready and willing to help in whatever way she can. She has volunteered pretty much in every aspect of the ministry.”

Bryan says Sonia not only gives away Bibles to people, but she speaks fluent Spanish, and that’s a huge help in spreading the love of God.

“She loves the Lord and wants to serve Him in every way possible,” Bryan says. “She desires to win the souls of everyone she encounters. We not only bring them a meal—she administers the gospel.”

After working 25 years in the stockbroker department at Merrill Lynch and later 20 years as a teaching aide, she retired about 10 years ago and began volunteering for The Salvation Army, including standing kettles.

“I do whatever I can at the church and help out in various areas,” she says. “I like doing it. It’s a blessing to bless other people and share with them. I love the Lord and I receive a blessing from doing this.”

A senior soldier at the corps, Sonia has also served in women’s ministry and as the hospitality sergeant, but her favorite activity is working in the soup kitchen.

“We give them the word of God with the food,” she says. “We give them spiritual food, not just a plate of food. The Salvation Army is a blessing around the whole world, and they share the word around the world. We are always opening our arms to help someone.”

She learned that firsthand growing up in Panama City in The Salvation Army, an experience she still remembers fondly.

“It was full of glory and full of blessing,” she says. “It was different from New York. We learned so much from each other. It was exciting. I found Christ there. Without Christ, I don’t know where I would be. He is there and I can put my burdens there. I always get good answer and results when I pray and look forward to my answer from Christ. He is the answer to every need.”

Sonia remains in good health and says she has no plans to do anything else but shine the love of Christ.

“I will continue until I can do it no more,” she says.