23 April 2022

Becoming who God wants us to be: 'Nothing is wasted in our journey'

Major Vivienne Prescott

Major Vivienne Prescott with horses
Major Vivienne Prescott
Major Vivienne Prescott shares what the Candidates Sunday (8 May) theme Becoming means to her.

I am one of those infuriating people who get up each morning with a bounce, anticipating a good day. Much of that is because I absolutely love what I do.

As a Salvation Army officer in a rural pioneer setting, each day is an adventure and a delight. That doesn’t mean that there are not challenges, difficulties and problems to work through. What it does mean is that every day is different, something of an adventure and an opportunity to discover more about who I am becoming in my ministry.

I once heard a sermon that was based on Jesus calling his disciples to follow him. The preacher focused on the line: ‘Follow me, and I will make you…’ (Matthew 4:19 King James Version).

Make you what?

The answer, ‘fishers of men’, always struck me as a little too simple – not in the profound nature of the commission, but in that it seems to swiftly ride over the transformational process of following and making. Do we just answer the call and arrive as a fisher of men? It is the becoming part that gets me excited.

Becoming logo for Candidates Sunday 2022

When does that becoming process commence?

I believe it starts with our very first breath. Everything we have been, everywhere we have travelled, all that we have experienced is part of it. Even those days before we became committed to Jesus are part of it. All can be redeemed, all can be relevant, all can be used – nothing is wasted in our journey of becoming.

One of our adherents, Jacqui, and I recently sat with a man who had called into our Foodshare Café. He came for the groceries and his breakfast bap, but we took the opportunity to talk with him. He told us how life had spiralled and how he had lost his relationship, his business and his self-esteem.

‘I long to be the man I used to be, but he no longer exists,’ he told us. We explored the promise of life in all its fullness and the opportunity to start again, of thriving rather than surviving, of becoming who God made him to be. I watched the light go on in his eyes and my heart sang.

Oh, how I love this work!

I have always enjoyed nature. I come alive when I am in the great outdoors. In recent years this has become increasingly important to me. Part of my becoming has been a new awakening to worshipping my creator God right in the midst of his garden and a new understanding of how our other-than-human family can be partners in ministering to a broken world.

In the Forest of Dean where I am privileged to serve, we run an equine-facilitated programme. Our herd of five horses provides an environment for building confidence, demonstrating non-judgemental acceptance, resolving issues and generally experiencing joy. Our horses, sheep and goats form a therapeutic community, which has grown into a place of becoming for many vulnerable and precious souls.

As I look back over my life, I can see how my own journey of becoming has been shaped by bringing all that I am to Jesus. My past career as a riding instructor, my passion for nature and the animal kingdom, my indignation at the treatment and misunderstanding of marginalised groups, my pioneer spirit, my love of The Salvation Army and my need of a Saviour – all these elements have been poured into the pot of a calling to ‘follow me’.

The ‘and I will make you’ continues to amaze me.

Philippians 1:6 says: ‘I am confident that the creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you’ (The Voice).

God, who began the great work, keeps drawing out all that is unique in us – each broken part as well as every strength – as we move towards the completion of his work and the fulfilment of his mission.

My prayer for you, as you read this, is that you will not hesitate to throw your lot into the pot of your calling – every little bit that is you.

However young or old you are, God is continuing his great work in you. He has not finished with you yet. He has not lost interest or abandoned his great work of you becoming everything he wants you to be. In fact, I dare to suggest that the best is yet to come.

‘Follow me, and I will make you…’ Make you what? Your adventure awaits!

Testimony by

Major Vivienne Prescott

Major Vivienne Prescott

Corps Officer, Forest of Dean

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