28 March 2023

In conversation with the next generation

Lyn Woods

Photo shows Maria Holmokova, Jo Taylor and Bethany Dickson.
From left to right: Maria Holmokova, Jo Taylor and Bethany Dickson.

Three young women tell Lyn Woods about their spiritual journeys, youth ministry and what International Women’s Day means to them.

Photo of Maria Holmokova.

Maria Holmokova


International Women’s Day to me means that I am now seen and heard, especially as a Czech Roma young woman. I have the privilege to see women who have been given the opportunity to work, preach, educate themselves and speak for themselves. This is such a breakthrough in the Roma community; we can see generations changing.

I believe God has a calling for me to start a worship team and to work with youth. The youth are such a huge part of every church. My church is providing young people with teaching – how to play musical instruments and sing. The Army has many opportunities such as the summer camp, Transformers course and so many other great events and activities.

I believe there needs to be more encouragement and inspiration of young people. I believe that there will be a breakthrough, with more young cadets in the future. I can already see that there is starting to be a difference.

The Army is always seeking new ways to engage with and bring God into the lives of children and young people. Especially knowing that in every culture, children and young people are so different and being able to come to that level and understand makes the Army so special.

In my life I have always seen how faithful God has been to me. The foundation of my faith is the song ‘Goodness of God’: ‘And all my life you have been faithful/ And all my life you have been so, so good./ With every breath that I am able/ I will sing of the goodness of God.’

Photo of Jo Taylor.

Jo Taylor

Children and Youth Department

I love International Women’s Day! I love the opportunity it gives to celebrate women, to tell stories that are too often untold, to reveal hidden achievements, to give value to different ideas of what success looks like and to inspire young women with what is possible. I am grateful for the influence of many wonderful women who, at different times, helped me thrive and survive, and they deserve to be celebrated.

In youth ministry, we simply need people who love God and love others. People who have these qualities often believe it’s not enough for young people, that they need to be ‘down with the kids’ or have a particular set of skills, but they just need to be interested, to take some time to ask questions, to be available and to love.

I think there are many brilliant people within the Army who know the needs of children and young people and are passionate about loving them and serving them. They are in THQ, DHQs, corps and other centres. They are officers, employees and volunteers and they make a difference every day.

The Children and Youth Department produces a huge range of resources to support expression of the Army’s mission priorities. For example, for those not sure about where to begin with supporting young people, One2One Discipleship equips the whole church to do that. There is training for children’s leaders, those in street-based youth work, building resilience in children and young people. There are resources for young people around mental health, human trafficking and modern slavery and understanding the Bible. Not to mention divisional specialists who are passionate about supporting the front line.

To encourage young leaders of the future, I believe we need to articulate a hope-filled vision for the future of The Salvation Army and the difference it does and can make in the world. I think, if people believe they can be part of this, it’ll be an invitation far harder to ignore.

I’ve been inspired by so many people at a distance – writers such as Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey, who articulated faith in a different and more familiar voice to the ones that had been loudest growing up. But the biggest impact has undoubtedly been made by those leaders who took the time to get to know me, believe in me and invest in me. For those I’ll always be grateful.

Photo of Bethany Dickson.

Bethany Dickson


I am working an internship gap year placement at Addlestone Corps. Just one year ago, although I would have said that I was undoubtedly a Christian, I was really struggling with life in general. I kept telling myself I had no reason to be in such a rut. I was doing my dream college course and placement and had a part-time job that I loved.

The Covid-19 pandemic really took its toll on my mental health but, after getting the opportunity to be on a junior camp’s staff team and going to group counselling, I started to see the light again. I heard about the Addlestone gap year opportunity and felt life was picking up. I can now say I have never been better. I am trusting in Jesus every day.

I will for ever claim Proverbs 3:5 and 6 (New Living Translation) as my life verses. I heard these growing up, but they really stuck with me at a junior camp where I was a young leader. It was the Bible reading when I became a soldier and I look to it any time I go through something challenging. It reminds me to trust God, to look back at the past challenging times, and to remember that I only overcame them by handing them over to God. I sometimes read The Message paraphrase: ‘Don’t try to figure out everything on your own.’

International Women’s Day means a lot to me. Celebrating the forward motions this world is making regarding women’s rights is important. I saw the newest adaptation of Little Women on its cinema release in 2019. The character of Jo March is truly inspiring. She is not afraid to take a stand for what is wrong and right. She keeps her family as her top priority and sacrifices everything to make sure her loved ones are cared for. I aspire to be like her. I want to stand up without the worry of others judging me. I want to run after the things I am passionate about, but also take care of my loved ones.

When working with children and young people it is so important to teach them life skills and qualities for the real world. As a young church leader, I am in the position where young people, especially girls, look up to me as a role model. I want to be a strong, confident, God-serving woman, who isn’t afraid to speak up and go after my goals – for them.

The women in my life are so strong and I have looked up to them throughout my life. Each has taught me important life lessons, shared their stories and played a significant part in making me the woman I am today.

Written by

A photo of Lyn Woods

Lyn Woods

Editorial Assistant

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