5 May 2023

Distance learning cadets: 'I’m living out the theory I’m learning'

Cadet Paul Sass

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Cadet Paul Sass explains how he became a distance learner cadet while leading Merthyr Tydfil Corps.

What’s your background?

I was a school teacher for 28 years. I loved teaching. I did a degree 30-odd years ago now and the two options really were either going into ministry or into teaching. I felt at the time that God was calling me into teaching.

What changed?

The Covid-19 pandemic really started to change the way that I was thinking. My head teacher was very generous in allowing me time during the day to work with my wife, the community support worker at Pentre Corps. One moment when I met a woman, handing two bags of groceries over and a bag of toiletries, she just said, ‘You’re like a saint.’ I started to feel that perhaps being in full-time education wasn’t really where the Lord wanted me.

When were you called to officership?

There was one particularly difficult night’s sleep. At about 2am I went downstairs and eventually prayed the prayer that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane: ‘Your will, Lord, not mine be done.’ A couple of days later, one of our divisional mission enablers candidly turned around and said to me: ‘Paul, the Lord’s calling you to officership, just accept it.’

Photo shows Paul Sass.

How did you become a distance learner cadet?

When I had the opportunity to share the news with my family, my wife and my two daughters, the question was, ‘Well, Dad, we’re at university, you know. Where’s our home going to be? Where are we going to be based?’ So that was a challenge that we had to work through. I applied for cadetship through the distance learner route. The Salvation Army has been really supportive in looking at where I was, looking at what my situation was, and then working the application journey through together.

What does training look like for you?

I’m expected to come up to William Booth College perhaps once or twice a month and do the rest of my studies remotely. Being a corps leader out there in the field at the moment is a real privilege. I’m living out the theory that I’m learning about. So it’s the practical work alongside the theory.

What are your hopes for the future?

If I’m looking back in 15, 20, 25 years’ time, I hope that it will be that I will have acted justly, and loved mercy by coming alongside others and showing them compassion as Jesus did. But perhaps most importantly is that I’ve tried to walk humbly, and followed the calling that God has given me.

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Cadet Paul Sass speaks about life in all its fullness.