2 September 2023

‘I felt at home’

Carmelita Crawford

A photo of Carmelita Crawford.

Carmelita Crawford (Bangor) shares how she came to belong in The Salvation Army.

My parents were Christians who attended church every Sunday. When I was 13, I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and was baptised. While studying I met my husband, who is from Ballywalter, and he suggested moving to Northern Ireland. When we eventually settled there, I found it difficult to find the right church. When my family started growing, it was easier to keep Sundays free. While I never stopped believing, I didn’t give my Christian life top priority.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was admitted to the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in Belfast with dangerously high blood pressure. The consultant informed me that, as I was only 12 weeks pregnant, the pregnancy wouldn’t go to full term. I was in the hospital for four days and had my blood pressure taken every hour. They couldn’t get it to come down.

I felt so scared and alone that all I could do was close the curtains, sit on my bed and pour my heart out to God, telling him my fears and wants. That was the first time in years I had prayed. The next time I was checked, the nurses looked at the blood pressure cuff and said, ‘That’s too small, you need the large cuff.’ My prayer was answered, but it didn’t make me return to church.

Years later, my friend, Susan, started to attend Bangor Corps. They had a games night she took my boys to, and then my daughter as well. The bus used to drop my daughter off and I would wave hello to them. My daughter encouraged me on many occasions to go, but I always had a reason not to. Then one day, I heard a voice say: ‘Carmelita, you can think of many reasons not to go, but not one why you should.’ I believe that was God calling me back. The following Sunday I went and have been attending ever since.

As I have become older, my relationship with God has become stronger. I seek him if I need guidance, reassurance or support. In recent months my faith was tested. My husband was poorly and needed hospitalising. My sisters prayed with me over the situation, asking God to heal him. Our prayers were answered. During this time, my corps family were fantastic; I had made the request for prayers, and the congregation came back with overwhelming support.

This was why I decided to make The Salvation Army my church: because, from the moment I first arrived, I felt at home.

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A photo of Carmelita Crawford.

Carmelita Crawford


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