Salvation Story

Answering God’s Call to Leadership

He saw me as His faithful servant, ready to follow His call. by Lieutenant Stevana Holmes

My name is Stevana Holmes, and I was born and raised in Plainfield, NJ. After high school, I went to college in Pittsburgh, PA, and spent a few years there. When my grandmother passed away, I moved back to NJ. I am a proud mother to a beautiful daughter. The Salvation Army has been part of my life since I was five years old. I knew I wanted to be a Salvation Army officer from a very young age. The ability  of my corps officers to serve others drew me in because I’ve always loved to help others.

When I was a young adult, I had struggles going on in my life. I remember being told I would not be able to have children, and I felt very broken and empty. Eventually, God blessed me with my beautiful daughter, and she helped to give me purpose again. Even though things did not go as planned, I firmly believe God had a purpose for everything. I stopped going to church at one point because I needed to work. Financially I was good, but spiritually I was empty, and I knew I had to be better for my daughter and for my own spiritual well-being. At this point in my life, I was not fulfilled and felt God was absent. I felt stuck in a place of unhappiness. I was doing great from the world’s point of view, but when I looked at my life from God’s point of view, I was in a bad place.

 I felt so far away from God because of my life choices and felt unusable for His purpose. I was lost, but I prayed for God’s assistance because I could not find my way on my own. He answered my prayers and put me back to where I needed to be, back at The Salvation Army. I was not judged when I returned; I was welcomed with smiles and I’ve stayed ever since. After a while, I started training in leading troop classes and getting my life together. As one of the church’s leaders, I needed to set a good example for the children. I wanted to be a leader of action and show them a good example of what it means to be a Christian leader. 

When I heard God calling me again to officership, I did not run away; I ran towards the call. After a three-year process, I came to the College for Officer Training. When I got to the training school, I had several worries. I was in my thirties and a single parent. Unfortunately, there is not a positive view of single parents, especially those who were never married, and this was something for which I was always judged by others. However, I am thankful I did not have to experience that at my home corps or the training school. They never saw me as just a single parent. They saw me as a person. When I entered training, we were in the middle of COVID, and it was a very rough time. During the two years of training, I experienced a lot of loss and pain. There were days when I questioned if I was good enough to become an officer and if officership was the right decision for my daughter and me. 

On Covenant Sunday, as I sat waiting to sign my covenant, I reflected on my life before Christ, before the training school, and now. I was overwhelmed with tears of joy because I felt accomplished. It was a three-year process getting into the training school, but I would not have changed anything because I was being molded and prepared by God for my journey. The person who arrived at the training college in September 2020 is not the same person writing this testimony. I give all the glory to God for my change because I could not have done it on my own strength. I have been broken, stretched, bent, taken out of my comfort zone, and put back together, and I’m thankful to God for every single moment. I’ve been through so much in my life, but God looked past my flaws and faults. He saw me as His faithful servant, ready to follow His call. 

Photo by The Salvation Army

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