'Whoever wants to be my disciple...'
Rebecca Howan is an accepted candidate for officer training in 2021. She details her journey to accepting this call and trusting that God will provide everything she needs.
I was born and raised in Wellington and have been going to Wellington South Corps ever since I was a baby. I did all the usual things that a kid from a Salvation Army family does, but it wasn’t until I went to my first Easter Camp, when I was 13, that I experienced God. The head knowledge became heart knowledge and I truly had a personal relationship with God for the first time.
My corps family nurtured and supported me as I grew up, and my faith developed through serving at church and doing things like singing in the music team, leading a youth Bible study, and attending youth camps like Amplify Creative Arts Camp. We did a course on spiritual gifts as a corps when I was 18, and this was a huge eye-opener for me as I learned what my spiritual gifts were. It was so exciting to understand what I could offer to God for him to use.
I first received my calling to officership at an Amplify Camp. I’d always thought that if God called me to officership, I wasn’t the kind of person who would run away; but, when he did, I was devastated and spent a long time grieving for what it would mean. I was at university, training as an opera singer at the time, and knew that becoming an officer would mean giving up this part of my life. God clearly gave me Matthew 16:24: ‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”.’
After accepting my calling, I still took quite a while to apply. I put officership to the side for later, and busied myself with work as an executive assistant, leadership at church and performing in choirs. But after a few years, I got close to burnout when I was only 23—there was no joy in life and everything felt like a chore. I felt God clearly say to me that I wasn’t where I was meant to be and that it was time to apply. I felt too young, too inexperienced, I struggled with anxiety, and it meant more sacrifices—careers, relationships and professional music—but I had to trust that officership was God’s best plan for my life, and that he would provide all I would need and empower me to fulfil this calling.
Over the application process for officership and since being accepted, there has been more and more peace and excitement for the future. God has also been so faithful through my season of preparation before entering college. It’s been amazing to be at my corps and the Newtown Centre over the past few years as we’ve established an exciting integrated mission, and it’s also been a privilege to be the Corps Sergeant Major for Communications for the last year. I’ve had great opportunities and been surrounded by incredible leaders who I’ve learned so much from before heading to training college, both at church and at work.
Officership will be such an adventure and I can’t wait to start!