By Envoy Belsy Martinez
Bellflower Temple, CA Corps – Southern California Division.
God always answers our prayers.
I was born in Colombia, South America and came to the United States in the year 1998 seeking a better life for my family. I am completely sure that God by his never ending mercy and love brought us to The Salvation Army where we have been serving Him together ever since with my husband Manuel and our daughters Angie and Kelly.
It was always my prayer to God that He would guide us to a ministry where we could serve people in many different areas, meaning not only in their spiritual needs but also through counseling, emotional help as well as material assistance. God answered my prayer, and that is how He guided us to Santa Ana Temple Corps where we were welcomed by the Officers and remained serving the Lord there for 11 years.
I am grateful because Santa Ana Temple Corps has been a place which the Lord has used to equip and prepare Latino believers to serve Him in ministry. It was a wonderful time and opportunity that the Lord allowed so we could get involved in ministry. Not long after, we became Soldiers, and we started to receive training and the opportunity to help in different programs and activities at the Corps.
I still remember the first time I rang the bell as a volunteer; it was a great challenge, but it was the program which the Lord used to make me fall in love with our great Army. When I understood the importance and the outreach of the Christmas Kettles I never stopped helping. Praise the Lord, mission accomplished, soon it’ll be 25 years supporting this great program.
My family also served in different ministries at Santa Ana Temple and through those ministries we were able to learn better the different challenges that Latino families faced. I have been greatly blessed because after our time at Santa Ana Temple, the Lord sent us to serve Him as Ministry Leaders at the Santa Fe Springs Corps and at Bellflower Temple Corps, where we currently serve Him together with our daughters, our sons in law and our four grandchildren. These have been beautiful and enriching experiences in the pastoral ministry as well as in the social service ministry.
As a leader I have been able to help women in a personal way, as a minister, a friend and a counselor. I have been able to witness how the Lord tends to the needs of many families through women who are willing to allow God to use them as an instrument to bring His love, His word and His promises into their homes.
It’s not about providing them with help to fulfill their material needs, but also
about listening to their life experiences, learn about their struggles, being aware of their worries and knowing how to guide them to trust in God’s promises. Now I can say that more than 50% of the women in our congregation have been reached through our Social Services programs.
When women come through our doors seeking assistance, I have been able to pray with them, and invite them to join us as volunteers, and later to be part of our women’s meetings. By the grace of God some of them have become soldiers y continue serving God as active members of The Salvation Army.
In the same way, in my personal experience being involved in our social services, I have been able to see day after day God’s hand working in families and individuals. It has been a beautiful opportunity to interact with the community in helping to fulfill their material needs and also help with their spiritual needs. It’s great to see one of our well known motto come to life in giving “Our heart to God and our hand to men” and see the impact it has on people.
I am very grateful to God for bringing my family to serve Him in this great Army as we have been greatly blessed throughout these years serving in all the different communities.