‘An unquenchable desire for relationship and love’
By: Captain Malaika Good
I was born and raised in a Muslim family in Roanoke, Virginia. We worshiped at the mosque, wore our head coverings, prayed five times a day, stayed away from pork, and practiced the religion in all its entirety. And yet, it was just that, religion.
My father was in and out of prison most of my life, and my mother worked multiple jobs to keep us afloat. Because of this, an unquenchable desire for relationship and love grew within me.
When I was eight, my cousins invited me to go skating at a “community center” in Roanoke. My mom, excited for a babysitting service, allowed my sister and me to attend, and thus started my introduction to The Salvation Army. There, my desire for love and acceptance started to be fulfilled as officers and local leaders began to pour into me and teach me the gospel truth.
For years, my parents allowed me to attend this “community center,” not realizing that through this, I met the One and Only true God.
I quickly became a Sunbeam, Junior Soldier, active in the music programs, and attended faithfully any program and event I could. I went to Camp Happyland every summer and attended youth councils and TYI. My relationship with the Lord grew, and my desire to give Him all of Malaika grew with it. With every new officer, I felt the love and acceptance that I had so desperately craved from living in a single mother household.
Through all of this, my mother became aware of my conversion and relationship with Christ, but my father, still a practicing Muslim, was not in the know.
One Sunday, my corps officer, Captain Tabitha Roberts, asked me if I had given any thought to officership. This idea was completely foreign to me, yet was so very close to who I was. My desire in life was to be loved, be known and have relationships, and here was an offer to bring about the very change I had so desperately craved as a young girl. I knew, in that moment, this was the calling God had placed on my life.
There were many obstacles to get to the point of Salvation Army officership – my father, my age, issues within my family. Yet with every obstacle, the God who called me was faithful and settled every problem. Through God’s grace, I was able to be completely open with my father, who unexpectedly supported and encouraged me.
I attended Evangeline Booth College in 2011 at the age of 18 and was commissioned with the Friends of Christ session. Every day, I have the privilege to bring about holy change in the lives of those I encounter, the same change officers helped ignite in me as an 8-year-old Muslim girl from a single mother household.
God has called me to be a Salvation Army officer and to reach those who are like that young 8-year-old girl.
Captain Malaika Good is a corps officer in Hampton, Virginia.