My Calling: Influence of others led me to a life of service

By: Captain Donald Dohmann

One of the toughest things growing up as a Salvation Army officer’s child was knowing that the things that I had become so comfortable with as a child would change after a few years.

When my parents were moved to a new appointment while I was in middle school, I rebelled in every way. Internally I was struggling with my bitterness, and I began to seek unhealthy ways to deal with my frustrations. I began to choose friends who were living outside of the will of God, and I soon found myself involved in the sinful things that I always said I would never do as a child.

Through middle school and my freshman year of high school, I started to live life recklessly. I had surrounded myself with liars, thieves and drug users, and I knew I was being tempted to follow the same path with the desire to be accepted. At times, I was even in fear of my own safety because of my poor decisions, and because of the friends I had surrounded myself with.

Praise God, he came to my rescue when I was a sophomore in high school after my parents moved to Florida. Although I still questioned God during this transition, I found peace in knowing I was getting a fresh start on life. During that transition, I picked up playing football again and the Lord placed some godly teammates in my life. After attending church with my teammates one Sunday morning at the age of 16, I fully accepted Christ into my life and I knew I was a different man.

A few years later, I went back to work for the summer at Camp Walter Johnson after my first year of college, and that’s when the Lord begin to plant a seed in my heart for full-time ministry in The Salvation Army. That summer, he placed in my life godly leaders, friends and a young woman, Laura, who all helped me discover a deep desire to know more of Christ and serving others through my love for him.

With a heart on fire for Christ, my wife and I answered his call into full-time ministry in 2002 and were ordained and commissioned in 2004 in the Bridgebuilders Session. My heart’s desire is that in all I do, others will see Christ in me! I know without a shadow of doubt that it was my parents, my youth leaders and many others who were praying me through the toughest times in my life.

My life verse is Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.