My Calling – Lt. Christmas Hargrove
By: Lt. Christmas Hargrove
The Salvation Army found me and my family on Christmas morning of 1997 when they found out that we had been robbed in the process of moving from Richmond, Virginia, to Columbia, South Carolina. But I never thought I would be an officer in The Salvation Army.
I gave my life to Jesus when I was 15 years old at my first TYI in 2006. After TYI had ended and I was back home, I started to feel like it was too hard to live that new Christian lifestyle. So I played “the good Christian” on Sundays and around church members, but when I was at home, at school or in the streets, I was not living like a Christian.
I realized that I was such a hypocrite. I had the freedom to attend my home corps and live the life I was supposed to, but I played around instead. In the midst of all of that, I heard God calling me to officership. But I ran because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I soon grew tired of running physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I finally went to my corps officers, Lieutenants Joshua and Chasy Morse, and told them I was ready. Our divisional candidates secretary came to my corps to have a meeting with my corps officers and me. After discussing officership, the candidates secretary told me that I couldn’t start an application yet because I had to have a body mass index of 40 or below. Since I weighed 480 pounds, my BMI was 81. I was so mad with myself and God! I found myself asking him, “How could you embarrass me like that? You knew I was too heavy to do this.”
God responded to me in pure love. He picked me up and told me that if I would let go of my anger and fear and give him my everything wholeheartedly, he would lead me and never leave me. So I stand here today by the grace of God with a BMI of 34 with my life verse from Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. I am now serving as the corps officer in St. Albans, West Virginia, and I continue to learn and grow in my calling day by day. Keeping my heart and mind open is a must, because I never know what surprise I may receive at any moment. I love it, though, because that is what keeps me on my toes and depending on the Lord for guidance and strength.