Warcry: Home at last
Peter Campbell says going to the Salvos gave him the direction he needed.
I grew up in Plympton Park, a suburb of Adelaide. I was an only child and rather shy, but I had a few friends, and family played a huge part in my life.
Although I had a Christian background, as my mother took me along to Sunday school at the Uniting Church in Plympton, the situation changed as I grew older and I drifted away. I tended to go to church only for weddings and funerals.
Time went by and in my 30s I met my wife who was a Christian. She was doing a lot of soul searching and wanted me to believe in the Lord, but I found going to church difficult with work commitments and I struggled getting into routine as my job was full on.
I attended the local Baptist church now and again, but found the messages confusing. Along with my wife, I felt this was not for me, although she kept attending and we continued to talk about the Bible.
We tried another church, Happy Valley Baptists and I found I understood the message more but at times I still could not manage to attend regularly. I found the pastor easy to communicate with and he would spend time discussing many aspects of the Bible, step-by-step, which was very helpful. Unfortunately he eventually moved.
I tried other churches. Some were too large making it difficult to get to know many people.
Around 2005, we heard about Somerton Park Baptist Church, which started a Saturday evening service and included activities in groups. I felt I was achieving a lot and, with the group discussion, it had a purpose and I felt I was finding my way.
I was baptised there, but unfortunately this evening service only continued for a short time and we began attending Sunday mornings again. It didn’t work for us.
The year 2008 began a difficult two-year period with the passing of my mother after a long illness, followed by me being sick the whole of 2009—having contended with harassment in the workplace. I left my job and my wife found it hard.
I was struggling and my wife was dealing with many issues herself. At the end of 2010 she left me. We had marriage counselling, but unfortunately weren’t able to reconcile.
I decided to get involved in voluntary work and The Salvation Army came to mind.When I went to the Marion Salvos thrift shop I met Greg, the manager, an enthusiastic person who welcomed me with open arms and I started the next week. Greg spent much time with me asking about me and telling me the history of the Salvos.
I was in such a bad way and often couldn’t get out of bed. As I look back now I think I suffered with depression.
Greg asked me if I would like to attend church on Sunday. I was overwhelmed with the music and the sermons emphasised the love of God and the fact that God is with you always, especially during your hard times.
I felt at home immediately and felt that I had found my church at last. In 2012 I became a member.
I’m a person who likes to do things and I particularly liked that at the Salvos. It is not just about going to church, but the practical outworking of Christian faith in the community. It’s a way of life.
Last year, 2013, was a big year dealing with the process of divorce. My involvement with Marion Salvos, their thrift shop, children’s ministries and attending various courses at the church holds was a God-send.
I found strength through faith and The Salvation Army and without the people I have met there I don’t think I would still be here today.
I want to spend time now doing whatever I can for the Lord and, despite the sadness of the past, my life is full and exciting.
Other stories from Warcry
To read other stories from past issues of WarCry, click here.