REPRESENTATIVE SPEECH | LIEUTENANT JUSTIN GLEADALL
I want to start off by saying how honoured I am to be given the opportunity to speak tonight on behalf of my session mates. However I must admit that in February when I was told that I would have this time I was a little shocked and I had to ask if this was a joke. They assured me when I went to Major Braund’s office that I was going to be the speaker and that in fact there were only 22 other people they asked before me who had said no…now I did some quick math and with 23 people being commissioned tonight I guess that made me the only option they had left. They assured me at that time that I would be given a microphone, a large captive audience and as much time as I needed to say whatever it was that I wanted to say. So here we are…hi Grandma….anyone know the score of the hockey game?
But in all honesty, I am extremely humbled by this honour and as I sat over the past number of weeks praying and thinking about what I could say that would adequately reflect my session my mind was drawn to a text that has been read numerous times over our last few weeks of training,
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1: 16-18)
As I read these words I was drawn to the amazing reality that God still calls people in our world every day. Calling them from what they are doing to follow him into what he is doing in full time ministry. It was this calling that we, the Proclaimers of the Resurrection, answered a little over 22 months ago that led to our coming together in Winnipeg. Some of us were there for an extended stay for training and others would come for brief visits before continuing on in daily ministry. We were called in a variety of ways from locations as varied as the jobs we once held, including a chocolatier, accounting clerk, social workers, restaurant manager and others. Like the disciples we even have brothers who used to fish together. But in coming together we left behind homes, families, friends and possessions to faithfully follow the Lord we serve, not knowing what the future would hold for us. We entered the doors at 290 Vaughan as couples, quietly focused on being there to buckle down for 22 months of intensive study before finally being released into a lifetime of ministry, set on doing the very thing our sessional name speaks of, proclaiming the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we stand here tonight on the cusp of full time ministry looking back over our time at CFOT I think we can all agree that these past 22 months have shaped our lives in ways that we never could have imagined. Over those really long, really, really cold months we have shared experiences in the classroom, over meals, during CFOT community outings and in residence hallways or birthday parties. We have shared laughs, tears, frustrations and goals together, helping each other to make the highs and lows so much easier to come through. We even had visits from a couple superheroes and lessons from the super saver. We have grown from the wide-eyed unsure cadets who walked in the doors in August 2011, to the wide-eyed Lieutenants who leave sure of only one thing…that we go only in the strength of our resurrected Lord. Our training has taken us from the coast of BC to the shores of Newfoundland. We have seen ministry in almost every part of this great country and have come out so much better for having been a part of it. Most importantly though we have taken each opportunity to proclaim the power of His resurrection every place we have gone from Easter weekends in Alberta (where our hearts go out to tonight) and Maritime divisions to our field ministries in the city of Winnipeg. But now the moment has arrived where we stand together one last time at commissioning about to disperse across the country, literally from coast to coast, knowing that like all good things our training has to come to an end. We have been prepared as best as we can for this moment…the time where we step out from under the secure umbrella of the college and head out into the “real world”. A world where it is estimated that 4.5 billion people don’t believe in God…a world where hundreds of thousands have never even heard a word about the God who loved them so much that he came to Earth to save them. A world that so desperately is in need of hearing the good news of the sacrifice of Jesus. We stand today as commissioned officers alongside those officers who have come before us but also beside our Christian brothers and sisters in The Salvation Army and all denominations to proclaim the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Confident not in ourselves but in the work that he has done in our lives to bring us to this point, because it was only through His guidance and the influence of those He has placed in our lives that we have made it to this moment of commissioning.
To our families, friends and supporters over the past 22 months both at home and CFOT, we want to say a heartfelt thank you for the huge role you have played in shaping our lives.
To our friends in the Friends of Christ and Disciples of the Cross sessions, who we have had the pleasure of spending one year of our training with, we pray that God will continue to work in and through you, that He will be your focus in all you do and that your love for Him will grow more each day.
And to my fellow Proclaimers, I look forward to not seeing you every day for the next 22 months. I am kidding….or am I? Proclaimers, as we leave this place and go our separate ways know that God goes before you to guide your path. That when you step into your new community…a community where some of the 4.5 billion live, you do not do it alone or in your own strength. You go in the power of the one who called you and will see you through…so boldly step forward and share the love of Christ with them. That if we could personalize the calling of the Great Commission from Matthew 28 it would say;
“Go forward therefore and make disciples of Victoria, Comox Valley, Drumheller, Parry Sound, Goderich, Scarborough, Kingston, Montreal, Wesleyville and all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Go my friends in His strength and proclaim the resurrection.
Lieutenant Justin Gleadall and his wife Lieutenant Colleen Gleadall (along with Malakai, Payton and their daughter, Laila (not pictured)) have been appointed to Rainbow County Church in Parry Sound, Ontario.