Walking to church Sunday, nineteen year old, Greenwood, Mississippi resident, Jeremy Griffin knew this day would be one he’d not soon forget.
It was just three short years ago, Jeremy was walking the same road, out with his aunt and cousins going door to door trick or treating on Halloween night. He remembers not wanting to get out that night but his aunt made him go.
It just so happened that evening would change his life. The Salvation Army was hosting a fall festival on its church grounds. As they passed by, Greenwood Corps Officers, Captains Ben and Wendy Deuel asked Jeremy and his family to join them…a simple invitation that made all the difference in Jeremy’s life.
The following Sunday evening he experienced his first church service through a special teen night.
“I never knew about The Salvation Army,” said Griffin. “The things they do to help others; it inspires me.”
Inspiration was something Jeremy greatly needed in his life as he began attending church as often as he could. Jeremy’s parents were already divorced when he happened upon the fall festival that night. He lives with his grandmother and uncle sleeping on the couch. The house is too small for him to have his own bed, but they make it work. In fact, Jeremy’s answer is quick when asked who he looks up to.
“My uncle is my hero. He wants the best for me.”
As he became more familiar with the Deuels, the church, and The Salvation Army, Jeremy experienced many firsts in his life. He went to summer camp for the first time where he slept in a real bed for the first time in years. He became a senior soldier for the Greenwood Corps, worked in the Family Store where he earned his first pay check, and even graduated high school.
“God is putting everything in place,” said Captain Wendy Deuel.
“I like how they welcome you in,” said Griffin. “The Salvation Army will let you in. They want you to hear the word of God.”
It is this word that God has placed on Jeremy’s heart so he can take another “first” in his life.
“I was at youth councils. There was a man on stage and his words just spoke to me,” said Griffin. “Get up and go. I was scared.”
But Jeremy didn’t let fear get in the way of accepting what God has in store for his future. Jeremy plans to attend cadet school at The Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta. But at nineteen, he’s not quite ready just yet.
“It’s been our responsibility to help him along, help him grow up,” said Captain Ben Deuel.
So again, Jeremy walked to church last Sunday knowing the day held another first for him…his first sermon.
“I just want to help people and through The Salvation Army, I can help people. That’s what I want to do,” said Griffin.
The mission of The Salvation Army is to meet human need in His name without discrimination. Many times that need is food, or shelter, or money for the light bill, or overcoming addiction. Other times, as in Jeremy’s life, it’s extending our hands in hope to inspire him to accept Christ’s love so he can be an inspiration to someone else.
We are looking forward to what Jeremy will become and do in the future.