Captain Tamara Robb
Corps Officer, The Salvation Army Meridian, MS
When did you feel called to become an officer?
I was going through a divorce when I felt God shaking me loose from what I’d been doing before. He was calling me to something deeper. He called me to officership.
I was at a Youth Council in Texas, when I felt the Holy Spirit calling me. I was trembling—not in fear, but through the Holy Spirit shaking me loose from what I had been doing before and now calling me to officership.
A couple of years later, I was the Candidate Secretary for the ALM Divisional Headquarters at the time and was touring candidates around the Officer Training College campus. When we arrived at the chapel, I remember the Lord giving me the scripture to follow Him, and He would grant me the desires of my heart.
As a single woman, it was scary at first because I knew many officer couples that went in together. I knew the work involved in running and pastoring a Corps.
What are some challenges to being the sole officer of a Corps?
My board chair and I were having lunch together and she said, “I just thought of something. You’ve got to preach on Sunday, right?”
As an officer, I am a pastor and a businesswoman. I preach every Sunday (and sometimes teach Sunday school), create PowerPoint decks and bulletins, run the day-to-day operations of our Corps programs and services, as well as oversee our Family Store.
I have an incredible team, but it’s been challenging with the pandemic not finding people to come alongside to support and expand our services. We’re hoping we’re on the other side of that now, and we can find qualified people to help.
What is your mission field?
As an officer, I have a heart for working with kids. I want them to understand the importance of dreams and to have hope for their futures.
I didn’t have a mom growing up. After my parents divorced, I lived with my grandmother. When my mom did come back into the picture seven years later, she was married to an abusive alcoholic. I lived with them for a short time but had to leave in order to live. By then, I was a teenager and had adapted to survive. I learned to couch-surf and moved from one household to the next, sleeping on the floor or whatever spot was available. I lived with three different families in high school. But these families took me in and cared for me and made a significant impact on my life. I realized the importance of having someone in your life loving you, encouraging you, and believing in you.
I also thank God for the teachers in my life that stepped in and encouraged me. Because of their support, I succeeded in earning my bachelor’s and then my master’s degrees. They taught me—and I truly believe—that if you can read, you can accomplish anything.
Mississippi suffers from so much illiteracy. I’ll have my kids read scripture and see their challenges with even small words. I hope to instill that love of reading in every child who walks through our doors. And when we reach these kids at a young age they learn there are other options than to steal, to do drugs, and begin to move in a negative direction.
What advice would you give to young women and girls?
I believe in encouraging women. I think we wear a lot of different hats—we are multi-taskers—and need to lift each other up.
Trust the gifts God has given you, and trust Him to guide and direct your steps because He will take you through anything! He will provide you with the words to say; He will give you the discernment in making the right decision. Trust fully in Him.
I know that some moves in my life have been pretty scary. I was a Texas girl and had never been outside the state when I moved away from my family. It was rather frightening for me. Yet it’s been incredible to see God’s hand in everything and how He moves, grows, and protects us.