Faces of the Army: Captain Katie Tate
Divisional Secretary for Women’s Ministries, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division
I don’t remember a specific event or occurrence, but God slowly opened my eyes and heart to Officership throughout my life’s journey.
I grew up in The Salvation Army as a child of Salvation Army officers. I was at the church every time the door was open, whether I liked it or not!
Growing up in the Army is something I will be forever grateful for. The opportunities that were given to me as a child has followed me all my life and now into my own ministry as a Salvation Army officer. I saw first-hand how the programs and services impacted families as it gave them a glimpse of a new beginning, children’s eyes being opened as they experienced sleeping under the stars at a Salvation Army camp and for the first time not having to worry about their younger siblings but most importantly seeing lives changed as they experienced love and compassion from faithful Salvation Army officers and local leaders that were simply being the hands and feet of Jesus. The Salvation Army is what I love. I love the mission. I love all that it’s about.
“The Salvation Army is what I love. I love the mission. I love all that it’s about.”
Once when we were stationed in Charlotte, North Carolina, I remember a family from Puerto Rico coming to The Salvation Army Center of Hope with no place to go. It was a mother and father and three children, and none spoke English. It literally took an Army of people to rally around this family and find them a place to stay, they were invited to church and soon they became members of The Salvation Army. It was incredible to watch how quickly the children learned English and translated for their parents. They learned how to play instruments and later started working at The Salvation Army youth camp. Over eight years later these young people are soldiers of The Salvation Army and involved and active in the church.
When men and women come through our doors seeking assistance, we are their last resort. They’ve tried every other avenue with little to no result, they are desperate for change and a glimpse that everything is going to be okay. When they see our shield outside our building or on the side of a canteen, they recognize it’s The Salvation Army, and I pray that they see that as a sign of relief, as a sign of hope.
We are more than an organization; we are a church. When people walk through our doors, I want them to see Christ in everything we say and do, whether providing services on Sunday morning or through our weekly programs. The mission behind disaster services or thrift stores, our food pantries, our boys and girls club, and after-school program is to lead people to the Lord to allow them an opportunity to say yes to salvation. If we’re not doing that, then we’re not doing it right.
When people come to us, I want them to know they are loved and feel a part of a family.