Salvation Army has new officer
Lt. Ryan MacDonald is the new officer for the local Salvation Army, taking over from Lts. Dennis and Mary Maybury, who have moved to their new posting in Glace Bay, N.S.
“This is a beautiful little piece of our territory,” said the 28-year-old who hails from Sydney, N.S., admitting he’s not used to being part of such a small community.
“And the people I have met so far have welcomed me with open arms,” MacDonald enthused.
“I’m pretty excited about this new opportunity.”
MacDonald noted he was born and raised in the Salvation Army, and often volunteered where needed.
“I’ve always loved the mission and acceptance that the Salvation Army offers,” he explained, noting he first became a heavy-duty mechanic, but soon realized he wanted to accept the call and continue the service of the Salvation Army.
“I just want to help people and will do the best I can to provide the help people need,” he pledged.
MacDonald spent the past two years in Winnipeg at the Salvation Army College for Officer Training.
He said it was an intense program, which taught him a lot and allowed him to travel all over the country, with assignments in Whitehorse, St. John’s, and Nipawin, Sask.
“It [was] tough at times,” MacDonald admitted. “To see people entangled in the chains of sin is never easy to comprehend.
“[But] I know that throughout this endeavour, God is supplying me with more tools which will enable me to be who God has called me to be.”
He said his vision for the Salvation Army here is to see some growth locally.
“There is a really healthy core here,” MacDonald noted, though adding he’d like to see some expansion.
“I’d like to see some more youth development programs—that’s our future,” he stressed.
“So I’d really like to see a younger crowd enter through our doors.”
But in order to that, MacDonald feels he needs to continue the work started by Lt. Maybury for a new building given the current citadel on Victoria Avenue is aging and in rough shape.
“And we just don’t have the room,” he conceded, indicating they need more space if they want to see growth.
“If youth want to come in and play X-Box or have a game of ‘Twister,’ we need some more space,” he stressed.
While MacDonald has no idea when a new building will be secured, it’s something he plans to work towards.
One unique thing about MacDonald is that he’s taking on the role here on his own.
The post here always has been a dual-spouse position. And although MacDonald is getting married next May, his fiancée won’t become a second officer.
Instead, once she relocates here from Winnipeg after the wedding, she will be looking for employment.
“We’ll be close to her family and they have been very supportive,” MacDonald said.
“So the longer I’m posted here, the better.”
He indicated that in a dual appointment, the husband-and-wife team typically split tasks. In his case, all the work is on him.
But MacDonald said he’s already received plenty of assistance from Jill Pernsky, who works as the family services co-ordinator with the local Salvation Army.
“She has been a blessing, extremely helpful and supportive,” MacDonald lauded, adding there also is a very great team of employees.
And in admitting office work isn’t his favourite part of his job, he’s anxious to get out and meet people.
“That’s what I really love, getting to know people, listening and helping them,” he remarked.
MacDonald also said his door is always open.
“If I’m not out in the community, I’m here [at the citadel],” he noted, adding the building is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
And MacDonald invites people out to Sunday worship services at 11 a.m.
“Everyone is welcome,” he stressed. “Come to worship or even if you just need an ear to talk to.
“That’s why we do what we do.
“I love the service—it’s my pleasure to help the people that come through our doors,” MacDonald added.