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January 24, 2021 1:05 am
In the summer of 2019, we were in the middle of a series on parenting. Majors Steve and Connie Long joined us to share their testimony of raising a larger family and the challenges and successes of welcoming their adopted daughter as their own.
Series: The Highlight Reel
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life. Welcome back the words of life on Bernie Dake were so glad that you're here with us back in July 2019. We were in the middle of a series on parenting episode seven. We were joined by Salvation Army officers Steve and Connie long they shared their story and testimony of raising a larger family and the journey of welcoming their adopted daughter as their own. I think Cheryl can speak a lot about their adopted daughter. I would love to say, especially if Steve is listening.
These are two good-looking, hard-working Salvation Army officers. But Steve is someone you don't want to meet on any competitive court. He is super competitive and I love that drive the house but they have a large family and the Cheryl you know little about the biker out the youngest of seven, so I know a little bit about what it is to be a child in a large family but not apparent large family than the gifts of the given child to adopt them and bring them into the family. I think it's a wonderful ministry for sure, absolutely sure a lot of love well if you're a parent in ministry struggling with some of your kids life decisions or just need some encouraging words from another parent. We know this episode will be a blessing to you and Joy will see you next week onwards of life.
Well my beginning days with the Salvation Army.
My sister was married to a salvationist and Bill was in the Air Force. My sister was very much in love and the they got married and so bills influencing her brought me into a far distant relationship and knowledge of the Salvation Army didn't know anything about it except that they help people at that time I was a long-haired hippie and and carried up into the hippie movement in and Bill and Peg were were very instrumental. I would say probably through prayer and my mother and my commitment to Christ at 22 years of age, I came through a very hard pressing moment with my lifestyle and didn't want to live anymore became very depressed and II just I remembered the hearing, the Lord speak to me at that moment in the quietness of the house and I said, Lord, if your real coming to my heart and also view rest my life and and sure enough, I just felt a wave of his forgiving presence just clean the inside and out. I began to weep. I had cried since my dad passed away at 14 and here six years later I'm crying like a little baby mother had had come into the house. A day later and she said what he going to do now is I don't know but have to serve the Lord God to do something now I'm thinking Peace Corps Red Cross and she says will what about your sister, Peggy there in Tallahassee and and as well let's let's go then the very next day after that I was a volunteer bellringer and got just open up the door and led me to where I met today for me. I have grown up in the Salvation Army with my parents and from the age of probably four or five annualized can be a Salvation Army officer and there were people throughout my life, officers, soldiers, leaders in the core that were very influential.
My grandparents definitely were those who had great impact upon my life. Well, the, the, the paramount assurance that Connie was the one for me was was at Mars Hill in Athens Greece.
I had grew. I grew up in the family were several my brothers were divorce, so I was very paranoid with marriage and didn't want to ruin calling you know they got it placed upon my heart. I wish that my life prior to coming to Jesus and didn't want anything like that to happen again so I wrote on a prayer piece of paper, Lord, I need an outward sign that Connie's the one for me and I put it in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and so were on our excursion trip and I'm out on Mars Hill early in the morning and I'm preaching Paul's sermon no Annex chapter 17 and and I see a couple over there looking at me like I'm his is weirdo up so I went over and and explained and started praying with them in and come to find out that you know she had been a believer but had gotten away from the Lord and and I was praying with them in, and Commissioner Miller was there and he threw his arm around me. He's an evangelist type, and he was really encouraged to see me praying with the young couple and he said long as long as we have young lieutenants like you. The arm is going to be okay and you know the girl you missing in Atlanta. She's the one I thought there is my confirmation that I have from the beginning we newly wanted kids that came from a family of 12 kids and I can from the family 57 that was a foregone conclusion that what happened and I don't remember so much as really talking about adding well. I know that it was a #it is always been a number thing between us. I said about four. She said maybe five and the Lord said six will are our first child, Stephanie. You were just blessed with her and that she did not have a very easy coming into the world.
She had aspirated some fluid in it because we we we didn't know if it was meningitis what was going on and hear my little baby has all these tubes in and wires connected to her body and it was heart wrenching to see that, but fortunately they were able to calm it down within 24 hours and were able take her baby home with us and then Kristin came exactly a year later on the same day then next came along our Karen and she was born on Valentine's Day and so aftercare then our next one came.
That's right will Catherine hurt her parents came to our shelter in one were stationed in Winchester in her daddy was a severe alcoholic commitment to Jesus at the altar at our program was with us for a while and then went back to the bottle abandon his daughter and she was 14 1/2 at the time and and that we get a call to run away. She is a citizen and then finally find the group home and came and said needed help and well and ended farm social services said the can she stay with you for day a day became a week weep came a month and long story short, that Catherine even looks genetically like one of our family members and she's just been a blessing. So she came to us in the middle and we adopted her and Catherine went on to the training college then and Sarah. Sarah came to us on April 26 and and we are so thrilled you know to have another girl and and finally our fifth. Biologically, Stephen. We just laughed because it was a boy and folks were saying you can keep on trying to get a boy I would've taken another girl because I love my girls and their their precious but I wore glasses with Steven and that was September 2 before we came here with a title text, our kids, and he said what's one good thing one not so good thing and one for anything that you remember about their parenting and they were spot on and so one of the things that that actually I Kristin says was your yelling is not so good and we were younger. See, he came from a family when you have, you know, 12, 13, and household yell just to be heard so I remember Catherine coming to me she had been with us, not even a year and she said why don't you yell at me like the rest of them and it made me stop because just in that moment, just that little statement because she and I had been going to counseling through all of this to help her and to help us is that as a family and I thought you know what I was treating her differently.
Not that I want to yell at my kids anyway that that's how I guess I was we were coming across and I said okay you got it and I think in that moment.
That was when we began to really gel gel as a family.
She came at a time when she needed us, but also at a time when we needed her.
Connie and I were both raised in very strict homes so in our children. We wanted them to be able to expand and do whatever you know they they wanted they want to play sports, play sports, they were with us wherever we went. We dealt with lifestyles that are definitely not what they were raised to be no in those times. Not that it's any easier for him, but I think he handles it a lot better than I do and well it's it's will different because my mother made us go to church. My father was was not a believer and so we were going to the Baptist Church until we were 12 men were allowed to make her own decision in all of us boys said that's that's history yell assist three who's got your I'm not going to church SOS when I took on the hippie lifestyle and and I ran from God. I remember the Lord speaking to me and my mother's 57 Chevrolet one Sunday after Jack Bennett B was a guest speaker at the church and us and I want you to. I want you in the ministry and so for all those years of running away from the Lord and then at the age of 22 just submitting myself to the calling of ministry, I guess.
I guess if you bring up a child in the way that they should go when they're mature the left. Apart from so we dedicated our children and we poured our lives into them and even for the few that that are still wandering out there in product laying out there. You know daddy will you pray down there so you know it's there.
We we gave them to Jesus. Many years ago and we believe that there coming around. The Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and love to hear from you. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-229-9965, write us at PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 tell us how we can help share prayer request or share your testimony.
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