Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to The Salvation Army's Words of Life. For kids at The Salvation Army, a meal isn't just a meal. It's fuel for imagination, determination, and dreams. It's energy to be role models, change makers, and to just be kids. With your gift, a full meal means a full heart, a full night's sleep, and a future full of possibilities.
Give $25 a month to show local kids love beyond hunger at salvationarmyusa.org. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum. And I'm Bernie Dake. Good to have you in the studio today, Bernie. Thanks.
Good deal. Well, listen, last week we began a new series sharing seven testimonies from people of all different backgrounds and hearing how God has done incredible things in their lives to bring them where they are today. This week, we hear from Lieutenant Jimmy Pierre, or as we know him as JP. JP is incredible. He's The Salvation Army officer, hence the rank. But I met him as a young man in Florida at events that The Salvation Army was hosting.
And I just want to say his energy is electric, but his character is very consistent. Absolutely. And I know that you will be encouraged by his testimony.
Well, today we have Lieutenant Jimmy Pierre with us. Thank you so much for joining and being willing to share your story. Not a problem. I appreciate being here. And I'm just ready to tell my story and hopefully it'll impact someone else. Absolutely. I believe it. Hope is such a significant word in our lives, especially the last two years when it felt like what is happening in our world. And some of us still probably think that I know I do sometimes.
And so hope is so necessary. So, yeah, tell us a little bit about yourself. Well, first, I'm Lieutenant Jimmy. A lot of people call me JP. I'm currently in Burlington, North Carolina. I'm a lieutenant there.
This is our second year, me and my wife, Jessica, and our wonderful daughter. So based on your experience, your life, when you're considering your story, how would you define the word hope? In order to have hope, you have to trust, you have to believe, you have to have faith. You have to believe that there is something more. There is something that is like knocking at the door that once you open it, it's going to come in and give you a breath of fresh air. Because once you lose hope, you lose life. Hope is God. We don't always see him the way that we want to.
But we know that he's there and he's working. So with that said, tell us your story. I love my story because it shows that where I came from and where I'm at.
So I love my culture, Haitian culture. Like I said, I moved down to Miami, Florida with my mother. My brother, he stayed with our grandma because my mother was still getting things settled and things right.
My mother, she was in an abusive relationship with her significant other at the time. I came down, I moved to Miami. I met the Salvation Army through my godfather, who was the after school program director there. He just said, hey, here's kids, tutor them.
And I did, I did that. But I also met one of my close friends, Mark. He attended the corps, which I didn't know what a corps was. But he tried to invite me there, but I was like, uh, I'll pass. But one day we were playing basketball. He tried to invite me again. I said, I'll pass. But then I met the pastor of the church, which is a corps officer, Major Smith.
At the time, he was Captain Pierre Smith. And he said, hey, come to church. We're having food.
And I think it was like a Thanksgiving Sunday. So you can't say no to food, right? You can't.
You cannot. And it's Haitian food. It's Jamaican food.
It's cultural food. So I said, yes. So I went, enjoyed the food. And he said, here, here's an instrument.
And I said, what is this? I can't be playing this. But I did end up playing it. That was my introduction to the Salvation Army. It was wonderful. So when you were saying that you had said no, no, I'm not going to go.
I'm good. Why was that your initial response? I didn't feel like going to another church. I grew up in a church. I went to a Haitian church with my mother. We met from when we would be at church from like, I would say 4 p.m. to sometimes 5 a.m. wearing all white, sitting on the floor.
It would be hot with one fan. But it was a wonderful experience. But as a kid, it was just too much. My mother, she had a lot of faith, a lot of faith in Jesus and God. And my faith wasn't as strong as hers because I saw what she was going through in life. And I'm like, how could a good God allow something to happen to my mother? And I started questioning God.
Yeah. So you started going to the core. What did that look like? What was that experience like when you first got there? You were handed an instrument. You had a friend already.
Yeah. But God did something transformative in you. I had a great experience there playing music, eating food, having fun. But then there was the opportunity to go to a camp, Camp Keystone. I don't want to go to a camp.
I don't know what's going on in that camp. And my mother probably would not let me go. But I asked her.
She said, yeah. So I went. And being where I'm from, you're kind of stuck in this culture. You don't get the broad-eye view or perspective of what God is doing in life. I see what he's doing locally, but you don't know about his reach. And he is a big God. So I got to camp. And it was a different experience.
I never saw so many believers worshipping God like that. I didn't believe them. I met the Penhales, who were the DYSs at the time. And they wanted to know more about me. They were invested in me. I'm like, what's going on?
Back up, please. You got too much going on. But it was a love that I didn't understand. They don't know me that well.
Why are they so invested in me? I didn't understand it. And that really impacted me a lot.
Yeah. It's interesting how our childhood, our upbringing really can impact how we see the world. And I'm so glad that the Lord changed your perception of men and even just being a man yourself, a man of God, a pastor, a father. You are a walking example of who you know God has called you to be versus what you have seen. What was that change from doubting to I'm going to have faith regardless of how I feel?
Tell me a little bit about that. My life started to change and shift. There was a moment in my life where, like I said, I didn't believe anything the men would say, whatever. They showed me that, you know, that they were good, that they love Jesus. They said it with their words. But until I actually got their full story, someone's full story, I didn't believe.
I think there was one time where a man gave his testimony on stage and I was like, you're going through that and you came from that and you are this person now. How did that happen? Easy answer. Jesus. Yeah.
Right. They had hope in Jesus and they love Jesus. And this is the same Jesus that I blamed for allowing my mother to go through certain things. And I was like, this can't be the same Jesus. It can't be.
But it was. And just because of that moment, I started to love harder. I started to believe that people were actually living the way the Lord intended them to. Now you are a lieutenant, which for anyone listening is a pastor in the Salvation Army. Was there any resistance to that calling on your life?
And if so, tell us about that. Right now, in my mind, I could easily say, yeah, I always knew, you know, of course I was going to be. This is what God wanted me to do.
That's the story that everybody wants to hear. I knew. But there was a lot of doubt. My mother, when I was young, she said, you're going to be a pastor one day. I was like, you don't know what you're talking about.
But she knew everything. So there was doubt. It's not doubt because I didn't trust that the Lord knew what he was talking about.
It was doubt because I didn't think that the Lord could use me in this way. I'm like, me? Lord, do you know my background? Do you know where I'm from?
Do you know where I grew up? I grew up, poor Lord, how can you use me to tell your glorious, amazing, wonderful story? And then I started to learn more about the Lord. And I realized, wait, the Lord was poor. The Lord went through this. Jesus went through that. Jesus went through that. His story wasn't all beautiful and rainbow and just wonderful. It was rough. It was rugged.
It was amazing. And it's like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. What would you say to someone who is experiencing some doubt in their lives, whether it be because of what they're currently going through or what they've experienced growing up? What would you say to that person? So my wife said something wonderful about a week ago. She was going through some things and she would say, all right, I can't do this.
I don't want to do it. How can I fix this? How can I fix that?
How can I fix that? And then one day she was reading her Bible and then God said to her, how come you didn't come to me yet? Why are you not bringing your problems to me? And she was like, duh. And then she started bringing it to God and then right away God handled it. So I would say to someone, have faith, have hope. Don't give up on God.
Bring all your situations to Him. There is someone in life who has experienced the same thing you've gone through. There's someone who's ready to hear your story. There's someone ready to love you because of Jesus' love. So have some hope, have faith and wait on the Lord because when you're not expecting it, He will come through and He will come through strong and fast and He will change your whole life. So I would just say that.
Absolutely. You're a new parent, a new pastor. What has God been saying to you in life recently?
You know, that's a great question because sometimes when you become the pastor, you're like, all right, I'm here. I'm answering my calling. I'm done now. I just have to do things, right?
Nah. It doesn't stop right there. You have to continue learning. You have to continue reading. You have to continue studying God's Word.
And there's no better place to start than the Bible. Right now, I think I was doing a sermon series on Lazarus. In our reality, it's life and death. But in Jesus' reality, it's death to life.
So I'm doing a study on that. And I'm focusing on how the story of Lazarus is just an impactful story in our life because every day we should be like dead to the world, right? We should like die to the world every single day and get life in Jesus. So that's what Jesus is showing me that what you say can impact people. And I just don't want you to be a pastor who's preaching a sermon and not living it. So God is leading me to live the words that I preach.
Live like you love Jesus, and that's what I'm trying to do every single day. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit salvationarmyradio.org to connect.
Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store. Or visit salvationarmyradio.org to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-05 02:20:58 / 2023-02-05 02:26:44 / 6