The corps has a new soldier: Pieter Andrews. He is the son of Major Neville Andrews, chaplain at Hadleigh Training Centre and Major Yvonne Andrews, commanding officer of Southend Southchurch Corps.
The songs used in his enrolment were all chosen by Pieter himself as was the band piece. Convinced of his calling to be a soldier in The Salvation Army, Pieter looked smart in his uniform as he stepped on to the platform, but was very nervous. Family members travelled from as far away as Peterborough and Birmingham to share in the momentous point in his life. Many of the members of Southchurch Corps also attended to support him.
In 2011, Neville and Yvonne farewelled from their command of Sudbury Corps in Suffolk for their present appointments and Pieter came with them.
But that was a difficult time for Pieter. He had to leave a school he was happy with and say goodbye to some good friends.
With a lack of people his age at Southchurch Corps, he found a welcome at Hadleigh Temple where he made many new friends and came under the influence of dedicated youth workers. People at both Hadleigh Temple and Southchurch Corps prayed for him, as did the prayer group at the Training Centre.
After the formalities of the enrolment had concluded, it was time for Pieter to give his testimony, which he had prepared totally on his own. It wasn’t easy for him to do this, but with the support of Major Geoff Ashdown, who accepted him as a soldier, he gave a very moving and typically honest testimony.
It is repeated here:
As many of you know, I moved here from Sudbury in Suffolk.
This was a hard time in my life as I had to leave my school where I was really happy and as far as I can remember, it was the first school where I had not been bullied and I had made some really good mates.
When I found out that we were moving I kind of pulled away from God but thanks to the support here at Hadleigh and at Southchurch I have slowly come back to finding God again.
This year at summer school in worship there were bits of paper on the floor where we could write our names against the ones that meant the most to us or sit by them and pray. I sat and prayed by the one that said, ‘Lord I know you are there but I don’t know how to follow you.’ That is true for me but each year I get to know God more and more. This year I felt God telling me to follow Him by becoming a Senior Soldier.
Over the last year I have done things that I now regret. However I now feel that God sent me there to know things that I now know so I will be able to help other people and to understand.
I would just like to say thank you for your support over the years.
My favourite band piece Guardian of my Soul has the following words which mean a lot to me:-
Lord, your wounds are now my healing and I am wholly Yours
You know my name and where I’m going
Guardian of my soul.
Pieter Andrews 29/9/13
The band finished the enrolment time with a presentation of Guardian of My Soul. Here is the same piece presented by Bristol Easton Band:
If you’re wondering about the spelling of his name, it is South African. Pieter was born in South Africa.