The Salvation Army URL has changed to salvationarmy.org.auFind out more
1 December 2020
Helping others at Christmas time is the highlight of the year for Rosemary.
Words Naomi Singlehurst
Rosemary is passionate about her work as a Salvos Christmas coordinator supporting those in need, because she knows what it is like to struggle during the festive season.
Leading up to Christmas last year, Rosemary, who has served as the Christmas coordinator at Nambour Salvos (QLD) for more than 22 years, knew there were about 300 people in her community who would need extra support.
Rosemary says, “I thought, ‘How on earth are we going to do this?’”
But soon, regular supporters and new donors started dropping off food, gifts, cards and money.
“It was like a miracle of endless provision,” says Rosemary. “Christmas time is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus and, honestly, it’s a time when miracles really do happen.”
Rosemary shares that one of the highlights last Christmas was giving a donated pushbike to a struggling family who had been through desperately tough times.
“When I told [the] mum we could give her son a bike, she just cried and cried and hugged me. After Christmas she came back and said how much her son loved the bike and what a great day it had been.”
Rosemary is passionate about supporting those in need because she knows what it is like to struggle. Her own marriage broke up more than 30 years ago and she was left to raise four children alone.
She had married at 17 and soon discovered her husband struggled with alcoholism.
Living with family and domestic violence, she says, “I was frightened. I know what it is like to wear long sleeves, so people don’t see the bruises.
“My husband would tell me that I’m good for nothing and you just get to the point where you believe that.”
Not knowing where to turn, Rosemary and her children felt trapped. She had no idea that the Salvos could help until a friend invited her to take her son to a Salvos youth program.
After a harrowing family and domestic violence incident, Rosemary arrived at the Salvos where the officer (pastor) and welfare worker quickly found her and the children a place to stay.
“They opened the family store to get clothes and organise food,” says Rosemary. “They put me through a course to build up my self-esteem and work through my years of abuse. They continued to work with me for a number of years, helping with Christmas gifts and food, camps, and in many other ways.
“The Salvation Army not only saved my life, but the life of four children who were given the chance to have a really good, happy childhood.”
Rosemary went on to volunteer and then to work in a number of roles with the Salvos. Helping others at Christmas time, though, is what she loves most.
“Ever since two of my granddaughters have been able to walk, they’ve been coming in and helping me at the Salvos every Christmas too,” she shares. “My daughter always told them how our family used to get help, so they wanted to help and give back.”
Rosemary says she has not only discovered a passion for supporting others, but also discovered God’s deep love through her life experiences.
“I used to be scared, but I’m not now. I used to feel unloved, but now I know I’m loved. I used to feel alone, but not anymore. It used to feel as though I was standing on sinking ground, but now I feel like I stand on solid rock.
“God was with me, and what he’s done for me, what he’s given me, he wants me to share with others so they can know the same sense of peace that I do.”