Officer Cadet Liam Beattie has just arrived in Northern Ireland where he will minister at the Ballymena base of the Salvation Army on Waring Street until October 2019.
27-year-old Liam is originally from Wiltshire. The former High Ropes Instructor is midway through his training at William Booth College having ‘walked with the Lord’ for the last seven years.
Revealing a little about his Christian journey, Liam told us:
“I used to actively refute the word of God and just didn’t see the need for Jesus in my life. I had atheist friends and family but to put it bluntly I just encountered the Lord in a powerful way, so much so that I knew in that moment that he was real.
I was in the United States when it happened. I got an envelope through the mail after I applied to Camp America. I cracked the seal with great excitement to find out where I had been placed. To my horror, the letter had the words: ‘Christian Camp’ at the top of it.
My first thought was ‘oh my goodness me, there has been a huge mistake here’ but I went along, and everything that took place there began to connect the dots for me. I encountered God at the end of that summer and life has never been the same since”, he explained.
Liam talks about his decision to join the Salvation Army.
“The Salvation Army was a Church that invested in me and it helped me begin my journey with the Lord. I wanted to invest in a Church that had invested so much in me. I just find what the Salvation Army do in terms of outreach and working with people so fulfilling and I love being a part of that mission.”
Although he has only been in the town for a few days, Liam admits that he has loved being in Ballymena and has already enjoyed his first Ulster Fry! – “It was pretty awesome I am not gonna lie to you”, he smiled.
The young minister has also been struck by the friendly welcome he has received in Ballymena, remarking that ‘nearly everyone you meet in the street says ‘hello’ to you.’
That sense of warmth is, he says, replicated at the Salvation Army’s base at Waring Street:
“It may be a small corps but what I was really struck by, was the sense of fellowship within the Church. The sense of togetherness they had after Tuesday night Home League was inspiring and for me it was refreshing.”
Already, Liam reports that he is loving the nature of ministry work, stating that no two days are the same. It is this sense of diversity which makes the role ‘fun and fulfilling’ for him.
Liam wants to reach out to the Ballymena community.
Talking about his hopes as he serves the Lord in Ballymena, Liam also said: “I want to start an outreach called The War Cry, which is something the Salvation Army do. Basically, the idea of that is to be out and present in the community and inform people that we are in Ballymena and just provide the ministry that way.”
A keen sportsman, Liam is also very active outside Church. “I do a lot of sports. I play hockey and football and do a lot of running including park runs on Saturday. I enjoy a bit of gaming from time to time as well as hanging out with friends.”
For more information about the Salvation Army’s work in Ballymena, log on to their Facebook page here.