Cadets Donna and Ian Rabourn have had quite the learning experience since their arrival in southeast Saskatchewan.
The couple, originally from Kelowna, B.C., has been working at the Salvation Army in Estevan and Weyburn this summer. They arrived in southeast Saskatchewan from the Salvation Army's training college in late June, and will remain until August 17.
“We have been getting our hands in all kinds of different things here,” Donna told Lifestyles.
The flooding in the southeast corner of the province has given them an introduction to the Salvation Army's disaster relief initiatives. They have delivered water to Carnduff and Gainsborough residents, and they have distributed clothes.
“While the recovery centre was going in Carnduff, we were there to provide emotional support and whatever else we could possibly do for them,” said Ian.
One of the primary messages that they shared with the flood victims is that the Salvation Army will be there for them for the long run.
“As things begin to settle, and the initial crisis is finished, there's still a fair bit of need, and that's where the Army can really play a big role,” said Ian.
Some people have been able to return home, but others had their homes wiped out. One person they encountered had three of four basement walls collapse due to the water.
The Rabourns have also picked up a large meat donation for the food bank; helped load clothes for overseas missions; conducted chapel services and visited residents at seniors' complexes; led Bible Studies; handled administration work in both Estevan and Weyburn; and tackled landscaping work for the officers' quarters in both cities.
They have also had the opportunity to lead the worship and preaching during the Sunday morning church services.
Some of their time has been spent in Weyburn, since the Salvation Army now has a shared officers arrangement with Estevan and Weyburn.
“We got to help sort clothes in both places, help a little bit in the food bank, and make up food hampers,” said Donna.
They were left in charge of the Salvation Army's operations in both communities for a couple of weeks, while the current officers, Lieutenants Brian and June Bobolo, were away on holidays.
The Rabourns expect their experiences will be beneficial once they are deployed to their first community.
“Getting to preach is a big one,” said Donna.
They are nearly finished their first year at the training college. It's a 22-month program, so they are a little more than halfway finished.
The two-month summer assignment is one of the big, hands-on components of their training, they said, as it gives them a first-hand look at what officer service is like.
“Getting to see all these different things, when we're out there, it won't be so strange, and it won't throw us for as big of a loop as if we hasn't seen these different thing,” said Donna.
It has also given them a greater appreciation for everything that the officers do, they said.
“This is a rural type ministry, so it has some unique qualities to it that would be different from a city ministry, so it's a great perspective to have,” said Ian. “The fact that there's a circuit here, where you're actually looking after two (communities), that's a whole different level of experience.”
The Rabourns said they decided to enter the corps because they view it as a calling. They want to help people, and they believe in the Salvation Army's mission.
The couple considered the decision for a few years before applying to the college, and made it through the Salvation Army's stringent recruiting and evaluating standards to begin their officer training.