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Meet Jacobs Gilliam

Ready to leave the church, God spoke clearly, and called Jacobs back.
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Born in Atlanta, Jacobs understands the cost of being a Salvation Army officer’s (pastor’s) kid. While his parents were studying to become officers, Jacobs and his two younger siblings grew up being moved across the country—from Georgia to Maryland to Florida. 

Jacobs grew up knowing about God, but it wasn’t until when he attended Youth Councils in West Virginia at age 12 that he dedicated his life to God and began to pursue Him. When his parents were moved to Florida, it was difficult for Jacobs. Leaving behind friends, the hurt of that transition brewed into resentment towards The Salvation Army. While in his first year of college, Jacobs made a decision that he would no longer attend The Salvation Army and focused on pursuing his passion in film and photography.

In the summer of 2014, Jacobs was accepted to be part of a summer missions trip, run by The Salvation Army, to Kenya. He never expected to be part of The Salvation Army again, but while in Kenya, he gained a new perspective of his childhood church. His heart was stirred. He saw people walking miles in the dirt just to hear God’s Word for an hour. He witnessed children in orphanages content with so little, and his heart broke. It was there that he preached his first sermon. Everything changed.

Returning to the States with a shifted mindset, Jacobs attended a debriefing meeting with his mission team. There, in an unexpected place at an unexpected time, Jacobs heard the voice of God: “It was as if all the sounds in the room stopped and I heard: ‘This is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. I’m calling you to become a Salvation Army officer.’” Jacobs felt he was the most unexpected candidate for the “job.” He had left The Salvation Army, yet he could not deny that God had called him, so he bravely said, “Yes.”

Jacobs now serves as a Youth and Evangelism Director at The Salvation Army in Salisbury, MD, working hard to provide supplies to people during the pandemic. Now having the privilege of preaching five sermons (with more to come!), Jacobs plans to enter The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training in 2021. He’s ready to fulfill what God has called him to do.

Struggling with your parents’ move? Jacobs says, “Just trust God. There’s a bigger picture than what you’re seeing. And God is going to move you where you need to move. So, just rely on God and also rely on your family because they’re going through what you’re going through too. My best friends are my brother and sister because I know that no matter what, they’ll be there for me and I’ll be there for them.”

We’d love to hear what God’s doing in your life! Submit your story at peermag.org/ contribute.

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