Williams Lake Salvation Army has two new lieutenants at the helm.
Nathanael Hoeft and Jessica Hoeft, both 32, arrived just before Stampede weekend to replace Tatiana and Sergii Kachanov who relocated to Parksville, B.C.
The couple is from Winnipeg where they recently completed two years of training, followed by being commissioned and ordained as lieutenants.
They have three children — William, 12, Luke, 10, and Isabelle, 5 — who inspire them to create more opportunities for children at the Salvation Army, Jessica said.
“We want to create a space for children to have ministry opportunities and ways to get involved in discipleship so it’s not only adults.”
Before becoming lieutenants, they were ministry unit leaders in Trail, B.C. for two years and before that Nathanael worked with shelter ministry in downtown Winnipeg.
“Our strengths are our pastoral care, loving people, journeying with people in their lives,” Jessica said.
Nathanael hopes to build on what has existed locally and growing into what the community needs them to be.
“I don’t think we’ll be bored. We are here to build relationships.”
As lieutenants they will also tag-team to lead the Sunday morning services at the Salvation Army.
So far they are loving living in Williams Lake.
“The beauty of being in a space that has creation just looking outside your kitchen window cannot compare,” Jessica said. “Also, the people are so kind and genuine and caring.”
There are some staff shortages at the Salvation Army including a driver, a swamper who assists the driver when picking up donations and other manual labour, and a thrift store manager.
Earlier this spring, the drop-in centre was flooded and it remains out of order until the remediation is completed.
“That is really unfortunate because it is a great community space,” Jessica said.
Nathanael was born into the Salvation Army.
“My parents are officers and I lived in Yellowknife and Winnipeg with them and they spent time in northern B.C. as well.”
Jessica joined the Salvation Army when she was nine years old.
“My home life was very chaotic and something inside me was searching for that stability. I tried to find a home in church and nothing felt right until my friend invited me to the Salvation Army Sunday School. I went one Sunday and I never left.”