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A higher calling

State Department employee walked away

from promising career to serve at D.C. corps

By Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

Photo, below: J. Virginia Murray left a position with the U.S. Agency for International Developmentto serve as a program administrator at the Washington Sherman Avenue Corps.

J. Virginia Murray did not hesitate when the offer was given for a position as program administrator at the Washington Sherman Avenue Corps. She accepted the job but gave up a high-level position at the U.S. State Department to do so.

Murray was assistant director of USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for nine years. Her responsibilities took her on a number of trips to visit government projects in Africa and Asia. The salary was "very good," and she probably would have advanced further had she remained in the public sector.

But she had a higher calling.

"I've been a Christian for many years, and I've always had a heart for youth ministry," Murray said. "About the time I was invited to a church service at The Salvation Army here at Sherman Avenue, I also signed up to volunteer that Thanksgiving."

Murray felt right at home serving alongside Salvationists, both in the spiritual and social outreach ministries - especially among the children and teens of the corps. Soon she was enrolled as a soldier and began proudly wearing her uniform.

"I'd work in my office at the State Department, but my mind and heart always seemed to be at the corps. When I wasn't at work, I was at the corps doing something," Murray said. "I remember often thinking, I wish I could do this full time!"

Now in her third year on the Sherman Avenue Corps staff, Murray is positive she made the right decision. She plans to enter the Evangeline Booth College in the next year or two to begin her training as a Salvation Army officer.

When asked if working with such a pay cut has been difficult for her and her children, Murray quotes Matthew 6:33.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God," she said. "The Lord always provides!"


Dream place in Glen Burnie

Over 120 Home Depot and KaBoom and 100 Salvation Army volunteers spent a day building a 2,000-square-foot playground recently at The Salvation Army Glen Burnie, Md., Boys & Girls Club. Thousands of pounds of mulch and cement, gallons and gallons of paint and hundreds of flowers, bushes and other items were used to construct and erect two park benches, three trash can covers, a picnic table, a playground complete with a miniature rock-wall, sliding board and zip chord, all surrounded by a beautiful flower bed - all donated and created by a community of caring volunteers. The $55,000 project was designed with input from the youth members of the Glen Burnie club - although the club's executive director, Wanda Newton, noted that the suggested hot tub with sliding board was not incorporated into the final design.





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