A higher calling
State Department employee walked away
from promising career to serve at D.C.
By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff
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.
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
"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
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!"
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.