Cadet Testimony: Betty Vesikula"I live carrying my cross for Jesus. It is a calling that is like none other, requiring a life of total surrender to His will."
I was born and raised in the Fiji Islands, little paradise nestled in the great South Pacific shores. Everything important that I’ve ever needed to know about God—instructions on how to live my life and the priceless stories of the Bible—were all taught to me at an early age. I consider myself blessed because I was born into a home that loved and served the Lord.
In the year 1988, my parents were accepted as Cadets for the Ambassadors for Christ session within the Fiji Region, under the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory. I was only four years old at the time and training school was where I first met Ratu Poasa Vesikula (Junior), who is my husband today. Our parents were sister session mates and served in several appointments together.
The year 2000, my family and I migrated here to the United States of America. With only $2,000 saved up to my parent’s name and four bags of clothes for a family of six, my parents stepped out in faith, left behind the only life we’ve ever known and moved us straight into the heart of San Francisco.
Being so new to this country, I found myself feeling overwhelmed a lot, and I struggled as a teenager. I was seeking my identity in all the wrong places and trying to adapt to a country that was ten times bigger and faster than what I was used to.
I somehow lost myself, and before I knew it, I was sucked into a life that I never thought I would get out of. At only 18 years old, I was heavily involved in a very toxic and disturbing relationship. The mental and physical abuse was so profound that it shattered every ounce of my identity to where I lost all confidence in myself. I lost all of my relationships; my health went on a decline to where I had to undergo surgery. I lost my joy in life. Looking back, I believe that the stories of our pain, adversity and then overcoming them in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and power. They are evidence that God can take what the enemy meant for evil and use it for His good and glory.
In February of 2005, I woke up in the recovery room of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. I felt broken and alone, wanting desperately to be free from the life I was in. From the depth of my soul, I asked God to save me.
I believe the Lord heard my cry because a week later, my life drastically changed. I was now sitting on the floor, Junior beside me with both our parents staring at us, letting the both of us know that they had come to an agreement that we were to get married that very week—no questions asked, no turning back but moving forward in life together, with hopes that God would use this unity for His glory.
What we thought was going to be a family reunion between old friends turned out to be a divine intervention. And even though I had so many emotions and questions running through my mind, I somehow sensed God’s presence and a peace that I couldn’t put my finger on about this drastic decision that was made on our behalf.
What brought greater comfort to my heart was when Junior spoke up saying that he had been having visions repeatedly of a very sick and hopeless girl, lying on a bed in complete darkness. God told him to go in, carry that girl out of the dark and bring her into the light. That night God tugged at his heart, letting him know that I was that girl that needed to be brought into the light.
Although our marriage didn’t start off like every beautiful love story, it is God’s story of His saving grace and redeeming love for me. I thought God had abandoned me when I laid on that recovery bed in San Francisco, but I now see that when God said He would never leave me nor forsake me, He meant every word.
We are celebrating 15 years of marriage in July, with six of the world’s most beautiful, kindhearted and amazingly gifted children: Nelly, Arieta, Sonny, Buzzy, Rachel and Josiah.
It has not been an easy journey, but God has been faithful. God has brought complete healing to my life, restoring every broken piece. He has shown me that it doesn’t matter who I was yesterday, but what matters is that God wants to make something beautiful out of my life, today. And in doing so, He has placed a desire in my heart to live in His Holiness, a life worthy of the calling God has placed on me.
We should never let past failures dictate our standing before God. Instead, we can rejoice because we are being made more like Jesus. God’s not done with us, and we are still being drawn and invited into relationship with him. No matter where we’ve fallen or cracked, our Maker has a grand design and intention for us that is not yet complete.
Today, as a Messenger of the Kingdom here in the Western territory of the United States of America, I live carrying my cross for Jesus. It is a calling that is like none other, requiring a life of total surrender to His will.
I am reminded in 2 Timothy 1:9:
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”
In June 2020, Betty Vesikula was commissioned as lieutenant in The Salvation Army. She now serves as a Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Centennial Corps in Colorado.