Salvation Army lieutenant lands in Athol

  • Athol Salvation Army Lt. Melissa Lowell has spent a lot of her life traveling across the world helping people. Now she’s looking forward to helping those in Athol. For the Recorder/Carson McGrath

For the Recorder
Published: 7/18/2018 1:54:06 PM

ATHOL — Athol Salvation Army Lt. Melissa Lowell knew she wanted to be a pastor with the organization since she was 18 years old. After studying at the Salvation Army College for Officer Training in New York for two years, she’s recently touched down in Athol as the news lieutenant and is excited to help the community, she said.

“The first thing I was told, and I’ve experienced since being here, is that Athol is a can-do community. People come together and help each other and if there is a need, somebody can help,” she said.

Before becoming a lieutenant, Lowell traveled the world. After friends in Paraguay expressed a need for an English teacher, she packed her bags and spent two years in the country, teaching at a Christian school. During Lowell’s time there, she said, she was active in the church and was able to help out at a local children’s home.

In 2011, Lowell packed her bags once again and partook in a Christian mission trip called The World Race for 11 months. Each month, along with six other individuals, she traveled to a new country to serve, from working in orphanages to helping women in Thailand subjected to human trafficking. Throughout those 11 months, Lowell said she learned to depend on God in a new way.

“I was totally cut off. I hardly ever had internet. I didn’t have a cellphone, so I couldn’t communicate easily back home,” she said.

After heading back to the United States, in 2016 Lowell started her time at seminary. For two years she learned everything from pastoring to implementing the social services the Salvation Army offers to local communities across the country.

“My schedule was very crazy, but my classmates were incredible. We still talk all the time, almost every day,” she said.

It was only a few days after graduating from seminary in June that Lowell was given her assignment. So once again, she packed her bags, did a bit of research, and headed to Athol. Since moving here, Lowell said even though it may not be the most comfortable outfit, she has been wearing her uniform when doing errands in the community to meet and better understand the people of the town. She hopes to learn what the community needs and appreciates those who have already contacted her about volunteering.

“I am super excited to be here. I feel very lucky this is where I’ve been sent. I am brand-new, so I am learning a lot. I may not have answers yet, but I am passionate about getting answers,” she said.

Her experiences serving in other countries, she said, has enabled her to build relationships in new communities she knows little about and looks forward to bringing those skills to Athol.

For those interested in the social services the Salvation Army offers, Lowell said it is open Tuesdays to Fridays starting at 9 a.m. to noon.


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