After dedicating 46 years of her life to the Salvation Army and servicing communities right across Queensland, Major Lyn Cook has decided now is the time to step down and enjoy retired life.
Lyn, who has worked at the Pine Rivers Salvation Army Corps since 2016, preached her final sermon at Lawnton on January 8.
Speaking to Moreton Daily, Lyn said she loved being part of the church community and helping people in need from all walks of life.
“I have always loved working with people and seeing how they grow when they believe in themselves,” Lyn said.
Lyn was introduced to the Salvation Army at a young age as her parents were both involved with the organisation.
“I grew up in the Salvation Army but when I was 19 I felt called to be an officer myself. I went to the training college and was then ordained when I was 21,” Lyn explained.
“I have worked in so many places – Uralla, near Armidale, Clermont, Dalby, Zillmere, Sydney for two years, Cairns, Mackay, Inala for 10 years, Mt Gravatt, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and then finally, Pine Rivers.”
Throughout her career, Lyn was part of the deaf ministry in Sydney, and continued that in her new role at her next posting in Cairns.
While working in Hervey Bay, Lyn also became a fire chaplain for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and also assisted thousands of people who sought help after losing everything in several flooding disasters on the Fraser Coast.
"After one flood event I cot a call from a company that sold work clothes asking if the farmers who lost everything would love some new work boots and clothes for the cleanup process," Lyn said.
"I of course said yes and they filled up my car and we went around and delivered them to people.
"They were out cleaning up in thongs which wasn't very safe to do."
Getting the Salvation Army school up and running in Moreton Bay is also one of her career highlights.
“One of my highlights is the opening of the school here in Lawnton (which is located behind the church in Lawnton),” Lyn said.
“I was part of the planning for the school. It took 11 years to get it up and running, but we got there in the end.
“It opened in February last year, so it’s not even a year old yet.
“It reaches kids that don’t fit into main stream school in years 10-12.
“At the moment there are three classrooms and 40 students, but the maximum will be four classrooms and 60 students.
“There are not too many Salvation Army churches that have a school, and this is only one of three in Queensland.”
With music being a big passion for Lyn, that also makes her list of top accomplishments, as she played on stage during church services and has taught a number of young people how to play various musical instruments.
She has also headed out west on multiple trips to a number of smaller regional communities with musicians to entertain people.
Help for those in need
During the Christmas period last year, Lyn was there to assist families struggling to make ends meet by helping to put together close to 130 Christmas hampers for people in need.
And during the early stages of the COVID19 pandemic when church services were not allowed to proceed, she ensured nobody in the Moreton Bay community missed out on church.
"When all the lockdowns were happening, we couldn't have our regular church services, so we decided to do something we called church in a bag," Lyn explained.
"Every week we would put together a few different things in a bag for the church community such as devotions, craft activities and a story for the kids, plus a little surprise, which might have been a roll of toilet paper one week and a Christmas decoration the next.
"People would come to the church and just like a drive-through would hand the bag to them in the car.
"People were taking home bags for themselves and also for others."
A well-deserved break
After bidding farewell to her Pine Rivers community last weekend, Lyn is now looking forward to a few weeks of rest and relaxation before starting one of the many projects she has planned.
“I am currently in the middle of a research study project which I will work on until June,” Lyn said.
“I am doing research on trauma and the soul. There is a lot written on trauma and the mind and trauma on the body, but not much on how trauma affects the soul.
“Due to my work with firefighters and the SES, they are really interested in seeing how this works, and how it can help, especially since they are faced with trauma all the time.
“I am also planning on spending my days learning how to play the cello, painting with water colour and doing some sewing – I have sewing projects coming out of my ears!”
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