A Path to Success and Salvation with Rachel Ramirez“My purpose isn’t to have a high following or to be famous, my mission is to make Heaven crowded.”
Rachel Ramirez has grown up in the Army. Her passion for serving those in need is in her DNA. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in legal studies. Her career aspiration is to do social work. Rachel also is passionate about reaching into every corner of the world with God’s Word, which she helps accomplish through her Instagram account. In sharing her story with The War Cry, it is clear that salvation is her indicator of success.
War Cry: Tell us about yourself.
Rachel: My name is Rachel Ramirez and I’m currently a college student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies and a minor in the administration of justice. One of my biggest passions in life—and really my goal in life—is to help people. And that’s why I decided to really pursue a law degree so I can help people in that aspect.
WC: How long until you graduate?
Rachel: I will be graduating in three years hopefully, when I finish all of my program requirements. I think the next step will be law school because my dream is to get a career in social work. I plan on graduating with my law degree and then receiving a master’s in social work!
WC: How did you meet the Army?
Rachel: The Army has been a part of my entire life. Both of my parents are officers and are currently majors. They were commissioned about two years before I was born, so from day one, I’ve been a Salvationist. The Salvation Army has always been a part of my life, but I would like to say that I personally met the Lord when I was six years old. I remember it was a Sunday and I was praying with my mom and that’s just kind of when things started clicking for me. God has always been there for me and I’m so grateful for that.
I remember one day when my mom came into my bedroom and she taught me a prayer. I still say that prayer every night before I go to bed. It’s something that’s really been ingrained in me, and I’m so grateful and thankful that I was able to have that person in my life to really influence me and teach me.
WC: What is your role in The Salvation Army?
Rachel: Since I’ve been in the Army my whole life, I’ve done so many different things. I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve been able to have. I’m really focusing on youth ministry. I was one of the teachers at The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Music Academy in Rockland County, NY throughout high school and these past few summers.
WC: Do you plan on applying your degree to your career in the Army?
Rachel: I would love to work in the Army full-time, especially when it comes to things like social work. I think it’s something that’s super important and part of why I wanted to pursue a degree in social work as well as law. I really want to help children as the youth ministry has just always been my focus. I want to continue that even into my career!
WC: What would be your dream role in the Army?
Rachel: I would really like to work in social work and in community outreach. The Army helps people in so many different ways. We have so many services to offer, but I would love to help people and families when it comes to the social services, legal aspects, counseling or anything else in between. I want people to feel like they have someone that they can rely on and someone that they can go to free of charge. You have to have a passion for helping people if you’re going into this field though. It’s not about money, the title or the game—it’s about helping people. The desire to help is what has to drive you. I love knowing that I was able to make an impact in someone’s life positively.
WC: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your involvement with the Army’s work?
Rachel: The work I do with the youth ministry and being able to connect with children. I love being able to connect with them and talk to them because children are so refreshingly honest. They’re not going to lie to you, and if they see something that they don’t like, they tell it how it is. I see myself as a super nurturing and caring person so working with children comes naturally to me. I think it’s so important to be there for the younger generation and lead them in a positive way.
My least favorite part is feeling tired because it’s a lot of work. When you work in the Army, it’s constant go, go, go. But at the end of the day, it’s really rewarding work. When a kid comes up to you and says, “Thank you for helping me” and gives you a hug, it just melts your heart. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’m thankful that I’m able to give back to those who truly need it.
WC: What are your hobbies?
Rachel: I’m actually super involved with my school, but I would also say I’m very artsy. In my free time, I like to embroider and Bible journal.
WC: Tell us more about Bible Journaling.
Rachel: I love Bible or bullet journaling! I have always loved stationery and journaling so in a way, it combines my two passions—reading the Bible and journaling. It’s a great feeling to be able to put down your thoughts and feelings on paper because sometimes we feel things internally but we don’t really have a way of letting it out or a way to analyze it. But when you journal and write down all of these feelings on paper, it makes it a hundred times better.
I think a lot of people think it’s weird though because it’s a bit of a learning curve. You get to write in your Bible! And for the longest time, I thought that wasn’t allowed, but the Bible is a gift. It’s God’s Word and we should be able to highlight, underline or write notes on passages that speak to us. We’re not supposed to keep it hidden in our hearts, and I feel the best way to connect to the words is to interact and engage with the words that are speaking to us. You can always have a nice Bible that you leave on your nightstand, but for us more creative people, it’s a new way of learning and studying the Bible. Then when you look back and read what you were feeling that day, it’s truly inspirational and shows you that God is doing the work in our lives.
WC: What are some challenges you think the Army is facing right now?
Rachel: Getting our message out there. A lot of people know what The Salvation Army is, but they don’t really know what we’re doing on a greater scale. People have preconceived notions of what the Army is.. We’re more than just a thrift store—we’re a church too. But that goes back to our roots as The Salvation Army. We started with “soap, soup and salvation” and that’s something that we should try to get back to. It’s not just about the fact that we are helping people, its how we are helping. We must keep moving and crafting to other people’s needs.
We need to be able to share and talk to people about what it is that we’re doing and be able to spread the message. Times have changed and people aren’t reading bulletin boards, they’re on social media. People are online, and we should be able to see the resources and tools that we have available. We have this amazing tool that allows us to connect with people so why not use it?
WC: With everything being moved to a digital platform, do you find that social media and an internet presence helps or hinders the Army’s mission?
Rachel: I think, right now, it’s really the only way that we have to go. I don’t see it as something to permanently move to but rather as a way to expand. We need to get our message out there any way that we can. Not everyone can make it to in-person church on Sunday, so if we can be both in-person and online church, I think online tools are an asset because we’re reaching a bigger group of people.
WC: What projects are you currently working on?
Rachel: Like everyone else, I’ve been stuck inside so I’ve really been focusing on what I can do to help other people from my little dorm room here at university. Something that I actually started recently is an Instagram page @Jesus.Loves.Hipsters. I create little devotionals and inspirational Christian quotes and verses for people to read. My thoughts are, “If one person sees this post and it makes a change in their life, then I’m doing my job to serve God.” If I can give inspiration to anyone from my little corner of the digital world, then I know I can inspire people in-person when life gets a little bit back to normal.
My purpose isn’t to have a high following or to be famous. My mission is to make Heaven crowded. I want to bring these people to the Lord because they might not have a friend or an influence in their life that is talking to them about Jesus. So I want to be that person.
WC: Who inspires you to do the work that you do?
Rachel: My mom is one of my biggest inspirations because of everything that she’s just done with the Army. Even before she met the Army, she has always been a people person and she’s always been there to help people. I remember going through old family photos and seeing a picture of her when she was 15 and she was teaching this little boy how to read on the sidewalk. This photo has always been very inspirational to me. She is someone who truly just wants to help. She has always given her life to Jesus and has always been so devoted to service.
WC: Anything else you want our readers to know?
Rachel: The biggest thing to take away from everything from this crazy year is that we need more love. We need to live our lives with love, we need to love other people, love ourselves and treat everyone with love and respect. Put yourself out there, humble yourself to be of service and remember that God is love. We aren’t just called to help people we like; we’re called to help all of those in need and to do the most good every day.