26 August 2014


By John Ollis

If you have been reading any of my FB posts, you may discern the Lord has been been speaking much to me (or perhaps i am listening more.

My last blog was on the Fruit of the Spirit namely patience, yesterday the Lord used a situation here in the hospital to test me and confirm my lack of patience, I initially was failing the test until I recognised what was happening and repented and relaxed. I trust the experience  has left a permanent positive mark on me.

I believe it is said that a sign of old age is that one reminiscences and thinks about the past a lot. Well I am 73 in a couple of weeks, so have many years to look back on. This could be a very long rambling blog, so I have decided to break it up ok ?

1. God’s hand on my life.

2. The Ministries that have influenced my life

3. The Journey.

4. The Discipleship/Mentoring story.

5. The Future.

Many of you know I am the product of an alcoholic family, (both parents were backsliders!!) So there was no Christian influence in the home, but as look back I can see I had a desire for God.As a result of someone door knocking I attended a local Sunday School, but I was uncomfortable there for some reason. I cannot remember how I discovered The Salvation Army (over a mile’s walk). I started attending regularly, but missed one Sunday I actually walked past the Army hall  to attend a military tattoo which as a 10 year old boy I really enjoyed. I went back to Sunday School the next Sunday, and was told I had missed the quarterly Decision Day, but if i wanted to become a Christian they would pray for me. I was very nervous and was helped to go out to the Penitent Form where I must have prayed the Sinner’s Prayer. When I stood up I knew without a doubt I was saved,there has never been a moment’s doubt in almost 63 years.

My Sunday School teacher was the Officer’s wife, (Bentleigh corps 1951) I thank God for her sensitivity. She may now be with the Lord, I trust I will meet her in heaven. The following year we moved to Hampton and initially went to the Baptist church, but found the Salvation Army in Sandringham. It was a small struggling corps, I don’t believe it exists today, but was a fantastic training ground in so many ways.

Around 14 years of age I attended for the first time The Salvation Army Youth Council and it was during a service I clearly received my call to ministry. From then on I only had one goal to go to the S.A. Training College. Life was lonely in a non Christian home. Years later I met some young people (at Youth Council) from Wangaratta and I decided to move there. This was a fantasic corps. At 20 I held the highest lay position in the corps (it was not good for my pride).

During this time two spinster Pentecostal ladies (who in hindsight were fanatics) started attending the corps. They asked me to meet with them at 6am each morning for prayer. They gave me William Booth – Clibborn”s little book  on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I got hungry and received by my bedside one night. Pastor W. George Forbes (A.o.G) baptized me in the Ovens river.

I went to the Training College in Feb. 1962, It was a fabulous year, men like Milford McPherson, Ray Everitt, and the Principal Geoffery Dalziel all left their mark on me. In the first four months of your second year you are appointed to a corps for practical training, I was sent to Seymour. there were mainly sad memories including some health issues, but I did get a love for preaching there. Around Easter I left, and returned to Melbourne but not to the College. I attended Richmond Temple (as it was known in those days). I met my wife Margaret there. In Feb. 1964 I went to Commonwealth Bible College in Brisbane to complete my training.

I have been in ministry ever since. The Lord’s hand and leading in these 50 years has been awesome, I am sure there were times when I nearly missed it. The Lord has used Margaret a thousand times to help me, encourage me, rebuke me to help me stay on track, I thank God for her.

Today. I am more conscious of the Lord’s hand on my life than at any time in the past, I give the Lord all the praise and the glory.

I want to say very sincerely, I THANK GOD FOR THE SALVATION ARMY, and all it has meant to me. My very best friend is a National leader here in Australia, and we regularly communicate. I was invited recently to attend the 50th Anniversary Reunion of my class. It was a great time.