“It’s not like a job that you answer from the want ads in the newspaper. It’s a calling,” Cristy Lind said.
The two are the relatively new directors of the local outpost of the Salvation Army, overseeing its missions to help the homeless, those dealing with substance abuse problems and others in difficult circumstances.
Bert, Cristy’s husband, said he felt led to join the Salvation Army at 14 during a youth service, although he was 50 when he said he responded to that direction. But his decision didn’t convince Cristy Lind. She says God did.
One Sunday morning she asked God to have five people tell her they were praying for her, if he wanted her to join the Salvation Army.
“I thought it would be really, really hard for God,” Cristy Lind said.
The church service passed and she received no notification of any prayers spoken on her behalf.
Then something unusual happened. Someone told her she’d received a piece of mail at the church, something she said had never happened before.
She opened up an envelope and found a Salvation Army insignia on a card with the words “I prayed for you” printed atop it. Inside it there were five signatures.
“So I was like, OK, this is what we’re supposed to do,” Cristy Lind said.
So the couple moved in a new direction: They began their service for the Salvation Army about a decade ago in Bessemer. Then five years later they moved to serve in the organization in Columbus, Miss. They arrived in Anniston about six months ago, where they now work together to head up each of the organization’s local programs.
Together the couple oversee 24 employees. They also oversee each of the local Salvation Army’s community services.
On Sundays, Bert Lind pastors the Salvation Army’s church service, while both manage the thrift stores, rehabilitation program and women’s shelter, with help from the employees.
As captains at the Salvation Army, they also oversee two charitable outreach programs — the Angel Tree and Red Kettle campaigns, both during the Christmas season.
“We want to be able to help as many people as possible,” Bert Lind said. “We want to help them with a hand up, not a handout.”
Their past careers were quite different from the posts they hold today. Cristy Lind was mother to their children, worked as a medical transcriptionist, then in a day care and for a church. Bert worked in the grocery and food delivery business.
They say that while their journey to the Salvation Army wasn’t entirely unexpected, it took a leap of faith into a new lifestyle. They’ll also tell you it was one they both welcomed, after one very specific prayer was answered in a very specific way.
“That’s what I asked for and that’s what God did,” Cristy Lind said. “We just moved forward.”
Star staff writer Laura Johnson at 256-235-3544.