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ESSAYS | CFOT AND AUTISM

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autismIt is hard to believe that it has been almost two years since I made the decision to respond to God’s call on my life to become a Salvation Army Officer. And if you’ve read my bio on this website you’ll know that one of the greatest challenges I faced in making that decision was the changes that it meant for my then nine year old son Josh who suffers from autism.

Well today, I’m happy to report that the journey of training college has been nothing but a positive and rewarding experience for both Josh and I. God has continually amazed me by the ways in which He has provided for our every need since arriving in Winnipeg by putting people and resources in our path. As a result my faith has been strengthened by the knowledge that, in the words of one of my favourite choruses, He is able to do so much more than I could ever dream.

In particular, community living has turned out to be an excellent opportunity for Josh’s social skills to be developed as he has made real friends for the first time in his life with many of the cadet children with whom he spends significant time with. Josh has also gone from barely grunting at my fellow cadets when they greeted him in September 2008 to actually initiating conversations with many of them on a daily basis. I firmly believe that this unique environment has allowed development that may never have happened for Josh otherwise and I am so blessed that God’s hand has been at work even in his life as I followed God’s plan for our life.

josh-playing-with-boys

Eighteen months ago I wrote that I was pleased to have arrived at the part of my life’s journey where I would get to spend a two year layover at CFOT filling my mind and heart with knowledge of God’s word. And here I am now, nearing the end of this part of the journey, Josh is now 11 years old and I am again looking forward to what God has in store for both of us in 2010.

joshandkidsSo today, I quote again the same verse that I carried with me to CFOT – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) God has indeed, once again, proved Himself worthy of my trust since my son and I began what I thought would be a difficult transition. As it turns out, every change has brought blessing rather than challenge and I have no doubt that God will continue to go ahead of us as we look forward to finding out where the next phase of the journey will take us when I begin full-time ministry in six short months.

May God richly bless each of you in 2010.
Cadet Kristen Gray