“Sometimes when we sense that God’s saying something to us,”says Cadet Jen Thompson, “we jump to the conclusion that God means right now. But sometimes, he has a journey to take us on in terms of developing us and making us ready for that calling. The key is to know when to wait.”

Opening Doors

Jen has been part of The Salvation Army all her life.

“My family goes quite a ways back, actually, within the Army,” she says. “We suspect that we had some relatives that were likely on the streets of England with the Booths, so it appears that I’m a sixth-generation Salvationist.”

Jen’s parents are retired Salvation Army officers.

“I was at training college with my parents as a child,” she says. “I saw them step into ministry, and I moved around with them to a couple of different corps before I left home. It gave me a neat perspective, and I’ve met lots of great people within the Army world because of that.”

Jen became a soldier at the age of 14. Why?

“Being raised in the Salvation Army context, that’s what you did at 14,” she says, “but I also knew that I wanted to develop a personal relationship with Jesus and live out my faith within the context of the Army community.”

As Jen grew from a teen into an adult, that faith became more personal and profound in her life.

“I sensed that God was opening doors for me to serve in those ways within The Salvation Army and to deepen my faith in him through those years.”

Ongoing Conversation

Jen met her future husband, Neil, who also came from a Salvation Army family, at Camp Sunrise in Gibsons, B.C., where they both worked. They began a relationship, and the 20-year-olds were married the next summer.

In their first year of marriage, the couple went to an Officership Information Weekend, where they sensed that full-time ministry might be something God was leading them toward. Ultimately, they decided that weekend that it wasn’t the right time or season for that.

“But all through our marriage, it’s continued to be a conversation, and something that we’ve tried to discern,” says Jen. “There were seasons where it was less prominent in our minds, perhaps, or less of a conversation, but there were certainly times where God brought it to the forefront and we felt more strongly about it.”

Over the last 18 years, Jen has worked for The Salvation Army in Vernon, B.C., in a number of different capacities.

“I’ve loved the opportunity to serve our community,” she says, “to journey alongside people in various circumstances, witness their discovery of faith and see them meet Jesus and have renewed hope in their lives because of that.”

Journey to Officership

About four years ago, Jen and Neil began to talk seriously again about officership.

“We couldn’t deny that God was tugging on our hearts about full-time ministry,” says Jen. “We went to another Officership Information Weekend and we felt certain that God was going to say, ‘This is it. You’re moving to Winnipeg,’ where the training college was then located. ‘You’re entering training. Here we go.’ ”

But what they got instead was God telling them, “I want you in full-time ministry. But I’m not finished with you in Vernon.”

The couple had no idea how to square that circle but God did when, a few months later, they were presented with the opportunity to serve as auxiliary-lieutenants.

“That really felt like that was God’s confirmation of the call he had specifically for us,” says Jen.

The couple became cadets in September 2022 through a new field-based training program where they would continue to lead the corps in Vernon while conducting distance learning with CFOT.

“We feel blessed that God has opened the door for us to serve in this way here, and we’re excited about what he has in store for us for the future,” she smiles.

Daily Miracles

“I love the mission of The Salvation Army,” says Jen. “I love that we strive daily to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Through the Army, Jen gets to daily live out her faith in very practical ways.

“I love the opportunity that I have to meet so many different people and journey with them in all the different situations of life they find themselves in,” she says. “I count it a privilege that people are willing to share their story with me, and that I can come alongside them, whether it be in crisis or whether it be in a season of celebration. I get to play a small part in reminding them who God is, that he’s present with them no matter what season they find themselves in, and point them to the hope of Jesus.

“The Salvation Army is a place where that gets to happen to me on a daily basis.”

This story is from:

Leave a Comment