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Aug16FriAmy Patrick knew officership was in her future. How long could she put it off? August 16, 2019 by Ken Ramstead
It was a sweltering four in the morning when Amy Patrick stepped off the plane at the Sri Lankan airport, on her way to two months of mission work.
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“There were people everywhere around me and none of them spoke English,” laughs Patrick now. “There were no signs that I could understand; I was in this sea of people with no idea who would be meeting me.”
But as Patrick turned a corner, she saw some people dressed in Salvation Army saris who had come to pick her up.
“At that moment, I knew I was home and that I was safe.”
And it was at that point that she realized God had bigger plans for her life.
Born and raised in Calgary, Patrick’s home corps is Glenmore Temple.
“My grandparents are retired officers and my dad and step-mom attend the corps. There was never any pressure on me to become a soldier,” she explains, “but they were pleased with the decision I had made to become a member.”
Having grown up in the Army and seeing the example her grandparents set every day, “I appreciated what the Army stood for, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Patrick became a senior soldier in 2013, right around the time she graduated from high school.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do beyond high school,” she says. “All my life, I wanted to be in a helping profession, but what that would look like, I wasn’t sure.”
Patrick’s grandparents suggested a trip to Sri Lanka, where they had been stationed.
“I was exposed to a different culture, a different way of being and a different way of thinking,” says Patrick. “And it all started at that airport.”
Patrick’s Sri Lankan trip was a turning point. By then, she was a soldier but wasn’t wearing a uniform, and it was in Sri Lanka that she appreciated the Salvation Army uniform for the first time.
“In Sri Lanka, which is predominantly Buddhist, people come right up to Salvationists and thank them,” she says. “They’re so appreciative of the Army and the work that they do there.
“I realized I needed to wear my uniform,” she says. “By doing so, I am proclaiming my faith.”
Decision on a Sunday
While the trip to Sri Lanka was formational in her appreciation of the importance of soldiership and the responsibilities a uniform entailed, Patrick’s decision to become an officer was gradual, with “nudges” along the way.
Another “nudge” was her time at Booth University College in Winnipeg, where she completed a degree in social work.
“By then, I was wearing my uniform and I was around other Salvationists as the College for Officer Training (CFOT) was right next door,” Patrick says. ”I got to see how the Army works viewed from that different perspective.”
She was leaning toward officership but she wanted to make sure that it was actually a calling and not just something she thought she could do. But the call was getting stronger.
That came right after her graduation. Patrick was back in Calgary, serving as community outreach co-ordinator at her corps, and unsure of her next step.
“I was feeling unsettled,” she says. “I had thought my future was overseas but I’d started looking at other options.”
One Sunday, she was at a service listening intently to the corps officer deliver a sermon about a month before the Officership Information Weekend at CFOT.
Very distinctly, she heard a voice tell her, “Stop making excuses. This is going to happen. This is where you need to be going.”
“That did it,” Patrick smiles.
She was accepted to the candidates’ fellowship and will be attending CFOT next month.
“I’ve always had a passion for mission but I know that as an officer, I will be able to help people in a way that I never could as a layperson,” Patrick says.
“I look back now and I see God’s provision over my life and all the different roads that I’ve been on and where they’ve led me. I know I have been called.”