In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission: to go and make disciples of all nations. This has been the Scripture theme for the 2021 call and commitment and candidate recruitment campaign. The calling in these verses is transformative—for the individual, for the church and for God’s kingdom. Responding to this call requires courage.

As Salvationists, each of us is challenged to consider the invitation—to make disciples, to teach, to be aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit. We must ask ourselves: Have I responded to God’s calling on my life? Have I found the courage to follow its path? And if not, why not?

Our territory’s Officership Information Weekend is a time when Salvationists can gather to explore and discern God’s call together. The following stories are a reminder that God is still calling his people and inviting us to participate in his kingdom mission.

Photo of Cadets Kerrin and Tim Fraser
Cadets Kerrin and Tim Fraser, Messengers of Reconciliation Session, College for Officer Training, Winnipeg

“Confident in Our Calling”

The Officership Information Weekend was an integral part of our decision to attend the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg. We attended the information weekend twice, in 2013 and 2019.

The first time we went, we were exploring what officership looked like. Kerrin was fairly new to The Salvation Army, and both of us were trying to get a sense of our call. We left that weekend knowing that we were called, but the timing was not right. We needed space to grow and take care of some family matters.

However, after a few years, God was pressing on our hearts to revisit his call. By this time, both of us were on a career path that made us happy, but God kept telling us that he wanted more for us. We were encouraged to attend another Officership Information Weekend as candidates to reaffirm our call.

Coming to our second information weekend, we wanted to know what family life would look like while attending CFOT. We wanted to ensure that we would be able to focus on family time, while also focusing on our studies and field requirements. We wanted to learn about local daycares and schools. We had practical concerns about overcoming debt and living off an allowance as a family that was used to having two incomes.

All these concerns became incredibly small as we had conversations with cadets who provided insight into what family life looked like for them. They shared their experiences with balancing family life and schoolwork while living in community. We were blessed by those discussions as they opened up to us about how their families adjusted to community living.

What we found most helpful about the weekend was the opportunity to be physically present in that place, in the very spot where God was leading us. The CFOT chapel became a sacred space for us during that weekend. It immediately felt like home and provided us with a sense that this was where we needed to be.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to attend the Officership Information Weekend in 2019 because in those moments, through every session, tour and conversation, God was speaking to both of us and assured us that this was where he wanted us. We were confident in our calling and ready to begin the process and, just five months later, we were accepted into the Messengers of Reconciliation Session.

Photo of Lieutenants Brandon and April Keeping
Lieutenants Brandon and April Keeping, corps officers, Temiskaming Community Church, New Liskeard, Ont.

Hope for the Future

My husband, Brandon, and I, along with our seven-monthold son, Theo, attended the Officership Information Weekend in 2017. I had been looking forward to the weekend since our corps officer suggested it to us a few months prior, and it proved to be a highlight of my experience as a candidate. For me, it was incredibly important to come and see CFOT so I could picture what my life would look like during our time of training.

Before the weekend, Brandon and I were almost certain of our calling to officership, but the weekend was a way for us to get answers to some of the practical questions we had. At the time, we had three sons under the age of six, so I had a lot of questions and anxiety around the day-to-day routine of living at CFOT, where schools and daycares were located, and how we could make all of this work as a young, busy family.

Along with my questions about what this change would mean for my family, I brought a lot of questions about what it would mean for myself. Would I be able to handle the demands of being a cadet? Was there a place in The Salvation Army for me?

I remember the weekend being very busy and receiving a lot of information. But what I remember most was feeling encouraged that I was not alone. I met several other young families during the weekend. Some of them eventually became session-mates! We were also able to talk with CFOT staff, and all of my questions and doubts felt a little less overwhelming as I began to imagine the community that I would have at CFOT.

We were supported by friends, fellow candidates and officers as we navigated the weekend with a baby. I never felt that Theo’s presence was a distraction or inconvenience; we were accepted as a family and all of the chaos that comes with it.

As I look back fondly at that weekend, I can say that it was the starting point for many significant relationships that I have been privileged to develop over the past four years. When Brandon, Theo and I flew home at the end of the weekend, I was tired and a little overwhelmed. But I was also encouraged and hopeful for the future that lay ahead of me at CFOT. The Officership Information Weekend was a significant time in our family’s discernment of our future as Salvation Army officers.

Photo of Cadet Janelle Colbourne
Cadet Janelle Colbourne, Messengers of Reconciliation Session,
College for Officer Training, Winnipeg

Perfect Peace 

“One yes at a time” was a phrase I heard while attending the Officership Information Weekend in 2019. That phrase became my slogan as I continued on my path to CFOT. Along the way, there were hundreds of yeses, but the most important one—the one that started my journey—was the hardest yes of all. I believe that God has been preparing me for officership since I was a little girl. But in January 2019, I was finally in a place in my life where I was ready and willing to listen to that call. Through the encouragement of my corps officers and divisional youth secretary, I enrolled in the Introduction to Officership course and received my candidate’s pin. By April, I was starting the paperwork for CFOT.

The next step was to attend the Officership Information Weekend in October. This was an important part of my journey because it provided practical information about what my time at CFOT would look like.

Going into the weekend, I was anxious and nervous. I felt like so much of my future was riding on the weekend. But God is faithful and he was with me through it all. From the moment I saw the CFOT building, I felt a deep sense of peace that only the Lord can give.

Throughout the weekend, my calling to officership was affirmed over and over again. I am a visual person, so seeing where I would live, where my classes would be, what the building looked like and so on helped me accurately visualize my future for the first time.

Even though I had already started the paperwork for CFOT when I attended the weekend, it played a huge part in my decision to go to training college. I came into the weekend with many questions. Thankfully, there were plenty of officers and cadets who were willing to answer them. It was also helpful to hear about their experiences at CFOT or during their years of officership. These conversations were one of the most helpful parts of the weekend.

It was also helpful to have dedicated time to focus on my calling—in times of worship, in time spent in the Word and while having conversations with fellow candidates who were also figuring out their calling. This weekend allowed me to unplug, learn and listen to God’s voice. When the weekend was over, I was filled with peace and hope for the future.

I am now a second-year cadet in the Messengers of Reconciliation Session. While I still get overwhelmed with details and course loads, I hold on to the words I heard at that Officership Information Weekend: “One yes at a time.”

Salvationists are invited to explore God’s calling at the Officership Information Weekend on October 29-31, 2021. For more information, connect with your divisional secretary for candidates or email

Captain Kristen Jackson-Dockeray is the territorial secretary for candidates.

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On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, N'LAME Guève said:

Très pertinents ces témoignages. Je suis aussi Salutiste dans le Territoire du Congo Brazzaville (Afrique centrale). Ces différents points me touchent énormément et je m'imagine à leurs places. Que notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ continue sa mission à travers ses serviteurs. Et que Dieu notre Père Céleste vous donne force, courage et puissance par son Saint Esprit. Thanks...

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