By: Lt. Matt Hedgren
I was not always called to be a Salvation Army officer. I was not the Jr. Soldier who knew when he was enrolled that one day he would be entering training. I was not the teenager at youth councils on stage proclaiming I was ready to start my Evangeline Booth College paperwork. I was not even the college student who knew he would walk across the stage in my cap and gown and then head to Atlanta for training! For me, God had an interesting journey to find my calling.
I was an officer’s child growing up who bounced around all over the country not always understanding God’s timing and plan. I lived as far North as Port Huron, Michigan and as far South as Miami, Florida. As I entered my freshman year of college at The University of Oklahoma, I prayed for God to give a clear passion on what to do with my life. He led me to study architecture. It was a degree that allowed me to explore my creativity and face new challenges every day.
After college, God continued to up doors for both my wife, Jessica, and I to move to St Petersburg, Florida where I began to work for a design build firm named Scherer Construction. God used the next 5 years to teach me so many things such as Christian work ethic, creativity, and problem solving. While I enjoyed design work and loved the people I worked with, I felt like it became more of a hobby than a true passion. I began to feel God tugging at my heart towards officership. Why would God wait until now? My wife and I had 2 kids, a house, cars, and our lives already planned out.
What I didn’t realize is that God was using every experience of my life to equip me for this calling. God was saying, “Now is the time.” He confirmed it on a trip to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. My firm was called upon to help survey the damage and start a rebuilding strategy in Port Au Prince. We visited the main Port Au Prince complex and while most of the structures were too damaged to occupy, you could still witness God being praised. I saw cracked walls and rubble, but I saw children singing and heard the corps band playing. In those moments, I said yes to God. This was a mission I wanted to devote my life.
Years later, my wife and I were commissioned as officers as a part of The Proclaimers of the Resurrection session. I not only take that as my session name, I take that as my mission in life. Whether I am serving in Leesburg, Florida, Jackson, Mississippi and everywhere in between, I am proud to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the world as an officer in The Salvation Army.