Ministry Calling Story
My name is Sylvia Salvato, and I am thankful for free Christian-based education at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about online Bible classes, Click Here). I have lived in Austin, Texas, in the USA for 31 years. I feel blessed to live in a country where people are free to express themselves openly and honestly. We can pursue spiritual dreams in ways that do not have to conform to the status quo. In fact, it is the foundation of this country. Our founding fathers left places that persecuted them for their religious beliefs. I realize that this is a gift not available globally, and I am grateful.
I grew up in a dysfunctional home environment, where abuse, neglect, dishonesty, and disrespect were acceptable ways of interaction. The concept of God and Jesus were not topics of discussion. My father, a chronic alcoholic with mental struggles due to undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, voiced that religion had been forced down his throat. My mother was really depressed and adopted a victim orientation. The only thing I remember her saying about church was that she sang in the choir as a girl. I didn’t know other people who introduced me to these ideas either. We were isolated, too embarrassed to have others over. I functioned in survival mode, with an underlying anger and a belief that God did not exist.
Because of my upbringing, I cultivated coping skills. These engendered a sensitivity to my environment and heightened awareness of events that occurred around me. I also learned to read people well and not to believe everything that I heard. I learned to make my own way and listen to my inner voice to guide me. It was how I came to know God. I know that divine intervention has occurred many times in my life. I paid attention to those experiences where harm could have or should have come my way but didn’t. There were too many coincidences, twists of fate, and blessings that could only be explained as God’s divine intervention through Jesus and guardian angels.
An avid reader, I read books by authors such as Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins. I learned about Jesus in these books. Further, I also learned how to be saved for eternal life in the kingdom of God. I needed to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross to absolve our sins and pray for Him to come into my heart and accept Him as my Savior. Therefore, I did this and incorporated prayer into my life daily.
My Schooling and Work
I excelled in school, so I attained three degrees at the University. God pointed me in certain directions to learn why I had to undergo certain experiences to help others effectively. I earned two undergraduate degrees. First, a bachelor’s in psychology to learn about how the brain works, clinical pathologies, and the behaviors that arise because of problematic thinking. These topics are what I first sought to understand.
I also earned a bachelor’s in social work, and it led me to my first job as a Child Protective Services Investigator. This very difficult, and many times, dangerous job taught me a lot. Some parents were self-focused and caught up in their own distress. Children were caught in the maelstrom through no fault of their own. I did my part to help as many as I could.
Then, I went back to school to obtain a master’s degree in social work. I did an internship at the Veteran’s Administration. There I learned to facilitate drug and alcohol treatment groups for veterans. This experience helped me better understand our military members’ plight and, in turn, gave me compassion for my own father. His struggle really had nothing to do with me, although it felt so personal. In my career path, I held Director level roles in psychiatric care and long-term care. All these opportunities have helped me understand, heal and offer ways to change my perspective and help those in need.
My Spiritual Dream
My spiritual dream is to know who I am in Christ to help me fulfill my life purpose. I do not yet fully know the breadth of this, but I know that I can serve God by serving others in whatever endeavor I choose to focus my time on. I want to expand my knowledge and experience and find joy in it. Working with others can be a daunting experience, but the reward is that I grow and learn more about myself and my purpose with every encounter.
I am winding down my career life, with less than ten years until retirement. I have been thinking about the next chapter in my life book. Whatever it turns out to be, I want to engage in activities that are spiritual in nature. Now is the best time to lay the foundation. Therefore, I want to seek a Christian-based education.
Christian-Based Education Free at CLI
I thought about becoming ordained to officiate weddings. I realize that I can go online and pay a fee to be ordained. However, to do so without meaning behind it seems to run contrary to the whole reason. Then found the Christian Leaders Institute and saw that classes were free! What a gift this is. I felt like God was, once again, leading me to a path of purpose.
These free classes will allow me to get Christian-based education and open doors to possibilities that I have not yet fully contemplated. I resonate with your idea that money should not get in the way of achieving a spiritual dream. I truly appreciate what you are offering and pledge to give back as I can so that others may also have the benefits offered by your institute.