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Kenneth Cleveland

My Story

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I was raised in the church and baptized at an early age. I didn’t have many friends growing up. I suffered ridicule and rejection as a teenager because I was overweight. My family became my world and music was my friend.

I went through many hard trials and temptations. Satan tried to steal my joy and sometimes I felt paralyzed with fear of not knowing what my future held. Sometimes I would struggle with my insecurities and worry about being accepted by others or what they thought of me. I did not confide in God. I continue to hide behind my insecurities and let fear paralyze me.

I was introduced to the Salvation Army in 2006, through a family friend who invited me to a men’s Bible study at the Corps. This bible study wasn’t like any other Bible study. It was 12 men getting together to study the Bible. Some days it felt like an episode of the TV show “The Real World.” This Bible study dealt with real life men issues through the scripture. Everything in the bible study was confidential. Through this study group I realize I did not have a personal relationship with God. This is when I came to know God as my personal Savior and rededicated my life to him.

After this life changing event took place in my life, I was ready to serve God freely. My wife and I volunteered as the Praise and Worship Team on the second and fourth Sundays at a local Salvation Army Corps. Through the Corps Officers, we began to learn more about the Salvation Army. After much prayer and attendance at several Salvation Army retreats and conferences, we became soldiers in March 2009. It wasn’t until my encounter with God during Candidates weekend at the Salvation Army School for Officer Training in 2010, that I knew God was truly calling me to serve. Our patience and prayer life were increased and God taught us to, put our entire trust in him, meaning to get out of the way and allow him to work. God opened doors and paved the way for us to be here at The Salvation Army School for Officer’s Training.

I know God has a plan for my life. My favorite scripture is Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." God is good and I know he loves me just like he loves you.