Right after a couple heard some hard news from the doctors about their son, they turned on CHVN in the car and were comforted.
"Leading up to this appointment we started to realize that our three-year-old son was different than his friends. Some of the differences were really hard to face," says Sara Gabrielson.
Gabrielson shares how her son Barkley wasn't speaking or communicating at the appropriate age level.
"He would spend a lot of his time jumping or crying."
The family of four lives in Northern Saskatchewan, however, Gabrielson grew up in Manitoba.
In May of 2018, Gabrielson and her husband drove to Winnipeg for the diagnosis from the hospital.
"It was confirmation that our son had autism. My sister already had two boys with autism, so I was kind of anticipating the diagnosis. It gave me answers but at the same time I didn't want to hear it," she says.
Right after hearing this news, the couple was in shock and processing what this news meant for them as parents.
"My heart was so heavy. We had CHVN on in the car and Rob Parker from the National House of Prayer came on and said, 'I've never seen a person with down syndrome healed. But I've seen the hardened heart of an adult changed by a child with down syndrome'."
While autism and down syndrome are different, the idea still blessed Gabrielson's heart that day, according to her.
"I remember holding on to that and realizing that God had a purpose and a plan. That He was going to use our son exactly the way he was. This was pivotal and a foundation for me to move forward and trust God."
One year after that diagnosis, Gabrielson and her husband felt led to get back into ministry in 2019. They are missionaries at a Bible camp in Northern Saskatchewan, and it was these words that gave her comfort to move forward with that plan.
"People that I couldn't share the gospel with or talk to Jesus about are the ones who are walking through our small town singing 'Jesus Loves Me' with him."
While Barkley doesn't speak a lot, he has responded in very specific ways.
"He loves it when we come into his room at night and pray. I started praying for all our neighbours by name. One day he came walking out of his room praying for all our neighbours by name," Gabrielson says.
Their son also enjoys music and responds positively to it.
"One of the things I realized early on was the impact of worship music on him. One day I was feeling this intense heaviness, on watching him very closely because he has no sense of danger. He was about two and a half years old and I turned around and there he was 'singing' and his little hands were raised in worship to the Lord."
Gabrielson shares how her own faith has grown from watching her son listen to worship.