Christian, Autistic, and a Missionary

Do you know someone who struggles with social skills, relationships, emotions and communication or is just ‘different’ ? They could be on the Autism spectrum and not even know it. That was the case with the author of Different By Design: The Journey of an Autistic Christian Missionary. Janet Mulford never had any friends and was bullied and harassed constantly at school. She was not safe at home, either. Her childhood experiences made her frustrated and angry. She didn’t understand why she was the way she was and, even though she was a Christian, she was mad at God for her pain. She wanted to kill herself, but God intervened.

Janet graduated from college and began asking God what she should do next. She started teaching children in East Los Angeles. But it was not easy for her. She believed in God and tried her hardest to serve him. However her undiagnosed autism kept her from reaching her full potential. She got fired from one job after another because of miscommunications caused by her lack of social skills and difficulty controlling her temper. Eventually she began her career of teaching children as a missionary.

She tells some of her story in this video.

Despite her autism Janet wanted to do whatever God told her to do. She served as a teacher for children in Africa, China, and South Korea! She served multiple times at Welcome Home Ministries in Uganda . She never gave up on God and He kept directing her path. She made a difference in the lives of many people, even literally saving some people from death. Janet’s story is one of faith and adversity and also a very interesting description of her travels and work with many interesting and dangerous people. After she finally learned about her autism she understood why things were so difficult for her. She still had to overcome her anger and learn to love. She finally realized that God’s love was enough for her and was gradually transformed from hurt to healed.

I highly recommend sharing this book with someone who might think that God can’t use them because they are ‘too odd’. Jesus loved the unlovable when he was sharing God’s message and He still does! God can use anyone who is willing to put him at the center of their lives. God may not take away autism, but He can help with the struggles.

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