Q&A with Sonja Erlandson

Sonja Erlandson is a soldier of the Anacortes, Washington corps.

Diagnosed with multiple disabilities as a child, Sonja never lets her struggles stop her from doing whatever she has decided to do. As a middle school student, she discovered a love of running and that has resulted in her completing seven 50k races, more than 20 marathons and countless 5k and 10k races. 

As a Special Olympics athlete, Sonja has earned medals in track, swimming, bowling, bocce ball, basketball, ice skating, speed skating, volleyball and baseball. 

She is currently president of her local Aktion Club (a Kiwanis club for adults experiencing disabilities) and leads their efforts in raising money for the Meals on Wheels program in Anacortes.

At the corps, she enjoys volunteering in the food pantry and attending women’s ministries events. She is a people person who is always ready to lend a hand to anyone in need. 

01. How did you first become involved with The Salvation Army? 

I became involved with The Salvation Army by going to church with my grandparents many years ago.

02. What is your favorite event or program in The Salvation Army? 

My favorite events are Home League (women’s ministries) lunches and going with them to the tulip fields every April. I also love going to Camp Arnold.

03. Who inspires you and why? 

My sister inspires me. She is number one on my favorite friends list. She is a great sister, mother, daughter and friend who loves Jesus.

04. What hobbies do you like to do? 

I have lots of hobbies. I have done more than 400 latch hook projects. I like running marathons, playing basketball and bowling.

05. How do you spend time connecting with God?

I read my Bible every day and write in my journal. I like to pray at night in my bed.

06. How does your faith influence your work and/or your everyday life? 

My mom and I talk about WWJD (what would Jesus do?) when different situations come up in my life. I try my best to always do what is right.

07. What is your favorite Scripture verse and why? 

My favorite is Philippians 4:6, which says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” 

08. What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I am very proud of my running accomplishments, especially my 50k races and marathons. They are very hard to do, and I am exhausted afterwards, but they are great accomplishments.

09. What are your hopes/goals for the future? 

I want to keep running, and maybe run 50- or 100-mile races. I hope to get married someday and have my own house.

10. What has been one of your biggest joys in following Jesus so far? 

Following Jesus brings me joy and hope when I am feeling down. Sometimes when I need help understanding things, I pray for help and guidance; Jesus is always by my side, every day of my life.