Separated by just nine verses, Luke recounts Jesus’ encounter with two “rich” men (see Luke 18:18-19:1-10). The first was a successful, God-fearing man who kept the Ten Commandments, someone of whom everyone would surely speak well. The second man, a tax collector, was considered a traitor for working with the government that oppressed his people, even making a good profit from his collusion. As the God of surprises, Jesus tells the man with the respectable credentials that life is more than just following rules and is meant to be lived generously loving our neighbours. Then he invites himself to a meal at the house of Zacchaeus, a “sinner.” Stunned by Jesus’ willingness to visit him in his home, Zacchaeus makes the extraordinary promise to give half of his income to the poor.
Extravagant, even outrageous, giving is found not only within Scripture, but from time-to-time we find ourselves surprised by the generosity of family, friends or even perfect strangers, challenging our own attitudes to giving.
Last year, Salvationists and friends of the Army generously supported the international work of The Salvation Army. Although we did not achieve our $2.2 million goal for the Partners in Mission (PIM) Campaign, we came close, with many ministry units across the territory increasing their giving by significant amounts.
As we launch the 2011 PIM Campaign, we invite Salvation Army congregations across the territory to raise funds to ensure that the infrastructure of The Salvation Army has the financial support required to carry out its mission around the world.
The difference these funds make can be seen in places such as Haiti, where the Army’s long history of ministry in the country meant that local Salvationists immediately responded to the earthquake last year, caring for neighbours even before the international community was involved. The earthquake in Haiti was only the first of a series of natural disasters that created chaos in countries already struggling with much of their population living in poverty. In every case, the long-term presence of The Salvation Army meant that there was an immediate response to those in need. The money raised through PIM provides a financial basis for The Salvation Army to maintain a presence in countries hardest hit by natural or man-made disasters.
Partners in Mission also positively impacts countries in Africa, Asia and South America, where many of our territory’s community development projects are implemented. The proclamation of God’s love is shared within the context of communities empowered to improve the living standards of the poorest. Community development projects require a solid infrastructure to be in place so that projects are well planned and managed, effective and accountable.
The Canada and Bermuda Territory partners with Mexico; Tanzania; Liberia and Sierra Leone; Germany; Spain; Hong Kong and Macau; and Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar. While our territory responds to needs in many other countries, we have a special responsibility to support these seven territories financially and in prayer.
Every ministry unit has been sent a PIM resource package to help promote this important fundraising campaign. This year the focus is on Liberia (see pages 12-15), a country that has experienced many years of civil war. Liberia remains one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. Roads are impassable for much of the year and communication systems are primitive, isolating rural communities from basic health care, education and other supports.
For many Liberians, an unwavering faith not only carried them through these dark days, but continues to be their source of strength as the country struggles to rebuild. The DVD resource features the music of Liberia, as well as a unique partnership between Salvationist musicians in Liberia and young Canadian musicians from the National Music and Gospel Arts Camp in August 2010. Together, they sing the same song, Canada Joins In, that acknowledges we belong to God. As you listen, it will lift your spirit and perhaps inspire you to add your own voice.
The DVD resource and accompanying printed materials are packed with stories that will encourage us to pray for our extended family in Liberia and the many other countries where Jesus is proclaimed through the ministry of The Salvation Army. With prayer comes action, and you are invited to give generously to the PIM Campaign so that the territorial goal of $2.2 million will be reached.
Major Gillian Brown is the director of world missions, THQ.
Message From the Territorial Commander
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth.”
When was the last time you prayed the Lord’s Prayer?
This prayer that Jesus taught is full of meaning for me, matching my hearts’ yearning for God’s will to be done on earth.
This has been a year when we have been confronted with the suffering inflicted on millions of people worldwide, starting with the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and then to the devastation of the flooding in Pakistan. The forces of nature have not been the only cause of the suffering experienced through 2010 as we have witnessed man’s inhumanity to one another with civil war, acts of terrorism and ethnically based violence. The Scriptures speak of all of nature groaning for God’s will to be done, and there are days when we can almost hear the moans of creation itself.
The Lord’s Prayer gives us hope and is a glorious reminder that the Kingdom, power and glory belong to God. The timing is his as well as the assurance that weeping will turn to joy, and distress to peace. Through prayer we are invited to work in co-operation with God’s Spirit to usher in the Kingdom.
For Salvationists and friends of the Army, one of the opportunities to address the needs of the world as we long for God’s Kingdom to come, is by financially supporting the Partners in Mission Campaign. The Salvation Army has a caring presence in 122 countries worldwide. Many of these countries are dependent on our support in order to maintain their ministry, which combines sharing the good news of the gospel message with a practical response to social issues.
The goal for the 2011 PIM Campaign is $2.2 million. A resource package has already been mailed to every ministry unit, this year introducing Liberia, one of our partner territories. Take time to review the material and plan your local campaign.
I urge you to give prayerful consideration to ensuring that we meet our obligations to be good neighbours to our Salvationist comrades in grant-aided territories.
William W. Francis, Commissioner