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May13MonJillian Peddle's compassion for others has led her around the world. May 13, 2013 by Ken Ramstead
For someone in her early 20s, Jillian Peddle is quite the world traveller. Since 2006, she has been to the Dominican Republic, Malawi, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, India, Cambodia and Costa Rica. But none of these trips have been to soak up the sand and waves, or to garner frequent-flyer points.
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“Many people ask me why I spend my free time travelling to Third World countries,” says Peddle. “My answer is simple: love. I've learned more from people I've met living on less than a dollar a day than they could have learned from me. They are full of hope in desperate circumstances, faithful and willing to give what little they have to help others. This type of self-sacrificing love is my motivation to help those in need.”
Born in Newfoundland and Labrador, Peddle was drawn to The Salvation Army through an Army music camp and the fellowship she enjoyed.
An active soldier at St. John's Temple, Peddle served as bandsperson, songster, band instructor and youth band deputy bandmaster, while she completed a combined bachelor of music and music education at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
“Music may have attracted me to The Salvation Army, but once I got there, I was drawn to the mission work we do,” she explains. “My parents have always been involved with volunteer work, and they instilled in me a compassion for others.”
Peddle's first trip overseas was to the Dominican Republic when she was 16. “It was a little bit of everything,” she smiles. “We visited orphanages, we helped with construction work and food distribution, and I taught music.”
That first experience in missions work only motivated her to do more. “I can't sit around,” she laughs. “I'm not cut out for relaxing trips. I have to do something!”
This led her to an internship in New York City and The Salvation Army's International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) at the United Nations, under the leadership of Commissioner Christine MacMillan. There, she represented the Army on different U.N. committees and completed a major research project on human trafficking.
“I came away with a greater appreciation of the global reach of The Salvation Army, and how much good we are doing around the world,” Peddle says.
Last November, she was presented with the Young Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Red Cross, which recognized her commitment to helping others. Now pursuing a joint masters in law and international affairs at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, Peddle hopes to use her expertise with The Salvation Army. “I need to get out into the world and make a difference.
“Mother Teresa once said, 'In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.' That's exactly what I try to do every day. I believe that it is our privilege to share the blessings we have to impact the lives of people around the world, and that is the kind of change that I want to see.”
Photo: "God meant me to use my compassion beyond my four walls," says Jillian Peddle, here in Malawi