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Feb18TueDon't feel a connection to world poverty? Read stories to make it personal. February 18, 2014 by Commissioner Brian Peddle
As territorial commander, I often face a steep learning curve. I am welcomed into weekly conversations around decisions, priorities and strategies that affect the lives of people who once seemed worlds away from me. Never is that more true than with our annual Partners in Mission Appeal. Having met some of these people and listened to their stories, my wish for Salvationists—and it might surprise you—centres not just on your generosity or sacrificial lifestyle. I want you to have an opportunity to know the people who are positively affected by our programs—to call them by name and claim a relationship with them.
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Impossible you say? I challenge you to delve into these stories about Partners in Mission, meet the feature characters, repeat their names and, through those telling the stories, create a relationship when you set aside a gift for Partners in Mission or buy Gifts of Hope to share with family. Putting a face on the need makes it more real.
Read Meatta's story here. Visualize the plight of a nine-year-old in a war-torn community and follow it through to the final outcome of sustained hope for the future. Read this article and find out why Major Anne Venables remembers a boy named Chris and his circumstance.
When I give, the image of an HIV-AIDS-stricken woman from Malawi named Gloria, lying on a mat and surrounded by her four soon-to-be orphans, creeps back into my mind. Will you remember Meatta, Chris and Gloria throughout this Partners in Mission focus?
I'm often plagued with questions that are difficult to answer. Why is there such inequity in the world? Why, after years of effort, is there still so much poverty and a lack of education and daily sustenance? Why do governments fall to corruption and marginalize their people?
Even without solid answers, I thank God that I can celebrate real stories of children rescued from trafficking, families given hope through a micro-credit program, thousands of orphans surrounded by a caring community and schools that provide daily hot meals.
I am so pleased to be a part of The Salvation Army. We have boots on the ground in so many needy parts of the world. I take great joy when the Canada and Bermuda Territory flexes its muscles and demonstrates its ability to show the love of Christ.
Solving the world's problems might be a bit beyond our reach, but changing the prospect of a family, creating sustained hope in a village and believing in Grace and her goal to become a nurse is within our grasp (read her story here).
Learning curves often involve lessons that become a part of our own journey, attitudes, misconceptions and, yes, even our own poverty. The work we do through our world missions department is about fostering change, creating the capacity for sustainability in communities and doing much with little. We enable people to discover who they are, first, as God's children and, second, as leaders of change in their own families and communities.
I want to assure donors of good accountability standards in everything we do. We keep track of each donated dollar and make every effort to accomplish designated tasks. Internationally, we are growing as an organization as we embrace faith-based facilitation, community development and tools that measure our impact.
I am learning that I am changed when I give. I understand my part as a territorial commander and Partner in Mission in places such as Liberia, where my friend, Colonel Festus Oloruntoba, leads the Army; in Zimbabwe, where Colonel Henry Nyagah dreams of a brighter future; in Malawi, where Colonel Moses Wandulu articulates an ambitious vision; and in Latin America North, where Colonel Tito Paredes guides the Army's work in 10 countries.
Who will hold them up in prayer? Who will offer their time and money? Who will take the time to understand and act? I am convinced that the men, women and young people of the Canada and Bermuda Territory will do all of that when we become active participants in Partners in Mission. Friends, let's give because we are a blessed people.
Commissioner Brian Peddle is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.