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Feb4ThuBringing good news through the Partners in Mission campaign. February 4, 2016 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua to see the work of The Salvation Army. In a village on the outskirts of Managua, there is a small Salvation Army outpost. A sign on the building—little more than a shed—lists a schedule of activities: a women's group, men's group and kids' club. More than 100 people gather here throughout the week. Talk about doing a lot with a little!
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But it's not just about activities or church services—it's about being part of the community. The woman who owns, and lives on, this property is a soldier. She visits her neighbours regularly and knows when someone is ill or has lost a job. She works with the young lieutenants who are in charge of the Army in this region. Together, they are living out integrated mission.
Once again, Salvationists, I ask you to consider the work of The Salvation Army around the world, especially that of our Partners in Mission territories. The world missions department has produced videos that highlight the work of officers and soldiers in the Latin America North Territory, which you will have the opportunity to view in your corps. You will see them carrying out a range of services with minimal resources, but most importantly, sharing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course, the purpose of these videos is to remind us about the Partners in Mission campaign, originally known as the Self-Denial Appeal. This appeal began in 1886 as a proposition from General William Booth in The War Cry: “We propose that a week be set apart in which every soldier and friend should deny himself some article of food or clothing, or some indulgence which can be done without, and that the price gained by the self-denial shall be sent to help us in this emergency.”
The “emergency” was The Salvation Army's mission work. The idea of raising funds to support the ongoing mission of the Army through self-denial was a good one. In fact, it is still in effect around the world 130 years later, even in countries like Nicaragua and Colombia.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church about the importance of supporting the mission of the church: “ 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).
By partnering with other territories, we are participating in the ministry of the gospel in those places. We can think of ourselves as contributing to the latter question in Romans 10 regarding the sending of those who will preach. We may not be called or even able to go to far-off lands to preach, but when we financially support those who are already there, we are partners in their ministry.
Verse 15 finishes with these words: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” I believe Paul was talking not only of the preachers, but all of those who enable the spread of the gospel, including those of us who participate by contributing to the Partners in Mission campaign.
It is clear that self-denial can be a valuable spiritual exercise. As we live without something to be able to contribute to Partners in Mission, we get a small taste of what it's like to live and work in areas where the Army has limited resources and must do without to accomplish ministry
Beautiful feet. What a compliment it would be to hear those words about our efforts for the sake of the gospel.
Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/susanmcmillantc and twitter.com/salvationarmytc.