Serving at International Headquarters (IHQ) as the international secretary for business administration provided me with great insight regarding our international Partners in Mission Self-Denial Campaign. While this appeal is an annual undertaking, the needs of the territories and regions supported by Self-Denial funds extend year-round. Budget submissions from our supported territories always include requests for extra resources to allow them to move important mission work forward.
Generosity comes to mind when I think about the Salvationists and friends in Canada and Bermuda who dig deep into their pockets to support this Self-Denial Campaign. This annual appeal invites us to deny ourselves in some way so we can contribute to the operational budgets of the international Salvation Army where financial resources are limited. In many of these areas, the work of the Army is strong and progressive, with people coming to faith and being discipled. Community development programs, such as health clinics, schools or hospitals, require much-needed funds to keep the doors open, lights on and staff in place. Our supported territories and regions are accomplishing much with relatively little financial resources. And yet, the Army is growing the kingdom of God and is a needed and valued presence in communities.
Every territory and region of our global movement participates in this appeal, as those with much and those with little all make sacrifices to share with each other, raising US$25 million annually. IHQ distributes the funds to our 46 supported territories and regions that need assistance to accomplish our kingdom mandate—which is the same whether in the Canada and Bermuda Territory or in another of the 133 countries where the Army is at work. Funds are distributed to each of our five zones approximately in these proportions: Africa—26.7 percent; Americas and Caribbean—20.3 percent; Europe—25 percent: South Asia—20.2 percent; and South Pacific East Asia—7.8 percent.
If we are to reach our annual territorial Self-Denial goal of $2.4 million and continue helping IHQ meet ever-increasing requests for support, generosity is required. Our theme this year, “Faith in Motion,” invites us to practise the principle of sharing from what we have with those who have differently, rooted in the familiar narrative of the birth of the New Testament church in Acts 2. The believers had everything in common, giving what they had—resources, money, possessions—to those in need (see Acts 2:42-47).
This New Testament principle mirrored the Old Testament principle of gleaning. God required the Israelite community to give from what they had to share with “the poor and the foreigner” (see Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22). God said to his people, if you truly love me, provide for them. When you harvest your grain fields, leave the edges and what falls on the ground so others may also enjoy and benefit from the bounty. When you harvest your olive groves, leave some on the branches and what falls to the ground so that others may also enjoy and benefit from the bounty. When you harvest your grapevines, leave some on the vines and what falls on the ground so that others may also enjoy and benefit from the bounty. In this way, you will be honouring me by caring for others.
“Faith in Motion” invites us to share from the bounty of our resources with others who have differently than we do. This is just one way we can celebrate our internationalism as a movement. Whether it be monetary donations, human resources, skills or talents shared, we are called to live by faith and respond to the invitation to be participants in the Self-Denial Campaign.
Your contribution to the Self-Denial Campaign this year will help us live out the words recorded in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I encourage you to get involved and help us realize the power of this year’s theme, “Faith in Motion.” Every dollar contributed represents an act of generosity, kindness and love to those who desperately need our mission support.
Let us find great joy in generously sharing from what we have with those who have differently. The act of doing so will both bless and be a blessing.
Commissioner LeeGraves is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Photo: Mark Yan
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