Feb7ThuThe Self-Denial Appeal calls us to live simply, so others can simply live. February 7, 2019 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
Every person is worthy of an infinite wealth of love—the beauty of his soul knows no limit.
—Rabindranath Tagore, Glimpses of Bengal
As you read this, I am visiting Bangladesh, our newest partner in mission, with Lt-Colonel Brenda Murray, director of world missions. We are delighted to come alongside this command and support the work of The Salvation Army there.
Bangladesh, which means land or country of Bengal, has always seemed exotic and mysterious to me. A nation of around 165 million people, it is one of the world’s largest textile exporters. However, it still suffers from poverty, with almost 15 per cent of its population living below the international poverty line.
Education for all children remains a goal. In 2015, 80 per cent of children in Bangladesh completed primary school. This was a huge leap forward, achieved through forward-thinking policies such as gender parity in education. The Salvation Army operates several education projects, including a primary school, early learning centres, schools for the visually- and hearing-impaired and vocational training.
In my research for this trip, I was surprised to find that the renowned poet, Rabindranath Tagore, is a Bengali. Born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India, one of his poems (My Golden Bengal) became Bangladesh’s national anthem. The quote that begins this article reminds us how important it is to treat every person with dignity, and to reach out in love to those in need. Our Partners in Mission campaign, which begins this month, is a way of showing love to our partner territories and commands across the globe, a way to share with each other. We can give from our bounty to make a difference in the lives of others, but that’s not all—we can also learn important lessons from our partners and gain from their experience.
In Bangladesh, the Army’s work with victims of the sex trade—providing an alternative livelihood—has resulted in a worldwide enterprise called Others—Trade for Hope. Now artisans in Kenya, Moldova and Pakistan also produce handmade products, which are then sold through Salvation Army channels in other parts of the world. When purchasing Others products, we receive information on how the artisans’ lives have been transformed through the Army’s ministry in their country. For more information, visit salvationist.ca/others.
This year, the Partners in Mission campaign is focusing on two territories: Malawi and Mozambique. Our goal is to raise $2.3 million.
In Malawi, The Salvation Army’s community development work includes an adult literacy program, agricultural training, clean water and sanitation projects, and a bush ambulance. The Army serves victims of human trafficking and people who have been affected by the HIV pandemic.
In Mozambique, the Army operates daycares and schools, and provides emergency disaster and recovery services to those affected by recent tropical storms. Their league of mercy (community care ministries) is especially helpful to seniors living alone under difficult circumstances.
Be sure to watch our Partners in Mission videos for more information. You will be amazed at what is being accomplished in both of these territories with the help of Salvationists who support the Self-Denial Appeal.
Partnering with other territories and commands has been a wonderful source of blessing for us, and I encourage you to prayerfully consider your contribution to the Self-Denial Appeal. Is there something you can do without, for a time, so that The Salvation Army can continue to carry out such effective work overseas?
Help us show the world our territory’s beautiful soul. Remember Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/susanmcmillantc.