That Loving Feeling
Love is in the air. Catch that loving feeling as you respond to the Partners in Mission Campaign
February 1, 2010 by Major Gillian Brown
It is February and love is in the air! Celebrated worldwide, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of the importance of love and friendship as an enrichment of our lives.
February also marks the launch of the Partners in Mission (PIM) Campaign. Aside from the obvious connection between the beginning of the Lenten season and a campaign built on sacrificial giving, it is fitting that the appeal is promoted in a month devoted to extravagant love.
After telling the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37), Jesus changed the focus of the question of “Who is my neighbour?” to “Which of the three characters in the story proved himself to be a good neighbour?” It is a significant shift, compelling us to reflect on the ways in which we show ourselves to be good neighbours. In the parable, the Samaritan proved to be the better neighbour through a response that required a change in plans, as he became personally involved in caregiving at a financial cost. Two thousand years later, the demands remain much the same, although perhaps the boundaries of our neighbourhood have expanded considerably.
This year’s PIM resource package introduces us to the challenges faced by The Salvation Army as it ministers to our neighbours in Bangladesh. Some of the challenges are consistent with those in the developing world: access to clean, safe water; education for all children; the opportunity to receive fair wages; adult literacy; and increased earning opportunities. Other challenges have a particular urgency in Bangladesh, for example human trafficking, which preys upon vulnerable women and children. Climate change is also rapidly affecting the lush vegetation that has been the pride of the nation. Water sources once thought to be safe now expose more than 25 million people to toxic levels of arsenic.
Being a good neighbour means taking action. Here are some good ideas for sharing your love with those overseas:
• Host a Foods of the World event at your corps, with all proceeds going to PIM. It’s also an opportunity to introduce one another to foods that are part of your family tradition.
• Fast one day a week throughout the campaign and donate the money you would have spent on food to PIM.
• If you’re feeling adventurous, try living on the $2-a-day budget that is the reality of more than half of the world.
• Organize a giant garage sale with all monies going to the PIM Campaign. It’s a great way to raise funds and simplify your life.
• Make your fundraising more intriguing by hosting a mystery auction, as one corps in Newfoundland did for the 2009 campaign.
• Invite your congregation to bring their PIM offerings publicly, walking or dancing down the aisle to music that expresses the joy of giving.
• Use the 2010 World Missions calendar (available with PIM resources) as a year-round reminder of our neighbours.
Responding to the needs of the man left to die by the roadside required the Samaritan to make choices. Being good neighbours to those in the developing world also demands we make choices that express our love in concrete actions.
Love is in the air. Catch that loving feeling as you respond to the Partners in Mission Campaign.
Major Gillian Brown was appointed as Associate Director of World Missions in June 2006. In this role, she travels frequently to other countries to observe projects funded by The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. She is married with three adult sons and has a daughter-in-law. Gillian has her Master of Religion degree from the University of Toronto and in May 2009 was elected as one of the three Vice Presidents of the Canadian Council of Churches.