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A spirit of giving

sharperFocus

by Linda Manhardt, Major –

It was only a few short weeks ago that I was in San Pedro, California, doing my job and waiting to see if I really was moving to the Philippines. Then things started moving quickly, and within two weeks of the confirmation of my appointment, I found myself here at the training college!

I am amazed at God’s goodness and provision in getting me here and settled! The cadets and staff were ready to receive me and after arriving, I felt an instant confirmation in my soul that this is God’s timing and placement for me in accordance to his will. There is no better knowledge than this, and no greater affirmation!

Although each training college I have worked in has varied slightly (this is my fourth), I am finding my way and seeing how to make a contribution to his work in this place.

I am humbled by the love and generosity of the staff and cadets, and also by their commitment and joy.

The Philippines is a grant-aided territory, and so it depends on World Services grants from International Headquarters. The training college receives a grant of approximately $4,000 per month. Only $4,000 per month—and we are training 11 cadets! I find this amazing. This amount includes allowances for four staff officers, three employees, six children with school fees and two childcare providers. That comes to $363.64 per cadet per month, or $11.73 per day! Yes, things are very tight, and we have no money for items I consider essential (like textbooks), but we are managing!

What really blew me away, though, was my first “Cadet Council” meeting, which I attended last week. The majority of the meeting did not center on what the cadets wanted or needed, but on how to raise World Services money. Here in the face of so much need, they are focusing on how to contribute! The cadets are engaged in many creative fundraising schemes, including selling soda, boiling peanuts and selling them (a Filipino snack food), raising and selling vegetables and recycling the plastic and cans from the kitchen!

Here we are with cadets who own only one pair of shoes, and their energy is on how to contribute!

It is an understatement to say that I am humbled by their spirit of giving when the cadets themselves are experiencing so much personal need.

I am not sharing this to make anyone feel guilty for his or her abundance. I am sharing so that you may be blessed to know how much what is done for the grant-aided territories is appreciated. Know that it is not taken for granted and that your money is well spent. Know that those on the receiving end also possess a spirit of giving much as you do yourself and that we are truly, truly in this together. God is honored by this spirit of giving that we share, and his kingdom is growing because of our faithfulness.

I cannot help but be proud of this Army through which I have invested my life of service for God. What makes me proudest is not the vastness, scope of ministry, and popularity of our Army, though these are all praiseworthy.

What touches me even more deeply than the Salvationism that burns within me, is the Spirit—his Holy Spirit—that is at work in the countless lives of Army soldiers and officers. It is with this Spirit that we are united and move forward in ministry—in our own backyards, and in the world.


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