Del Oro teams up with India
Partners in Mission:
Dick Davenport and Sarah Bentley enjoy making new friends; India South Eastern Territory is Del Oro’s Partner in Mission.
Partners in Mission is proving to be a worthwhile initiative for the Del Oro Division—not only is it helping to bring an increased awareness of world missions, and the need to support grant-aided territories around the world, it has also sparked a keen interest in the division’s designated territory, the India South Eastern Territory.
India South East (ISE) has been Del Oro’s partner for over two years, and in the early days, an e-mail relationship was established with Lt. Colonel Prema Rajan, chief secretary. She was quick to share all the stories and news of ISE, as well as prayer requests from soldiers and officers. Del Oro responded with assurance of prayer support and also prayer requests and news of their division. Thus, a two-way relationship was born. During divisional and camp meetings, the information from ISE was shared and always prompted outpourings of financial support for their partner in mission. Money was raised above and beyond the World Service goal; however, the money had not yet been slated towards a specific project.
Going a step further
In February of this year, the mission partnership went a step further, when Sarah Bentley (Del Oro DHQ) and Major Pam Gardner (corps officer, Concord) traveled to the India South Eastern Territory. Each had raised their own funds to make the journey, and together with Dick Davenport (Tustin Ranch Corps), who as part of his ongoing efforts in India was to conduct a property maintenance seminar there, they set out.
During the visit, it was obvious that because of the initial e-mail relationship, they had arrived amidst family—an immediate connection was felt between them all. As they toured the region, Sarah and Pam had the unforgettable experience of seeing the incredible sacrifice of the officers, soldiers and staff, working hard with nothing, serving the poorest of India’s poor with tremendous love, and dedication.
India South Eastern has a vast array of ministries. In addition to corps work, many schools, vocational training institutes, community health and development programs, clinics, hospitals, and hostels serve in the towns and villages. In a country where half a billion people live in abject poverty, The Salvation Army has an awesome task every day, as they serve a suffering humanity, meeting the needs of so many in conditions far from desirable.
Extended already, the Army had marshaled a huge response to the tsunami and was busy with ongoing relief efforts. Yet, despite the enormous scope of work, the officers of this territory showed remarkable resiliency, fortitude, faith and trust that God would always provide.
Lining up projects
As the Del Oro visitors traveled throughout the territory, they dialogued and prayed with many officers, soldiers, and families. They saw and heard about the tremendous needs in the region, and after careful consultation with various personnel of ISE, specific projects were lined up: The renovation of the Boys Home in Nagercoil, and the sponsoring of 60 children. Creation of an education endowment will also be part these projects.
The people of the Del Oro Division have heard and seen first hand accounts from ISE and they continue to raise money, for this has put a face to their giving. The hope is that a team from Del Oro will return soon to ISE and carry out the work necessary to complete the projects.
They’ll be laborers together, brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing and caring for one another because of their love for God and The Salvation Army…true “partners in mission.”