from the desk of… ‘Grace’

Sharron Hudson, Lt. Colonel

As I write this article in my office, my head is still in the middle of the night in Istanbul, Turkey! We just returned from the Greece/Turkey study tour along with 33 Salvation Army colleagues. It was a wonderful experience to follow the “Footsteps of Paul.” I have a greater appreciation for the Apostle Paul, Silas, Luke, Barnabas, Titus, Timothy, John Mark and the Apostle John as they traveled in these areas to preach Christ and establish the Church.

While visiting the ruins of the cities where Paul proclaimed the gospel of grace, I tried to imagine the people and culture he faced. We know of the many hardships and trials he and his co-workers went through—but still he did not give up on the people of that time. He identified with them through their cultural beliefs and practices, living among the people and “setting up shop” in his tent-making business.

While traveling, we met three people who were quite different from each other, yet I believe God loves them just as much as those of us on the tour. Two were our tour guides: Sophia in Greece—just by her speech and knowledge of history, you could tell she was proud of her country and the rich heritage that influenced our modern way of thinking (philosophy) and language. Sophia is Greek Orthodox, believing in God and practicing her religion as she was taught. Our tour guide in Turkey was Gigi—a secular Muslim who reads the Quran, but does not practice the six-times-a-day call to prayer. Both Sophia and Gigi were moved by our expression of appreciation and prayers for them.

The last person we spent only a brief time with—a Kurdish waiter named Miseal. Interestingly, his name is Hebrew for “what is God like?” He was funny and kept us all entertained. He summed up to me why I am in the ministry through The Salvation Army—in his broken English he said: “We need to look at everyone as human beings—me not Kurdish, you not American, not Turkish, but as one people.”

I have believed this is how God views his human creations. For God so loved the world…not one country or people, but the world—that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). But then Jesus goes on to say in verse 17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

God bless Sophia, God bless Gigi, God bless Miseal! May they truly know Christ and him crucified.

 

The world for God! The world for God!

There’s nothing else will meet the hunger

of my soul.

I see forsaken children, I see the tears that fall

From women’s eyes, once merry,

now never laugh at all;

I see the sins and sorrows of those

who sit in darkness;

I see in lands far distant, the hungry

and oppressed.

But behold! On a hill, Calvary! Calvary!

 

The world for God! The world for God!

I give my heart! I’ll do my part!

The world for God! The world for God!

I give my heart! I will do my part!

(Evangeline Booth)

 

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