International Missions–A Report
The Saunders make several trips yearly to conduct audits and participate in worship meetings. Recently they went to Guyana for ten days, on the northeast coast of South America, between Venezuela and Surinam. The traveling took eight hours because of stops along the way. Visiting all but two of the Salvation Army buildings, they found them in good condition, thanks to World Services funds. Audits sometimes covered a period of six years.
Officers’ councils were in a rural town at a conference center, more like camp. The food, fellowship and Spirit of the Lord were all wonderful. In addition to sermons and seminars, there was an unexpected request to conduct a game night.
Youth Councils, though held in primitive conditions, had a beautiful spirit. Many knelt at the altar, which was a collection of mismatched old chairs. Six young people offered for officership after Neil’s morning message, and about 13 more joined them after Beth spoke in the afternoon. In an exciting and unplanned ending, the last meeting went on for three hours because the young people–standing or marching the whole time–didn’t want to quit.
A motorboat took them on a two-hour journey to Bartica, where they saw good work being done, particularly among children and the elderly.
They felt the trip was very worthwhile, and were glad to be used for the Lord’s work in that unique part of his vineyard.
Saunders reports from Moscow
David Saunders, the son of Majors Neil and Beth, has been a lay Salvationist serving in Moscow as the Regional Youth Worker since January. Discipleship classes and a teen Bible study group continue, and, for more reasons than just the weather, he is anxious for summer to arrive. There are plans for an active summer schedule. Some plans include a city-wide interdenominational “March for Jesus,” street evangelism, Sunday evening youth worship services, music camp, and vacation Bible schools.
A Social Services Department runs programs for the entire city, and each corps runs social programs according to the needs in their particular communities. Help comes through sources such as Dunkin’ Donuts, which gives day-old doughuts to the homeless.
In the past six months the Army in Moscow has had difficulties getting humanitarian aid into the country, with import taxes sometimes exceeding the value of the items. Financial aid is therefore needed more than ever.
Captain Sherry McWhorter writes about the new corps in Digomi. Scott and Barbara Schneider, with Justin and Stephanie, are layworkers from Colorado. They are doing a super job of planting and growing a church in a very stressful environment. Every day they confront religious opposition and physical threats to bring Christ to these people. In addition to regular corps work, they are responsible for the Digomi Children’s Center. Many children are not in school for lack of tuition money and other reasons, and the Digomi Corps is determined to help. Folks from the corps are taking over teaching, cooking, and “loving” duties as an expression of their concern for these children–all on a shoestring and a prayer. “You can give a big boost to Georgia’s future,” she says, “through your prayers and financial support.”
At the hospital in Tblisi there is an Orphans’ Unit where motherless babies are kept before going on to an orphanage. Thanks to the generosity of the Great Falls, Mont., Home League and other interested corps in the West, these babies are now dressed in style from head to toe, with warm blankets, new bottles, and other essentials.
McWhorter is now working in Moscow and will have responsibility for all social services in the Russia/CIS Command as well as for auditing. She thanks us for all the support and prayer.
Eleanor Jones–Kinshasa, Congo
Eleanor reports going to a war-torn church at Poto Poto. There were holes in the roof and the benches had bullet holes, making splinters–but 115 people had come some distance to attend.
Sheets of corrugated iron will fix the roof, at $115 per sheet, which they don’t have at present. The two medical dispensaries in Pointe Noir are in similar condition.
One bounty there is from the huge avocado trees, bigger than elms in America. The people love them, but you can eat only so many avocados. The sentinels gather them at night (when they do not have to defend the compound) and probably make more from them than from their salaries.
It was a joy to receive a box of 25 books she had shipped from America in February 1997. The books are read, and read, and shared in two towns.
At one point they thought they had a land mine in the finance office. They paid the military to come in and test it. The soldiers walked in, circled the hole in the floor, and finally, after stomping on it, decided it wasn’t a land mine!
The Congo is a thrill a minute. Eleanor, whose job is in finance, “keeps putting her nose into the Property department” because when the roofs leak, the files get wet.
Pray for Eleanor and the others trying to make a difference in the Congo!
Lt. Colonel Leon Turner (R) recently returned to familiar land in the South America East Territory, where he and his wife had spent four years during the mid ’80s. He found it a joy in retirement to lead a ten-member overseas mission team. They found the Army on the move in Buenos Aires, with a promise of a secure future for the work of God and The Salvation Army in the young officers of the territory.
In Buenos Aires they rolled up their sleeves and prepared to remodel and establish a kitchen and dining room in a home for mothers and children. A local service club had underwritten the project with $5,000. Though what they found was an old warehouse in a pitiful state of disrepair and disuse, the Army had fixed the second floor of one side to be a very acceptable mother’s overnight shelter plus officers’ quarters. They accomplished great things by a lot of hard work, and with the $3,000 remaining had enough to hire the ceiling work done later. They felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction on their departure.
Dear Colonels Bruce and Dorothy Harvey:
Margot and I have just returned from a visit to Ted and Debbie in Malawi, Africa. (Our real reason for going was to see Micah and Jess). This letter is to inform you of the impact the Salvation Army mugs made, which you so generously sent to them.
First, Malawi is a small country of about 12 million people. It is part of the Zambia & Malawi Territory. Malawi is a “region” in Salvation Army terms. The Regional Commander is Major Henry Mhasvi. There are about 48 officers/envoys serving in the region. Ted is the Regional Training Officer and Debbie is the Blantyre Corps commanding officer. Blantyre is the largest city in Malawi.
The first weekend we arrived was also the weekend the Territorial Commander, Colonel Shipey, and his wife arrived for a review and Officers’ Councils. Colonel Shipey had journeyed two days by car over 1,000 miles of rough roads to get there from THQ in Lusaka, Zambia.
Your mugs arrived on the Saturday, and Ted decided to give each officer/envoy one on Monday at the Officers’ Council luncheon. You need to understand that The Salvation Army in Malawi is very poor. Most officers’ quarters (in the villages) do not have electricity, nor running water. The cooking, bathing and toilet facilities are in separate small huts just outside the quarters.
Margot was asked to help “set up” for the luncheon and was really taken by the austerity of the event. Metal chairs and tables. They had never had tablecloths before, but Debbie found some material and Captain Ida Widdowson sewed pieces together and made tablecloths. There were not enough plates, so paper plates were used. Margot cut some flowers from the grounds and put them in glasses for centerpiece decorations. The meal was Nsema (white corn flour and water) cooked like a porridge, a very small piece of chicken (like half a back or a wing). The green vegetable was pumpkin leaves. Water (boiled, of course)! No coffee nor tea.
Your mugs were placed around, but since only the first box arrived there were not enough to go around; so one per married couple, and glasses were used for the water.
Ted announced that the mugs were theirs to keep as a gift from the Intermountain Division and Colonels Harvey. The reaction was stunned silence. They did not know how to accept or receive it. They looked and touched the S.A. crest. The women buzzed among themselves. Did they understand the American captain correctly? An announcement in Chichewa settled it. It was not just decoration, but theirs to keep! Margot says they were overwhelmed. The second box arrived later, so everyone got to have their own mug.
The Salvationism we encountered there was moving. The sincerity, enthusiasm, and spirit among the officers would make any divisional commander proud.
On Sunday we journeyed two and a half hours via dirt roads (ruts) to a village out in the bush near Phlombe for Sunday morning Holiness meeting. The quarters were next to the corps. The village was mainly mud or mud brick huts with thatched roofs. One well supplied all the water. The meeting was packed–about 150 people. As more adults entered, the kids were shooed up front, where a mat had been placed on the floor, thereby giving seats to the adults. Women had babies on their backs. Plain, hard benches with no backs were used.
Once again, thanks!