The Bridge: Building financial stability

Team from the West teaches fundamentals of financial stability to Latin American corps.

The strategic planning team: (1) Major Josue Cerezo, chief secretary for LAN Territory; Bob Gregg; Col. Tito Paredes, territorial commander for LAN; Ron Waite; Jan Waite Cadet Juan Soteldo - (2) Cadet Juan Soteldo, Ron Waite, Jan Waite and Bob Gregg outside LAN Territorial Headquarters

By Buffy Lincoln

Financial independence for The Salvation Army in Latin America is getting closer. The concept of teaching struggling Army corps in these countries how to become financially stable began to take shape when Colonel Tito Paredes, territorial commander for the Latin America North (LAN) Territory, invited The Bridge Consulting Group, LLC, to a strategic planning session in Costa Rica.

Principals of The Bridge—Bob Gregg, former Western Territory territorial financial development director; and Ron Waite, former Eastern Territory territorial financial development director—met with territorial leaders for the LAN Territory to discuss the plan, which the Bridge has been developing over the last 12 years.

At the two-day meeting, leaders worked on steps to build a Community Relations and Development Department for the LAN Territory and each of the divisions. Goals include forming strong local advisory boards. Visits with Salvation Army leaders in Colombia will take place in May. Gregg and Waite will then develop and conduct curriculum training for cadets and officers in the coming months. The Salvation Army Netherlands Territory is funding the project.

Paredes is eager to move forward, and acknowledges, “Only if God is in it will it succeed.” His vision for implementation of the plan is based on three pillars: connections with the expatriate community, the international business community and targeted embassies. The Bridge’s plan will focus initially on Costa Rica, Honduras and Colombia, and includes continuing collaboration with the Netherlands Territory.

In a meeting with the Territorial Executive Counsel, Lt. Colonel Josue Cerezo, chief secretary of the LAN Territory, expressed his thoughts about the benefits of the program.

“We would like to do the first step, but we need to learn how to establish the adequate relationship to find resources. Although they [Gregg and Waite] told us the process requires time, they also encouraged us that we could do it. We need to adapt a strategy that specifically fits Latin American culture,” he said.

The Bridge plans three annual visits to ensure a strong financial structure prevails for a trained staff and that the program is fully functioning and successful.

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