The reason why we fight!

by Robin Forsyth, Colonel – 

Thirty years ago most of The Salvation Army’s work in Central America did not exist. God has done a new and beautiful thing with the development of his Salvation Army here. Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Venezuela all have a work which is between three and thirty years old.

As with most movements in their developmental stages there are problems, some easily solved and others which take a more persistent attitude.

Robin Forsyth, Colonel

On the streets of most of our capital cities the problems with drugs, alcohol and abandoned children still exist. This is the reason why we fight!

In the streets of our towns and cities, people are lost and the gospel speaks to their hearts. In the power of the Spirit this is the reason why we fight!

In our rural areas people become dependent and feel depressed for the lack of understanding or from financial pressures. She was young but hopeless; she wanted to take her own life. As she stood on the bridge ready to jump, to end it all, a sign caught her attention: SALVATION was the word which distracted her. She came down slowly from her platform and made her way to the “Home for Women and Children” in San Isidro, Costa Rica.

Today she is in the program receiving love, care and instruction.

This is the reason why we fight!

In Cuba the work has been in progress for almost 85 years. Here, care for the elderly is given at our William Booth Home in Havana. People at the end of their lives receive comfort, care and protection in a secure environment for them. The work as a whole is based in two regions (Havana is the West and Holguin is the East) and there are over 700 soldiers on the island. Life is not easy but God is blessing his faithful people in Cuba.

This is the reason why we fight!!

In Colombia and Venezuela, just now there is civil unrest. It is very difficult to visit all the corps in different parts of Colombia because of the guerrilla warfare which makes kidnappings, bombs and threats part of everyday life. Twenty-seven thousand people were murdered in Colombia last year! Salvationists continue their ministry in very difficult situations.

This is the reason why we fight!

In El Salvador, since the two tremendous earthquakes in 2001, with the help of SAWSO, the Army has been providing people with houses. Their hope had gone, their houses, too, and now they regain both through the work of rebuilding where once there was chaos. Children, too, now come into the new children’s home. Bereft of parents through the earthquake they find care and comfort when they thought all was lost.

This is the reason why we fight!

In Panama too, for many years the Army has provided care and safety for children at its Dr. Eno’s Children’s Home near to Sabinitas. Here, half the children have one parent in prison, while the other half two parents in prison. Some have been abused physically and sexually in their past lives but now they live in a more tranquil setting with regular schooling and regular food.

This is the reason why we fight!

Through the Latin America North Territory, since 2000, the emphasis has been on corps planting under the banner headline “The Next Decade – 50 New Corps.” In the first three years every division has opened new Corps. The overall program has planned at territorial headquarters but each division sets its own goals. In the first three years, 19 new corps have opened. During the past year the plan has been suspended due to lack of funds but even during this time, the Lord has given us five new openings. There are possibilities all around us. People who need the Lord.

This is the reason why we fight!

The Salvation Army in Latin America North has an “early-day” Army feel to it. It has very little tradition in it. The way ahead is not easy, it is full of danger and difficulty. God is with us. So we continue in our quest for what is “right and pleasing in his sight,” a pathway full of rewards and pitfalls.

William Booth’s words still ring in our ears as we try to contemporize the mission today midst the unchanging claims of the gospel. At times our militant Christianity may cause offense, but our Christian love and compassion must surely underline the commitment we have to task.

This is the reason why we fight!

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