saconnects, Volume 9, Number 1, 2023

Page 1

A different kind of

As many as 689 million people live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day.

poverty
VOL. 9 NO. 1, 2023

For over 130 years The Salvation Army has offered services to people in the correctional system. Today, this includes spiritual guidance and counseling, Bible studies, life skills training, visitation, programs to help with successful transition back into society, and more.

To find a location, go to salvationarmyusa.org, enter zip code, and click on Prison Outreach.

“While

Excerpt from Women Weep” by William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army

WHO WE ARE

Programs

page 5

The Salvation Army’s Hands On program offers youth an opportunity to serve Christ abroad.

Plus: Scripture verses to guide you in your travels. page 6

People

April Foster knows that to get the furthest in life, one must learn to always walk with others. page 7

History

William and Catherine Booth started a ministry that transcended church and charity; it also included the virtues of empathy and dignity for people in need. page 10

Faith in Action

The Salvation Army in South Africa served and ministered to the families that were affected by the region’s devastating floods in 2022. page 12

RECOVERY

Feature

page 20

Benji Sawyer struggled with alcohol and lived in a tent in the woods. Then he had an encounter with a Salvation Army officer that changed his life. page 20

LIVING page 24

Spiritual Life Development

How connected are you to the suffering of humanity? Do you feel compassion or indifference? page 24

Our World

The Salvation Army is taking part in World Water Day on March 22, 2023. Here’s what you need to know. page 26

Health

Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke and the F.A.S.T. way to respond. page 29

Family

Does God’s word guide you and your spouse’s views on parenting? Read how one couple uses Scripture to stay on the same page in life. page 30

VOLUNTEER

Kim Herbert

page 32

Years ago, The Salvation Army in Port Jervis, N.Y., helped Kim Herbert’s mother Joan. Today, Kim is a part of Joan’s favorite ministry: running the Army’s thrift store. page 32

COVER STORY

Surely, poverty exists in the United States of America. But the kind of poverty typically found in many other parts of the world must be seen to be believed. page 14

A Salvation Army officer, at the Chikankata Dundu Clinic in Zambia, helps to weigh an infant by a scale attached to a tree branch.

Ryan Love 1 SACONNECTS.ORG WHAT’S INSIDE
VOLUME 9 NUMBER 1
CONTENTS
If you or someone you know needs help, call: 888-373-7888 To learn more about how The Salvation Army fights human trafficking, and how you can help, scan this QR code. JOIN THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM

TERRITORIAL LEADERS

Commissioner William A. Bamford III

Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford

CHIEF SECRETARY Colonel Philip J. Maxwell

DIRECTOR OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

Joseph Pritchard

EDITOR IN CHIEF /

DIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS

Warren L. Maye

MANAGING EDITOR Robert Mitchell

EDITOR / HISPANIC CORRESPONDENT

Hugo Bravo

ART DIRECTOR Reginald Raines

PUBLICATION CONTENT

MANAGER AND DESIGNER

Lea La Notte Greene

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Dave Hulteen Jr., Keri Johnson, Joe Marino, Mabel Zorzano

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lu Lu Rivera

CIRCULATION Doris Marasigan

THE SALVATION ARMY MISSION STATEMENT

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

Beyond the math

I would like to believe that the topic of poverty is simply an objective discussion about numbers, percentages, and statistics.

However, when I take even a cursory view of what’s happening in our world today, the scope of poverty seems far too complex for me to fully comprehend just by solely doing the math. It also appears too complicated to describe with mere words when subjective language, geography, nationality, politics, religion, culture, history, climate, and a depth of emotions are all so inextricably intertwined in the matter.

Member since 2015 Award winner 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021

West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2023.

in USA. Postmaster: Send all address changes to: SACONNECTS, 440 West Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY 10994–1739. SACONNECTS accepts advertising. Copyright ©2023 by The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory. Articles may be reprinted only with written permission. All scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless indicated otherwise.

The angst that I feel begs the question, “What can be done to alleviate such a scourge when each population measures poverty so differently?”

I’m somewhat consoled when I remember that January is designated as “Poverty Awareness Month.” Albeit a short time, it is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about this social ill, increase our empathy for people who are going through it, and gain a better understanding of how we can make a difference.

Experts in the field say, to become more aware, we must first brush up on our knowledge of what is poverty. Surely it is about financial limitations, but it also includes a host of other factors.

As you read a variety of well–crafted and heartrending stories in this magazine, you’ll quickly immerse yourself in firsthand accounts from writers who learned to measure poverty by the thinness of a hungry child’s arms, the many miles a tired woman carries a bucket of water on her head or the long days a weary family walks a hot dusty road to see a doctor once a year.

You’ll see how organizations, local governments, and even non–profits such as The Salvation Army are trying to reduce poverty in our communities.

I hope you’ll decide to lend a hand in any way you can. Donate, volunteer, or read on to discover what factor touches your heart and moves you to see beyond the math.

3 FROM THE EDITOR
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2022 New York Emmy Award Winner Documentary Cultural STORIES OF SURVIVAL

The Good Neighbor Energy Fund in Massachusetts, administered by The Salvation Army, helps provide the “Gift of Warmth” to residents who struggle to pay their energy bills and do not qualify for federal or state funds. This fund will become essential in the coming months, due to the high cost of food, utilities, and gas at the pump. The total gross income of a family of four can be between $81,500 and $108,700 to qualify. For more information, visit: www.magoodneighbor.org

February

month.

Broome,

The Lilly Endowment, longtime partners of The Salvation Army, recently awarded the Army a $40 million grant to build capacity in its Emergency Disaster Services over five years. Equipment, warehousing, and training will be the areas of investment to strengthen the Army’s

DONOR CORNER

“There is a cost associated with any type of large program, and the Dayton Kroc Soccer Club is no different,” says Vipal Patel, soccer coach and one of the original founders of the club at the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton, Ohio. “Our mission is to bring affordable, competitive soccer to places it has not been before, with an emphasis on affordable. Affluent club membership in this area can go from $600 to $1,500. Even the lowest price is unimaginable for most families.”

Donations from companies such as altafiber, a telecommunications service provider based in Cincinnati, have been crucial in keeping the soccer club accessible to the community.

“Because of our donors, no family out of the 150 children in the Dayton Kroc Soccer Club pays more than $100 to be part of the club,” says Vipal. “Price should never be the decision maker as to a whether a child gets to enjoy sports.”

At the turn of the 20th century, many people lived in squalor in New York City’s tenements. However, in 1890, Salvation Army Captain Emma Bown organized the first Slum Sisters brigade to bring the love of Christ to the downtrodden.
is Black History
We would like to remember Captain Mabel Vivian
commissioned in 1915, as the Salvation Army’s first African American officer.
The American Red Cross has
Courtesy of USA Eastern Territory Heritage Museum (2) 5 SACONNECTS.ORG WHO WE ARE
Read more about the Slum Sisters and the Salvation Army’s role in helping the poor on page 10.

Working with your hands

Bible verses to guide you on your travels:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

— Mark 16:15 (ESV)

Then you will go safely on your way, and you will not hurt your foot. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. As you lie there, your sleep will be sweet.

— Proverbs 3:23–24 (GW)

The Lord Himself will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid and don’t worry.

— Deuteronomy 31:8 (EXB)

He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of His name. Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because You are with me. Your rod and Your shepherd’s staff comfort me.

— Psalm 23:3–4 (EXB)

And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at the table in the kingdom of God.

— Luke 13:29 (EHV)

The Salvation Army’s Hands On program provides college–aged students who attend its churches an opportunity to promote the mission of the Army in other communities and nations around the world. In the process, these young Salvationists temporarily leave their familiar churches, meet new people, and embrace different and exciting cultures.

“Serving God away from my own church was interesting to me,” says Jennifer Goiz, a member of the Army’s Bronx Citadel church in New York. Jennifer’s team traveled to Costa Rica, where they fed the community and visited families in their homes. As she listened to people share about their lives, the ministry became deeply personal to her.

“We weren’t always in the safest areas, but the work I did had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. He led my steps. I prayed that, even if someone might be closed to me, they would open their hearts to Him,” says Jennifer.

Jennifer also helped in the kitchen at a Salvation Army daycare center. “The people I met there were so grateful for every plate I cleaned. It made me realize that work like this is still God’s work.”

Lydmarie Rivera, who had lost her father earlier that year, began her Hands On experience with difficulties and doubts. During the orientation before the trip, she contracted COVID–19. She further learned that part of her trip would be spent on her home island of Puerto Rico, where she attended the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Guayama.

“Along with emotional and health battles, I wasn’t looking forward to be staying in Puerto Rico,” admits Lydmarie. “But my team lifted me through it. With them, I learned to work in a group. It was new to me to share the weight of responsibility, but it was a necessary lesson.

“As members of the Creative Arts Service Team (CAST), we were creative arts teachers,” says Lydmarie. “In Caguas, Puerto Rico, there were some kids who did not want to be with us, at first. But when some of the children had to end their

session early due to the rising COVID–19 numbers, those same kids cried because they wanted to stay. Our team was also frustrated. The children had worked so hard on their performances.”

Gabriela Ochoa, from White Plains, N.Y., had heard stories about the lives of young people that were changed as a result of ministering in other countries. “In Mexico, my Hands On team helped at the Army’s music camp and children’s center,” says Gabriela. “But it was on the last week of the trip that the work we were doing felt the most impactful.”

Gabriela’s team was assigned to help paint a Salvation Army church, but the work kept them from spending much time with the kids there.

“I wondered if they understood why we are here. Did they think that we’re not paying attention to them because we’re doing this different work?” Gabriela thought. As the team painted, they played Christian music from their phones. During one painting session, the children asked if they could make the music louder for them.

“They began to sing and worship with us, and I felt God in our company. Our team leader had told us to look for the little situations on our trip such as that one, because they are actually the most powerful moments.”

Despite their varying experiences, Gabriela, Lydmarie, and Jennifer agree that their walks with the Lord have been impacted by Hands On.

“Hands On took me out of my comfort zone, but it also had a deep effect on my own spiritual journey. Trust and believe in what you are doing when you do it in God’s name,” says Gabriela.

“I wasn’t prepared to see how the arts can impact someone’s life. But I got to see God in the work I did, and I came back with a different mentality than when I left,” says Lydmarie.

“Hands On showed me that God’s ministry isn’t just in the church,” says Jennifer. “His ministry is also in my attitude towards the day’s work, no matter where I am, and it starts the moment I open my eyes in the morning.”

6 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023 WHO WE ARE PROGRAMS

After attending a missions conference in college, I applied to the Salvation Army program that is now known as Hands On and went to St. Thomas for eight weeks with my team. We ran a day camp, hosted vacation bible school, and helped clean the local Salvation Army corps. After college, I applied to begin working overseas full–time, and that was the start of 29 years living and working internationally. I was in the Caribbean, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, in which I lived for 20 years. Eight years ago, I came back to the states to focus on the Others Trade for Hope ministry. All my experiences of living in different places and meeting people in my youth, was God using small, planned opportunities to work on something for the future. At first, I didn’t always see the bigger picture. But when I look back and see His hand at work, I say, “So that’s what God was up to there.”

I always knew that, when my father, a Salvation Army officer, sat in his chair and called my brothers and me to “talk,” it meant that we were moving someplace new. My brothers adjusted well to moving so much, but I found it hard; I was shy, and it took me longer to make new friends. But looking back, those experiences of living in new places and meeting new people prepared me for what would come later in life. It gave the word home a new meaning for me; it’s more than just a physical place. It’s about the connections I make and carry with me. They are never attached to just a single place.

Walking with Others

April Foster, Salvation Army Eastern Territorial Director of the Others Trade for Hope ministry, talks about discovering a new love of the outdoors, being obedient to God’s plan, and why life is meant to be spent in good company.

We hear the word calling a lot in The Salvation Army, whether it’s to officership, volunteering, or any other role. I’ve grappled with the concept of “calling” myself. For me, it wasn’t so much as a calling to a role, but an obedience to what the Lord was saying to me. Sometimes we feel that we must fit into boxes and meet the expectations of our groups or organizations. Instead, if I am being obedient to God, I am staying true to what God is saying to me, and still open to changes in His plan. If the Lord is pointing you towards a direction that doesn’t make sense to you, simply being obedient brings a peace that wouldn’t come otherwise. God orders our steps and our plans.

During the COVID–19 lockdowns, I began to push myself towards the outdoors; hikes, and eventually, overnight camping. I was surprised by how much I loved doing it. At a certain age, we all probably have a good idea of what our hobbies and interests are. Camping was something completely new for me, and I found enjoyment in little things like making a fire, setting up tents, and just slowing down my pace. It reinforced the importance of finding something new to enjoy. When you find that new interest that you love, work to make it a part of your life.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others.” That African proverb sums up much of what I’ve learned and value. From living in different parts of the world, I learned that relationships are created when you change your rhythm. We can spend so much of our time rushing, chasing, and not knowing our ups from our downs. Living like that may get a lot of work done, but we may notice that in doing so, there are not many people with us in our lives. Going through life needs to be done in the company of others. I’m not impressed with myself in how much I get done, or how fast I do it. But I want the work to go far, and I want to be sure I’m doing it with others.

7 SACONNECTS.ORG WHO WE ARE PEOPLE
photo courtesy of April Foster

Rebuilding

Emergency Disaster Services (EDS ) volunteers for The Salvation Army distribute food and cleaning supplies in Calimano, Guayama, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Fiona last September. “Disaster relief is always about the long game,” said Bob Myers, EDS director for The Salvation Army’s USA Eastern Territory. “It’s about helping people to get their houses and their communities rebuilt. It’s also about providing longterm emotional and spiritual care to disaster survivors as much as we can, because sometimes the recovery on the inside can be harder than the recovery on the outside.”

8
Kevin Diaz WHO WE ARE SNAPSHOT

Ministering to the poor

Looking back to the origins of The Salvation Army, many people are quick to point out that it wasn’t William Booth’s intention to start a church. This is an overstatement of the truth. We could with more accuracy state, it was not Booth’s intention to start a mere charity to the poor and downtrodden. As a teenager, Booth cut his teeth on evangelism by conducting cottage ministries and holding services in people’s homes. Later, as a young minister in the Methodist New Connexion, with his wife Catherine by his side, Booth saw his calling in revival preaching, mirroring his heroes Charles Finney and James Caughey, founders of the transatlantic revival movement. Preaching, evangelism, and soul winning was the spiritual food that William Booth lived on.

We know that somewhere in the transition from the Booth’s Christian Mission to The Salvation Army, a concern for the poor’s temporal relief, along with their spiritual salvation, became a winning combination for the Army’s growth around the world. “Soup, soap, salvation,” a simple phrase that is profound in its logic, was born out of a change in the Booth’s approach to ministry.

One of the great written texts of The Salvation Army that reflect this new direction was Booth’s 1889 article, “Salvation for Both Worlds.” Historian Dr. Roger Green writes, “The Booths always preached personal salvation by faith in Christ; that commitment never dimmed. Nevertheless, by 1889 William was convinced that salvation also had social dimensions. Redemption meant not only individual, personal, and spiritual salvation, but corporate, social, and physical salvation as well.”

In Booth’s own words, “As Christ came to call not saints but sinners to repentance, so the New Message of Temporal Salvation, of

salvation from pinching poverty, from rags and misery, must be offered to all.”

Among the first ministries of the Salvation Army aimed at reducing poverty was the overnight shelters, birthed out of the story of Booth’s stern command to his son Bramwell to “Do something!” after

felt about the poor of their day.

The Victorian era poorhouse was truly a place of last resort for the indigent masses. The poor were in fact punished by being sent there, made to work long and hard hours, sleeping in overcrowded and dirty dormitories. By contrast Salvation Army shelters were clean and relatively comfortable. Guests were given good food and hot tea and were always offered an encouraging word by the officer staff. Religious services were offered, but they were never a condition of receiving aid, a Salvation Army principle still in practice today.

George Orwell, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, stayed in a Salvation Army shelter as a young man. He detailed the experience in his book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). Though he doesn’t write a particularly positive account, he does acknowledge the need for such places when he writes about a man being admitted to the Salvation Army shelter who was in the early stages of starvation.

seeing dozens of homeless men sleeping under a bridge. Remember in Charles Dickens,’ A Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrooge cruelly asks the charity workers who knock on his door, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” His question, though birthed out of meanness, was probably how many upper-class Londoners

Perhaps the greatest ministry to the poor birthed out of The Salvation Army in those early days was the service of the “Slum Sisters.” These were women officers, who took off their formal uniforms to wear the apron of service; not in service to the wealthy but offering their labor to the poorest London neighborhoods. The Army was born during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Rural families flocked to the larger cities to take jobs in factories. It was a time of massive social upheaval, and not every family remained intact. East London was full of neighborhoods where single women struggled to raise children on their own. Salvation Army Slum Sisters literally moved into the neighborhood to help these marginalized families.

The Victorian era poorhouse was truly a place of last resort for the indigent masses. The poor were in fact punished by being sent there, made to work long and hard hours, sleeping in overcrowded and dirty dormitories.
10 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023 WHO WE ARE HISTORY

In the U.S.A., The Salvation Army became a force for good in helping the poor. The Industrial Revolution in the United States caused many people to leave the family farm to pursue a life in the city. Cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia were experiencing explosive growth due to immigration and migrating rural Americans. While some experienced a better life with more amenities, many endured severe hardships as the expanding cities struggled to secure housing for their growing populations.

The America that George Scott Railton and the seven Hallelujah Lassies arrived in (1880), and the Shirley family before them (1879), was a land of contradictions. It was the height of the Gilded Age where families like the Astors, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts were amassing fortunes never seen in human history. Yet, just a few miles away from Millionaire’s Row, hundreds of thousands of people were experiencing grinding poverty. Even those fortunate enough to be employed often had to work and live in deplorable conditions that were neither safe nor sanitary. Do an online search of Jacob Riis’ photo anthology “How the Other Half Lives,” from 1890, and you will learn of the terrible sufferings endured by America’s poor.

Though early Salvation Army efforts in the U.S., were largely evangelical, as the movement got established, they turned their efforts to combatting poverty. In the cities of the northeast, two popular frontline relief services included the giving of coal in winter and blocks of ice in summer. This effective ministry persisted for many years until more modern heating and refrigeration technologies made them redundant.

Farm colonies were experimented with and were effective for several years in

teaching urban families how to use the land. The Industrial Homes and Depots, envisioned in William Booth’s In Darkest England book (1890) gave people skills in salvage and reclamation, allowing them to move into successful trades and earn an income.

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you (Matt 26:11).” Affirming these words, our founder William Booth, seeing the desperate masses of London’s east end proclaimed, “These are our people.” More recently, a Salvation Army

resource from 2017 said, “The Salvation Army seeks to walk alongside people who are struggling against the long-term effects of extreme poverty in their communities and in their lives. Many members of The Salvation Army are themselves living in extreme poverty. This is not something we do just for others; in many places, we are the poor.” However one chooses to emphasize it, God calls us to be in community with the poor. May we always be faithful in our obedience to this divine command.

11 SACONNECTS.ORG
Courtesy of USA Eastern Territory Heritage Museum

FLOODS AFTER the

When storms and heavy rain fell upon South Africa in April 2022 , The Salvation Army was quickly on the scene. The loss of life and homes damaged were far beyond what the young officers and employees of the territory could have imagined.

(right) Over 19,000 houses were damaged or destroyed in the KwaMashu Township, affecting over 128,000 people.

(far right) Lt. Mzomhule Ndwandwe distributes food to people affected in Mceleni.

(bottom, far right) Major Themba Hadebe and Captain Velani Buthelezi offload a truck that was used to distribute supplies.

“There were an estimated 12,000 destroyed homes,” says Major Brendan Browski, the divisional commander of the affected region. “The informal settlements and poorer areas were hit the hardest, but roads and telephone lines in wealthier areas also suffered damage. In Durbin, water overflowed, causing as many as 4 million people to be without clean water for weeks.”

Salvation Army disaster relief workers in South Africa operate with only a fraction of the resources and manpower available in the United States. Nonetheless, the Army mobilized its personnel to bring food, mattresses, blankets, clothing, and supplies such as water purification tablets to 40,000 displaced people.

“We also visited, fed, and counseled families who had experienced loss in any way,” says Major Browski. “Losing money and homes is one thing, but we’re also seeing livelihoods and loved ones taken away from them. Imagine, stepping out of your house, looking back, and seeing your family and everything you own—gone.”

Visiting and listening

Scan this QR code for more information on how to help The Salvation Army in South Africa.

Captain Velani Buthelezi, public relations officer for The Salvation Army in South Africa, was the face of the Army’s presence after the floods. He worked on location with volunteers, employees, and officers.

“One of the things that our ministry highlights is visiting families of the deceased. We went to a home where the family had lost five children in the flood. The next week, we were at a funeral where four children were being buried,” says Captain Buthelezi. “For them to see us there is the first step in bringing comfort. Our presence was more important than anything we could say.”

Captain Buthelezi admits that he doesn’t remember what he said at the funeral, but the message he wanted to give grieving families was that The Salvation Army was there for them.

not know how to go on with his life.

Says Captain Buthelezi, “When we are there, I stress to our people not to say, ‘It’s going to be alright,’ because things are not alright. So, I said to him, ‘My brother, God is here, but we know that things are not well.’

“There is no such thing as a quick, global answer to that type of loss and suffering. Instead, I listen to them as they verbalize their pain. I remind them that I am by their side, and they are in my prayers. The people of South Africa are open and receptive to hearing someone say that they’ll pray for them.”

Facing the trauma

After COVID–19 lockdowns, civil unrest, and now the floods, South African residents have changed how they live, think, and respond to crises. Major Browski remembers hearing a volunteer tell the story of a boy who played at a site where the Army was feeding the community.

www.salvationarmy.org.za

Buthelezi does recall speaking to a father who had lost his 10–year–old son in the floods. The grief–stricken father expressed that he did

“He was grateful for the food but said the bigger problem for his village were the nights when no one could sleep. They were having nightmares that the water was coming for them again. Every time it did rain, people

12 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023 WHO WE ARE FAITH IN ACTION

stayed home in fear. That’s how traumatized and afraid they were,” says Major Browski.

That trauma has also affected the officers, many of whom are learning the ministry of responding to disaster as they go. “Day after day of burying people and visiting families who have experienced loss takes a unique toll on us,” says Major Browski. “It’s not that we want to make our officers so tough that tragedy doesn’t affect them at all. On the contrary, this will affect them for the rest of their lives and shape their own future ministries.

“But the question is, how can we help them turn this into something they can manage? Just now, we are getting the systems and processes to help them acknowledge their own pain.”

Says Captain Buthelezi, “Talking about it, hearing it, and sharing it all take a toll. We sometimes ask ourselves, who will care for us?”

One officer told Buthelezi about man whose sister was the head of the household. As they left their home during the storm, she went back inside to retrieve something. The brother saw the house move and float

away with his sister still inside. He had not yet told their mother what had happened to her daughter. “Our officers hear stories like that every day they’re working,” says Captain Buthelezi.

Going forward with God

Though some families in South Africa have returned to their homes, many areas are still not safe to rebuild. Better infrastructure, says Browski, is the first step to rebuild better, safer living spaces. “There are places where homes should not have been built in the first place,” says Browski.

“We also need to have a reserve in place for emergencies such as this. Not just as in money, but in resources and our own Salvation Army structures that we can have ready for any disaster. It might help us do better and act faster,” says Buthelezi.

Captain Buthelezi says that his role as the spokesperson for the Army’s presence benefitted from the two weeks that he spent working on the ground with other officers.

“The best interviews I did came after I had seen first–hand what was happening and had spoken to families of victims and journalists

covering the floods,” says Buthelezi. “That’s when I was able to convey my true emotions and share that God’s power and presence was with everyone suffering.”

Major Browski says that God’s presence was also working behind the scenes with him. Though Browski was not engaging with flood survivors like other officers were, he says that it was with God’s help that he kept his mind on the logistics and proper distribution of the Army’s resources, without being emotionally connected to where they were going.

“The Lord was giving me wisdom while I was doing work that I had never done before,” says Browski. “He was saying, ‘Connect with your people on the ground. Encourage, support, and pray with them, but you need to be logical and isolated now.’

“We prayed constantly, wondering how we would get the funding and resources that we needed. Then suddenly, we would get the news that money was now available or God would direct us to where we could get supplies,” says Browski.

“To help His children, God opens doors out of nowhere.”

13 SACONNECTS.ORG
Courtesy of The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory

a different kind of poverty

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

—Matthew 25:35-36.

fter some 20 years in the news business, I thought of myself as a hardened journalist who had “seen it all.” That view of myself was severely shaken in 2006 when I accompanied a Salvation Army medical missions team to Honduras.

The truth is, I was naïve about how poor some people around the world are. Witnessing unimaginable poverty for the first time, I ended up with tears in my eyes more than once. It’s not an exaggeration to say that trip changed my life and the way I viewed the world.

One of those tear–jerking moments came when I saw an emaciated child whose arms and legs were the width of broomsticks. She was so weak, someone had to carry her to

poverty Lea La Notte Greene 15
A

the clinic. As with many people who came to the clinic, she had a parasite infection from drinking contaminated water, doctors said, that essentially stole her food.

We saw people who were visiting a doctor for the first time in their lives. One woman, who was eight months pregnant, rode a bike for an hour to get to the clinic. Doctors were amazed she didn’t go into labor. One boy had a mosquito’s nest embedded in his head. His foot was also infected because, like many children there, he didn’t own shoes and walked barefoot on infested grounds and in contaminated streams.

I saw children who had little, but appreciated those simple things American kids take for granted. When I gave the Honduran children a tube of toothpaste, a coloring book, or even a small piece of candy, smiles lit up their faces. When I opened a bag of potato chips, I was surrounded by kids who begged for even one chip. The camera I wore around my neck was probably the most valuable item in some of the villages we visited.

A week later, I returned to the United States as a changed person. I had little sympathy when my teen–aged daughter complained that her outrageously expensive cell phone suddenly wasn’t good enough. My sons wanted new sneakers, which cost more than $100 a pair. They got tired of hearing about the children I befriended in Honduras as I reminded them to be content with what they had. When I walked into a grocery store—fully stocked with every food, drink, and convenience one could imagine—I thought about the friends I had met in Honduras. At that moment, I had to compose myself once again.

Over the years since that trip, I’ve become acutely aware that most people who have spent their lives in the United States have no idea how poverty around the world is affecting the lives of millions of people.

A global perspective

In 2022, the 14.4 percent of people living below the poverty line in this country, still have shelter, food, cars, cable television, video games, and even cell phones. The poverty guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were set at

$13,590 ($37 a day) for a single person and $27,750 ($76 a day) for a family of four.

However, the global situation is far different. The World Bank says 9.2 percent of the population, or 689 million people, live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day.

“If you know where you’re going to sleep tonight, and you have a roof over your head, and you have food in your refrigerator, and an extra set of clothes in your closet, you’re wealthier than 90 percent of the world,” says Connie Curilla, the U.S. administrator and historian for the Haitian American Friendship Foundation. “You’re in the top 10 percent of the wealthiest people in the word.”

For many years, Haiti has been ranked as the poorest country in the western hemisphere and has never fully recovered from a 2010 earthquake that killed 300,000 people.

“A lot of people do not eat every day and they certainly don’t eat three times a day,” Curilla said. “They feel pretty good about themselves if they have two or three outfits.”

The Salvation Army helps people around the world through its Overseas Child Sponsorship (OCS) and World Services Office (WSO).

Major Tracy Hughes, director of OCS in the USA Eastern Territory, said her office oversees programs that help at least 2,300 children under age 18 in 37 children’s homes, 14 schools, and 16 after–school programs in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Jamaica, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Bolivia, and Mexico.

For many years, OCS supported individual children, but Hughes said that all changed in 2016 when The Salvation Army started helping specific centers through short–term projects.

“At some centers, we have three-year projects. I like that because it gives us a chance to connect with a center and stay with them and really see the progress,” Hughes said.

Just some of the current projects include a water tank in Kenya, a vehicle replacement in mountainous Brazil, along with funding for school uniforms, food, and

Despite living a challenging lifestyle, these children survive another day near Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, Africa.

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Ryan Love/The Salvation Army

education fees. In Pakistan, The Salvation Army helped provide new solar panels for the roof of the Shiloh Boys Home.

“It is so hot there and the only way they could afford to provide any kind of cooling for those boys was solar panels,” Hughes said.

Going green Hughes said installing solar panels is part of a plan to make centers “more self–sustainable.”

“You’ll see that coming to the forefront more and more,” she said of solar energy. “If they can have a consistent method of electricity and cooling in the hot countries, that will be such a boon for them and will help them far into the future.”

In Latin America North, the Army formed a project that involves 12 after–school centers, which provide food, art supplies, and other needs.

“Sometimes even a small amount of money can do a great deal to fill in the gap,” Hughes said. “These after–school programs get kids off the street and away from sex traffickers and gangs. Some of these areas are dangerous.

“If kids belong somewhere, and someone notices when they’re missing, that’s a huge help.”

In Kenya West, The Salvation Army helped special–needs school officials buy a physical therapy table, wheelchairs, adaptive utensils, and other equipment. Last year, youth groups here in the U.S. East raised money for that project.

Hughes, who has led OCS since 2014, said

103 people and 27 groups (churches, Adult Rehabilitation Centers, women’s ministries, and family camps) regularly give money to OCS. Many hear of OCS through word of mouth or the internet and commit to $25 a month, though some give as much as $200 and “really take it to heart,” Hughes said.

Giving to OCS stayed strong during COVID–19 and the program raises $80,000 to $120,000 a year, Hughes said.

“Many of our supporters are long–term and have been giving for many years,” she said. “People tend to really have a place in their heart for children who need care. Once they hear the need in some of these countries, they’re hooked, like me. People are incredibly dedicated to this program, which always gives me hope.”

Igniting spiritual fire

If someone feels led to give to a certain country, Hughes can accommodate their request. She said people’s “hearts are softened” through giving to OCS and when receiving the newsletter and photo updates about where their money is going.

“For some of them, their eyes are opened,” Hughes said. “Some people tell us they didn’t know about the needs in some of these places before they started giving and they were not aware of how some of these kids live.

“When a congregation starts to support a center, they start to see beyond their Salvation Army corps bubble. When they start to get some pictures of these kids and some stories of what they’ve gone through

and what they’ve come out of … that can just light a corps on fire because that really is the mission of The Salvation Army—that every boy and girl would have a chance to live up to their God–given potential. That’s what we’re fighting for.”

For the kids on the receiving end of OCS funding, the money can truly be transformational, Hughes said.

“These children begin to see their value with people who love them and care for them and have goals for them and want to see them succeed,” Hughes said. “It can break some of the cycles that we see in some of these families of abuse and poverty. These simple centers—they’re places where kids can come and be safe.

“We have after–school programs here in the U.S. and know what they can do, and it’s even more so in other countries where resources are slim.”

Hughes has been around the world visiting summer missions teams in Kenya, Korea, Zambia, the Georgia Republic, Malaysia, and Honduras.

“They were all eye–opening in different ways,” she said. “I learned the human condition is tough everywhere.”

Shortly after becoming a Salvation Army officer, Hughes went to Uganda with Compassion International. When a woman stepped off a bus with her bag lunch and offered an apple to a little boy, a crowd of children suddenly emerged. “I don’t even know how to describe the desperation on their faces,” she said.

Raising awareness

For affluent Americans, the poverty around the world is tough to grasp. While some Americans struggle and live paycheck–to–paycheck, they live differently than people who are poor in other countries. Those people can frequently be seen scrounging for food in dumpsters, Hughes said.

“You see pictures on television, but unless you’re actually there and see for yourself, I think that’s really the only way to understand,” Hughes said. “I don’t think it’s possible to understand from a picture or television commercial or even a magazine layout. What must it be like to have your

The Salvation Army uses solar panels to help lower utility costs in its centers worldwide, including the Shiloh Boys School in Pakistan.
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Courtesy of Overseas Child Sponsorship/The Salvation Army Eastern Territory

child dying in your arms from starvation or from a disease that has been eradicated in many other countries?”

Major Elmer Deming, who oversees the Eastern Territory’s WSO as stewardship engagement director, said, “In the internet age, it’s easier to learn about worldwide poverty.” However, he believes it still takes bold leadership from local Salvation Army officers to raise awareness.

“It starts with the corps officer,” Deming said. “You need to be sure that you’re supporting and living that example. I think the challenge with anything is, if people are not educated, if they’re not informed, it’s hard for them to relate or connect.

“It’s what God commands us to do in scripture for the ‘whosoever’ around the world.

“People within The Salvation Army know World Services exist, but we want to do a better job of promoting it.”

World Services supports 363 projects and about $12 million is set aside each year. Deming said the projects range from a few thousand dollars to $50,000.

“The U.S. dollar can obviously go far in some of these places because of the exchange rate,” he said.

Thinking globally

Deming’s office prepares promotional materials about ministry partners around the world, including Mexico, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India Central, and the Middle East. While OCS focuses on children, World Services is about the broader mission of The Salvation Army and involves outreach and corps programs.

“We have to have a global mindset,” he said.

“There are countries that are developing, and we are able to help them. Salvationists in those places are contributing to the improvement of their country.”

Among the recent projects in Mexico, The Salvation Army has constructed a building for deported refugee women and children; started a pilot daycare program; and built wells and cisterns for water.

Deming said the installation of solar panels helps to provide affordable energy to existing facilities. There also is new fencing and gating to protect congregants from

gangs and traffickers, roofs to cover patio areas where children play under the sun, and emergency lamps at a children’s home.

Recent projects in Zimbabwe involve grants for farming and land purchases. Additionally, money was allocated for plumbing and roofing repairs and to replace concrete floors.

“We need to tell the story about the impact of these dollars and the difference between how we live, and the way other people live,” Deming said.

“In many places around the world, a dirt floor is the way of life. Yet they come to hear the word preached and they grow in faith.

“It’s mostly construction of buildings

which helps The Salvation Army’s spiritual mission in that country,” Deming said.

Deming, a 33–year Salvation Army officer, has worked at the local corps level most of his career, but he appreciates the organization’s global footprint and hopes others do as well.

“The Salvation Army is bigger than your local corps,” he says. “God’s church is bigger than that. Gaining a global perspective has been a rewarding part of this position.

“It’s broadened my view of things and makes it more rewarding when I deny myself and make my contribution to World Services and self–denial. I know the impact it’s having and the difference it can make.”

Families wait to be seen at the Chikankata Mission Hospital in Zambia.

Different challenges

In Zambia, The Salvation Army provides cattle that can be sold to help support the Chikankata Mission Hospital. World Services is also funding the construction of a clinic at the Syakalyabanyama school to help meet basic medical needs. Deming said the Army has also funded boreholes and ground tests for new centers and provided funding for title deeds and other legal documents.

In the Middle East, including Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, The Salvation Army provided a van and maintains a Booth House to help fight human trafficking.

“Being an affluent area, it’s not about poverty, but more of a moral and ethical issue due to the treatment of people,” Deming said of the Middle East.

The projects in India Central include the construction of corps centers, “where people can gather for worship, for prayer, and for service.” This also includes building upgrades such as fencing, windows, doors, and other capital projects. For Deming, the projects help meet the scriptural demands of Matthew 28:18–20 and Mark 16:15 to take the gospel to all the world.

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Ryan Love/The Salvation Army
RECOVERY

I talk to Him every morning’

Benji took a drink every morning for 40 years. Now, he’s sober.

In 2019, The Salvation Army Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings were in full swing, but Benji Sawyer was drunk again.

He crashed his bike into a curb and took a nasty fall in the center of town, resulting in a gash on his face. He was so intoxicated, police told him that, if he got back on his bike he would be arrested.

The Salvation Army’s Pier ministry was happening nearby where Benji frequently prayed with people and found encouragement. On that night, he pushed his bike to the nearby stage, where he met Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford, a Salvation Army leader of the Eastern Territory. She noticed the dried blood from Benji’s gash and tried to make conversation.

“He was just there, listening,” Commissioner Lorraine recalls. “I was here, and he was there, and I turned around and there he was. I went over and talked to him and asked him if he needed anything. I’m open to talking to whomever, and God placed him there.”

Commissioner Lorraine urged Benji to go to The Salvation Army’s church in Old Orchard Beach and the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Portland, Maine, and gave him the addresses for both. A month later, Major Bryan Smith, then corps officer in Old Orchard Beach, drove Benji to the ARC, where he spent the next six and a half

months getting sober.

“I promised I would go to the ARC in Portland, Maine, and I kept my promise to that woman because she helped me have a better life now,” Benji says. “I am so full of gratitude to her for doing that for me because she didn’t have to, but her love of God and for me and the wellness of my life, she took the time to talk to me and I’ll never forget that.”

A renewed life

Benji said he learned a lot about himself at the ARC—and how to live alcohol–free after 40 years of drinking—as Majors Judi and Ron Bernardi ministered to him.

Today, Benji has been sober for three years. “It was the best time of my life to know how to become sober and live a sober life,” Benji said. “I found that I walked away from God 40 years ago and when I went to The Salvation Army church at the ARC, I found God back in my life doing what I couldn’t do. I didn’t have the energy because I was drunk all the time.

“My relationship with God now is wonderful. I talk to Him every morning, throughout the day, and I talk to Him at night. He’s done so much in my life in the last three years that I haven’t seen in the last 40.”

While at the ARC, Benji sent a note to Commissioner Lorraine to thank her for telling him about the ARC. Benji graduated

21 SACONNECTS.ORG

from the ARC program in February 2020— right before COVID–19.

“When I was coming to the Pier before I met Commissioner Bamford, nobody ever told me about the solution to alcoholism that The Salvation Army had in Portland. She was the first one to tell me about it and I promised her I would go, and I did. I graduated and I’m proud I did because it was the best moment of my life,” he said.

Benji’s alcoholism began with an abusive stepfather who drank vodka. Benji grabbed one of his glasses and tasted alcohol at 2 years old, something his stepfather found humorous. Benji came from a family of alcoholics, and taking that first taste was a harbinger of bad times to come. Benji drank for the next four decades.

“My life started going downhill right

then and there,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t have the courage or the heart to ask anybody for help.”

Benji left Maine at age 15 and made a living as a carpenter and roofer in Jacksonville, Fla. His drinking continued to be a problem, and he lost everything to his ex–wife, “and I lost her too,” he said.

He moved back to Maine 14 years ago but drank the first nine years he was home.

“I loved growing up here and going to school,” he said. “The people here are all just so kind. This is a place where I feel comfortable, and I have people around who love me. I come to the camp meetings here in Old Orchard Beach every year and I love it.”

During his darkest days, Benji lived in a tent through three harsh Maine winters.

“Yes, it was cold, but alcohol kept me warm,” he said. “When I woke up and didn’t have that alcohol, it was freezing. I wouldn’t suggest that to nobody. That’s not a good way of life.”

Old friends meet again

Upon his graduation from the ARC program, Benji went to a shelter in nearby Alfred, Maine, and is now living in a sober house in Saco and attends Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings three or four times a week. He also has a job washing dishes and handling maintenance at the Sea Salt Lobster Restaurant in Saco.

“Yes, I can hold a job and I am responsible now,” he said. “I have a place to live where it’s warm, and I have a bank account, which is something I never had. My life is so much better now, and I owe it all to The Salvation Army and the people in the state of Maine.

“If it wasn’t for Commissioner Bamford, I’d probably be dead by the side of the road or in the woods in a tent. I’m glad I’m not.

it interesting that her first meeting with Benji three years ago was just to the right of center stage. This year, it was just to the left.

“It was a visual to me of the before and the after,” she said. “I think he wanted to kind of revisit that 3–year–old point and come back to that same spot and show me where he had been in that journey. We had prayed with him three years ago and my husband and I prayed with him again this year. I was a little teary–eyed.”

Another promise made

She also equated the experience to 1 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

“We don’t even know what one prayer or conversation will do,” Commissioner

I love the way my life is going right now. I live a better life now and I’m content and happy. The last three years have been the best three years I could imagine.”

Benji’s face may be weathered from years of alcohol abuse and rough living conditions, but he beams with the joy of the Lord when asked about his spiritual progress.

“We have discussions at meetings about how God works in our lives when we’re sober and how He loves us and wants to take care of us,” he said. “I read my Bible, starting from the beginning, and I’m going to go through it until I’ve read every page and every word in that book.”

The 2022 OOB Camp Meetings, the first since the Bamfords and Benji met in 2019, were a reunion of sorts. The Bamfords dropped in to eat dinner one night at the restaurant where he works. Benji and the Bamfords also had an emotional reunion at the Pier and prayed together.

Commissioner Lorraine said she found

Bamford said. “It was because of other people doing the watering and the nurturing that the increase came.”

She also urged Benji to start attending the Old Orchard Beach Corps and make it his church home. Benji promised to do so, and Commissioner Bamford believes he will keep his word.

“I believe him because he kept his last promise,” she said.

The reunion was also special for Commissioner Bamford because it came on her birthday, July 25.

“Benji was the best birthday present I got,” she said.

Benji said he was willing to share his story so openly because he hopes it will inspire others.

“I hope it helps someone else,” says Benji, now 59, with tears in his eyes. “I must give away what The Salvation Army gave to me. If it helps even one person, I would be so happy.”

22 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023
My relationship with God now is wonderful. I talk to Him every morning, throughout the day, and I talk to Him at night. He’s done so much in my life in the last three years that I haven’t seen in the last 40.”
23 SACONNECTS.ORG

Compassion in an impoverished world

The word compassion is defined by Merriam–Webster as the “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” In other words, having compassion is when you feel someone else’s burden, and your reaction is to want to help relieve that burden.

The intentional response to a feeling is part of the human process of reacting to our surroundings, but there are times when we are unsure about the next step. Can you relate? Feeling compassion for our communities, states, countries, and world can be influenced by how connected we are to others’ distress. We can desensitize ourselves when the burden doesn’t directly relate to us. For example, local or international news reports highlight the daily suffering people face. Wars, racial and religious discrimination, poverty, and many other turbulent issues face us locally and globally.

We may feel sympathy for people, but compassion is the next step to help alleviate their distress. Jesus regularly showed

compassion. Galatians 5:14 (Amplified Version) says, “For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is fulfilled in one precept, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ [that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit].” This scripture shares the wisdom we should live by and defines compassion.

A familiar parable told by Jesus in Luke 10: 25–37 relates precisely to the differences between compassion and indifference. A man is beaten, stripped of his clothing, and left on the side of the road for dead by robbers. At two different times, people walk by this man. We know they saw him because the parable tells us they went

around the man and that they didn’t want to get very close.

But to be clear, these men did not show compassion. Perhaps they felt bad for the man, but they had no desire to alleviate the distress or provide care for him. So then, a third man walks down this same road and encounters this man who certainly has been lying on the road for quite some time.

This third man feels compassion. We know this because as the story is told, we learn that he provided first–aid, transportation to an inn, paid for the stay, and offered to cover further expenses.

Can you relate to the men who walked by or to the man who stopped to help? Or perhaps to the man who was beaten and left on the side of the road. Not physically, but are you in a season where you feel defeated, weak, and helpless? Or maybe you have seen someone in need in your community, church or family but were unsure how to take that next step to help, so you ignored

24 LIVING SPIRITUAL LIFE DEVELOPMENT Volume 9 Number 1, 2023

them or the problem altogether.

No shaming here. This is a space and opportunity to recognize that there are ways to connect with people and to show compassion for them. Within your sphere of influence, is there someone who needs an encouraging word, a pick–up or drop–off to church, a family that could use a meal?

Your response may be small, but the compassion you express for someone can be life–changing. Does the desire to help feel overwhelming because you don’t know where to begin? Then begin by praying about it. Have a simple conversation with God and ask how you can best serve and show compassion.

“Lord, my heart aches for the situation before me. Your compassion is far greater than I can ever imagine. Help me to love others as extravagantly as you love. I want to help, but I’m not sure how. Please guide me with your wisdom, power, and love to move me in this process. Amen.”

How do we practice compassion?

Here are some suggestions to guide you in the practice of compassion.

VOLUNTEER: Community–based organizations are in great need for your time and effort. The Salvation Army offers many opportunities to volunteer and assists with community needs. Is there an issue, event or people in need that you are drawn to help?

PRAY: Notice those who are burdened, in distress, or hurting around you. As you read through a news article or watch the news on TV, pray for what you are watching at the moment. Are you feeling resistance to praying for a particular issue? Why do you feel that way? Allow yourself to sit in prayer and ask God to help release that resistance.

VISIT: One–on–one attention, when someone is homebound, in the hospital or lonely, can be encouraged and shown compassion by an in–person visit. So how can you provide the gift of time to someone who could use a visit?

REFLECT: In a quiet space, reflect on times in your life when you were shown compassion by someone else. How did it make you feel to receive that compassion? How was the compassion shown to you? Then, reflect on a time when you felt compassion from God. Can you name the feeling or the experience of that exchange?

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.

— PSALM 145: 8–9 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)

iStock 25 SACONNECTS.ORG

WORLD DAY

While standing on the shore of Maui Island, perched in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I paused with pants legs rolled and feet bare and scanned the sunlit horizon. As far as I could see, water met sky, shrouded in white intermittent clouds; gentle waves and smooth stones refreshed my soles.

In the middle of such a blissful moment, I struggled to comprehend how a water crisis could exist anywhere in the world. Yet, such a predicament is reality for 2 billion people who lack access to clean, safe, drinkable water.

So, on March 22, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and organizations around the world, including The Salvation Army, will dedicate the day to drawing attention to what has become known since 1993 as the global water crisis.

What The Salvation Army is doing The Salvation Army, now operational in 133 countries around the world, believes water access should be for everyone and works to support communities to improve their economic as well as social relationships.

According to a recent report,* in Mali, Africa, nearly 44 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, and

more than half live on less than $1.25 (U.S.) a day. The country’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, which employs 90 percent of its rural population. Already one of the hottest countries in the world, today the average annual temperature in Mali is 84.2º F.

So, The Salvation Army in Mali is contributing to the well–being of communities there by supporting people in Kassela and Sanakoroba. Through the provision of six new wells, access to safe water will now be available to these communities. This will be coupled with health and hygiene promotion.

In Kerala, India, many communities frequently face drought and acute water shortages. Most people in rural areas depend on unprotected wells, ponds, rivers, and streams.

The Salvation Army in Kerala is supporting 17 villages where this is a serious problem. Many of them are in hilly areas, where it is difficult to carry water from the low land sources to the upper residential areas.

Geological surveys have identified that, in these places, underground water sources are close to the surface. Through boreholes, wells, and new connections to main water supplies, the Army is working to make safe water access a reality for almost 6,000

people, including 3,000 girls and boys.

In Kenya , The Salvation Army supplied several water tanks to various Army churches, schools, and communities. Salvationists have drilled several successful boreholes. With portable, accessible water, surroundings are now clean and have become safe for habitation.

The Salvation Army in Hong Kong and Macau supports many water–related programs in mainland China. These include digging wells, constructing water systems (storage tanks, filtering tanks, laying pipes from water source to households), and training to enhance people’s awareness of personal hygiene.

In Uganda, 4,500 households will benefit from work by The Salvation Army to educate and advocate for good water and sanitation practice. Through the installation of rainwater harvesting facilities, gravity flow schemes, new handwashing facilities, and latrines for the community, people will gain the knowledge and resources for sustainable, long–term change.

26 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023 LIVING OUR WORLD
Every March since 1993 the world has paused to recognize the water crisis across the globe.

1 6 3

Water: essential for life

Water is needed for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, and farming. In the developed world, when most people turn on the tap or flush the toilet, the water reliably flows.

Yet billions of people still lack access to safe, clean water. For them, there is usually no choice but to walk long distances to draw water. Even then, it is often coming from dirty and polluted rivers, ponds, and grimy holes in the ground.

The precious time spent accessing such water takes time away from students and parents that could be spent on education and earning a living.

Contaminated water, often containing feces and dirt, causes life–threatening diseases such as dysentery and typhoid fever. Managing menstrual hygiene with dignity requires safe water accesſ. Without it, girls often miss out on schooling during their period. Childbirth without safe water increases the risk of sepsis infections.

2

1. Mali, Africa

2. Kerala, India

3. Kenya, Africa

4. Hong Kong, China

5. Macau, China

6. Uganda, Africa

5 4

Pray for water access whenever you interact with it. Keep praying until change comes

FIRST

DRINK OF THE DAY

Thank God for the gift of life, and for His creation that is sustained by water.

BRUSHING YOUR TEETH

Ask for God’s wisdom in our use of water, and that we will all minimize waste wherever we can.

WASHING

Pray for equitable access to water, fresh and pure for all.

QUENCHING YOUR THIRST

Ask God to restore us, to give us fresh vision and a passion for fighting injustice around the world.

FLUSHING THE TOILET

Ask God for a global will for clean and safe water for everyone.

COOKING

Pray over all those working to make a difference – charities, non–governmental organizations and individuals. May they be able to speak to those in power and make a real impact in the lives of communities.

THE FACTS

• As many as 2 billion people, 26 percent of the world’s population, lack safely managed drinking water.

• Around the world, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water–related illnesses.

• If everyone, everywhere had clean water, the number of diarrhea deaths would be cut by a third.

• Diarrhea caused by dirty water and poor toilet access kills one child under the age of five every two minutes.

*Source: The Salvation Army International
AdobeStock 27 SACONNECTS.ORG

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Wh at is a stroke?

Know the symptoms, act F.A.S.T.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. When this happens, parts of the brain can be damaged or shut down completely. This can cause lasting neurological problems, disability, or death.

Facts about strokes

ISCHEMIC STROKES happen when blood clots or fatty deposits block blood vessels to the brain.

There are two types of strokes: ischemic strokes, which happen when blood clots or fatty deposits called plaque block blood vessels to the brain. This is the most common type of stroke. The second type are hemorrhagic strokes, which happen when brain arteries leak blood or rupture.

In the United States, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.

Annually, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, with about 610,000 having their first one.

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Are you at risk for stroke?

HEMORRHAGIC

STROKES

happen when brain arteries leak blood or rupture.

If you have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini-stroke,” your chances of having another stroke increase. High blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), and sickle cell

ACT F.A.S.T.

FACE

DROOPING.

Can the person smile? Has their mouth, cheek, or eye drooped in any way?

Common stroke symptoms:

• Sudden weakness or numbing feelings on one half of body, including the legs, arms, or feet

• Sudden blurred or loss of vision in one or both eyes

• Memory loss, confusion, or sudden lack of balance

• Severe headache

disease are other common medical conditions that can put you at higher risk for strokes.

Certain lifestyle habits, such as frequent alcohol consumption, smoking, physical inactivity, and a diet high in saturated and trans fats have been linked to strokes and related conditions such as heart disease.

There are also risks for strokes that are beyond our control. The chance of having a stroke doubles every ten years after age 55. However, about one in seven strokes occur in adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 49. People who are Black, Hispanic, and Native American may be more likely to have a stroke than non–Hispanic Whites or Asians. The risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for Blacks as for Whites, and women are more likely to suffer a stroke than men.

Talk to your doctor to see what steps you can take to reduce your chance of having a stroke. You can also get more information on stroke at www.cdc.gov/stroke or www.stroke.org

To remember the warning signs of a stroke in a person, just think of F.A.S.T. Talk to your doctor to see what steps you can take to reduce your chance of having a stroke. You can also get more information on stroke at www.cdc.gov/stroke or www.stroke.org

Clip this page out to help you remember the warning signs of a stroke.

ARM WEAKNESS.

Is the person unable to raise both arms, or do their arms and legs feel numb?

SPEECH PROBLEMS

If the person can talk, are they speaking clearly? Can they repeat a simple phrase?

TIME TO CALL 911. Call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately for higher chances of recovery.

F A S
T
29 SACONNECTS.ORG LIVING HEALTH

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.

28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

I will trust

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

–NUMBERS 13: 26–30

My first thought after reading this text was: How is it possible that these tribal leaders scouted the Promised Land and returned with two different perspectives, and yet share the same common goal? God had promised the Israelites the land of Canaan. He had already freed them from Egypt. So, what was there to fear?

As I delved further, I correlated this story with my own life today.

Back in September 2020, my husband and I dropped my son Ezekiel off at college in upstate New York. He had graduated from high school in June and was supposed to leave for college in August. However, due to the uncertainties of what was going on with the pandemic, my husband and I decided to ask Ezekiel to attend his first year of college at home. This was not an easy decision. Honestly, I was team “Yes, you should go stay in the dorms!” My initial thought was to sit Ezekiel down and explain what he needed to do to be safe in his first year. I had a short list of instructions:

• Read your Bible every day!

• Keep the dorm room clean.

• Wear your mask and change it every day.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Follow your school COVID–19 safety protocol.

• Call me if you are in trouble.

My husband did not think it was that simple. Considering how most of the world had shut down, he felt it was too premature for our son to leave the nest. My husband was more comfortable keeping Ezekiel at

home under our protection and guidance. My husband and I often have different perspectives on how to deal with challenges. I often wonder why we can be in the same situation yet hold different viewpoints about it.

What I have learned throughout the years is that our upbringing has played a partial role in how we see things. On the one hand, he grew up as the youngest of seven siblings who helped raise him after suffering the loss of their mother. On the other hand, I was the oldest of four siblings, and I played a vital role in helping my mother raise my younger sisters. So, my husband tends to be more conservative in dealing with problems, while I am more independent in my approach.

Despite our differences of opinion, we agreed that our common goal was the safety of our son. Therefore, we chose to put God in the center of our decision making, rather than focus on who was right or wrong. We knew that by doing so, He would lead us to make the best decision for our family.

I believe that when you hand over your problems to God, you will come out stronger on the other side of those problems. In moments of heated debates and disagreements, instead of finding reasons to be right during the conflict, have patience and gain a deeper understanding of the person with whom you disagree.

The Holy Spirit has told me that I need to be more patient with people of a different opinion. But, most importantly, the Holy Spirit has told me to use my heart to find common ground with them because God, in His love, has been so compassionate and

30 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023 LIVING FAMILY

patient with me. Why would I not demonstrate the same love for others?

By acting in anger, we sometimes gain a new enemy. Instead, we need to find a reset button and focus on God’s love and how it connects us all.

In my prayers, I have asked God, “How can we learn to have differences, but at the same time exist peacefully and productively with love, concern, and kindness toward one another?” God has commanded us in John 15:12, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

I do not want to wander in the desert for the next 40 years because I am incapable of

following what God has commanded me to do as did the Israelites. Their lack of faith and inability to utilize the spiritual warfare needed to push through the difficult journey proved detrimental.

As I reflect on Numbers 13:26–30, I ponder those opposing perspectives: the tribal leaders said the Promised Land was for the powerful, but Caleb and Joshua reported that the land was full of milk and honey. They chose to believe God’s promise.

So, by trusting and surrendering to God’s will, we can move forward in this world, knowing that He will place a calling

on our life. He has promised us that He is our strength, He will never forsake us, He is always in control, He is always watching, and He is always victorious.

We do not need to be fearful of the difficulties ahead, fearful of the debates we have with others, or be so quick to choose a side. We can move forward knowing that by placing our focus on God’s love, He will pull us through these challenging times.

De Quency Bowen, MS BML is the Executive Chef at The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory Headquarters in West Nyack, N.Y.
31 SACONNECTS.ORG
De Quency and her husband, Daniel Osmond Bowen, are guided by God’s word when they discuss their views on parenting.

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Even before Kim Herbert was born, The Salvation Army in Port Jervis, N.Y., had played a significant role in her family’s life.

“My mother Joan had five children before I came along, and my father was a truck driver, so he wasn’t home a lot to help her raise the kids. When their home burned down, things got more difficult,” says Kim.

Joan looked for assistance, but no one offered a hand, not even her family. “She said there was only one group that helped her with everything she needed: the local Salvation Army,” says Kim.

Joan never forgot what The Salvation Army did for her and promised she would repay their kindness. By the time the family had settled into a new home and Kim was born, they were all going to Sunday services and taking part in activities at the Army’s Port Jervis church. Joan also helped drive local children to events in a pick–up truck.

“But my mom’s biggest ministry was volunteering to run the thrift store every Saturday. She did that for over 30 years,” says Kim. “Even though she worked full time and was raising six kids, her Saturdays were always for The Salvation Army. When I was a teen, she would sometimes ask me to open the store for her before she arrived.”

Today, the thrift store is in the building

that used to be the church during Kim’s childhood; the new church building is only minutes away. The store is narrow, making it look more like a mom–and–pop antique shop rather than the traditional, spacious Army thrift stores. All the money made goes to fund ministries at the Port Jervis church and the store itself.

“When the Port Jervis Corps opened its new location, we pushed to not have to rent space like we had done before. Instead, we made the old corps into the new store,” says Kim. Five years ago, she accepted a parttime manager position at the store.

“Being at the thrift store never feels like a job. It still feels like I’m volunteering here,” says Kim. “That’s what I tell the staff. Don’t think of this as work. This is a ministry and an outreach to the community. We’re lucky that we can keep the money that we make here, because it helps us help others in the community who need it. For example, we have vouchers on hand for people who might need something in the store, but don’t have a way to pay it. These aren’t folks who are necessarily poor or needy but are just going through a difficult time in their lives, like my family after the fire.”

Kim welcomes anyone who wants to help in the store, inquire about Salvation Army

services, or just talk about what’s going on in their lives that day. These personal interactions, she says, are what makes giving her time to The Salvation Army so unique.

“I’ve had people come up to me and ask if I would pray with them in the middle of work, and when they do, I stop whatever I’m doing,” says Kim. “When you volunteer for The Salvation Army, you can take time to get to know the people you help or work with.

“Sometimes a volunteer will want to help but think they can’t because they can’t lift heavy objects or even go up and down the stairs easily. I tell them that they can always take a seat, be comfortable, and prepare store tags for us. That might seem like unimportant work, but in one hour of volunteering, you can do a job at The Salvation Army that an officer or an employee may not have the time to do. I can tell you firsthand how helpful that is.”

Kim says that the lessons that her mother Joan taught her about the importance of volunteering and running a thrift store stay with her to this day. Though the location might have changed, the ministry lives on.

“I think my mother would be amazed to see what the thrift store and The Salvation Army have become,” says Kim. “She would be happy to know that it’s still finding new ways to help families just like hers.”

32 Volume 9 Number 1, 2023

During cold weather, The Salvation Army provides emergency shelters and services to those in need. This winter, consider supporting our efforts. Your warmth could lead to someone else’s.

1-800-SAL-ARMY disaster.salvationarmyusa.org
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