Intimacy lost: how the sexualisation of society is destroying relationships
s e p t e m b e r
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V O L U ME
I SS U E
From the desk of the Women’s Ministries Department “You don’t have to see God to know him. Faith, which works by love, can see in the dark. Lyell M. Rader
ong before the woman appears pregnant and brings forth her child there is life growing within her. But then, seemingly suddenly, the child is born. Jesus repeatedly described the Kingdom of Heaven as like a seed, or a farmer who plants the seed and waters it consistently. He doesn’t know how it grows, but it surely does. Often imperceptible yet totally reliable growth is happening in the seed cared for by the farmer, and in the Kingdom of God, when God’s people persevere. “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary’” (Luke 18: 2-3).
The Salvation Army WILLIAM BOOTH, Founder International Headquarters 101 Queen Victoria Street London EC4P 4EP AndrÉ cox, General Australia Eastern Territory 140 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000 James Condon, Commissioner Territorial Commander Bruce Harmer: Major, Communications and Public Relations Secretary Editor: Simone Worthing Graphic design: Kem Pobjie COVER Photo: Shairon Paterson Editorial and correspondence: P0 Box A435 Sydney South NSW 1235 Phone: (02) 9266 9690 Email: eastern.editorial@aue. salvationarmy.org Published for: The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory by Commissioner James Condon Printed at: SOS Print + Media Group 65 Burrows Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia Member of the Australasian Religious Press Association Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society Used by permission of Zondervan Publishers No part of this publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written permission from the publisher
Jesus tells a parable of a widow in need of justice, but the judge arbitrating her case is unjust. The widow is without resources of any kind and has no hope of ever extracting justice from such a judge. She is a symbol of all who are poor and defenceless in the face of injustice. Yet, despite her lowliness in society she recognises a deeper claim to recognition. What are the injustices you see in the world? Who are the powerless, the vulnerable, in our day? “Finally [the judge] said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Luke 18: 4-5). The traditional interpretation of the unjust judge of Luke 18 rightly understands the judge to represent God, not in the sense of corrupting justice, but in the sense of supreme power and authority. Additionally, we must remember that the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth identified with the poor. Here in the Luke 18 parable, the widow demonstrates a God-like quality – the relentless pursuit of justice. She embodies godly power in the midst of apparent powerlessness. This is our God, the God of compassion who brings good news to the poor, does not break the bruised reed or extinguish the smoking wick. We, as followers of Jesus, are invited to do the same.
Colonel Janet Munn Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries
I nt i ma cy lost
Different authors discuss the sexualisation of society, the impact it is having on relationships, and some ways to help empower our children to know God as the source of true intimacy
Major Jo-anne Brown shows how the heart of loving others, as a Christian, is really
A note of unresolve
Major Leanne Duncan discusses how the unresolved issues of life can find harmony and completion within the love and presence of God
Everyone has a story
Three women, from different walks of life, share how God has, and is, working in their lives as they strive to serve him
about this issue
from the editor’s desk
8 16 20 24
Reviews, reflections, resources and recipes
Young Women in Touch Stories, ideas and articles for our young women
Women In Ministry
eports from around the territory R and beyond
Prayer for victims of human trafficking
e live in a world that is increasingly shaped by pornography. Just take a look around – billboards, advertising catalogues, TV ads, music videos, themed t-shirts – pornography has become an integral and normal part of our society. Just a few years ago, the United Nations estimated that the global child pornography industry made a profit of up to $20 billion. This is expected to reach $100 billion in the near future. As author and advocate for women and girls, Melinda Tankard Reist writes: “The mainstreaming of pornography is transforming the sexual politics of intimate and public life, popularising new forms of anti-women attitudes and behaviours and contributing to the sexualisation of children” (Big Porn Inc, 2012). The sexualisation of children is a disturbing and growing issue, and is the focus of our main stories in this edition. As these articles show, sexualising children in an already sex-soaked society is affecting the development of close and loving relationships and producing depressed, lonely and alienated people who cannot either express or experience love and closeness in the way God has designed. It is also leading to escalating levels of violence against women and girls. The sexualisation of children, pornography and violence against women are all connected. We need to be vigilant as to what is happening around us, both subtly and more blatantly, how our children are being affected and what we can do to both reach out to others who are impacted, and to break pornography’s destructive grip on society. Also in this issue, Major Jo-anne Brown takes a positive look at close and caring relationships, and how we can build openness, trust and spiritual intimacy as we learn to love God, and each other, well. Her focus on love, acceptance, deep connections and the presence of God is in stark contrast to the abusive, shallow, self-centred and violent nature of pornography. Major Leanne Duncan returns as a feature writer and discusses working through the tough times of life, and we talk to women from different backgrounds who are serving in unique ways in widely different communities. I hope you are challenged and motivated as you read this issue and pray you will be inspired to make a difference in the lives of those around you, and beyond. Simone Worthing Editor
Feature | Intimacy
Intimacy lost: how the sexualisation of society is destroying relationships
Major Sally-Anne Allchin discusses the sexualisation of society, the impact it is having on relationships, and empowering our children to know God as the source of true intimacy
recall as a child the rainy day lunchtime program at my primary school. The favourite activity for many of us girls was dress-ups! From the dress-up box we would adorn ourselves with lots of bling, old high heeled shoes and over-sized and outdated satin and lace clothes. The only thing better was to do this at home where we could add make-up – we were beautiful! Today is very different. From birth our children are confronted with a barrage of sexualised clothing – from male size 0 t-shirts and “onesies” with the slogan, “I’m living proof my mum is easy” and high heels for babies, to “anti-aging” makeup and padded bras for eight-year-old girls and G-strings for children. Just a few years ago, a Melbourne newspaper printed the following stories: • Under the headline, “Alarm at painted preps – kids glam it up for school”, the article continued: “Primped up preps, plastered with lipstick and eyeshadow and wearing skimpy clothes have forced a crack down by schools ... It comes as a parent of a prep girl has revealed his shock at seeing six-year old girls at a school disco in fully made up faces.” • “A primary school acted after a group of eight-to-tens turned up to school in skimpy outfits and lipstick ... and there is a greater interest now at a younger age to 4
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
form relationships. It is all tied up in the tween culture” (Herald Sun, 29/11/11). Beyond clothing it is worse – video games, video music clips, pole dancing kits for four-year-olds , lyrics to songs, television, magazines, billboards, internet sites and peer pressure. Our ever expanding media is becoming sexually saturated. In 1971 children would view an average of 500 advertisements per day; by 2011 that number had increased to 5,000 advertisements in the average eight hour day (Dr Caroline Heldman, “The Sexy Lie”, Youtube). Negative impact The American and Australian Psychological Associations found that girls and young women are negatively impacted by sexualised images in several key development areas:
• Emotionally – developing anxiety and low self-esteem, which threatens their confidence, productivity and creativity. • Mentally – developing eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. • Sexually – developing negative sexual relationships and an unhealthy sexual image. In her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-
Down World (Vanguard Press, 2011), Lisa Bloom writes about a culture “where smart women are playing into a dangerously, unabashedly stupid celebrity and celluloid – saturated culture . . . young women would rather be hot than smart. Almost 25% of women aged 1834 would rather lose their ability to read than lose their figure.” While our society places so much emphasis on physical beauty, the attention of our children and young women is drawn away from academic, sporting, and musical achievements; cultural and social justice issues; and integrity in life. On an even sadder and darker side, we hear so many stories about kids like Jamie, 13, who is now on the Sex Offenders Register; Paul, 12, who repeatedly exposed himself to pupils at school; Andrew, 13, who abused his five-year-old sister; and Jenny, 15, who frequently posed for explicit images and now attends a specialised clinic. Hook-up culture In her research-based book, The End of Sex – How Hook-up Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy (Basic Books, 2013), Donna Freitas writes about casual sex, one-night-stands and the hooking up experience and its impact on young people: They “… suspected
Intimacy Small things| |Feature Feature
Photo: Shairon Paterson
it robbed them of healthy, fulfilling sex lives, positive dating experiences and loving relationships. At its very worse, hooking up made them feel ‘miserable’ and ‘abused’”. This raises the question – do we really understand what a relationship is or what true intimacy looks like? Our example is found in the Biblical account of Song of Solomon – the proclamation of a husband’s passionate and consuming love for his wife and how he enjoys the way she completes him. Having been created in the image of a relational God, we experience counter cultural conflict – while society tells us we are to be sexy and available for the short term and one-night-stand hookups, there beats within the heart of every one of us the desire for long-term relationships, based on love and mutual respect. Counter Cultural Relationships When we look to the Bible we read about real beauty. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah (53:2) describes Jesus as having “no beauty or majesty that would attract us to him”, yet the New Testament is filled with references of crowds being drawn to him. It was not his physical beauty that attracted people, but his inner beauty as he loved, healed and restored those who came into his presence.
In Psalm 139 we read, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (vs. 13,14).” We are created in God’s image, and he called his creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God desired to walk in relationship with us and to meet our every need. Then sin, in its ugliness, entered (Genesis 3), eating away at the core of our being. God knows our ugliness and the inner turmoil it creates. He meets with us at the foot of the cross to wrap his grace-filled arms around us and tell us we are loved. God looks on the inside,(1 Samuel 16:7), at the true state of our heart, and with his heart of compassion breaks the chains that bind us and raises us up to be all that we were created to be – restored, loved and forgiven. We don’t need to seek “fleshy love” in hook-ups or approval based on looks. Empowering our kids We all want to be loved beyond any no-strings-attached, joyless, mechanical and regret filled hook-up that the world offers in the name of liberation and freedom. The Bible challenges us to focus on things that are true, pure, lovely and admirable, and the peace of God will be ours (Philippians 4:8-9). As we read through the Gospel of Mark, we see that Jesus exhorts us to
honour children (Mark 9:42; 10:13-16). Children have the right to be protected, and to develop their minds and bodies in a healthy and supportive environment. As adults, we must be aware of the aggressive actions of profitmotivated media targeting our kids. We must begin to prepare and safeguard our children so they are able to withstand the pressures to be hot, thin and sexy, so they can grow and know love as God intended. This includes:
• Telling our children, from a very early age, that they are loved for who they are, and not how they look. • Shopping wisely, avoiding the skimpy and adult-themed clothing. • Being open and firm about your values, explaining these to your children and living them yourself. Let us empower our children to be children, and to know the heartbeat of God that lives for long term relationships of mutual respect and true intimacy grounded in love. Major Sally-Anne Allchin Family and Resource Secretary Women’s Ministries Department Australia Southern Territory W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
Feature | Intimacy
Sexualising the young produces ‘society’s cancer’ Photo: Shairon Paterson
Parenting author and educator, Steve Biddulph, writes about the sexualisation of society and its deep impact on relationships and intimacy
he term sexualisation originated in child protection work. It refers to sexual behaviour imposed on someone, as opposed to arising from their own yearnings or desires. Government reports have been carried out worldwide into the phenomenon, and concern has grown that it is a serious problem for the development of girls and boys. Most people think it simply means girls acting too sexy too young. The trend for cheap clothing shops to sell tacky knickers and push-up bras for eight-year-olds probably epitomises that, along with child beauty quests, and a lack of boundaries around what children see in the media landscape. This concern is not insignificant – Latrobe University’s regular surveys of teen sexuality over the past decade show a significant rise in girls starting their sex lives at 14, and having multiple partners while still at school (approaching one in five girls). School counsellors in Britain tell me that 11 or 12 is not uncommon for first sexual experiences. A disturbing proportion are with much older boys. But it’s in normal homes that the most pervasive effects are felt – with eightyear-olds dieting and millions of girls declaring that they “hate” their bodies. Mixed sexual messages I believe sexualisation is a deeper and more lifelong issue, perhaps even endemic – and harmful – to gender relations throughout history. Objectification of women was at the core of the feminist struggle. But today, from a completely different quarter, the
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
nature of sexuality for all of us is being modified. For example, boys are being admitted to London’s Tavistock Clinic for sexual abuse of sisters or girls at school and found to have been addicted to online porn for years. Some of these boys are only 12 or 13. But it’s not just children who are affected. Our whole environment is overtly sexual now and it is changing a once-private activity, with considerable emotional intensity, into a consumer activity with no meaning at all. In normal development, young people acquire their sexual feelings through hormonal promptings, beginning in the early teens, and most experience considerable shyness and reserve about this. Mid-teen girls are often attracted to very asexual boys (think boy bands), perhaps because this creates a level of safety. Boys too experience strong romantic feelings that may surprise those who believe they ‘’only think of one thing’’. Young couples find holding hands so delicious on its own that it takes months before they would want to go further. Trust and respect are established over time. This is important since the release of oxytocin in sexual activity ties our hearts into bonds which can leave us wounded if they are broken. Intimacy lost Today this is all changing. Many boys learn their sexuality from porn, and fixate not on deep connection, or tender passion, but instead on treating girls like sacks of meat. Distressed girls tell
counsellors of gentle boys suddenly becoming callous and hurting them because they think that’s how sex is done. There is something special being lost here. For many young people, sex has become a performance, overlaid with worry about ‘’How do I look? What tricks do they expect me to perform? How do I compare with others?’’ Separating sex from personhood is what sexualisation does. It’s robbing us of closeness. Little wonder we have one of the most depressed and lonely generations of young people ever. It’s not just the young. Porn use is very high among adult men, including married men. It’s possible that porn is filling a gap in our closeness and lovingness generally. We live in a society that is often too rushed for affection, for attunement between husband and wife, or parent and child. We are a cold culture. Consumer goods and food have replaced intimacy in our lives. Unless we redirect ourselves to inner values – kindness, creativity, patience, loyalty, and passion – then we will have nothing to offer our young apart from our credit cards. Steve Biddulph’s new book Raising Girls is published by Finch, RRP $24.95. Steve Biddulph Parenting author and educator Printed with permission.
Intimacy | Feature
Intimacy lost: resisting a sexualised society
n their graphic, disturbing and yet eye-opening and essential book Big Porn Inc, Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry, (Spinifex Books, 2012), editors Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray and a variety of contributors explore the sexualisation and harming of children, pornography cultures and industries, and how to resist and fight against Big Porn Inc. It’s a graphic and disturbing book, yet a motivating and essential read for every parent and every person concerned about the sexualisation of children, the global abuse of girls and women, pornography, and the destruction of healthy, positive, loving and godly relationships. Targeting children In her chapter, “Groomed to consume porn: how sexualized marketing targets children”, Australian writer and social researcher Maggie Hamilton shares some alarming findings: Of great concern is the “direct link between the increasing sexualisation of girls and boys, and their interest in and exposure to porn. The fallout from the countless sexual images seen in ads, on
TV screens, posters and billboards, in MTV clips, movies, video games and sitcoms, on clothing and accessories, and on the Internet, is real and impacting. This constant stream of hypersexualised imagery and sexual expression that boys and girls are subjected to daily lowers their inhibitions, discourages empathy towards others, and reshapes their sexual aspirations and expression often in risky, violent or unhelpful ways. Whether or not the use of sexual images and messages to market products is intended to prepare children for the consumption of porn, this is one of the most concerning outcomes. When the intense sexualised marketing to children is put under the microscope, we see that the methods corporations use to reach children are the very same techniques employed by sexual predators to home in on unsuspecting kids as they meticulously groom them for their own ends. We need to reclaim the hearts and minds of our children, our public spaces, and our control over the products, games and clothing marketed to them so children can have health, stress-free childhoods and develop a positive sense of their sexuality as teenagers.”
For more information on what can be done to resist the onslaught of a sexualised society, and for further links, check out: www.collectiveshout.org (Australia) www.kf2bk.com (Australia) www.melindatankardreist.com (Australia) www.stoppornculture.org (United Kingdom)
Resist the trend! “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27 King James Version). • Determine to raise children to love the Lord with all their heart, mind and soul, and to love others as they love themselves. • Give children a wholesome and balanced view as to who they are and who they belong to. • Avoid shops that sell clothing that sexualises children. • Be game to be a parent, starting from when children are small, so respect and communication develop and enable the parent to gently and lovingly guide the child through the dangers of peer pressure and media control. • Determine which TV programs and other media your children can watch, making sure they reflect what you want children to learn as they grow up. Openly discuss the reasons behind your decisions. • Parents need to work as a team, presenting a united front to children and keeping the lines of communication open with them constantly. • Be a godly example to children and endeavour to guide them in their decisions towards godly goals. • Resist the trend to sexualise children at a young age so change can happen. • Be bold enough to be the parents God called us to be. Will you be bold enough? Major Brenda Stace Corps Officer, Broken Hill W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
Reflection: Rest regularly with God
s women, we now more than ever before, have the opportunity to enter into so many different and varied “spaces” of life. Also, because of this, we are pulled between activities and responsibilities more than our mothers and grandmothers were before us. Yes, it is true, we are now known for our multi-tasking capabilities. No matter who we are, where we have come from or what “rung” in life we are presently on, we all need God in our lives. These days, life constantly requires us to be somewhere, doing something, planning ahead, keeping fit – while usually looking after others who occupy our lives. The incredibly liberating fact is that all God requires of us is to take time to have a relationship with him. We do not have to be “doing” all the time in his presence. In fact, God longs for us just to be with him. Contrary to our “other” life of being, doing, planning and going – God just wants us to be with him. This is not a luxury – like a spa, manicure or facial – this is a necessity for us to grow more and more like him. The book of Romans talks about being slaves to righteousness which leads to holiness (Christlikeness). We could easily say that we are slaves to the kitchen, work, family, and more. God needs us to be his devoted followers in order to grow more and more holy. No matter who we are, where we have been or where we are now, we can grow in holiness by the power of God’s Spirit living within us. God is our rest and salvation. We just need to rest with him regularly. Speak to him and listen to him.
Dear Lord, “Can you make me clean?” “Yes.” “I want to be clean, to be holy, please help me to do this.” “I ALREADY am.” “I feel so unworthy in your presence.” “You are my daughter, and I LOVE YOU.” “Please help me to recognise you in the tiny parts of my day. I never want to take you for granted.” “I PROMISE I will.” “I love you, Jesus!” “I LOVE you too.” “Help me always to find a way to ‘lie down’ with you even when it seems impossible.” “I did this for the paralysed man, I can do it for you!” Amen.
Major Julie Alley Divisional Mission & Resource Director Corps, Candidates Secretary ACT & South NSW Division
Womenonline: daily devotions Women from around the territory recommend some of their favourite online devotional sites: • Bible Gateway: www. biblegateway.com/ devotionals “I like this one as it includes questions, points to ponder and good resources that you can follow up such as other websites and suggested books.” • Abbey of the Arts: www. abbeyofthearts.com “This is great for exploring a contemplative life through the creative arts.” • Sharon Jayne: www. sharonjayne.com “A devotion I read here really helped me one day, and I’ve been reading them ever since.”
• Henri Nouwen: www. henrinouwen.org “The resources section has some helpful discussion guides, articles, and a daily devotional thought which is always good for the soul.” • She Loves magazine: www. shelovesmagazine.com “The articles and stories here can be used as devotions – they are honest, open, refreshing and share different perspectives on just about everything!” • Rick Warren’s Saddleback church: www.purposedriven. com/blogs/dailyhope “The topics covered here are always helpful, encouraging and applicable. It’s a quick daily read that gives me thoughts for the rest of the day!”
• Stepping Stones: www. lighthousenetwork.org “I just really liked one of these devotions one day and subscribed!”
Congratulationsto Brenda Cherrington from ????????????? ?????????????, who has won last issue’s book, Travelling Light.
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
• Cinnamon Rolls • Serves: 12
God’s Chicks Awakened
– a 90-day devotional
Dough: 1 cup lukewarm milk 2 eggs, room temperature 90g butter, melted 600g bread flour 1 teaspoon salt 125g castor sugar 2 1/2 teaspoons quick yeast
Holly Wagner Regal Books, 2011
f you are looking for a deep theological insightful book this is not for you! In this book, author Holly Wagner uses an amusing style that both challenges and encourages. It’s Holly’s signature style, seen in her previous books God Chicks (Nelson Thomas Inc, 2000) and Daily Steps for God Chicks (Regal Books, 2006) which Holly wrote during her treatment for breast cancer. In this latest devotional, Holly daily reminds us that each new day is an opportunity to live life to the full as God desires for us. We have the responsibility though, to wake up, leave the comfort of sleep and live! We are also encouraged daily to leave what is holding us back and actively embrace living in the freedom God gives us. More than that though, we are encouraged to take courage and help others. Holly has the gift of using words to deliver witty, yet effective principles for facing any crisis life throws at you. She openly reminds us that we will be called on to be brave, to have courage and to face difficulties with enthusiasm, but that God will never ask us to face a situation that he has not equipped us for. Later in the book, Holly shows the importance of those difficult times as we are then able to show others that there is a pathway through their own difficulties and that God will be with them as he was with us. “We each have the responsibility to mark well the path we have walked” (Day 77), she writes. The gift of each new day calls us to awaken to recognise God’s free gift of grace and our responsibility to live as a testimony to that grace.
Major Angela Eyles Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Divisional Community Care & Seniors Ministry Coordinator ACT & South NSW Division
Win a copy of this book!
Filling: 250g soft brown sugar 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 90g butter, softened Icing: 125g cream cheese, softened 60g butter, softened 220g icing sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence 1/8 teaspoon salt Directions In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Place all the dough ingredients into a large bowl and mix until a smooth ball forms. Cover and place in dark warm place. After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 45x50cm rectangle. Spread dough with butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 slices. Place scrolls in a lightly greased 23x33cm baking tin. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Bake scrolls until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While they are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Spread icing on warm rolls before serving.
Simply send your name and email address to simone.worthing@ aue.salvationarmy.org for a chance to win our giveaway copy.
All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.”
Eugene H. Peterson
Recipe and photo courtesy Lena Pobje
Feature | Loving well
Loving well in the age of disconnect Loving God and loving each other is not something the Church has always done well. Major Jo-anne Brown shows how the heart of loving is really quite simple
here has always been much discussion about what it means to be a Christian and what is required of those who choose to walk in the way of Jesus. The Bible outlines many things believers should and shouldn’t do but the heart of it is really very simple. Jesus sums it up: to love God with all that we have and are, and to love others as we love ourselves. This is how we are to live our lives and to live out our Christian faith. Jesus also tells us that it is the way we love one another that will show if we are truly his disciples. Paul expands on the latter part of Jesus’ command in his letter to the Corinthians where he explains what it means to truly love one another. Here he talks about being kind and patient, about not being angry, or arrogant, about putting the other person first, not boasting, and not keeping a record of how the other person has offended or disappointed us (1 Corinthians 13). Yet for all that Scripture tells us about loving God and loving one another, the Church in general has not been known for doing this well. There are countless people who once belonged to a church who have been wounded and injured emotionally, even physically, by those who have professed to love God. Hindered by culture The culture in which we live has not been helpful in encouraging us to love one another well. We are taught from early on to be independent and selfsufficient. We are encouraged to know what we want and to go get it, no matter
what the cost. Advertising tells us that we are important, that we ‘are worth it’. We learn that when things no longer work we can easily and quickly replace them – in fact, it is easier and more economical to replace most things than to repair them. Our global and technological culture makes connection and communication easier and more efficient, but in abbreviating words and sending quick texts we are becoming more superficial in our relationships and can be more easily misunderstood in our communication. Yet there is something within all of us that is longing to be truly loved, to be accepted for who we are, and to belong. We long to find people that we can “be at home with” and with whom we feel safe and secure. Authentic friendships I have been blessed in recent years to have a small but significant group of friends with whom I can share deeply and laugh loudly, knowing that they treasure my friendship as much as I treasure theirs. These friends have taught me much about “loving well” and in these relationships I catch more than just a glimpse of the amazing love that our Father God has for us through Christ Jesus. They have taught me the importance of listening. It does my soul good to have people with whom I can share and know they will listen till I am done talking and thinking. Yes, of course, we all have the tendency to jump in with our own stories but there is real grace and generosity when we hold back on
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
wanting to have our own say and simply give the other person space. It is rare for most of us to feel that someone is truly listening to us without planning their response and waiting for us to catch our breath so they can jump in with their own comment. I do this too. So, I am learning to be silent, to listen and to give others the space and attention that I so very much appreciate when I am given it. Speaking truth I have also come to treasure the truth that is spoken within these friendships. To know that I am heard and accepted is a gift, but to have people who will speak truth to me is even more meaningful. I have friends who are not afraid to hold me accountable, who are secure enough in the relationship they have with me that they can risk honesty and speak their mind. I don’t always like it but I am always blessed by it. And truth is spoken when we are free to simply be ourselves. My closest friends do not feel they need to earn my love and friendship: it is already theirs. And I know that even when they see me and know me at my worst, they still think I am worthy of being loved. As friends we do not always understand each other. There are depths to my heart and soul that I don’t even understand so I can’t expect any other person to fully understand what is going on inside me. The gift of being truly loved means that we can accept not fully knowing or understanding each other, but can still hold and carry the other anyway.
Loving well | Feature
Photo: Shairon Paterson
Being loved and loving in return is also about joy and delight. We delight in being together, in laughing at life as it is being lived, in laughing at ourselves in acknowledgment of our own foolishness and frailty, in simply taking joy in the shared aspects of our humanity. Being aware Many Christians are familiar with a little book written in the seventeenth century about Brother Lawrence who learned to dwell continuously in the presence of God and developed the habit of constant awareness of God. The book is called The Practice of the Presence of God. A more recent book, Practising the Presence of People (Mike Mason, 1999) encourages readers to become more attentive to the people around them, to truly notice others and to become more aware of how connected we are.
Just as most of us need to develop a more constant awareness of God’s presence with us, so too do we need to intentionally develop an awareness of those who share life with us. Loving others the way that Christ loves us is firstly about actually noticing the people around us. It is easier to notice those who we already have a relationship with, or who depend on us – but even these familiar faces can be overlooked when we are busy or consumed with our own needs. It is much harder to be attentive to those on the periphery of our lives, yet who share our common humanity: fellow patients waiting in a doctor’s surgery; fellow customers in a queue at the supermarket, tired at the end of a long day and just wanting to get home; fellow commuters, and so on. In an age when we can have
hundreds of friends on Facebook who know lots of information about us, we can be less known, less connected and more lonely than ever before. How can we love well in such circumstances? It begins by noticing – how very deeply and intimately God is involved in our lives and is loving us, and by noticing those around us, also deeply loved by God, and by sharing wholeheartedly with them the love that God has placed in our hearts.
Major Jo-anne Brown Corps Officer, Calamvale
W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
Feature | Life’s symphony
When the symphony is unresolved Major Leanne Duncan shows how the unresolved issues of life can find harmony and completion within the love and presence of God
’ve been known to have said, “I like things organised – and not just organised, but all tidied up in a box with lovely wrapping, ribbons and a pretty bow on top!’ Some Leanne observers may even go as far as to say, “likes to be in control”. These descriptions of me, even when kindly said, still don’t seem to capture what really goes on within me when people observe me engaged in the myriad of activities deemed suitable to the label. In a recent moment of self-awareness some clarity prevailed over this little organiser-like “Leanneism” of mine …
Love letter from God
It began in the midst of some recent, difficult, storm-like days that came my way. I took the time to re-read a precious love letter I once received from the one who knows me best inside and out, El Roi – the God who sees me. This is an open letter to all his daughters so please, read through it below and put your own name in there. My Precious Daughter, Leanne, Your life is a symphony. You are to me a beautiful song. Your life is a sweet symphony that I myself am composing, note by note. Every breath, every step, I take each one and turn them into a glorious harmony that will be sung in heaven for all eternity. All your thoughts and deeds are laid before me like notes on a page. Every choice you make is a significant chord in an eternal arrangement. 12
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
Don’t let the noise of the world destroy your magnificent melody, My Beloved. Seek me in the stillness of the morning and I will fill your heart with divine music. Stay in rhythm with my Spirit throughout the day, and I will make your life an irresistible medley that will linger like sweet perfume in the hearts of all who journey with you. Walk with me in absolute surrender and you will draw others to me in a rhapsody of praise From my heart that overflows with love for you, Your Heavenly Father and your Composer. * “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD” Psalm 40:3 (New Living Translation).
What a delightful thought – life as a sweet symphony composed note by note by my composer God. He takes my every breath and step for the melody that is his eternal arrangement. In this light I began to realise my preference for the organised and sorted in life, adorned with ribbon and pretty bows if possible, is not so much about being an organiser as it is about being uncomfortable within the unresolved chords in the magnificent melody of life. And that’s okay.
Actually, it’s probably exactly the way it should be. Unresolved chords in a melody are not yet complete or harmonised. There is something still to come, something before the symphony completes. Masterful composers intentionally use unresolved chords to create a feeling of uncomfortable tension; a feeling of disturbed, unsettled discord within the senses of the audience. There becomes an unmistakable awareness that this is not over, not yet resolved. So, it seems quite a natural response to desire that the unresolved tension moves towards completion and resolves in harmony. Maybe it’s even a natural response to make efforts towards such completion in the midst of life’s discords as well … I’d like to think so. But … there’s always a but!
At times, even the finest of organising all tidied up in a box with lovely wrapping, ribbons and a pretty bow on top is not enough and we find ourselves suspended in the midst of unresolved chords in the symphony of life. So what happens in those moments when the chords are unresolved and the symphony doesn’t sound so beautiful? Are there notes to be played that will complete those unresolved chords within the tension of incomplete circumstances; within the scorching blast of a trial by fire; within harrowing fear; within the darkness of shadows in the valley; within the suffocating turbulence of overwhelming flood waters; within the parched emptiness of a desert wilderness walk?
Feature | Life’s symphony
What a delightful thought – life as a sweet symphony composed note by note by my composer God
Where is the melody, the glorious harmony, to be played within the inevitable unresolved chords of life’s symphony? Open the composer’s notes and understand the context for his symphony and the space he intends for its performance.
You are always there
“You hem me in, you go before me and follow me, and you lay your hand of blessing upon me ... Where can I go from your Spirit? … Where can I flee from your presence? … If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast, your strength will support me … Even the darkness will not be dark to you … for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139: 5-12).
Nothing can separate us from God’s love
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … No power in the sky above or in the earth below, nor height or depth – indeed, anything else, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from, get between us and the embrace of, the love of God that is revealed in Christ
Jesus our Lord.” Read all of Romans 8:35-39 for the full power and meaning of this passage. We are living out our symphony within the completely, entirely and utterly inescapable presence of God through which we are empowered and equipped for every discord within the symphony of life, no matter what its shape or size. We are living out our symphony within the completely, entirely and utterly inescapable love of God – a love that embraces every wound sustained from every discord within the symphony of life, no matter what its shape or size. There simply is no place that God is not; we are hemmed in by the presence of God and the love of God.
The inescapable presence and love of God are the notes to be played that resolve the unresolved chords within the tensions of incomplete circumstances; trials, fears, valleys of darkness, overwhelming flood waters and parched desert walks. When the symphony is unresolved, take refuge in the presence and love of God and allow composer God to take the
notes and transform your magnificent melody, every breath and every step, into a glorious harmony that is his eternal arrangement. “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair … He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God …” (Psalm 40:1-3), New Living Translation.
Editor’s note Major Leanne Duncan Regional Mission & Resource Officer Taiwan: Social Justice & Social Programme For the full version of this article, and to read other posts by Leanne, go to www. leanneintaipei.tumblr.com/ *(An excerpt from Shepherd S.R. His Princess: Love letters from your King, 2004.)
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Feature | Testimony
Colonel Prema breaks down multi-cultural barriers
Everyone has a story...
olonel Prema Thyagarajan, a cross-cultural communicator and evangelist, has devoted her life to helping those who have not yet found Jesus. After serving for 35 years as an officer in India, and at International Headquarters in London, Colonel Prema told the Lord that she didn’t want to retire. She offered her skills and experience to anyone who could use them, and for the next six years Colonel Prema served in the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory. She is now an active part of multi-cultural ministries in the Auburn Corps, Sydney.
Born in the south of India, Colonel Prema was educated as a young girl before training as a nurse in Bombay. From there she then entered the Salvation Army Training College for Officers. After commissioning she worked tirelessly as an officer for 35 years in three of the six territories in India, including two appointments as chief secretary.
In 2010, Captain Nesan Kistan, Auburn Corps Officer, invited Colonel Prema to assist with a cultural outreach ministry in western Sydney. Speaking six Indian dialects – Hindi, Tamil, Malayam, Marathi, Telugu and Gujarati, Colonel Rajan’s visit was designed to help the Army communicate with various Indians living in Australia. 14
Colonel Prema found that a large part of her role during the visit was to break down communication barriers between Australians and Indians. “Language plays a big part and we need to let them know we are available and that we love them,” she says. Colonel Prema also identified and explored the difficulties of ministering to Indian nationalities.
Skills being used
Since March 2012, Colonel Prema has been a vital part of the multi-cultural ministry team at Auburn and contributes to the multi-cultural ministry of the territory (Captain Nesan was appointed Territorial Multi-cultural Ministries Coordinator in November, 2011). Her multi-lingual skills are a great asset when it comes to working with the many refugees and new arrivals that settle in the area. Colonel Prema is a member of the corps “New Arrivals” program, run from Auburn Corps. One of her roles is to refer refugees and other new arrivals coming for welfare assistance to the program so they can enrol in English and finance literacy classes. Colonel Prema is also running four English classes with some new arrivals from Sri Lanka. The overwhelming desire of this faithful servant is, through her ministry, to lead even just a few to see the love of Jesus. Selflessly, she says: “I am thankful to God and The Salvation Army for the opportunity to be useful.”
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
Colonel Prema is now an integral part of the territory’s multi-cultural ministry.
Testimony | Feature
Kerrie finds freedom at Streetlevel Everyone has a story...
y her own admission, Kerrie is a recovering alcoholic. For years she abused alcohol and, in doing so, cut many ties with her family. “I was lost, suicidal and had burnt bridges with my family,” she shares. “I was so lonely – addiction is a very lonely place.” Kerrie went to Brisbane Recovery Services Centre (Moonyah) for a rehabilitation program, and there came into contact with staff and volunteers from Brisbane Streetlevel Mission. That was more than two years ago. As part of her recovery program, Kerrie volunteered at Streetlevel one day a week, cooking meals and assisting with whatever needed doing.
“I am now a full-time volunteer,” she says proudly. “I help coordinate the food, do pastoral care, and help with accommodation assistance. “I also still belong to and attend Alcoholics Anonymous, and I encourage those here who are inebriated to do the same.” As part of the AA program, Kerrie also tries to help others find a “higher power”. “For me of course, that is God,” she explains. “I was a lapsed Christian, but now my life has changed because of Jesus Christ. I pray, read my Bible and walk with Jesus every day. “I have felt, and still feel, the power of God in this place.
Kerry found freedom through Jesus at Streetlevel. Photo: Peter Wells, Chaordic Creative
“Streetlevel is a place that empowers and embraces you. It has made me want to be a better person. It works miracles. Thank God this place is here.”
Shirley shines as face of the ‘Salvos’ Everyone has a story...
Shirley is active in street ministry and making contact with local residents.
hirley, born and brought up in Narrabri, could certainly be called the “face of The Salvation Army” in this north western NSW town, 520kms from Sydney. Every week Shirley is active in community care ministries; visiting two nursing homes and the local hospital, and collecting for street ministries. She also cares full-time for her Mum. “I hand out War Cry magazines, talk with the residents and patients and, on average, visit with around 50 people each
week,” Shirley says humbly. “I look forward to being in the community each week and residents in the nursing homes look forward to me coming and having a chat and receiving the War Cry to read.” Shirley’s has been visiting the nursing homes and hospital for 30 years, and doing street ministry for 10 years. “I do my ministries for God’s work,” she says. “When I started with Street Ministry it wasn’t easy, but I got to know people and I began to have regulars come up for a chat and their weekly magazines,” Shirley shares. “I also have some stickers and Kids Zone magazines I like to give out to the children. “I hear many stories about The Salvation Army, particularly in the war years when the ‘Salvos’ were always there with a hot drink and biscuit.”
Narrabri Corps Team Leader, Grace Bate, appreciates all Shirley does in her ministries. “Undertaking her role in Community Care Ministries isn’t something that a lot of people have
the heart to do,” Grace says. “Shirley is certainly unique in this way. She is very committed and if it wasn’t for Shirley, the face of The Salvation Army wouldn’t be in the community as much. “Shirley is well known for what she does for The Salvation Army and for God.” Shirley gave her heart to Jesus as a child in the Uniting Church. Her mother and grandmother began attending The Salvation Army in Narrabri in later years, but it wasn’t until Shirley’s father passed away that she had personal contact with the Army herself. “I became angry at God and I went to the Army and prayed with the corps officer at the time,” she explains. “I recommitted my heart to Jesus and became a senior soldier when I was 28.” Shirley has a word of encouragement for anyone thinking about getting involved in caring for their local community: “It’s a great way to freely do God’s work and be the face of The Salvation Army.” Shirley also asks for prayers for the Narrabri Corps. “Please pray that we will see our church meeting full of families again.”
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Young | Feature
Now, instead of running and hiding from God, I run to him and present my struggles.
Unashamed Amy Hefferan shares openly about her struggle with sexual addictions and how God has powerfully intervened to restore purity and innocence to her body, thoughts, vision and attitudes
n my pre-teen years my mum gave me a book explaining “the change”. I had already had the chat regarding the birds and bees, so I could only assume that this book was meant to act as a refresher and give extra insight into an awkward topic. Well, little did my mum know that the book sure did give extra insight! It advocated for knowing your body and understanding what pleased you sexually. As I moved into high school it wasn’t uncommon to hear groups of girls quietly chatting about their sexual exploits, masturbation and porn. And so, what seemed normal for everyone else became normal for me too. While I considered myself a Christian, these topics were never discussed among my church friends and, not wanting to be the subject of scandal myself, I never brought them up.
Stuck in sin
After finishing school and moving out of home, I re-encountered God in a powerful way. I signed up for Bible College and started an internship at my local church. As I progressed in my studies and invested in my relationship with God, I realised that not only was I sinning, but I was stuck in sin and I couldn’t break my old habits without seeking support. It took confessing my sin and asking for prayer to break the hold of those sexual addictions. As the years went by I had challenges in my faith, and in those seasons of struggling I found old issues rearing their ugly heads. I was so ashamed! I was a born again Christian, and a leader in my church, believing that God could set people free but yet somehow I was convincing myself that didn’t include me. I was worried my friends would reject me if they found out and every time I thought about my future husband I shuddered at the thought of sharing my past. Let me pause and say this – sex is not a bad thing! God made us sexual beings, but sexual experiences outside the boundaries of marriage are damaging. 16
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
In his blog, Dr W. Struthers highlights recent research that shows how viewing porn or acting out sexual desires is like snacking on junk food. It tastes and feels good and satisfies the craving but it stops us from wanting and knowing healthy (sexual) food that comes with marriage. It also creates patterns in our brains that lead to addiction, create unrealistic expectations for the marriage bed, tarnish relationships, and leave you feeling empty (see wiredforintimacy. blogspot.com.au).
Spotless and pure
It is not until recent years that I have seen breakthrough and God has changed my heart and my attitude. I have amazing girlfriends with whom I have shared bravely and who have loved, encouraged, prayed, supported and shared with me in return. Now, instead of running and hiding from God, I run to him and present my struggles. God is restoring purity and innocence not only to my body but also to my thoughts, vision and attitudes. We are the bride of Christ, who is to “present her (church) to himself (Jesus) as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27)”. Sisters, I don’t know where you have been or where you are going but I do know that it is time for us, the church, to run to Jesus. Cast aside judgment and let honesty be our mantle. Love our sisters that we might ALL be spotless on the day of his return. When Jesus comes back I want to present myself whole, redeemed and blameless. When I finally come to my husband on our wedding night, I come to him unashamed!
Amy Hefferan, Centenary Corps
Vision | Young
In a new, seven-part video series, the MORE team casts the vision of “every young Salvo a disciple-maker”
e dream of every young person in the territory reaching out to and discipling others,” says Claire Hill, leader of the MORE team. “Just imagine what the territory would look like if every young person was showing the radical love of Jesus to those around them and telling them about him.” The video series has been made available on Vimeo so that corps or divisions can download the clips and play them in their meetings. The clips are designed to spread the vision and help equip young people and youth leaders to make disciples wherever they are.
This vision is explored and explained through the following topics: 1. The Vision: “Every young Salvo a disciple maker”. 2. What is a disciple? 3. This is discipleship. 4. Who is discipling me? 5. Who am I discipling? 6. What does discipleship look like? 7. “Go and make disciples” (the great commission).
“Jesus is inviting you on a radical, unpredictable adventure!” says Claire. “Will you go?” The Youth MORE leadership team
The purpose statement of the MORE team is: Resourcing youth leaders to make disciples. “That is what we are here for,” says Claire. “Whether it is coaching youth leaders one-onone, developing LIFE resources, providing training or something else, this is what we are about.”
If you would like to download these videos to use, please click on: https://vimeo.com/68269390
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Young | Social Justice
Social Justice Snapshot Reduce your water footprint
hen you think climate change and environmental issues, does water usage come to mind? According to National Geographic, on average 38L per day of your water footprint is lost to leaky taps and toilets, approximately 208L is used to make a coffee and it takes roughly 265L to fill up a bathtub. What is even more shocking is the water use through the consumption of meat and protein – the National Geographic claims that a serving of poultry uses about 341 litres (environment. nationalgeographic.com/environment/ freshwater/water-conservation-tips/). If you’re surprised by these above figures, it’s probably safe to say you are unaware of how much water you use on a daily basis. With climate change talks constantly happening around us, it’s hard to ignore the reality that our resources are depleting and it’s up to us to do something about it.
Cast all your cares …
ow many of us can honestly say that we are care free at the moment? Probably none of us. Whether we like it or not, there is always that one little thing that we hold onto, allowing it to plague our minds and our lives. So, why don’t we deal with these issues? If we were sick, we’d go to see a doctor who would give us the medicine to make us better. Why don’t we do the same thing with those “little things” and God? In 1 Peter 5:7 the Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. God doesn’t want us to worry about anything – He makes this clear to us in the Bible a number of times! In Matthew 6:27, Jesus poses a thought provoking question: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” The answer is no, we can’t. Don’t waste your
time sweating the small stuff when we have a precious life to fulfill! More importantly, don’t wait. Don’t wait for the next time you do your devotions, or wait for the response time in church. Do it NOW. Don’t hold onto something we don’t have to when we know we have a loving father who hates to see us hurting, and is so willing to help us and provide us with peace if we simply ask. This article first appeared in deeper-youngadults.blogspot.com.au
Cherise Grigg Carindale Corps
What can I do about it?
Roughly 780 million people across the world do not have access to clean water. The United Nations has donned 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. While water usage is a large problem worldwide, as an individual you have the ability to make a change. Firstly, you can find out how much water you are using. Visit the following website to determine your water footprint: environment.nationalgeographic.com/ environment/freshwater/change-the-course/ water-footprint-calculator * Let’s take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing our teeth, eat less meat and run the dishwasher only when it’s full. For more ideas on how to save water visit, environment. nationalgeographic.com/environment/ freshwater/top-ten Lastly, will you join the challenge to reduce your water footprint?
* Please note, to complete this survey you must use a five digit US postcode.
YoungWIT Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other. Romans 12:9-10 (New Living Translation) #lovegenuinely #healthyrelationship #honouroneanother 18
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
Reviews | Young
Reviews DVD REVIEW
BOOK AND BLOG REVIEW Win a of th copy is BOO Simply K! send y our na and em m simon ail address e to e.wor thing@ salvat aue. iona a chan rmy.org for ce giveaw to win our ay cop yo Kisses from K f at
Return to the Hiding Place
eturn to the Hiding Place follows the story of Corrie Ten Boom’s (Mimi Sagadin) army of inexperienced teenagers who take part in life-threatening challenges to save Jews from Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Holland. Narrated by Hans Poley, a teenage member of the Dutch Resistance (David Thomas Jenkins), Hans’ voice adds to the thrilling story as they embark on escape missions through underground tunnels, face Gestapo hijacks and perform heroic acts in the ongoing battle against the Nazis.
Kisses from Katie blog
W Kisses from Katie
The DVD is based on the novel Return to the Hiding Place (Lifejourney Books,1993), written by Hans. The audience might also be familiar with the novel, The Hiding Place written by Holocaust survivor Corrie, with Jon and Elizabeth Sherill. This film will provide another perspective to Corrie’s wellknown story of hiding Jews in her home. The audience will be blown away by the bravery of teenagers who endanger their lives for Jews. At personal risk, Hans and the youth resistance movement devise an escape plan to save an orphanage of Jewish children marked for mass execution. They demonstrate selfsacrifice and as Christians, this film challenges the audience to live a life of self-sacrifice – a life modeled on Jesus. While Return to the Hiding Place is a low budget film, it’s a story that will captivate your heart. Along with Mimi, the film does have some talented actors, including John Rhys-Davies who plays a Jewish priest. Return to the Hiding Place, is available at Koorong for $24.99.
magine moving to Uganda, adopting 13 children and running an organisation that feeds and schools over 600 children when you’re only 18 years old? This is the story of Katie Davis. In December 2006, Katie travelled to Uganda for the first time on a mission trip. Captivated by the people, culture and the sheer desperation of Ugandans living in poverty, Katie packed her bags, left behind her highschool boyfriend and disappointed her parents by forgoing college to teach kindergarten at an orphanage in Uganda. While she promised to only a stay a year, Katie says she fell in love with Uganda. Now 22, Katie recently released her autobiography, Kisses from Katie (Howard Books, 2011) where she shares her struggles of helping Ugandans living in poverty, the hardships behind becoming a mother but also the daily joy of helping those who are not so fortunate. What makes Katie’s story even more compelling and challenging is her utter reliance upon God. In Kisses from Katie we read journal entries describing not only her day’s work and the people she’s assisted, but how she relied on God for all her answers and providence. “I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy,” says Katie. Kisses from Katie is a challenging read as she asks readers to look beyond themselves and consider how to use their wealth for the benefit of those in need. The book is available at www.koorong. com $14.99.
hether or not you have read Katie’s story through her book Kisses from Katie, her blog of the same name is a personal account of her dayto-day experiences living and ministering to people in Uganda. Her entries are full of passion, honesty and scripturally-based insights and are wellwritten, articulate and structured. As Katie tells stories of the people she is helping or the current challenge she is facing, she intertwines God-inspired insights and Bible verses. Through her blog it is evident that Katie’s source of strength and dependence comes from God. Within each post Katie tells a story, inspires her readers with a challenge from God and sometimes asks her readers to make a difference through prayer. Visit kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com.au
Congratulations to Deanne Bridgeman from Geraldton, WA, who has won our giveaway copy of Kings and Queens – Audio Adrenalin.
W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
Women In Ministry
Baking to bless Greater West Division
hen Major Deborah Robinson, Parramatta Corps Officer, posted a callout on Facebook to “Parra Salvos who like to bake and bless others,” she received an instant and overwhelming response. Within a few weeks, the first “Bake to Bless” event took place, with a group of women from the corps decorating pre-baked cupcakes, boxing and tagging them for delivery. The women meet in the church kitchen to bake, wrap their creations in “an amazing, ‘Pinterest’ way, and then deliver the goods to those in the community such as local school teachers. “We pray as we prepare the cupcakes and write on the gift-tags our desire that whoever receives this particular one would experience a little of the love of Jesus,” said Major Deborah. The first cupcakes were created for a group of teachers who accompany their special needs students to The Salvation Army Parramatta’s weekly music therapy classes. They were surprised, but pleased, to receive culinary gifts. “The comment that just blew me away was when one of the teachers said: ‘The Salvation Army doesn’t thank us, we’re meant to thank The Salvation Army for what you do!’ said Major Deborah. “And I just explained that we wanted to acknowledge the work that they do in our community with these children and bless them.” Major Deborah says the Bake to Bless ministry is about forming intentional connections with people in the local area, showing love to them and acknowledging their vital contributions to the community. “It’s also created opportunities for people [in Parramatta Corps] with different gifts to be involved in ministry.” Photos courtesy Major Deborah Robinson
One of the Bake to Bless team’s cupcake creations.
The Bake to Bless team, left to right: Val Lucas, Elizabeth Rootes, Janet Muir, Kate Anderson, and Major Deborah Robinson. Missing from the photo are Carissa and Molly Ainsworth.
Leaders kick off their shoes at women’s retreat ACT & NSW Division
ake off your shoes – you are standing on holy ground” was the theme for the recent Women Leaders’ Retreat held at Batemans Bay. Twenty eight women corps officers and leaders figuratively kicked off their family shoes and their appointment shoes, their personal shoes as they took time out to rest, relax, be refreshed and restored during the three-day retreat. At the beginning of the retreat, Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Cairns, Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries, reminded the women that Moses, in order to carry out his God-given work effectively, needed to turn aside from his ordinary everyday work, stop before the burning bush, listen to what God was saying and then return to his workplace in God’s strength. “The aim of this retreat is to provide a similar stopping place for you,” she said. The women shared together through theological reflections; teaching on prayer and spiritual formation from Major Kerry Farthing, Territorial Spiritual Formation Co-ordinator; and warm fellowship. Time alone with God, good food, shopping and a meal out together helped to ensure a restful and refreshing few days. “Before the women put their shoes back on in readiness for their return journey they washed each other’s feet, praying for each other that they would return home with a humble, servant heart,” said Lieut-Colonel Jan. 20
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
Lieutenant Alice Folan-Foley washes the feet of Captain Louise Beamish at the conclusion of the retreat.
Women In Ministry
Grace Cottage offers hope, healing and wholeness Far North & Central Queensland Division
love my job and Grace Cottage is a great service to work for,” said Claire Twivey, full-time case worker and the only employee at the service. “It’s all about empowering women to be all that they can be, and not be bound by addiction.” Grace Cottage is part of Townsville Recovery Services and is a nondiscriminatory service for women in addiction, in recovery from addiction, or who know people affected by addiction.
The out-client service provides information, assessment and treatment for women with concerns relating to the use of alcohol, other drugs, and gambling. “We aim to provide a service that leads to hope, healing and personal wholeness emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” said Claire. “For women, there are a lot of barriers in doing a residential program. Grace Cottages is the only service of its kind in Townsville that gives women the opportunity to access a program while living at home with their families. “However, one of the benefits of women accessing Grace Cottage is the option of moving to the residential program offered by Townsville Recovery Services which provides 35 beds, 4 of which can be offered to women.”
Territorial Women’s Ministries Project 2013
Papua New Guinea To renovate and equip Salvation Army child care centres in Port Moresby & Kainantu.
Provide the following: ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶ ▶
Renovate buildings Fencing & play area Play equipment Furniture Books/resources for learning Mattresses and pillows Kitchen and toilets Toys
Target: $110,000 The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory
Staff from Red Shield Defence Services, Riverway Corps, Grace Cottage, Home Energy Saver Scheme, and Townsville Recovery Services at the “Deadly Day Out” raise awareness about domestic violence in the community.
Northern (Pilot) Hub representatives at the 2013 Red Shield Appeal Business launch.
This program runs for a maximum of 10 months and is also individually case-managed. The women who attend this program come from all over North Queensland. Claire sees an average of 30 clients per month for counselling, relapse prevention planning and drug and alcohol support.
Grace Cottage also offers the Positive Lifestyle program which includes 10 different sessions including self-awareness, anger, depression, creative problem-solving, self-esteem and goal setting. “This program, offered in a group setting, has been really helpful for women working through the myriad of issues faced in addiction,” said Claire. Grace Cottage is one of the many expressions of the Northern (Pilot) Hub. Other expressions are able to partner with Grace Cottage in bringing the message of freedom to women. Volunteers from corps and Salvos Stores have assisted Claire with the service and different corps provide venues where women can meet. Women accessing Grace Cottage have also started to attend worship meetings and the monthly women’s groups at one of the local corps. “A recent highlight for Grace Cottage was an event held to mark Drug Action Week which attracted great community support,” Claire explained. “Representatives from 60 services gathered, at the invitation of Grace Cottage, to brainstorm how we can improve services for women struggling with addictions.” “It’s my hope that this partnering with others in our community will bring hope. I’m excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of women through Grace Cottage and would ask you to pray for me for many freedom stories to be told.” W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
Women In Ministry
International news In excerpts from a recent newsletter, Narelle Gurney shares some of the challenges, joys and daily colour of life in the African nation of Malawi
Narelle Gurney joins in the first taste of clean, cold water from the bore water pump recently installed in the Kela community.
n the first part of the year, we had several workshops and visitors. It started with a Salvation Army staff conference for leaders with our new territorial leaders, Colonels Moses and Sarah Wandulu. We were inspired by our new territorial commander and through discussion and group work, mapped out the priorities, challenges and direction for this territory. After that, two people from the Emergency and Disaster Relief office at International Headquarters came to facilitate five days training for disaster relief. People from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique attended. Although I didn’t attend the training, I visited each day and was involved with the organisation and logistics, the opening and a meeting so it was another busy week for me. This is one of the advantages of the role here that I meet and socialise with people from different countries. Although it’s a lot of work, it’s also great to get to know them and work face-to-face with those that I usually have just an email working relationship with. A few days after they left, another group arrived for a five-day workshop which I did attend. This was led by IHQ personnel and attended by people from five countries. We stayed at a small lodge called Nyala Lodge in the middle of Lengwe National Park. Our workshop area was undercover, but without walls so we were really outside. During the sessions we could see bush buck, eland, nyala, buffalo and monkeys. Hard to concentrate but a great way to work! After a public holiday, weekend and two days off, I rejuvenated before picking up yet another donor visitor from the United Kingdom. We had a packed schedule for a week visiting various projects in villages which meant travelling many kilometres. But more on that another time!
WOMEN IN TOUCH SEPTEMBER 2013
Cost of living
The cost of living in Malawi has been steadily rising over the past few years and dramatically rose with the devaluation of the kwacha last year. For example, when I arrived in September 2010, petrol was 260 kwacha per litre and today it is 700 per litre. A loaf of bread was 90 and is now 220, and a standard size bag of maize flour has risen 400%. Salaries for the average Malawian and certainly for Salvation Army officers, has not risen in line with this. Maize is used to make nsima which is the core food for Malawians. They eat this with every meal. Our church discovered that in suburbs very close to our church, people were not eating every day because they couldn’t afford to. The Malawian church members did some research and identified a number of families who were particularly struggling. We “Mzungus” (Whites) then teamed with a Malawian to visit the homes of these people and give them a bag of maize flour. We’ve done this twice and although it certainly does not solve the problem, it has helped us get to know some people. Last week a group of village women who had received maize from us came to church. They couldn’t speak a word of English but when they sang and danced and we joined them, it was a party!
On a personal note, I am tired and happy. Tiredness is temporary and being happy is a blessing! I continue to marvel at the experiences God has and is giving me working in a culture so different from my own. I also continue to be so grateful for people in Australia who email, pray and support in so many different ways.
Women In Ministry
“This is one of the most rewarding photos I’ve ever taken,” said Narelle. “This life-saving bore hole, which became operational in May 2013, at a cost of around $14,000, has radically changed the Kela community.
The community’s water source in October, 2011.
I recently received mail from some children at the Broken Hill Corps who had seen a video of the anti-child-trafficking work here. The younger children sent drawings and the older ones wrote letters. I’ll take these to the Mchinji Centre the next time I go. (This centre accommodates 40 children under the age of 18 who have been trafficked for purposes including domestic labour, sexual exploitation and farm labour.) I get emails and cards from people I don’t know but who make it their business to encourage Salvos who work outside Australia. And of course, the support and contact from friends and from Glebe Salvos, my home corps, is hugely valued and helpful.
The Salvation Army’s involvement in the bee keeping project ended a year ago, but earlier this year I saw the active bee hives and tasted the delicious honey. Despite some challenges and low harvesting, the community is still very active and committed to this. It was so good to see evidence of a project working a year after we finished working there. And to finish off a “picture story” close to my heart (see photos) – the WASH Project (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) funded by the Australia Eastern and United Kingdom with Ireland territories (see salvos.org.au/ said/projects/malawi-wash-program). Through this project, we are bringing water to 50 communities over a three year period. Until next time, “tionana” (we will see one another!) Narelle Gurney Director of Development, Service and Projects for The Salvation Army in Malawi W O M E N I N T O U C H september 2 0 1 3
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