The Salvation Army Participates in United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 2017

SALVATION Army personnel from India, Kenya, Kuwait, Italy, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Mexico, UK and the USA are taking part in more than 100 meetings at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which runs from 13-24 March 2017. Staff from The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) are hosting more than 80 meetings arranged by the UN, non-governmental organisations and other faith-based organisations at the ISJC building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Prior to the formal commencement, The Salvation Army held a Sunday evening service of reflection, worship and prayer in its premises close to the United Nations headquarters in New York. Prayers focused on world leaders, policy makers and representatives from civil society taking part in CSW, which for 2017 has the theme ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work’. Intercessions were also made for women and girls affected by discrimination in various ways, using stories, video and personal testimony to explore the issues.

Several of the Salvation Army delegates to the CSW spent two days the previous week in discussion at The Salvation Army’s international anti-trafficking task force, chaired by Lieut-Colonel Eirwen Pallant, supported by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries). The forum provided opportunities for learning, analysis and development of Salvation Army international strategy and policy to counter modern-day slavery, which has devastating effects on men, women and children around the world.

The Salvation Army’s response to human trafficking will be featured in a CSW event at the ISJC on Tuesday 14 March, which will discuss lessons learned from a partnership between The Salvation Army and the Anglican Alliance. The partnership has increased the capacity of local church congregations to raise awareness and respond appropriately in local contexts.

A further presentation for CSW on Wednesday 15 March puts the spotlight on Salvation Army initiatives around the world which have been put in place to empower people –especially women. Designed to improve the economic status and security of local communities, many of these projects provide women with an opportunity of income generation, leading to improved status and empowerment.

ISJC Director Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant explains: ‘The CSW discussions ask: “how do we improve the status of girls and women?”, who in many parts of the world do not get a fair deal. It’s a big thing for men as well –to stand up and talk about the importance of women having equality. It’s something that Christians believe, that we’re all made in the image of God, so it’s really important.’

Coinciding with the start of the CSW, the ISJC has published Go and Do Something which, using the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework, explores what Salvationists and friends can practically do –now and over the next 15 years –to make the world a better, fairer place. The resource is available to download free of charge from http://sar.my/dosomething. More information about the SDGs can be found at http://www.salvationarmy.org/isjc/SDGs.

A social wall providing coverage of ISJC’s CSW activities as they happen is available at http://sar.my/cswlive.

Report by IHQ Communications | International Headquarters

 

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Drawn to the Heart

A week before Kathy Reichman departed for the National Seminar on Evangelism (NSE), in Glen Eyrie, Colorado, her heart was burdened with her prayer, “Lord, keep me ‘open’ to learn what You want of me.”

“I had no expectations,” Kathy admits, “but to discover new ways of approaching people about Christ without scaring them away.”

Two thousand miles away, Rebby Lucas had a very similar concern.

“I’m a real ‘Jesus Freak’ straight out of the 1970s,” Rebby assertively says. “It’s hard for me to speak to anyone and not bring up the subject of Jesus! My problem is that I’m too confrontational.”

The day finally came for Kathy to come from Salem, Oregon (where she is a soldier of the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center)—and for Rebby to leave her corps in Waterloo, Iowa—to arrive at about the same time in Colorado Springs; iRonically about midway from their respective hometowns.

Their sister-like friendship initiated the moment they met on campus.

“It was the first dinner, and the hostess led me to a table positioning me right next to Rebby,” Kathy says. “We struck up a conversation and quickly found we have much in common.”

Indeed they do—both are left-handed, both love walking, both have husbands who’ve undergone kidney transplants, both love coffee (extra hot), both love to read aloud to people, and both ladies love large families.

Most important, they wanted the week of NSE to develop a greater skill of building relationships with people that would help lead to faith in Christ.

“I prayed that the Lord would use my life as a tool to win others for Him,” Rebby explains.

Back in Salem, Kathy and her husband have been conducting an outreach ministry in their home, called “Friday Fellowships.” But she longed to be more intentional, by walking across the room to greet visitors to the corps. She especially has a heart for men and women attending from the Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC).

“Sometimes I notice when people are struggling, and I want them to feel able to get to know other people in the corps family,” she says.

Rebby, who is partially blind from birth, says that she learned much from the Walk Across The Roomstudy (authored by Bill Hybels).

“I asked the Lord, ‘Help me to draw people to You and not say anything stupid that would make them instead go further away from You!’” Rebby says.

From start to finish of NSE, the two were inseparable. One might think they were long-lost twin sisters who happened to find each other despite the odds.

“After all,” Rebby points out, “we have the same Father!”

When the time came for all delegates to leave for home, Kathy and Rebby knew they would “be bawling like babies.”

“But we exchanged (email addresses) and will be sure to keep in touch,” Rebby adds.

“Rebby and I were drawn to the one another’s heart,” Kathy concludes. “If we don’t see each other again on this side of Glory, we certainly will on the Other side!

“We’ll have some catching up to do.”

Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor

Caring for the Caregiver

Throughout history, poets and scholars have attempted to define love. In one of its most challenging descriptions, the Apostle Paul states that love “endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Paul’s words on love in 1 Corinthians are often read at weddings, but few people comprehend the demands of a love that is tested by prolonged or incurable illness. In that context, caregivers are a unique model of Paul’s practical definition of love.

The experience of caring for a loved one is as unique as the illness or the experience of dying itself. Innumerable books and articles continue to be written for caregivers precisely because each caregiving experience is as unique as each individual relationship between caregiver and loved one.

The unexpected is the new normal, but there is a way to prepare for the unexpected.

When God commanded Joshua to lead the Hebrews across the Jordan into the Promised Land, He didn’t provide the new leader with a daily battle plan. He did, however, let Joshua know of His constant presence in life and death: “I promise you what I promised Moses: Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you… I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you (Joshua 1:3,5). In like manner, Jesus sent the disciples in the general direction of “all nations” with the specific promise to always be with them: “Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).

We do not know the future, but we know who holds the future. Jesus is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). His abiding presence and unchanging promises sustain us in the midst of ever-changing terrain. A Christian caregiver’s first responsibility and primary relationship is to God. Attending to soul care is necessary for a caregiver to continue to give care. The essentials of Christian discipleship—prayer, Bible study, fellowship and worship—are all the more important for any person providing lengthy care to a fellow sojourner.

Motivation Is Everything

Understanding why you have chosen to care for someone can also be very helpful. Why we do something is as important as what we do. Our hearts, more than our actions, are the truest test of who we are: “The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When asked about their role, some caregivers may reply, “It’s the right thing to do.” Others may say, “I’m repaying a debt of love.” An adult child often says, “She took care of me when I was young.” Others might see the example of such care as a model for younger children in the home. Some find the care of a loved one thrust upon them because no one else is available. Motivation reveals our truest self. Reflection on the reason or reasons why we do something is key to doing it well. Knowing and reminding ourselves about the “why” of caregiving can provide renewed strength in the midst of mental, emotional and physical weariness.

Thinking about the future God has in store can help us deal with day-to-day challenges. Focusing on heaven reminds us that we are destined for a time and place where suffering not only ends, but is entirely forgotten. “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4). Reading Scripture or books that speak about eternity serve as a tiller for a trouble-tossed soul, steering us toward our eternal harbor. In this sense, heavenly mindedness actually increases our earthly good. Scripture teaches that all creation groans in expectation of the redemption of our earthly bodies (Romans 8:19-23). Such anticipation doesn’t ignore the truth of what is happening; it provides an accurate picture of reality. After all, humans are the key and model for God’s design in all creation. According to Paul, who was no stranger to suffering, this hope for such a divinely orchestrated future actually saves us both daily and eternally. “We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (Romans 8:24).

Source of Strength

Sadly, caregiving can isolate a person, which can then disorient his or her thinking and emotions. God deemed Adam’s aloneness “not good” (Genesis 2:18). The exercise of naming the animals made our first parent very aware that he was alone and reminded him of his need for Eve (Genesis 2:20-22). Just as God lives in eternal community, He has called everyone to live in fellowship with other people. Jesus intimately understood the stress of caregiving and sent His disciples out to minister in pairs so they could support one another. Much of the early church’s strength amid persecution originated in their constant fellowship. And Paul reminds believers that one of heaven’s greatest joys is that “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). That fellowship can be found in church gatherings, hobbyist groups, interaction with neighbors, family and friends. Every caregiver can benefit from such nourishing, replenishing relationships.

Like community, rest is not a selfish endeavor. It is essential to a caregiver’s health, which has a direct bearing on the person for whom we are caring. God did not rest because He was weary, but as a model for all creation. Rest gives us the time and space to “think on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), qualities essential to holistic health. Ultimately, rest implies trust in the Lord—that we and those we love are His divine responsibility. Life without rest is an attempt to be God, and no human can bear that infinite weight. Know your limits and live within them. Eat and sleep well, exercise regularly and do something else for yourself.

No Greater Love

The greatest encouragement in caregiving is Jesus Christ Himself, the ultimate Giver of care and the Bible’s quintessential definition of love. God did not simply watch His creation fall and suffer, He entered into it. He endured all the trials and temptations we suffer. And Jesus uniquely understands both roles. Before He died on the cross, angels cared for Him in the garden. He knows what it means to give and receive care. As such, caregivers and care-receivers can learn from His loving, humble example. His life provides our model and motivation. His Spirit provides our means. The fact that He cared and suffered makes both caring and suffering meaningful and worthwhile.

Looking for a definition of love? Jesus described it in terms of caregiving: “Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13). This makes every caregiver someone for whom Jesus cares.

Reggie Weems, DMin, PhD, has served as senior pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Johnson City, TN since 1991. His books include “Help! I’m Living with a Terminal Illness.”

 

Caregiving: A Family Affair

Raymond Kitchen and Hope Casarez were walking across the bridge connecting Huntington, West Virginia and Chesapeake, Ohio. It was a pastime the two teenage sweethearts often enjoyed, especially since money was still so scarce in the mid-1940s.

The two had met at The Salvation Army corps in Huntington, shortly after Raymond’s mom and his nine siblings moved from Logan, West Virginia, where they had been faithful corps members.

“I was very interested in her from the first, but she didn’t seem to be interested in me,” Raymond says. “But eventually I won her heart.”

The couple were beginning to talk marriage, but again, finances presented a problem. They couldn’t afford the $2 needed for a marriage license.

And so, it was that on that windy afternoon, while taking their regular walk over the Ohio River Bridge, that they spotted what certainly must be considered a sign from God.

“A two-dollar bill was caught in some debris on the curb of the bridge. I said to Hope, ‘Let’s use this to buy our marriage license,’ and she simply said, ‘Okay!’”

An astounding 68 years of marriage later, they are still in love. Most of those years were in service together as Salvation Army officers—pastoring a number of corps appointments in the USA Southern Territory. They retired from active service to their home in Greenville, South Carolina in March, 1993.

Today, Major Raymond is a fixture at Hope’s nursing home. Hope was diagnosed with severe dementia, but ever since she first came to the nursing home, the nurses and other staff could just about set their watches by the time Major Raymond arrives every day he is able. The only exceptions are when his own health issues flare up or when he has a doctor’s appointment of his own.

“Hope and I made a covenant with each other about 20 years ago that if one of us became incapacitated, the other one would provide the utmost care for as long as possible,” he explains.

The Kitchens spent many happy years in retirement, and in the bosom of his large family—most live in the Greenville area. But with Hope’s diagnosis over the last couple of years, it became all too apparent that full-time care was required.

Nevertheless, Major Raymond does whatever he can to spend precious time with her and to make her stay as comfortable as possible. Framed photos, cherished keepsakes, and other items from their home are scattered about her room.

“I try to do as much as I can, the little things that the nurses may not get to right away,” he says. “I keep her fingernails and toenails trimmed, and brush her hair regularly.”

When Raymond is not with Hope, he is probably at home, keeping it as tidy as if she were still there. He has accepted the fact that his bride will not improve, and that her condition will get worse, but he will not give up on Hope.

This story about an extraordinary caregiver would be enough on its own, but there is more—this caregiver has an army of caregivers behind him as well. Raymond’s three remaining siblings, along with their spouses and adult children, are a vital asset to him at any time.

“My family is a source of strength to me. I don’t know what I’d do without them!” He says.

When someone needs to be with Hope during Raymond’s occasional absences, they fill in. Every week, the family meets for lunch at a nearby restaurant. At other times, they gather for exercise at the mall. And there are the special occasions: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. This past Thanksgiving, 65 relatives met to thank God for His goodness.

As soon as the feast was over and family photos were taken—right on time—Raymond drove to the nursing home to spend the rest of the day with Hope.

“I’m spending as much time as I can with her,” he says through a few tears. “Sixty-eight years is not enough!”

Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor

“Hi Mom I’m Home”

SHOULD PARENTS WELCOME ADULT CHILDREN BACK TO THE NEST?

Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son is very much alive today. The story of a father welcoming his wayward son back home is more common now than ever before.

For a whole list of reasons, adult children are either never moving out or are moving back into their parents’ homes, even if for a short time. And it is occurring regardless of the financial situation of the parents. In some cases, the parents or grandparents are helping with childcare for a few days a week.

The way Jesus told the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) holds surprises, for it contrasts what might be a natural inclination on the part of a parent with how the father treats his squandering, foolish youngest.

This younger son of a successful farmer wanted his inheritance immediately rather than waiting for his father to pass on. He took the money and indulged in fast living. After spending all the money, he had to resort to feeding pigs and sharing their food so he wouldn’t starve to death. This was just about the lowest level for a Jewish man. The Hebrews considered pigs unclean animals to be avoided at all costs. The broken young man finally returns home, asking to be treated not as a son but as one of his father’s servants. His father welcomes him back home and treats him not as a servant, but as a long lost and beloved son.

What about adult children who return home today? Some may consider allowing this as “enabling” or “sponging” or even encouraging downright “laziness.” But for many, returning home is the only alternative to living on the streets or in a cardboard box under a bridge. There are so many reasons why this happens to our young people, but the “whys” are not as important as how we see our adult children when they have to come home. The same goes for those who have never been able to leave and “be on their own.”

I have been on both sides of the coin. As a young mother of two, I had to move back into my parent’s home to escape an abusive husband. That was thirty years ago.  The types of shelters available today were not around then. And a shelter is not always the best solution. Believe me when I say that returning is a very humbling experience. I was thankful my parents were willing to take us in and that they had the room. Sometimes parents don’t have the room or have to sacrifice to make room.

Now I am on the other side of the coin. I have welcomed my two adult sons back home from time to time. I do not have a large house, but I have a house filled with love and respect and caring. Yes, there are rules, and they have to change from when they where teenagers. It can all work out if everyone simply respects one another’s space.

In Jesus’ parable, the older son, who had always obeyed and respected his father, resented the return of his brother. The father simply told his oldest that the return of the downtrodden sibling was a cause for joy, that the lost had been found, that the wayward had recognized his need for forgiveness and restoration. We need to guard against such resentment.

It is never easy to suddenly change your whole life, whether you are the adult child having to return home—maybe with children of their own—or you are the parent or parents who have to adjust accordingly.

We do not always know God’s plans in such situations, but we know He has set an example for us in the person of the father, and that He is always there to guide us if we just ask Him in prayer.

Gloria Fetter lives in Allentown, PA.