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Volume 25, No.15

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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October 2, 2008

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imageTwo Working
as One


imageChallenge
of AIDS
in Africa.


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Seeking truth
at TYI

Major Marshall Gesner, Houston area commander, distributes meals to passing cars after Hurricane Ike battered southeast Texas.
Salvation Army responds quickly after Ike slams Texas coast

With nearly a half million hot meals already served across a damages wath encompassing nearly 22,000 square-miles, Salvation Army volunteers and resources continue to make an impact from Galveston Island to far inland from the Texas Gulf Coast.

One hundred mobile feeding units (canteens) are dispatched throughout the area affected by Hurricane Ike. Ten field kitchens – each capable of producing 20,000 hot meals per day – are working at capacity to help meet the needs of millions reeling from the storm’s
aftermath.

An initial stockpile of 45,000 cleaning kits (broom, bucket, mop and detergent) has
already begun to be distributed to residents who either chose to ride out the storm, or have now returned to “pick up the pieces” of their lives and possessions. Salvation Army officers are providing comfort and spiritual and emotional care to those affected and to first responders.

The Salvation Army Emergency Radio Network (SATERN

is activated and receiving inquiries to reconnect evacuees with their loved ones. The Army is also using new
satellite communications equipment that creates local phone and Internet networks for its incident command teams.

Throughout the Texas Division, the Army is supporting the evacuation and shelter effort in at least 12 locations, housing and feeding thousands who were not yet able to go home.

Although damage is widespread and power not anticipated to be completely restored for several more weeks, no doubt the worst destruction is in Galveston, where the eye came ashore.

Soldiers and employees of the Galveston Corps who opted to ride out the storm in the corps building watched helplessly as water rushed down the street from the bay toward
their facility. Very soon the first floor of the corps was filledwith close to five feet of seawater.

Major Frank Duracher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salvation Army responds quickly after Ike slams Texas coast

we The water line is now clearly visible above the door knobs of the Army’s administrative offices, chapel, classrooms, storage warehouse and thrift store “The best thing is that we’re alive,” saidMajor Elda Flores, Galveston corps officer.
“This is humility in its truest form.” “Despite the ruin of The Salvation Army’s Galveston location, we will continue working
to meet the needs of victims and first responders across Galveston and the state of Texas with compassion and dedication, no matter what obstacles stand in the way,” assured Major Henry Gonzalez, Texas divisional commander. Ike also impacted sections of western Louisiana, causing severe flooding in Cameron Parish. Services are being coordinated out of The Salvation Army corps in Lake Charles, La.More than 3,000 meals have been served and 1,000 cleanup kits distributed.
Major Frank Duracher.

 

 

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"TWO WORKING AS ONE"
Baltimore couple gets a hand for extending a hand to homeless

Most people don’t receive a standing ovation for feeding the homeless. But there was one for Frank and Betty Russell this past June. The occasion was The Salvation Army’s Volunteer Awards Dinner, where the Russells received a plaque honoring their 17 years of service to The Salvation Army’s Feedmore program in Baltimore. Except for six years when they were away from the city, they’ve taken to the streets each week to feed the homeless since 1985.

The program itself seems to parallel the Russells’ commitment to service. Frank Russell described howFeedmore “goes out 52 weeks a year, six nights a week. We go out in the mobile unit, either serving food
prepared by The Salvation Army or bagged meals we’ve brought. We make five stops in the city.”

From a volunteer’s perspective, it’sa very unique program.

“It’s that the people that serve
the food do it through a window on the truck, and it’s more hands-on than some other efforts,” Frank said.
“This is a very direct way to reach the approximately 3,000 homeless people in our city.” They might serve hundreds of meals in an evening.

In 2007, Feedmore served a total of
39,203 meals.image

When theRussells began, theywere already active volunteers, but with differentprojects.Betty Russell said, “We realized that four nights out of the week, we were out doing things, but not together. Frank had heard about Feedmore, and we decided that it was something we could do together.

We were both interested in working with the homeless and we’ve always been impressed with the social conscience of The Salvation Army.”

Asked to recall significant accomplishments with Feedmore,
Frank pointed to a grant he was able
to obtain, used to serve 5,500 bagged meals. Betty recalled the people they have motivated. “I think that over the 17 years we’ve done this, there have probably been over 200 people who have gotten on that van and seen this issue face-to-face. And they’ve all been changed. We know a lot of people who had never given to The Salvation Army who now donate money. It’s really made an impact.”

Asked to recall significant accomplishments with Feedmore,
Frank pointed to a grant he was able to obtain, used to serve 5,500 bagged meals. Betty recalled the people they have motivated. “I think that over the 17 years we’ve done this, there have probably been over 200 people who have gotten on that van and seen this issue face-to-face. And they’ve all been changed. We know a lot of people who had never given to The Salvation Army who now donate money. It’s really made an impact.”

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Is the Church equal to challenge presented by AIDS-related suffering

By Kevin Tomson-Hooper

In 1998, I was invited by The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters to visit Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. I joined a larger group that included Salvationists from Australia, India and the United Kingdom. Our purpose was to
learn how other cultures deal with HIV/AIDS in their communities and how these communities develop teams that extend physical, emotional and spiritual care to people living with HIV/AIDS.

We visited roughly 60 different villages, meeting tribal leaders, local Salvation Army officers and lay people and village residents. All wanted to provide care and compassion to people living with the virus. So they had established community care teams composed of a community leader or chief, a Salvationist responsible for the pastoral care needs
of people affected by HIV/AIDS, those responsible for providing food and physical comfort and another
person responsible for managing an incomegenerating activity (IGA).

IGAs provided funding for the work of the community care teams, and they sponsored and encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit within the community – allowing communities to successfully mobilize their assets to provide support, care and
comfort to their neighbors who were living with HIV/AIDS. Business activities included selling clothing made by local residents who had started a seamstress business, selling coal or wood for heating and running a small hotel for travelers.

The setting is determined by what they do on a given evening together. They use the chapel if they are having a prayer meeting or a Bible study. Or they might find a place “just to hang out” or go on an outing.

If they play video games or have snacks on a given night, then they meet in their fellowship room – a "clubhouse" of sorts that doubles as a Sunday school classroom. On one wall is a camouflaged mural that the teens painted themselves.

We were often welcomed into the dwellings of people living with HIV/AIDS. These visits often were powerful spiritual experiences. We visited with a woman named Mary, who lived in a village in Uganda. I could tell that, at one time, Mary had had a beautiful face – but now her face was worn with care and suffering. When I looked into her dark eyes, it was like looking in a mirror – I could see my own face in hers.

As we talked, Mary led us behind her hut, showing us a row of seven graves, one grave still fairly fresh. They were the graves of her daughters – all seven had died of AIDS. She said, “I don’t know why you would care about me. I have HIV as well, and I will probably die of AIDS soon.”

Right then, I felt the spirit of God’s presence moving into that place. My Ugandan Salvationist friend’s response to Mary was, “We’re here to support you from your physical life into your spiritual life. We will provide you with the comfort and care so that you will not be alone. There are people in this village who will care for you and pray with you.” Then
my Ugandan colleagues started singing hymns and embracing Mary.

 

It was a very powerful experience – the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, the grace expressed through singing and the emotions we felt together within her home. I felt the unconditional receptiveness of Mary and those of us who had gathered. We experienced a willingness to open ourselves to a personal relationship that would provide spiritual support and care. Mary would not be alone on her journey.

This experience made me realize that all people should be welcomed into the community of faith to receive care, compassion, support and comfort. I believe that we have a wonderful opportunity in the Southern Territory to use community care as a strategy for caring for and welcoming into the community of faith those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

By confronting this epidemic, we also have an opportunity to facilitate a conversation within our communities that will engage and empower people to experience the ministry of presence. Our challenge is this: Can the Church reach out and mobilize itself to create this environment of care, compassion and comfort alongside our neighbors who are living with
HIV/AIDS? If we believe in compassionate justice for all, the Church can and will respond.

Kevin Tomson-Hooper is the territorial social services secretary.

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imageimage image
As a result of the class “Spoken Word,”
Tami Hewitt of the Territorial Youth Department
expresses below what “we” all experienced:
“Speak da Truth … Live da Truth … Give out
da Truth … Live out da Truth (please know that)
The Truth of God is not a lie, the Truth of God
won’t be compromised-now that’s the Truth!”
artist Da’ T.R.U.T.H.

“What is Truth?”
was the question that was proposed,
To those at TYI ‘08; 15-25-year-old souls
That were looking for answers to their questions in life:
Like, “Will this Good God take me
out of all this misery and strife?”

Or, “Can he really love me in spite of my sins?
Even though I placed myself in this mess I’m in?”

Or, “Can I be healed from this mental,
emotional, physical abuse?”
“Can I be forgiven for dealing drugs andstill
wearing my blue polyester suit?”
Well, on and on the questions came,
For we realized that we were just the same,
As the individuals back in Paul’s days,
Who were looking for answers at this Mars Hill place
[Yes, “looking for love in all the wrong places”.]
See, they thought that they had found Truth
In their many gods that were merely statues.
Yet their souls were still empty,
so in case they missed out,
They made a statue to an ‘unknown god’-
so maybe “he” could figure it out.
Then Paul (in Acts 17:16-32) showed them the Truth,
opened their eyes, made them see,
That this “unknown god” they were looking 4 was the
sovereign G.O.D. - the Great Almighty!
So they could get rid of all the other gods
made my man’s hand
And in this Eternal God take a stand
For righteousness, justice, morality, Truth and love,
All the attributes that came from above!!
… And so in this Truth we had a ball!
Greek parties, water games, intriguing electives and
lectures – we had it all!
As a result we saw breakthroughs and
deliverance on a grand scale, God showed up and
showed out each day without fail.
Indeed, these delegates and staff went home
never being the same; you see,
We determined we will have fun in our Faith,
and still speak Truth wherever we may be.
The question, “what is Truth?” now stands
to you as it did at the Areopagus,
“Which God will YOU serve?”
Find TRUTH in the only living God whose
name is JESUS!


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