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International news briefs: 21 September

Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar territorial leaders welcome Commissioners Robyn and Wayne Maxwell (centre) as they arrive in Singapore.

Maxwells to confirm Army in Thailand

Australian officers Commissioners Wayne and Robyn Maxwell will have several important duties to perform in the coming days as leaders of the South Pacific and East Asia Zone.

Wayne, the zone’s International Secretary, and Robyn, the zone’s Secretary for Women’s Ministries, arrived in Singapore this week and were greeted by leaders from the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory.

During their visit, the Maxwells will officiate the opening of a new facility in Kuching, Malaysia, and also confirm the work of the Army in Thailand.

Following a meeting of The General’s Council in May, former world leader General Brian Peddle approved the official recognition of the commencement of the Army’s work in Thailand, making it the 134th country in which The Salvation Army has a legally and officially recognised ministry.


Support for the vulnerable in Romania

A Salvation Army mobile team has visited vulnerable families in Romania to distribute backpacks full of back-to-school essentials and a few extra treats.

School supplies were an answered prayer for one little girl in Romania.

“One of the little girls was so happy about her backpack full of supplies,” said one of the team members. “She said she didn’t have anything for school, so she prayed about it and is happy now that her prayer was answered.

“This is our mission in a world of suffering, with many lacking, to bring some hope, and answers to prayers.”

As part of the Adventurers 2023 camp, Romanian Anti-Trafficking Liaison Officer Major Roxy Sandu led a workshop on prevention and awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking. She spoke on the theme ‘I have heard their cries’ designed for The Salvation Army’s International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking on 24 September.

Children from the adventure camp show their support for victims of human trafficking.

The theme comes from Exodus 2:23-25: “The sons of Israel weighed in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of slavery reached to God. God heard their cry and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

“The children were very involved and wanted to write words of solidarity and encouragement, which they joined together with the help of the team in a continuous chain with the message ‘Put an end to it’,” Roxy said.

Romanian Regional Leaders Majors Ionuts and Roxy Sandu recently met with a Salvation Army delegation from the Netherlands and Norway to look at the increase of migration to their nations, and how The Salvation Army can respond.


Salvation Army supports Rwandan farming project

In the African nation of Rwanda, Salvation Army teams are teaching farmers sustainable farming practices and self-sustaining business models. The farmers contribute to a village savings and loan association (VSLA), which is a community-based bank system where you can save money and take out a loan.

The Salvation Army is teaching farmers in Rwanda about sustainable farming.

The project is supported by The Salvation Army World Service Office.

Here’s how it works:

• The community members unite to form a VSLA group;

• Regular contributions are made by each member, creating a pool of funds;

• Members can then borrow from this fund, paying back with a small amount of interest;

• The interest and savings generate income for the group, which can be reinvested or distributed.

This type of banking system empowers farmers to improve their businesses while having a safety net to fall back on when emergencies come up.

This loan and savings system enables the farmers to depend on and encourage each other to save each week; to expand their businesses; to send their kids to school; to become financially literate and self-sustaining, and so much more!


Chef assists Salvos in challenging times

Since the wildfires in western Canada began in April, The Salvation Army has joined with various partners to help provide food and hydration to evacuees and firefighters.

In Kelowna, British Columbia, one chef and his team have made it a mission to ensure residents, evacuees, and frontline workers don’t go hungry.

Relvas Catering supplies meal to The Salvation Army for seniors and frontline disaster responders.

Chef Adam Relvas and his wife Lindsay are the owners of Relvas Catering. Together with their team, they partnered with The Salvation Army to provide meals for seniors unable to leave their homes due to the dangerous smoke hovering over Kelowna.

“Once the fires started, we knew that we needed to do something to help. We talked with our contacts from The Salvation Army, and they wanted to do something as well to help so that the seniors didn’t have to go out into the smoke,” Adam said.

While the Relvas team prepares meals, The Salvation Army reaches out to seniors in the community who may need food assistance. Once the meals are ready, the Army delivers the food to the homes of those in need.

Partnerships between The Salvation Army and Relvas Catering have been frequent in the past few years – especially when it comes to providing food for seniors.

“During COVID, we started teaming up with The Salvation Army to provide meals to seniors. And so we’ve had the relationship with them for the last few years,” Adam added.

Since the collaborations with the Army began, Adam says his team has prepared over 10,000 meals for seniors in the community.


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