International news briefs – 5 October
Papua New Guinea hosts women’s weekend
Australian officers Colonel Wendy Walters and Major Vanessa Evans joined about 2000 women from the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory (PNGSI) for the Women of Worth (WOW) weekend in the coastal town of Lae.
Under the theme ‘Regeneration – transformed in his image’, the women, many of whom had travelled for days by foot, boat, dinghy, truck or bus, were ready to praise God, experience the power of the Holy Spirit and be an active part of a God-glorifying weekend.
“Lives have been transformed and renewed through the Word,” said Colonel Tilitah Goa, PNGSI Territorial President of Women's Ministries.
Colonel Wendy Walters, Head of Officer Personnel for The Salvation Army Australia and guest speaker for the weekend, shared a message with the women gathered.
“Colonel Wendy shared a challenging message based on the Bible scripture 2 Corinthians 3:18,” said Colonel Tilitah. “She spoke about being committed and connected to the word of God in order for transformation to take place in each of our lives. As worship and prayer poured out from the altar, more than 70 women moved forward to the mercy seat on the first night, and 90 per cent of all gathered came forward during the final worship time. We give glory to God for all that has happened,” said Colonel Tilitah.
Major Vanessa Evans, Solomon Islands District Director of Women’s Ministries in the PNGSI Territory, led a prayer meeting, after which the women had time for personal reflection and group prayer.
During the weekend, deep personal testimonies were shared by women from each division and district of the territory, as well as their enthusiastic ‘war crys’, spontaneous prayer and heartfelt worship.
Rich fellowship was also part of the weekend, as the women stayed in dormitories together or camped in tents adjacent to the dormitories.
“WOW – these beautiful women of God in PNGSI know how to worship!” said Colonel Wendy. “I loved being with them for this weekend and feel incredibly blessed and privileged to have shared the Word with them this weekend.
“There is no better way to conclude these days than singing ‘Move over me, Holy Spirit, move over me’. God bless The Salvation Army in PNGSI, and God bless all the beautiful Meris (women) as they make their way home.”
UK senior citizen cycles for the Salvos
Peter Langford, a 90-year-old retired vicar from Beccles in Suffolk, UK, last month became the oldest person to cycle the length of Britain to raise money for the homelessness services of both The Salvation Army and Access Community Trust.
Peter rode the 1770km from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just under one month. He is passionate about The Salvation Army’s work to tackle homelessness.
“I am aware of my good fortune in having a home to live in,” he said. “It makes me very aware of people who are homeless, and I pray for them almost every day … The Salvation Army has a long record of helping people who are homeless, and I have always had admiration for them.”
The self-funded trip was Peter’s fourth over this challenging route. He’s already raised nearly £60,000 (AUD$113,000), including from the rides he completed at the ages of 75, 80 and 85.
"I look back and think, ‘How did I manage some of those hills?’ he said, adding he would not attempt it at 95.
Angela Carlucci, Salvation Army Community and Events Team Manager, paid tribute to Peter and said the money he raised would make a significant difference in people’s lives.
“The pandemic and cost of living crisis has led to an increase in homelessness and many charities are struggling to meet demand,” she said. “The selfless acts of people like Peter are vital to The Salvation Army – we were cheering him on all the way.”
Football partnership boosts health of the homeless
The Salvation Army in the UK has partnered with the Guardiola Sala Foundation for a fourth year in a row for its annual football Partnership Trophy.
“This is the 12th tournament in which 30 teams of residents from our Lifehouses (hostels) participate in a five-a-side football tournament hosted by Goals in Manchester,” said Nathan Slinn, assistant director of The Salvation Army Homelessness Services Department. “This tournament is so important in helping Lifehouse residents celebrate everything they have overcome and helps boost their confidence and mental health.
“We’d like to say a big thank-you to the Guardiola Sala Foundation who generously provided custom-designed t-shirts for all players, as well as caps, footballs and reusable water bottles. They also arranged for a surprise visit from Manchester City player John Stones to the delight of everyone present.”
Peter Shilton OBE, one of England’s most successful goalkeepers, also attended the event and held a Q&A session with Lifehouse residents during their lunch break.
“Our annual Partnership Trophy celebrates everyone within our homelessness services, recognising the challenges and trauma that many people have overcome, and acknowledging the journey that they are on to be the best version of themselves,” said Nathan.
“Sport is an excellent activity to boost both mental and physical health, build on social skills and make friendships. There are often very complex reasons that people find themselves homeless and this tournament reinforces our ethos that our services provide so much more than just a roof; we’re committed to ending the cycle of homelessness– and this is what this event is all about.”