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Loving our neighbours

After fleeing persecution and hardship in Myanmar, Manhring is now a leader at the Coffs Harbour Salvos’ Burmese fellowship church service.

Hi everyone, 

I hope you are all travelling well during this busy time as we approach the end of this year’s Red Shield Appeal campaign and the financial year.


The busier life gets, the more important it is for me to take time to pause, catch my breath and see the beauty that surrounds me and the blessings that I experience. Expressing gratitude on a daily basis keeps circumstances in perspective.

As we celebrate Refugee Week, we are given a unique opportunity to recognise the invaluable contributions refugees make to our communities and it provides us with a timely reminder to learn about their culture, the journey they have taken to get to Australia, and their stories, often filled with hardship and courage.


Everyone has a story to share, and in honour of Refugee Week, I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch Manhring’s story. 


His journey is one of great resilience and hope for a better life. Personally, I cannot begin to imagine the struggle, pain and sacrifice it took for him and his family to be where they are today – walking by foot for seven days, earning just $2 (AUD) for a full day's work, and then not being allowed to worship or go to church. Despite these valleys of difficulty, Manhring shares with us, “I have hope for God’s plan for me.” 


Daily, Salvos around the country are going above and beyond to support those who need it most, which includes many new Australians and refugees, and I am thankful for your ongoing commitment to transforming lives in Australia with practical expressions of the love of Jesus. While we have a heartfelt desire to see lives transformed, it can sometimes be challenging to know exactly what to say or what to do when the hardship and difficulties of others confront us.


Perhaps the example and story of the Good Samaritan brings some clarity here.


‌‌It teaches us that being a neighbour means showing mercy and compassion to those in need, regardless of their background or circumstances. It calls each of us to see beyond our own struggles and extend a helping hand to others, especially those who are vulnerable and in need. That can be as simple as a smile in acknowledging another or providing a cup of coffee to someone experiencing homelessness or simply listening to another’s story. 


‌We don’t know much about the Samaritan’s wealth status, but we know that he had an overflow of kindness that exceeded himself. I wonder if God requires the same of us. Maybe a heart filled with God’s love that overflows in kindness is what he requires.


Let us be inspired by these stories and the example of the Good Samaritan. As we celebrate Refugee Week, may we step forward with the same courage and hope, recognising that in every act of kindness, we are part of something greater, bringing the light and love of Jesus into the lives of others, even in the midst of chaos. My prayer for us is that we would be willing to trust God to powerfully use the kindness we have to offer.


Thank you for your dedication and compassion. Together, I believe we can, and are making a significant difference. 

‌‌God bless you each,

Colonel Winsome Merrett

Chief Secretary



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