I have noticed collectors on the street this past few days for that great organisation The Salvation Army and gladly have I given to them for all the wonderful work that they do amongst the needy of our community. Their founders Catherine and William Booth would be proud today to stand in the midst of an Army of helpers throughout 126 countries who keep within the original principles to bring salvation to the “poor, destitute and hungry.” Philanthropic aid, relief to those caught up in tragedies beyond their ability to cope, offering accommodation for those who have fallen on hard times and as a consequence having nowhere to live, voluntary manning of shops that offer very cheap assistance with various household and family needs, looking out for the impoverished, providing soup kitchens for the starving, and bringing physical relief to the underprivileged.
Sometimes it is not a nice thing to feel that you are reliant on government support although it is a programme set up by our government here in New Zealand to help keep families off the poverty line. The Salvation Army offers a very welcome helping hand to keep you away from government assistance if that is your choice. They have many agencies that assist with counselling, budgeting, life skills coaching, social work, housing programmes, parenting classes, short-term housing and budgeting advice, food, clothing, and furniture; help to liaise with government agencies to know your correct benefit entitlements; give assistance with financial difficulties by liaising with debtors on your behalf; help you manage your bank accounts, and even offering their help with advice on the raising of your children with confidence.
What is the Salvation Army and the beliefs that they hold? I looked them up and found their eleven doctrines by which they stand and I quote:
1.We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that only they constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
2.We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.
3.We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
4.We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the divine and human natures are united, so that he is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.
5.We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocence, but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.
6.We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by his suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
7.We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to salvation.
8.We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.
9.We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
10. We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
11. We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.
Whether you are a Christian or not, you must surely recognise the good that The Salvation Army does in your own community in their Giving Back ideal. If you can just visit one of their shops and purchase something; reach into your pocket and place an offering into their buckets when you see them quietly standing outside your favourite post office or grocery supplier; offer your services as a volunteer for something in their organisation; just show them you care. Then what a wonderful feeling you will have to know that you also contributed to making a huge difference in the lives of people who are all around us who silently suffer. Let’s all be about transforming lives. Let’s all reach out so no one need be lonely or on their own. Let’s all show others that we care for our brothers and sisters on this planet.
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
Although I do not belong to the Salvation Army myself, I do respect the fantastic work they do in our community here where I live. And I have written this article in honour of some great neighbours that have always lived on the other side of the road from my parents house. I would like to dedicate this article to them Mr and Mrs Miller of Kotuku Street, Elsdon, Porirua who have been stalwart Salvation Army people ever since I was old enough to notice them when they played on the street in their band, whether they were collecting outside shops I visited, or were just there whenever our family or other families in the district needed help. So what is the Salvation Army? They were never tired, they were never not able to help. And when my own Dad passed on this past November, who were there to help first of all but the neighbours from across the road, Mr and Mrs Miller.