Courageous Salvos saluted

Courage: The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery. Strength in the face of pain or grief.

Each year, at the beginning of May, we share in breakfast and lunch events, launching the Red Shield Appeal. At events like these, we often hear speakers and guests heartily say, “Thank God for the Salvos”. We hear those words today, because generations of Salvos have courageously lived out a calling to be sent, bringing hope where it was needed most.

In recent months, we have sat with Salvos across every state and have heard the current stories of Salvos courageously accepting the challenge to be sent. Lives are being transformed, as Salvos engage with fellow Australians who are in the midst of some of the most daunting and discouraging challenges, battling to find life to its fullest. We have been able to pause to express appreciation for the daily acts of courage by ordinary, everyday Salvos who are doing the extraordinary as they live, love and fight alongside others, right where they are. We thank God for the Salvos who today are courageously serving.

At the Red Shield launch events over the last two weeks, what has caught my heart the most has been the stories we have heard, from some of the most courageous people I have ever met. At some point, they were the individuals who Salvos – maybe you – chose to live, love and fight alongside. I have been struck by the courage these individuals have displayed, continuing to fight their ‘demons’, and courageously reaching out for partners to live, love and fight alongside them.  I stand to salute those who have chosen to revisit their story in order that others might be encouraged to not give up their fight. These individuals have shared honestly about the challenge of the fight, the lost battles along the way, and about their commitment to continue to fight another day. When it might have been easier to move along and leave the past behind, these courageous warriors choose to live, love and fight alongside.

These Salvos who share their stories know the reality of the words of Winston Churchill when he said,
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Dave, overcoming his addiction, reaches out, encouraging those fighting still, hoping for a victory today over their addiction. Owen, from years on the streets as a young boy, now offers a beacon of hope for other youth on the streets and a path of music expression for them in their journey. These men of courage, and others with them, choose to live, love and fight alongside others as they share their story, and encourage others to believe for transformation for their lives, one life at a time. I stood alongside Dave and Owen this past week, humbled at their courage, and celebrating their victories. I give thanks to God once again for his Army of Salvation that he continues to use to transform Australia.

And we pray again:

Give us a day of wonders, Jehovah bear thine arm,
Give courage for the battle, give strength thy foes to slay,
Give light to cheer the darkness, give grace from day to day.
Lord, hear us while we pray.

As I write this week’s entry, Tracey and I are en route to London, summoned by the Chief of the Staff to participate in the 2018 High Council. We are grateful for the Salvos across Australia, and around the world who are praying for the High Council, that we would clearly discern the leading of God by His Spirit, His Word and his people gathered, in the selection of the next General of The Salvation Army.  During the days of the High Council there will be regular updates provided by International Headquarters Communications. Following the conclusion of the High Council and our return to Australia I will resume again the weekly blog entries. Thank you for your fervent and faithful prayers in these days.

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